Sunday, January 29, 2006

Racist Venting

The cell phone rang at 7 this morning.

Through the noise of what sounded like a busy social event that I would rue having missed, or a very tedious social gathering of loud pub friends, a clipped and oddly high-pitched voice spoke to me:

"Zeeross?"

"Yes"

"Zeeross?"

"Yes"

"Zeeross?"

"Yes! What?"

"I ham callingk from Cahpeetlwon and wud lik to inform u..."

I hung up.

I hate hanging up on people, it's rude and shows a laziness I typically associate with the kinds of people that have made this country into the mess it is today.

Normally when my credit card company calls they have something important to say, so I try to at least listen long enough to find out if they're pitching some crappy service or actually trying to help me out. It's usually the former but it pays to be nice all the same. However, it was 7 in the morning, and they were calling a cell phone that has limited minutes which would be poorly spent trying to translate the unintelligible gibberish that was being spewed out in a poor attempt at English Those of you who know me know that mornings and I have come to a tense cease-fire accord, and it's little things like this that push the entire relationship back into a Cold War state that would make the Cuban Missile Crisis look like harsh words being exchanged by irate soccer moms from their gas-guzzling SUVs on a hot weekend afternoon.

Call me old-fashioned but I'm a firm believer that anyone working in a field that requires large amounts of verbal communication should at least be proficient in the language they are to be using. You don't need to fluent. Heck, few Americans are, but it would be nice if you were at least able to speak without an accent thicker than three week old Christmas gravy on a cold winter morning. I myself would never consider working in a communications-heavy job in France for instance. I know a little French, but unless the job consisted of me insulting their mothers, commenting on the size of their tits, or asking them "who cut the cheese?" I would be woefully inept at such an endeavor and therefore try to avoid such situations all together. Besides, I really don't think it's ever polite to make fart jokes with a total stranger no matter how awkward the silence is.

I understand that it's a great money saver to outsource many of our jobs to foreign countries. But trust me, phone operations is not one of them. Besides, the south needs those jobs badly in order to afford the monthly payments on their over sized lives. How are our own noble rednecks going to keep treading those fickle financial waters, just barely keeping their heads above water, if they are being replaced by gender-indeterminate, unintelligible foreigners?

Don't get me wrong, some of my best friends are gender-indeterminate, unintelligible, or foreign. Often those qualities switch from week to week, but I try not to mention it as they're good folks and I love 'em.

Does thinking people should learn a language before they start using it on native speakers of said language make me a little bit racist. Probably. Do I care all that much about it? Not really.

So please, you strange, garbled, foreign person who called me (at 7 f**king AM), hang up the phone, go take a few night classes and come back later. I promise not to hang up on you until I find out that you're pitching volcano insurance like I do with all of those sweet southern folk who waste my daytime minutes.

1 Comments:

Blogger auburnpisces said...

Ditto. I am raising Auburn Aries to be color blind and know in her heart that you can't help who you fall in love with. And as much as I am ordinarily VERY proud of my efforts and where her heart is, I detest the fact that I seem racist for the same reasons you mentioned.

The reality is, it isn't being a racist really. It's more about a language barrier that hits a nerve...is that the same thing?!?!

8:40 AM, February 24, 2006  

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