“Good morning, this is Paula, how may I direct your call?” After I pick up the receiver and the last intake of air is set in my lungs to speak, there is a paused moment of worry just before I say the very first word “good”: what if my voice comes out in too-high of a pitch or at shouting volume? Worse yet, what if I have just popped a large peppermint into my mouth simultaneously at the first ring: do I have enough time to shove it with my tongue deeply enough into my cheek-pocket to not sound like I’m talking while underwater?
Now ready to push air from the back-bottom-side of my throat in a controlled and steady vocal exhale, it’s time to bring forth my ASMR-infused inner-Barry White, who answers their call in a telephone greeting with a low-hum-sing-song-voice. A blink before I begin, my eyes dart to my little Braun desk clock to make sure of the time: yes, it’s still morning. I sometimes say the wrong time-greeting even after glancing at my analog clock reminder, and instead of self-correction in the moment, it’s better to self-commit to what was said. The caller may correct me, or may not.
I don’t think what I say really matters, they just want to speak to the right person to help them as soon as possible, which I am glad to listen to what is needed and get them directly connected. Surprisingly, business telephone etiquette and procedure do not seem to have changed much over the years: no one is calling to speak with voicemail, everyone fears falling into the abyss of being repeatedly transferred to the wrong person, and a caller’s ultimate nightmare of becoming forever-stuck in no-one-answers-hell, remains a threat of real possibility.
“May I have your name and a good number to reach you for (so-and-so) to return your call shortly?” It’s not the immediate solution asked for, but it’s progress made and prevention to those other, more undesirable, outcomes. I resolve to answer the phone in my best voice version of soothing Barry White, because you’re the one I need. You’re the first, the last, my everything to help this caller.
I am no true-substitute for Mr White’s distinctive mellow and melting tones, and I am secretly terrified to be heard or behave, instead, as the nasal and snarky Ernestine Tomlin. Hoping this heart-shaped telephone cord seen this morning sets a pleasant-mood of reception on this day because I’ve got so much to give and I’m hoping it is directly-received by the party to whom I am speaking. ❤️ ~Paula