A wise man uses his head when using a headset.
I had to call the customer service department of a major software company the other day, which is trip to the third circle of hell at the best of times. Imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered that the young man on the other end of the line was a native English speaker. His every word came through loud and clear! Unfortunately, so did his every bodily noise.
My knight in shining headset had a cold.
The more I think about it, though, he was probably afflicted with seasonal allergies. Someone who is suffering from a cold is miserably aware of that fact, and this guy seemed oblivious to the noises coming forth from his nasal region. Those noises were being picked up with nauseating clarity by his ultra-sensitive headset microphone.
“May I help you? (snort)” he started off.
“I’m having trouble with this program,” I replied and went on to try to explain the problem. With my limited knowledge of computers it was like a 5-year-old trying to explain Euclidean geometry.
“Let me check that for you (snxxpt!)” he replied.
There followed long minutes of silence broken only by the sound of him tippy-tapping on his computer… plus throat clearing and moist-sounding snorting every couple of seconds.
“Maybe I should just reboot. I can call back later if that doesn’t work.” I suggested. By now I was eager to get off the phone.
“Just one more minute (ptooie!)” he coughed in response.
After 10 minutes spent listening to him snorting and snuffling, I no longer cared if my issue got resolved. I could visualize the exact color and consistency of his nasal discharge with pinpoint accuracy, I was flinching and sympathy-swallowing with every phlegmy utterance, and I wanted out – right now.
“OK, great! Thanks so much.” I said with false cheerfulness.
“But you need (skxxxtp!) the reference number…” he started.
“Nope! We’re good. Gotta run now. Bye!” said I and I slammed the phone down.
I still need to resolve the problem that prompted my call, but it’s not really that urgent. I figure I’ll call again in March. By then cold and flu season will be over, and the pollen count will be low.