No, I’m sorry, this is not a sexy story.
I was once a Secretary at a lawyers’ office. It was a summerjob, which entailed answering the phone, typing out letters and sending them away, handling the fax and mostly telling clients that their lawyer currently wasn’t present due to holiday circumstances.
For most of the time, it was quite a nice job. I got to earn my own wages, sometimes had a colleague to babble to and I did something useful with my time altogether.
There was one client. Oh dear. She literally phoned every day.
Every. Single. Day.
Every day with the same question:
‘Can I talk to Mr Sanders, please?’
Mr Sanders was one of the lawyers on a holiday. For three weeks. It was his first week out. And yet this woman phoned back every single day. With the same request. Like she had Alzheimers or was demented in some way. She wasn’t, as she only phoned once a day and I would expect a patient of one of these illnesses to phone more regularly if it were due to those conditions, but no. She simply wasn’t willing to believe Mr Sanders wasn’t in.
Nearly every day, I was the one who received her on the phone, too. As there was usually only one or two of us, sometimes a third, but usually not.
The only good thing about her phoning was that she usually accepted it if I asked her:
‘Do you want to leave him a message?’
One day, she had a slight outburst. She accused me:’you think I’m just a nutcase, don’t you? Aha-haaaaahaaa!’ You’ll have to interpreted that last one as a weird witch-sounding laugh. Not that she was a witch or claimed to be, but that’s the kind of sound you usually hear in a film when one appears, or is about to appear.
I must admit that laugh made me feel a bit creepy. I had a slight discussion with her, trying to stay polite, as she was still a client I might have to meet face to face one day, but it was hard. After she had given me a rant about something (not sure exactly what it was) I simply told her:
‘I’m sorry, I can leave him a message for you, or you can phone back yourself when he’s back. I’m afraid that’s all I have in my palet of possibilities’, it was quiet for about five seconds, then she caved and picked.
To leave a message.
When I hung up the phone, my colleague turned to me, laughing:
‘”That’s my Palet of Possibilities”?? I had never heard of that one before?!’ and handed me a bag of sweets.
‘It’s all I could think of in short notice’, I defended myself. I was usually a babysit and that was usually what I used to make the children pick for something. I had no idea it worked on adults aswell.