Sunday morning made the long working week fade into oblivion. Dana and I went out for breakfast. We drove to the restaurant, got out of the car into the lovely warm sunshine, entered the building and were greeted by another patron, with a very cheery, 'morning'. It made me feel as if I was on holiday. Dressed in three quarter length 'pants', and a sleeveless top, flip flops and sunglasses, I could have been wandering into a cafe on a Spanish beach, or a Caribbean island. A summer's day in Austin has the ability to melt away all sorts. In a holiday resort, Brits normally recognise other Brits. The 'middle aged men', during my teen years were usually identified by their shorts, sandals and calf length socks. Flip flops were for women when I was a child. I don't think my father owned a pair. However, I digress. The beautiful day melted away the cares of the week.
All in all, the week was not too bad. We didn't leave the office until 7 on most days, as the majority of work came in after lunch, and a large part of that, just before quitting time. I did receive an inordinate amount of telephone calls from unwanted salespeople, who couldn't lie straight in bed! 'Hello this is Stevie', (I had several calls this week from several people who were called Stevie) was followed by, 'I am calling from ......', (I will not mention the name of the company which they purport to be calling from, as it IS legitimate, and I don't want to associate the cheats with the authentic) Always, the caller would call themselves a 'solutions provider', from the company. 'But do you actually work for......', I would ask. They would repeat their position with their company again, and never actually say 'Yes'. Normally, after the first couple of, 'Do you actually work for....' questions would cause the phone to click, and the caller would disappear from the line. Last week they were really far more persistent. The misrepresentation has become far more devious, and the answers far more deceitful.
It is not unheard of for a legitimate provider to make a call, to solicit further business, or offer you a better service, so I do not want to make a corporate decision by declining something that is better for our business, as the call actually may be from a recognised source. 'Do you send us the bill?', was very cleverly deflected with the answer, 'We are in marketing. The billing department sends the bills'. Nice return! 'Who pays your wages', was a question they could not answer. I would have been happy with, 'that is none of your business', but the repetition of, 'My name is Stevie and I am a solutions provider', confirmed they did not work for the company which actually sends me my bill at the end of the month.
By Tuesday afternoon, Stevie had called me a number of times, and as I knew everything there was to know about her working title, I was expecting a 'friend's request' on facebook! When Samantha called from the Courthouse, to say that a lawyer (for whom we were filing papers) had made the cheque out to the wrong people, it was the diversion I needed to leave the office and let someone else talk to the most persistent salesperson in history! Apparently, Samantha was dealing with a clerk at the courthouse, with one eye and one arm. I was wracking my brains to think who she could be talking about. It appeared that she had been in the clerks office for sometime, but I just could not place her. I asked Kelly before I left, if she had run across this particular lady, and she was as baffled as me. Samantha was waiting outside for me, and I found a space directly outside the front door, to stop. 'We can't think of the clerk you are taking about', I told her. When Samantha finds something very funny, she gasps for air, in between howls of laughter. In full view of several attorneys, court personnel and a variety of other spectators, she looked like she was going into labour! 'Bari; with one 'i', and one 'r'!' By the time she had composed herself, and made her way back to the lady with two eyes and two arms, I had been 'pinned in' by the Duck Tour bus. It is the (not so new) craze in many cities to boast this form of excursion option, where the bus drives along the road, and then, just like Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang, turns into a boat, (I don't think it flies) and floats along the river. However, it was on the road, outside the courthouse, preventing me from moving. The big grey building is a nice piece of architecture, but not particularly spectacular. The hoots and squawks presumably meant to sound like ducks, were not cute. It was irritating, but not as frustrating as another bus pulling up behind, moving slowly to take the place of the first, and hem me in once again, as the passengers waved and made ridiculous quacking sounds. My flailing arms, and shouting, was not indicating that I was waiving back, and joining in the fun. I wanted to move! Suddenly, Stevie became a welcome alternative!
Honesty is much appreciated, especially on the telephone, but sometimes the truth can be very blunt. I called a post office, who had returned a request for an address verification, confirming that mail was delivered to a particular defendant at that address. It was ticked that mail was delivered to the address, but a new address had been added. I spoke to a very nice man, who called out to the postmistress. After a bit of a kerfuffle, I heard a rather gruff voice shout, 'I ticked that they get mail, didn't I!' Footsteps were heard coming back to the phone, and repeated back to me were the words, 'She ticked that they get mail, didn't she!'. I wasn't sure how to respond, so I just thanked him profusely, which was probably welcome, as the postmistress was still shouting in the background! Stevie would have been kinder, not as blunt, not as candid, but kinder!
By Thursday, Stevie had not only changed sex, but nationalities. However, by Friday morning, she had no doubt decided the original version was the one with which she wanted to stay, and was back on the phone, letting me know that she was a 'solution provider' in the original accent. 'Do you work for.....?', was my question, once again, and once again, she answered, 'I am required to tell you my name and that I am a solutions provider for.....'. She seemed rather surprised when I then said, 'So the answer is no!'. Being that we were now almost bff's, I became slightly concerned for her health, as she appeared to be having hearing problems. 'Yes, I am a solutions provider for..'. By Friday afternoon, however, she had either changed her job, or changed her mind, and decided that lying to your friends was perfectly fine. The tiresome question of 'Do you actually work for ...', was responded to, with a 'um, yes'. I was hurt. Stevie could no longer be trusted. It took less than a few seconds for me to come to terms with the fact that I didn't care!
Saturday afternoon saw the start of the melt away process. I had my weekly fracas with the scanner. 'What is unidentified about grape-juice. I know he used to get grapefruit, but he changed his mind! You sell it, how can it be unidentified?' 'Thank you for shopping at Walmart'. She did not answer my question. Was she related to Stevie? Was Stevie real? Twilight zone? Impossible!
It is Monday tomorrow, and the holiday feeling will disappear, just as quickly as it appeared. Triple figures are becoming the norm for the temperature, and summer is upon us. The longest day has come and gone, and as my dad used to say (as summer began), the nights are drawing in! What is in store for us next week; ................. another story!