Wednesday, September 7, 2011

No, you.

            “Alright guys, screw this, I’m starving. Let’s just order a pizza or something.”

            “Yeah, seriously. I’m down for a pizza.”

            “OK…make the call.”

            “You do it. I don’t know the number for Domino’s.”
            “Can’t you just look it up on the website?”
            “I mean I guess. Or, you know what? We should just order it online.”
            “Alright. Good call.”

            Crisis averted. That was an example of a conversation I experience on a monthly basis. I’ve dubbed it the “No, you” dialogue. It takes place when you have a group of people with no fucking balls, whatsoever. If you’re normal, you might be reading this thinking, “I don’t see the problem here.” The problem is that the youth of our nation have developed into inadequate little saps, wholly incapable of committing themselves to seemingly extraneous human contact with strangers.

I chose the pizza example because I see it so often, but the trend doesn’t end there. Phone calls in general are seen by these people as hazardous, anxiety-inducing tests of verbal prowess. When, in reality, the person on the other end of the line could literally not care less about what you’re saying. They’re just there to take your fuckin’ order. I have a friend who won’t even call the automated recording for showtimes at the movie theater. I’ve seen cases of people who are apprehensive when they speak into the metal box at a Chik-Fil-A drive-thru. And individuals who will adamantly refuse to make reservations at a restaurant.

These are critical actions that, sooner or later, you are going to have to perform. And down the road, when you’re 21 and old enough to drink alcohol but too callow to talk to a stranger over the telephone, you’re gonna wish you conquered that fear long ago. I can’t speak for everyone suffering from this social disorder, but it seems to me that there is no rationale behind the behavior. There appears to be some integral difficulty within the process of communicating with someone you cannot, and will most likely never see. It’s as if, and I’m definitely generalizing here, they are so self-conscious that even though the repercussions for lingual embarrassment will never be felt physically, there is still a fundamental fear of being awkward or saying the wrong thing. These are scrupulous individuals, never brazen.

I’ll admit: I used to experience the same paranoia. What cured me? Prank phone calls, and that’s the honest truth. After you convince a gas station attendant that you left your child in their Planet Aid donation box because you didn’t want to pay for his plane ticket to Africa, ordering pizza is a breeze. It leveled the playing field; instead of me being the embarrassed one, it was the unlucky hotel clerk on the other end of the line. That’s when I realized, the expectations were never on me. I am the customer. I can make whatever asinine inquiries I want, and these people have an obligation to their occupation to answer me truthfully. Heed my words, kids: next time you make a blind phone call, fuck with ‘em a little bit. If you can get comfortable doing that, asking for reasonable things will become infinitely easier, and before you know it, you’ll be able to tackle Microsoft tech support. 

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