Day 25: Something in the air?

It’s that time of year. Everyone is getting sick! No matter where I go, there’s always someone sniffling or sneezing, coughing or popping lozenges. Natalie has a fever (I made her a Get Well card). It’s terrible! I think it’s the crazy weather we’re getting. One day it’s eight degrees, the next it’s 21 but feels like 30! And of course everyone (myself included) has come to the bizarre belief that if we dress for summer, summer weather will continue. Not so! I can vouch for that. No matter how many times I stubbornly decide to wear flip flops, we will continue to get windy, rainy, 10-degree weather. I think it’s time to face the facts. Fall is officially here to stay.

I had politics today. Tutorial was minutely less painful than last time. Six people made comments this time (I was one of them). Why that’s more than a 100 per cent increase from last time when only two people contributed. What fun. I made the horrible mistake of sitting in the back for lecture today. I had forgotten to charge my laptop and needed to find a plug. As luck would have it, all the plugs were taken except for one way in the back. It was then I noticed my professor mumbles. I could hardly make out a thing he was saying. If I didn’t know better, he could be talking about turkey (which he was at one point, on a wild tangent). Thank you, Past Veronica for doing those readings!

I spent the entire afternoon working on my journalism article. It’s coming along I suppose. I had to make a few calls, thanks to Judy (who, if you’ll remember, set me up with various unnecessary people). I figured I’d better give them a call since they were all expecting me now and I didn’t want to sully my good name. I sent out about seven emails this morning. Two people got back to me, asking me to give them a call. (Why is it that I can never get into contact with the people I actually need, and yet for dispensable contacts, they’re all eager to speak with me? Open mind, Veronica. Open mind.)

I figured I could try to scrape together something of use to me from these interviews by asking them about Judy. It was a profile after all so another perspective of her character couldn’t hurt. But surprise, surprise. Judy had taken the liberty of telling everyone that I was interested in interviewing them in reference to their small businesses. So there I was stuck with some lady who couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to hear about how she started her online networking business.

I told her again and again that Judy had it wrong. I was interested in small businesses (just not hers!), but I was looking at green businesses for a future assignment. Why is that so difficult to comprehend? But did that stop her from telling me every single irrelevant detail about her business ventures? Nope. I tried so many times to cut her off, but these business ladies are either very single-minded (they’ve set their mind on talking about their business and by George they’re going to talk about it if it kills them), or they’re just very lonely. I can’t get any of them to just can it for one second! There are no pauses, no opportunities to interject or interrupt (they just speak louder to drown out my feeble protests). And to top it all off, they speak … at … an … unbeara- … bly … slow … pa … aaa … ce! I felt like I was actually dying of old age just sitting there listening to them string a sentence together.

Call #1: some foreign lady with a thick accent

This was a lady who’s supposed to be working with Judy. How long has she been working with her? Six months. Joy! That ought to give me a great character reference. She knew absolutely nothing about Judy, but decided to wow me with all the splendid events she’s planned and how downright spectacular her new business is. I repressed the urge to just hang up discretely and pretend the phone line got cut.

Call #2: a librarian

Once again, I had to conduct an interview with someone who couldn’t understand why I was calling them if I was writing a profile on someone else. Haven’t these people ever heard of second opinions? Differing perspectives? Obligatory follow-up calls set up by some third party outsider who has no actual understanding of the matter at hand? Well clearly not because there I was yet again explaining why I didn’t want to learn about why she decided to become a librarian.

I suppose this call wasn’t completely for naught. I did get her to help me look up some databases for green businesses in Ottawa. I’m hoping those come in handy later on when I actually need to write that hell hound of a feature. The real painful moment came when she was offering to email me the links. She muttered something about trying to do two things at once, so I figured I’d stop talking for a while and let her finish. The only problem was … she made no sound whatsoever. She didn’t tell me what she was doing, how long she needed, nothing. I didn’t hear typing or background noise, and for a good minute, we sat there in the dead silence, drinking in the awkward moment. At that point, I was just fed up with the interview. Truth be told, I’d already gotten all the information I needed (and then some) from this lady and I was just waiting to wrap up. And so I sat … and let it be awkward.

Eventually the poor lady broke the silence by saying, “Hello?” in a tone that sounded more like she was saying, “I thought this was supposed to be an interview. Why aren’t you interviewing me, you awful journalist?” It was a very loaded hello. I tried to salvage the rest of the interview and end on polite terms, but I can’t work miracles, people. You have to meet me halfway. She made no effort! The lady just fired passive aggressive responses to my questions. I asked a completely neutral, let-me-hang-up-because-this-conversation-is-clearly-dead question, “Those are all the questions I have. Is there anything else you’d like to add?”

She gives me a patronizing, “Well uh … I don’t know what you’re aiming at. So no.”

Great, lady. Then let’s just do ourselves a favour and hang up.

That’s the last time I’m making calls to people I don’t want to talk to! From now on, I’m taking extra precautions to set up my own interviews. I know Judy probably meant well, but she ended up doing more harm than good. Those interviews were time-consuming and weren’t particularly gracious to my nerves.

Well I think that’s enough of a rant for today. I’ll end on a happy note before signing off. I got a package in the mail today from my mom! What can I say? She likes sending me care packages. Best care item: a new coffee tumbler! I really needed that. My old one is plastic and it cracked for unknown reasons (you’d think they’d hold up a little better after falling three metres off a cabinet, ricocheting off a bed frame and clattering onto a tiled floor). Plus, there’s a paper design inside the plastic cover that’s starting to mold from the condensation. Yummy. I can’t wait to use my new tumbler. It’s metal and therefore (relatively) unbreakable!

I also had a wonderfully de-stressing hour of swimming tonight where I tested out the new swim cap my mom sent me earlier. Two dollars for a Speedo cap? Not too shabby! And I daresay it’s better than the cheap imitation I got at Walmart for double the price at $4! On that victorious note, I think it’s time for bed. Before you know it, it’s going to be morning, and it starts all over again.

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