Today, even though I felt like death warmed over, TMobile called, and the whore they (don’t) pay to harass me wanted to rumble.
Okay, so I understand why companies are shelving all their workers and turning to computers. Sure, it saves a few bucks. Sure, it helps the American economy by putting money into the pockets of robots, who seem to be taking the high price of oil especially hard. But seriously, communications companies, stop with the voice-activated customer service.
Here’s how computer customer service and I usually get along: the computer asks me what I want to do. I say, “customer service.” My son, who has now noticed I’m on the phone and sets his taser to stun, parrots, “customer service.” I shake off the distraction (is that what we call a small person who needs you and depends on you for everything he’s not able to do himself? a distraction? a Napoleonic dictator? my best little helper in the world? love of my life? Pain in my ass? as alittlepregnant says, “unstoppable arch-nemesis, perhaps.”) Anyway, I try to hold off the deluge of those Kodak moments in which he is possessed by the “hey, mom’s on the phone, which only happens once a week, and all bets are off!” mood of the minute, and wait for the computer to recognize my request.
DCSR (disembodied customer service rep): I’m sorry, I didn’t get that. Let’s try again.
Okay, lady, or disembodied lady who spent a fortune in voiceover lessons to get this one gig and get no residuals from every fucking time the computer doesn’t understand me.
“Cus-to-mer ser-vice,” I enunciate.
DCSR: Okay. you want to establish new service, right?
“No,” I say, patience running thin. My son has glimpsed his opportunity to head to the bathroom to relieve the toilet paper roll of its pricey tree pulp. My cats have decided his absence from the room is their window to the one moment of my attention a day. My head is swimming, trying to decide who gets the focus.
DCSR: Please say yes or no.
Me: [small boy is trying to decide which button on the butane lighter will heat the pinking shears to a temperature sufficient to burn cat hair but cool enough to leave their skin unsinged] What was the question?
DCSR: Okay. Let’s start again.
“No, let’s not,” I think. Is it my imagination, or have they hired Sarah Palin for this job? The voice is just folksy enough, just approachable enough to make me forget for a moment that she is a tool of the Dark Side. Then she says something so classically bitchy that I am recalled from the trance in which I want smaller government, even though both Wasilla’s and Alaska’s grew under her reign as prom queen, and lower taxes, dropped just low enough that we force race victims to pay for their own rape kit.
“Customer serrrvice,” I trill, thinking that getting all happy and Southern will get me better service. I can play Palin with the best of them. Except Tina Fey. That woman is freaking genius. Maybe, maybe minus the letting her kid watch Psycho bit, but still.
“Okay,” the Sarah Palin robot computer disembodied nemesis trills back. “You said, ‘customer service,’ right?”
“Yes.” I’m shaking my head, no, at the toddler who is trying to put nail polish on the cats’ toes. Cats are resisting. Silly mortals. Toddler is undeterred. That’s it, boy. Way to pursue your artistic dreams. I believe in you! Except, please don’t do that. Find something I can support would you, instead of going all “find the netherworld in which unconditional finds a few conditions.”
DCSR: I’m sorry, I didn’t get that. Please say yes or no.
Me: I did say ‘yes or no.’ I said ‘yes.’ Please listen to me, since it’s just me and an almost-three year old and enough people aren’t listening to me today that I just might lose it.
DCSR: Let’s try again.
Me: [whining] No! Let’s not try again!
DCSR: [insistent, implying that I’m a failure for not even knowing how to talk] Please say, account balance, check minutes, send money to relatives in Peru, new credit card, deplete my savings account, or wait endlessly on hold.
Me: None of those. Customer service. Honey, please put that down. That’s a no-touch. Please put it down and we can play with this, instead.
DCSR: You said, ‘deplete my savings account, right?’
Me: [resenting this new turn Sarah Palin’s career has taken, even if it pays a bit better than 365 on per diem at home while your husband attends to government business for you, and almost wishing she was pardoning and butchering turkeys as VP instead of as disembodied customer service bitch] [as clearly as I can manage] No.
SP as DCSR: Please say yes or no.
Me: No. No no no no no no.
At this point, the kid is screaming at the top of his lungs because I’m saying ‘no’, the cats are hiding because they sense that formaldehyde is not on their list of “well, at least this is better than the shelter” activities, my savings account is gone, and the computer cops a ‘tude with me.
SP as DCSR: I’m sorry we’re having trouble. Let’s try again another time.
Okay, you fucknecks. I don’t have time to explain to your computer what I need. I don’t have time to Minnesota/Alaska/Georgia my accent to make myself intelligible. I want the good ol days where the motherfucking computer made me “press one” for self-immolation and “press two” for Kvorkian assisted conflagration.
Today’s was even worse. I’m sick, I’m on crutches, and Spouse is waiting on me hand and foot because every other time in our almost ten year relationship that I’ve been sick he’s been out of town. So he owes me some major tea and honey, some major shared childcare, and some major motherfugging midday naps.
And this TMobile bitch wants to rumble. (Don’t get me wrong. TMobile has been okay, I guess, even though I had no service at my old house and even though they lock me out of the website everytime I try to log on to pay my freaking bill. They did give me the cell phone MP3 player that might be the solution to outsidevoice‘s kindergardener with an iPod problem. But still. They’re fucking with the wrong nasally bitch today.)
T: Please say your account number now.
T: I’m sorry, I didn’t understand that. Please try again now.
Me: [thinking, of course you didn’t. I didn’t finish. a person would know that, you robot a–hole; then trying again] 5-1-0 [mommy mommy I need poop!]
T: We seem to be having some trouble.
Me: You said it, Lady. [“Daddy!” (yes, I’ve developed the nasty habit of calling Spouse “Daddy.” Vowed I never would. And every mom does something she vowed she never would, so as long as heroin and twenty-seven hours of tv-babysitter are still off the list, I’m good. “We’ve got a pooper in here!” To which he pleasantly replies, “Do I have a few minutes?” Where do I start?]
T: You said, pay the bills of all my friends and family, right?
T: Please say yes or no.
Me: No. [Achoo]
T: Dice Espanol?
Me: [in Spanish] No.
T: [composed, if robotic] Your bill is wicked overdue. Would you please pay, you deadbeat fucker, or we’ll cut off your only contact with the world.
Me: Look, I just moved, I didn’t know the bill was due, and I can never log onto the web site because my kid sucks my memory dry both of password and of, well, memory.
T: You said, add text messaging, right?
Me. No. [cough cough cough]
T: I’m trying to be patient with you, but it seems you pal around with terrorists.
Me: Oh, please. I met him once. He taught math, I went to office hours. That’s not pal-ing.
T: You said please enflame me, right?
T: You’re taken care of in that department?
Me: Yes, thank you very much.
T: You said please disconnect your service, right?
T: Please say yes or no.
Me: What was the question? [sniffle]
T: Thank you. Consider your service terminated. Now, can we schedule your personal visit with Sarah Palin?
Oh, sweet Mary, mother of my cousins, just shoot me now. I just want to press one for self-immolation.