I’m notoriously erratic about checking my voice mail, since I leave it on vibrate and in my desk during work hours.*
Yesterday afternoon, I had four messages, all from the same number. The length of time between calls was inversely proportionate to the impatience of the caller:
“This is Sunny’s Pre-K room mother. I was hoping you could help out with the book sale this Friday between two and four. Please give me a call as soon as you can!”
“Ms. Wesson, this is Sunny’s room mother. I’m calling about the book sale at the school. Please call me.”
“Ms. Wesson, this is Sunny’s room mother. I hope your voice mail is working—I need to know if you can help out with the book sale Friday. Please call as soon as you get this.”
“This is Sunny’s room mother. It would be great if you would return my call.”
Dealing with a roomful of toddlers and a call list of reluctant parents wouldn’t bliss me out either, so I gave her the benefit of the doubt, checked Friday’s schedule, groaned, and called her.
“This is Sarah, Sunny’s mom,” I said. “I’m afraid I can’t volunteer on Friday, but if there’s any other day this wee–”
“Not even for an hour? We really need someone to fill in.”
“I’m sorry, I’m working.”
“You couldn’t reschedule? It’s our biggest fundraiser this semester.”
“Um, I would if I could, but there’s really no way.”
“You can’t spare an hour from your day? For the kids?”
Good mercy, lady. “I’m sorry, but I’m at the downtown library on Friday and we’re already down two people. There’s no one to cover for me.”
“Oh, you’re a library volunteer? Because I’m sure they’d understand–”
“No, I’m a librarian. And if someone could trade, I’d be glad to—”
“Oh! Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t know you worked. Someone told me you were a writer.”
I’m not often at a loss for words, but that did it.
Anyone have any I could borrow for the next time? Keeping in mind that my precious child spends a lot of time with this woman?
*Lecturing patrons about turning off their ringtones, please, isn’t quite as effective when accompanied by a chorus of bleeps from the staff area.