Thursday, January 11, 2007

Well, Actually ....

At work, I answer several different lines. One of those is a referral line for drug & alcohol issues. I can answer questions about certain substances, their effects, withdrawal, how long they're in your system to be tested .. but my main job on that line is to refer people to their own local treatment facilities. Any other reasons for the call through that line I can't really spend the time on.

Sometimes, though, people don't get that.

I got a call one night from a woman.

"Help line, this is Michelle, how can I help you?"

"You can listen to me," a female voice demanded.

"OK," I say, "but this is ... " I continue, ready to tell her that this isn't really a "chat" line.

"No interruptions," she stated.

I didn't have any time to say anything else before she began telling me her life story. Any time I tried to break in to tell her she was talking to the wrong line, she'd get mad at me for interrupting.

The more personal she got, the harder I tried to break in and tell her she needed to call another line.

17 minutes later, after hearing many, many very personal and embarassing things about this woman's life, she stopped talking.

"Well, don't you have anything to say to all that?" she demanded again, after about a second and a half silence.

"Not really," I replied, timidly, not sure I was truly allowed to speak yet.

"What!?" she screamed. "And why not!? Isn't that what you're here for!?"

"Well, actually, no." I said as quickly as possible. "This is a national drug and alcohol referral line, not a chat line."

"Well, you could have told me before I spilled my guts to you!" she screamed even more loudly.

:: dial tone ::

Sometimes all I can do is stare at the phone, looking dazed ...



Kara said...

Wow, that is crazy!

Skittles said...

I love these posts :)

Chris said...

Have you seen the Profiles In Toolness blog?

Think they'd like that one...

Emily said...

I guess it would have been wrong to come up with some funny/mean response to her life story. bummer.

~*SilverNeurotic*~ said...

I kind of feel sorry for her; like I know you did tell her that you were just a referrel line but she was probably so set on talking to someone (thinking she had the right number and all) and just went into everything as it had finally built up enough in her and she had to let it out. And then when she finally was "empty" and able to listen she got mad...I think though she was probably more upset with herself then you but just yelled at you because it was easier.

Chelle & Chel said...

Where's the Profiles in Toolness blog??



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