As I am preparing for a wedding, I’m calling a lot of people. In the Netherlands, phone calls follow a script that would make telemarketers feel controlled. Because the Dutch are apparently afraid of the novelty that is communication on a distance, they pick up shouting their own name, just to establish who is being called before the conversation has properly started. Then, in an immediate response, the caller will pronounce his name and purpose for calling. The first part may seem a little odd, since the caller dialed a number and knows who is calling, but before you giggle too loud, remember the last time you dialed the wrong number and took about a minute to find out. In case you’re ashamed, let me sympathize. When I started calling miss Missouri (which I do at 5am central time), I mixed up the last four digits of her number and got a Spanish talking lady four mornings in a row. Imagine being waked up by a Dutchman at 5am who takes a solid minute to figure out you are not his girlfriend. Four days in a row.
For some reason, calling English-speaking people at more decent times does not go over much better. I am still used to the idea that a conversation starts with a proper name, so that I can go from there. Let me picture you the first twenty seconds of my phone call yesterday:
Crickets: ‘Chirp chirp chirp’
Okay, maybe the crickets weren’t there, but it sure felt that awkward. Don’t worry, after I said my name and had him try to pronounce it (he failed, it’s okay), our conversation was perfectly okay. I’ll be better prepared for any calls from now on and make sure our wedding has the appropriate people.
Ever talked to someone who you didn’t know was the wrong person?
Ever liked my Facebook page yet?