Thursday, September 6, 2007

Hooked on Phone-ics

When people ask you for your telephone number, how do you answer? (assuming you are American ... other countries have different exchanges and sequences).

Most people will give the number in the standard sequence of three then four. As in one two three ... pause ... four five six seven. Or, with apologies to Tommy Tutone, 867 - 5309.

Other socially acceptable ways are to combine the last four digits to make two pairs of numbers. Thus, eight six seven ... pause ... fifty-three oh-nine.

Of course, when adding the Area Code most people say it in a three, three, four. Or, 555 - 867 - 5309.

Then you get the oddballs. The freaks of nature who do not have telephonic rhythm. Those technological throw-backs who recite their numbers in ways to make your ears twitch and your brain bleed.

Case in point, a man at the doctor's office where one of the kids went for a check-up and shots ( a whole 'nother story, that) was giving his number to the receptionist. This was how he gave it:

Fifty-five, fifty-eight, six-seventy-five, thirty, nine.

That's not his real number, obviously. I am again using the "Jenny" number, but his did end with a zero and a nine. (I should use his real number and hope my readers call him and set him straight on proper phone-number-giving etiquette!)

Even were you to write the numbers as he states them, you'd end up a number short.

55 58 675 39 (555-867-539_)

He knew what he meant. He knew that thirty and nine were two separate numbers. But they sounded as one ... thirty-nine.

The receptionist asked him multiple times to repeat his number with the same result. She stayed calm, the freak of telephony was getting agitated. After the third time repeating his screwball litany of numbers, he acidly asked the girl if she knew how to write numbers down. To her credit, she answered she was having difficulty typing them in and asked him to write the phone number on a scrap paper so as to make sure she did not make a mistake.

I stayed out of it, though I itched to storm up to him and blast him on how to give a phone number like a normal human being. I gritted my teeth and was restrained by my mother's hand on my knee. Oh, if I'd been that receptionist ...

So, after that debacle, she asked for his work number, if any.

Mistake ...

Three fives, eighty-six, seventy-five, three-oh-nine

Not even the same asinine cadence as before!!! (This one didn't end in zero nine).

I understand this may be the only way this guy can remember his phone numbers; by grouping the numbers in those sequences. It just goes against all things natural. Like gnarled fingernails scraping down the telephonic chalkboard.

The receptionist was onto the guy though, and seemed to get the number in one go. She was still nice and pleasant, still sitting with a smile on her face. I was contemplating if I rammed my cellphone in his ear if he'd get the whole numerical telephone sequence thing or not.

He wasn't any better when it came to his home address ... One hundred one thousand three hundred fifty two Ear Lick Arr Dee.


First off, again with the odd numerical sequencing. Most people would have said one-oh-one, three-fifty-two ... or one-hundred-one, three-fifty-two ... even one-oh, one-three, five-two. Not this guy. He has to give it in long form notation.

And the road he was speaking of is Ehrlich (sounds like Uhr-lick) Road. I suppose calling it Ear Lick may be some cutesy family name for it, but I've lived near that road for most of my life and never heard it called that by anyone. And it was not an accent thing. He spoke Ear Lick as if it were two separate words.

Don't get me started on the whole Arr Dee thing. =/

By this time I was not agitated (and really wasn't as bad as I make myself out to be ... poetic license ~.^). But I was shaking my head in disbelief that anyone could be so ... abnormal on simple things like phone numbers and addresses.

Maybe it was karma was the whole pizza thing the other day. >_>

Anyhow, as a treat for listening to my rant about telephonic etiquette, here is 867-5309/Jenny by Tommy Tutone done in clay!

And as an extra special treat, you can read about the guy who tried finding Jenny at any 867-5309 number in the US.

1 comment:

Swinging Sammy said...

poor bugger, looks like he found a few "Jenny's." I am tired now.