This winter I spoke a lot of French with my in laws when I stayed with them in a remote part of Canada. Now I am exhausted. These days there are only a few people I enjoy talking to. They are:
- People who work at At&T and live in the Philippines
- Lisa who works at Amazon
- Anyone from my health insurance company
- Steven who works at the front desk at my gym
Here is a recent conversation:
Person who is a human but seems like a robot: Hi and thank you for calling AT&T. Thank you for being the best part of AT&T.
Me: You’re welcome?
Robot Person who says their name is Antonio but they are speaking with a Filipino accent. Is the call center in Italy? It seems like it is in the Philippines. It’s unclear: Can I have your first and last name but only say your last name’s first letter?
Me: Sure. Alexis L.
Antonio DaVinci–are they happy working at this call center? are they fulfilled in their life? do they get good benefits?: Thank you Miss Alexis L. How can I assist you today? It’s a great day at Amazon.
Me: I thought I called AT&T.
Antonio who is now saying to please call him Pope Francis because this call center is actually located in Vatican City: We are all owned my Amazon now.
Me: Wait, didn’t I just speak to you when I called my health insurance company?
Pope Francis: Yes.
Me: So that was Amazon too? Geez. We need to elect Elizabeth Warren.
Pope Francis who is now saying his name is not important and I can just call him a number because he’s really happy to help me, which makes me wonder if Amazon is stripping him of his own humanity: I’m not really a political person but could you please give me the code I just texted to your phone.
Me: Um, sure. KLF. F as in Frank. W 2. S. S, as in Sam.
Person #451: Okay, F as in Frank. S as in Sam.
Me: R as in “are you happy?”
Person #451: Y as in Yes.
Me: B as in But, really? Are you?
Person #451: L as in listen, it’s the best I can do right now. At least I don’t have to work night shifts.
Me: L as in love as in do you have people in your life who love you? Have you fallen in love?
Person #451 who is now saying his real name is Rodrigo but please don’t I say it because it sounds flat and horrible in my mouth: You’re the best part of At&T/Amazon/your health care company that you owe $1,121.58 to and you really pay that soon.
Me: S as in sorry for getting too deep.
Rodrigo who says it’s always warm where he is and he learned English really quickly because it’s a pretty easy language, so that’s good: No apologies necessary, Miss L. I am happy to assist you if you will just tell me the nature of your problem.
Me: I just need you to send me the Amazon package that you just sent me but it got lost, so can you just send it to me again but I don’t have to pay for it. It’s strange I even think this is possible but with Amazon it seems like this actually may be possible.
Rodrigo whose sister is named Jenny and she’s a nanny in Hong Kong: No worries! I can definitely help you with that today, Miss L. Serving you is a privilege and an honor.
Me: R as in really?
Rodriguo, brother of Jenny who he never sees except on whatsapp: S as in let’s stick to the script.
Me: Wouldn’t that be L?
Rodriguo Jr. whose father taught him to read late at night after he got home from his job: Yes, Miss. L. Apologies for that mistake. You are the best part of Amazon! No worries!
Me: I feel so weird right now.
Rodriguo Jr. who did really well in school and always wanted to go to a university but needs some just flat out cash to do that: No, no. Don’t feel weird, Miss L. I’m happy to assist you with this capitalistic transaction that is horrible for the environment and is destroying our communities! No worries!
Me: Listen, I can just pay the $12.99 for the thing I bought which I can’t even remember what it is because I buy so much stuff from Amazon. Honestly, I wasn’t even planning on calling Amazon. I was calling AT&T to get an international pass on my phone for when I am in Canada.
Rodriguo Jr.: We are happy to replace it for you and then also send you a weirdly written request for a recommendation of your product that was made somewhere in China instead of in the shop near your house.
Me: Man, tariff wars? Am I right? Super weird. This whole wine thing is bogus.
Rodriguo: If I agree with you, will you respond to the optional survey that will be sent to your email?
Me: No, it’s okay. You don’t have to agree. I will say that I’m definitely going to fill out the survey but honestly I probably won’t. Not because I don’t want to but just because I try to delete anything in my e-mail that doesn’t use my time wisely.
Rodriguo: Understood. It’s a great day at Amazon.
Me: Listen, I have to go look at Instagram. Thanks for sending me the new product for free.
Rodriguo: No worries!
Me: I don’t know how to change things.
Rodriguo: No worries!
Me: Yes worries! So much worries. Your economy is horrible right now.
Rodriguo: No worries! Mondays are the worst, right?
Me: Oh man. Is Rodriguo even your real name?
Rodriguo: No. I feel unsafe telling clients my real name. Rodriguo isn’t really even a very common name here in the Phillipines. In 2005, the most common name in the Phillipines is Joshua. You just gave me a Spanish sounding name because of your own ignorance and bias.
Rodriguo: No worries.
Me: No worries.
Rodriguo: G as in goodbye.
Me: I wish we could put our happiness levels on a scale and see if I am actually happier than you? Maybe I’m not. I mean just because I’m calling from a strong economy, a world super power. Maybe I have more stress?
Me: N as in no, your right. It’s clearly better to live in a strong economy. I hate the term “third world country.”
Rodriguo: Thank you for calling AT&T and for being part of our global family. Have a great rest of your week and enjoy the free HDMI cable you just bought for your TV!
Me: Thank you. I’ll fill out the survey. I really will.