Tag Archives: work

Does Anybody Here Speak English?

18 Sep

Many, many years ago I worked as a customer service rep for a health insurance company.  I loved my job and most of my customers were delightful, but some of them had a rather loose grip on the English language.  I often remarked that when I retired I was going to write a book with the above title: Does Anybody Here Speak English. Last night I found a stack of notes I’d kept for this opus, so I will share them.

The lady who was upset that her daughter’s student policy didn’t cover pregnancy. It was stated in several places that maternity care wasn’t covered, and we always made certain to remind the client a number of times when the policy was considered.  The woman seemed to understand that, but she still hoped we could cover the part of the hospitalization that wasn’t related to labor and delivery.

The man who got angry when we didn’t cover a meal he’d ordered from a local restaurant because he didn’t like what the hospital was serving. “And you call yourself a service organization!”

But sometimes it was just the way they expressed themselves. “I’m gonna ask you two questions. One for you and one for me.”

The doctor took out her utrix and left her tubals.

They shown a light up the front and a light up the back, but when he operated he went right up the middle.

A note I received written on a scrap of envelope: “please Lent me know when one year BeGan’s in Ends”. Punctuation and spelling are original.

But my absolute favorite was an exchange I had with an elderly gentleman. Many of our subscribers referred to outpatient surgery as “in- and outpatient” care, which seems perfectly logical. (The term outpatient care always conjured up a picture of a patient sitting on a park bench, with the doctor and nurses bent over him.)  This man had called with a question about a surgical bill and I asked him if it was in- or out patient – to which he replied “Yes.”

Obviously, my question came out a bit more sharply than I intended. “Yes, what?”

And he replied, “Yes, ma’am.”




Say What?

23 Oct

This afternoon, as I wandered through the coffee station, I overheard a fellow telling somebody he was going to parameter-ize something “once the results were available”.

I can only hope he meant prioritize. The English language is rich enough without making up new words.


28 Sep

I’ve decided to re-register with Kelly Services; I enjoy getting out and about from time to time, and a few extra shekels wouldn’t hurt, either.  I called the Towson office and discovered they’ve closed that branch and everything is being handled downtown. And I do mean downtown. As in, the “crossroads of the city” – Baltimore and Charles streets. Yeesh.

I haven’t worked in town for decades, and everything I knew had changed. All the roadmaps I used to carry in my head are useless, now. So – The Squire said he would drive. (I knew he would!) He dropped me off in front of the building, and then went to the Maryland Historical Society to do some genealogy work until I called him. The interview went well, and the young man and I settled on some positions that would work for me. I’m not interested in anything longer than two weeks, unless it’s a steady part-time job. Monday-Wednesday-Friday for six months, or whatever. I feel pretty good about the whole thing, but I know personnel says a lot, and promises nothing.

A quick cell phone call to The Squire, and he said he’d pick me up on Cathedral Street. “One block up”, he said. What I’d forgotten, and he didn’t think to tell me, was that Cathedral Street. changes names at Baltimore , to become Lombard.  I looked the wrong direction at the corner, and didn’t see it, so I kept walking. When he finally caught up with me I was about three blocks west of where I should have been.

I should never be allowed out alone!



The End of the Week

4 Nov

After a rough start on Monday, the rest of the week went much more smoothly.

The place where I am working is one of the best in the world. Management does everything possible to provide a pleasant atmosphere, and it shows in the people in the office.  I’ve never met anybody who was unhappy or snarly, and that has certainly not been the case in many other places I have worked.

I left early enough on Tuesday to take a chance on going over Phoenix Road, which cuts a mile off the trip, and is at least five minutes faster.  I used that route the rest of the week. There is very little traffic, and only one light at either end of a single lane bridge, to prevent accidents. The road curves through pastures and runs beside a tiny hamlet which I’m willing to bet was the original town of Phoenix. A cluster of turn-of-the-century houses, painted in many colours, perched higgledy-piggledy on the side of hill. It just lights up my day to see them!

The Squire had dinner ready for me Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  Both last night and this evening we went out for dinner. Last night was a bit less than a success; we went to Ruby Tuesday, as we had a coupon. His steak was overcooked and I think my pasta dish had been made up and left under a heat lamp for a bit too long, as it was very dry. Tonight, we went to a local eatery, The Sunshine Grille, and had a fabulous meal for about two-thirds the price. I’d rather patronize local businesses, any way.

When I called home to say I was leaving work, The Squire murmured that he’d “love to meet me for dinner”.  After forty-some years, he’s still my knight in shining armor. Or amour. Whichever.


Monday, Monday!

31 Oct

I woke up a bit early today, and got out of the house a few minutes before 7 AM. That was pretty much the last thing that went well all day. Fortunately, I am working this week at one of the nicest places in the world, which made up for a lot. Good company and great people!

On the way to work, I got stuck behind not one, but two school buses. One turned off and another pulled in right behind it.  I was in such a hurry to make up for lost time that I sailed past my turn and had to crank up the GPS to find my way to the office. As a result, I was so late getting to work I had to look for a parking spot.

When I got into the office, I discovered Debbie had turned off the computer at the “box” and had left the phones turned on. I had to lift the box off the floor so I could find the switch, and just let the phone ring off the hook, as I can’t locate extensions without the computer. When I went to lunch, I dropped a glass of water all over the cafeteria floor.

When I left work I couldn’t remember where I parked my car. And traffic was backed up for over a mile on Sunshine Avenue, due to an accident.

Bless him, The Squire had dinner ready to put on the table, and sharpened pencils waiting with the day’s cross word puzzles. I’m going to take a hot shower and collapse someplace.