A TALE OF THREE VOICES
The workday has ended about forty-five minutes ago, but there are still those stalwarts (read: fools) like me who continue slogging away. Only four of us remain, the other three in their individual offices, a triangle of professionalism, with me, almost equidistant from each, working in my small, grey cubicle.
My associates are all on their phones.
“Mr. Barrett,” one associate greets the caller in soothing, mellifluous tones, “It’s Bill from the moving company. I’m calling to set up a time for our consultant to survey your home.” Bill sounds sensible, thoughtful, reliable. Never mind that he still dresses in clothes he’s worn since he was a teen in the 1970’s, complete with a thinning pony tail down his back and eight gold chains around his neck that a co-worker calls a “Mr. T Starter Set.” Never mind that he cannot focus on more than one task at a time and will often respond to one’s questions with the phrase, “Sorry, I have no idea what you are saying.”
It’s his voice. It’s very impressive. It should be delivering the news on tv, particularly, grave news. The “Voice” makes the company seem far more efficient, polished, and oh, so professional. That is not the case with the voices that are starting to be raised from the other occupied offices.
Nellie and Rich are on a three-way call with John from the SoCal office, a snake who is supposed to be working with our office but does everything in his power to trample over our profit potential while securing business for his own branch. He is also a sexist pig who doesn’t listen to Nellie even though they are in the same job position. John isn’t letting Nellie speak, and she is reaching her boiling point. Her voice is becoming strident. Soon there is shouting liberally dispensed with the F-bomb as well as other colorful verbiage. It is easy to hear how she earned the nickname “Yellie.” It is also obvious that the snake/pig is still not listening because now Rich is trying to get the snake/pig’s attention, shouting into the phone, “John! John!”
Eventually, all these voices arrive in a thundering crescendo at my cubicle.
“So,” Bill confirms in professional and dulcet tones, “You are scheduled with our consultant for this Wednesday…”
“John! John! John!”
“Listen, John, dammit, you can’t keep pulling this shit–” Yellie…well, yells.
“I will send you a confirmation email to your Yahoo address…”
“This was agreed to by your GM too. Dammit, will you listen for a second?”
Rich is still trying his best. “John! John! John!”
It is as though I am an audience of one listening to an ensemble in a surreal opera (or soap opera). I give a silent thanks that our clients only ever hear the “Voice,” or we would never get any business at all.