The Perils of Being Decaffeinated

The phone rings. I’ve been awake for only 40 minutes and haven’t had a full cup of coffee yet.

I pick up the phone. I immediately know a telemarketer is on the other end of the line: Because I have a soft voice, I always have to say “Hello” two or three times — each time louder — before whatever device telemarketers use on their end picks up on the fact that someone has answered the phone.

The confused young woman at the other end of the line starts her pitch, asking to talk to just about anyone or his dog (the CEO or Web developer or…).

— I’m calling on behalf of [Company Name Withheld] to propose a Web hosting partnership with…” she goes on. Blah blah blah…

— Ah uh,” I simply reply. But when she mentions again [Company Name Withheld], which in my foggy mind I thought she meant another company with a similar name, I cut her off. “Actually I’m familiar with [Company Name Withheld] and I’m not interested.”

— Can I ask you why?”

— Because you’re scumbags,” I hear myself say without thinking, and I immediately follow the comment with a nervous laugh.

— Because we’re scumbags?” she repeats. “I wasn’t aware of that.”

— Sorry, it’s just that I already have the perfect Web hosting arrangement and I’m not about to change that,” I offer. “So let’s end this here,” I conclude as I hang up.

Poor girl, though. I know that, as a telemarketer, she likely doesn’t work for [Company Name Withheld]. And I realize now that she wasn’t representing the company I thought she was representing. But when I looked it up, I realized that I hadn’t lied: I was familiar with [Company Name Withheld] and, while they might not be scumbugs, I’m far from interested because they’re pricey and they specialize in NT hosting environments, which I don’t.

Still. Had more caffeine been running through my bloodstream, I probably wouldn’t have been as rude to her. There was no need for me to be impolite, even if it had been that other company I thought she was representing. But, at the same time, I hate it when the equivalent of e-mail spam starts happening to me by phone.

What Depresses Me the Most These Days

I’ve been doing a lot of blog-hopping in the last week or so, but I have to stop before I get totally depressed. (Besides, I have to get back to some serious work!)

In a nutshell, I’m finding extremely disturbing the very polarized right/left polemics coming from a lot of those American bloggers I read for the first time. Call me a bleeding heart or an idealist incapable of facing reality, but it’s more than I can handle for a while. Whether they’re anti-Palestinian or anti-Iraqi pronouncements, or facile dismissals of pacifists as people with no balls who wear “No Blood for Oil” t-shirts, or churlish retorts accusing anyone who makes such pronouncements as mindless war mongerers or Christian fundamentalists: All of it strikes me as senseless posturing by people who do not, and cannot, have all the answers.

For me (and for me only), the problem with polemics, whether from the Right or the Left, is that it makes me feel as though my mind is caving in on itself. It makes me wish I had a magic wand that would allow me to have everyone stop for a day or two just to catch their breath and take some distance. Actually, I feel sick just thinking about it, for while we all like to say that September 11th changed everything, I, in fact, see very little evidence of any real change.