I was in my son’s room clawing through a large blue plastic bin, filled to the brim with tiny, plastic monster trucks. “I should just dump it out, that’ll make this easier,” I suggested out loud to myself. Make what easier, you ask? I forget. That’s been happening to me more often than I’d like to admit lately, I can’t seem to complete a thought without some kind of interruption. My internal monologue just can’t keep up with the to-do list. Somehow, “find my car keys” gives way to “hey, where’d that bruise come from?” and in a spilt second turns into “I was just doing something…hmmm…what was I in here for? Oh, I know..fold the laundry.”
“Mommy, can you shut-up, please? I’m twying to concentwate,” my boy asked as he sat atop a pile of stuffed animals. “It’s not nice to tell people to shut-up,” I corrected. The sound of my voice was muffled by the hood of my sweatshirt, which had slid around the side of my neck and was actively trying to suffocate me. “What? I said please,” I was surprised that he’d actually heard me. “Did you find the white car yet?” Right! The white car…that’s what I was looking for. No sooner did I refocus when the phone rang, it was a bill collector. My phone rarely rings anymore with someone I’d actually like to speak with on the other end.
After I was advised that this call may be monitored for quality assurance and this was an attempt to collect a debt, I started laughing. Do I think owing someone money is funny? Nope. Do I enjoy being badgered by some snotty bitch who’s just learned the correct way to use the word irrelevant? Not at all. What’s humorous about this situation is that I knew exactly how it was going to end before she even finished verifying that I was, in fact, the very delinquent Sara Carpenter. If you’ve never been lucky enough to have to politely decline that advances of a collection company…good for you…and can I borrow some money?
“Ms. Carpenter, why are you laughing? This is a very serious matter,” the nasal voice scolded me. Why is it that some people think that by putting on a head-set and sitting at a desk surrounded by three felt covered walls gives them all the powers of Grayskull? Who are you to tell me what’s funny and what isn’t? I saw terrifying footage of a news reporter being mauled by a pit-bull the other day…laughed my ass off. Funny is a personal decision. “No, it isn’t. It’s an unpleasant situation. Serious implies that the balance of the free world hangs in my ability to repay what I owe,” I replied. Two can play this game.
“You do realize that while you’re laughing your credit score is being damaged by this unresolved amount due?,” the condescension continued. “You have my account history in front of you. My laughter is irrelevant. I’m sure that you can see that my credit is already sufficiently screwed.” “We don’t used that kind of language here.” “What kind of language? English? Well, my Latvian is rusty, but for the purposes of keeping with the professional nature of this conversation…I’ll try.” “That’s not what I was saying,” she continued. “Oh, right. You were saying that I wasn’t allowed to laugh, telling me which words I can use to describe my financial situation, and implying that I am blissfully unaware that I can’t pay my bills.“ “No, I believe you misunderstood me. I’d like to help you resolve this matter, while I have you on the phone I’d like to update our records. Are you working and if so, may I have the name of your place of employment?” “My comprehension level in regards to the English language is rather extensive. I suggest you pay more attention to what you are actually communicating as your attitude is being perceived as combative, superfluous, and my personal favorite… condescending!” “What?” “To recap: treating me like a moron is unnecessary and will only afford me the opportunity to prove that you are an idiot. Get to the point sweetheart, you can Google the big words on your own time,” and then there was silence. No amount of “heellllooooo? Are you still there?” was going to get around the fact that I’d been hung-up on. I hate being hung-up on, almost as much as I hate being told what’s funny and what isn’t. Perhaps she is anti-Google? Or maybe she didn’t like the fact that I wasn’t about to be brow-beaten by a twit with a script and a quota. The world will never know.
“Mommy, who are you using big worwds on this time?” my son asked as he balanced a ginormous, floppy, yellow stuffed chicken on his head. “No one, honey.” “I fed the piggy $1.36 wast night, you can have it if you need it” he said as he motioned to his piggy bank. It’s amazing what a child can absorb from under the security of faux poultry, he knows that when I break out the large vocabulary I’m usually talking to someone about money. It’s not that I enjoy deflating the egos of collection company employees (well, that’s not entirely true). I know they’re just doing their job. What I find irritating is the repeated phone calls and the manner in which they communicate, they’re all bullies. I owe the bank money, I know that these people are supposed to try and get it from me any way they can. Receiving phone calls at 15 minute intervals from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. is not going to make large sums of U.S. currency materialize in my bank account. Nor is giving them the phone number to my place of employment so that they may harass me while I try to earn the money to pay them back.
It’s not like I just sat back and let the debt accrue, there was a time when I made regular payments to this collection company to clear up the balance. When it became too difficult to make ends meet, I had to suspend the payments. I told them I’d reinstate them when I could…and I meant it. Until that time comes, I will probably just have to ignore the 256 “Unknown Number” calls that come in to my phone an a daily basis. Oh, and if you get a call from a collections agent who uses the words “superfluous” and ‘irrelevant” to describe your financial matters…well, you can thank your friendly neighborhood Scarp.