[I wrote this post about a week ago, and then promptly forgot about it. But, since I’m still ruminating over my discomfiture, I decided to post it.]
So, if you know me, you know I hate calling people.
It’s not that I’m afraid they’ll answer. I WANT them the answer.
What causes me distress (and possibly night terrors) is the fear that they won’t answer, which then means I’ll have to leave them a message. (Or hang up, as I’ve been known to do. Sorry.)
You see, I leave THE WORST MESSAGES IN THE WORLD! (And by worst, I mean messages that embarrass me.)
For some reason, as soon as I hear the BEEEEEEEP, I become the most long-winded, rambling, idiotic person on earth. And before I know it, instead of asking what I called for, like, “What time does the movie start?” I have opined on the state of the union, mentioned that the last mixtape I made had the song “Together Forever” on it, revealed how I wish my five-year plan included being a busker, and questioned the validity of calling something that squirts out of a can “cheese.”
Needless to say, anytime I have to make a phone call to someone who doesn’t know me (and won’t find my three-minute pontifications endearing), I write down what to say in case I must leave a message.
This is what I should have done when I recently called my favorite bookstore, Slightly Foxed Books,* in London (I have never been to this bookshop, but fantasize about it in inappropriate quantities).
Smartly, I did come up with things that IABSOLUTELYMUSTNOTMENTION, such as:
1) Some of my English ancestors came over as indentured servants and maybe that’s why I abhor participating in manual labor,
2) How it was okay that they (the English) lost the war (Revolutionary), because it all worked out in the end with multiple holidays to celebrate for all, and
3) That I easily fall into an English accent whenever I watch (or think about) Pride and Prejudice, or North and South, and would they like to hear it, and could they give me tips on making it more believable?
Connected to this, I also warned myself that I should NOT use an English accent while leaving the message (wanted to), and that I should also NOT include any English-y words that I love but that we don’t really use in America, like: barrister, nutter, posh, gobsmacked , daft, petrol, knackered, and lorry etc.
Thankfully, I did not say/do any of these things.
But, here’s what I did say (to the best of my recollection (which is pretty good since I’ve been obsessing about it ever since)) after I heard their “Leave a message” message (which was said in the most beautiful Female English accent and sounded very posh):
“Oh my gosh, I got through! I’m calling London! Hi! I’m Liz! Elizabeth Wolfe! From America! The U. S. A.! I ordered books from you! And I was told to call and leave a message authorizing payment! So, I’m calling! My name is Elizabeth Wolfe! W. O. L. F. E.! I don’t know my order number! Dang it! Where’s my paper!? [Long pause while looking for receipt] Okay! I ordered three books! The names are… [Long pause while finding the names of the books only to realize that I wasn’t sure how to pronounce the first title (I couldn’t remember if the “s” in Libris, as in “Ex Libris” was silent. (It’s not.)) So not wanting to sound stupid (too late) I say the following…] Well, they’re books! [Insert embarrassing giggle] Of course they’re books! You’re a bookstore! [Awkward snort] I’m sorry! I’m flabbergasted!**** Again, my name is Elizabeth Wolfe! I think I already mentioned that! And my number is [gave them my number faster than the speed of light]. Thank you for all that you do! I love your book review!”
When I got off the phone, I immediately went and told my sisters that I shamed America.
And in case you’re wondering, the exclamation points are intentional because I feel like I spoke in excited tones the entire message.
Also, in case you’re wondering, do you know how much it costs to call London? I do. The first minute cost me $3.10, and the next two minutes cost $5.78. Three-minute rambling call = $8.88
Always write down your messages Liz! Elizabeth Wolfe! From America! The U. S. A.!
*Why is this my favorite bookstore (aside from the fact that I’m an Anglophile)? Because they publish a fabulous, and I mean FABULOUS, quarterly magazine. Anyone who puts out such a wonderful book review can only be awesome, and worthy of my esteem.**
** When I finally go to England [gazing at the heavens in silent prayer and oblations], Slightly Foxed is on my list of MUSTS, right under Stonehenge. ***
***If you ever go to London, and visit Slightly Foxed Books, please only tell me that it’s wonderful and magical and dazzling! Don’t tell me that it’s just a regular bookstore, with regular books, and regular people. I’ll be crushed. Let me have my fantasies.
****In the back of my mind, I feel like I said the word lambasted, instead of flabbergasted. But, since I meant to say flummoxed, instead of flabbergasted in the first place, I’m just pretending that the whole thing didn’t happen.