Now, I am aware that a majority of the population will never get to experience being on the “right” end of a collection call, so here is my attempt to properly illustrate its wonders.
What is this mystical thing I’m speaking of? – Some of you lucky, naive souls may ask, Well…
Collection calling (Kol lek shun kawl eng): Rooted in ancient German (a harsh, angry language), it comes from the word ‘kollektion’ which means to repeatedly call someone who does not wish to speak with you until you get hung up on, or to be verbally assaulted by strangers over the telephone.
What are you complaining about there missy? – Those same lucky, naive readers question. Well not to give you a fright or anything (you may want to sit down for this), but collection calling is AWFUL. **collective gasp, old woman faints face first on the floor, volcano in the distance erupts, buildings crumble to the ground, the sun explodes**
Since I could literally write two novels and an instructional handbook on the topic** and I would like to keep those lucrative opportunities open, I will just give you a little look into my favorite phone pals:
**Look for my book, “Give Me the Money…If You Want To?: A Timid Girl’s Guide to Collection Calling” in 2099!!
“The heavy breather”: This one is my personal favorite because they make you deeply uncomfortable without even knowing it. I always picture these guys wearing a Darth Vader mask while also being hooked up to an iron lung. Sometimes I swear I can feel them panting on my ear like a dog. It’s the dual sensory phone call experience that you never dreamed of…but now you do…in the form of nightmares.
“The grouchy old man”: Probably the most terrifying variety because its like having someone else’s angry grandfather give you a slap on the wrist for asking him kindly if he wanted gravy with his mashed potatoes. Its confusing and you feel like you are disobeying the will of God or something like that. Needless to say these were the encounters that simultaneously made me want to curl into the fetal position under my desk and whimper-cry until the day was over and also kick box a punching bag until my limbs fell off. (DISCLAIMER: I don’t actually really know how to kick box but it sounds aggressive and feisty).
“The condescending young woman”: These twenty-something sarcasm machines really grind my gears. Every word out of their mouth drips with more fake sugar than Splenda icing. And the routine passive-aggressive tone seemed to say, “I am a flawless millionairess and you are a young peasant with no formal education who wears brown clothes and eats ants for breakfast, so don’t try to tell me what to do”. And yes, I got that all from how they said ‘one moment please’.
Most days were spent squeezing my eyes shut as the phone rang in the hope that it would click over to voice mail, and then when it did – accidentally trying to say hello and talk to the recording, and moving my shoulders and tapping my pen to jazzy ‘hold’ music as unimpressed co-workers walked by. I would freeze up, curse under my breath, and hope that I wasn’t awkward, but maybe just…
This is awkward.