Wednesday, April 12, 2006

When movies and reality collide

So last night Jeff bought Crash and he made Keem and I watch it with him. It was family time. I didn't want to watch the movie because I don't normally like dramas (give me a nice comedy and I'm a happy, happy girl) but I had heard good things about it (most notable review would be from James) and finally conceded to watching it with him.

It was a good movie. I did like it, even though I found it disturbing in many ways. I was brought up in a household where you did not judge people based on their race or religion or sexual preference. Where you accepted people for who they are. So racism is a hard pill for me to swallow. I don't get it. I don't understand how you can discriminate against someone because they are a different color of skin or because they love someone of the same sex or because they worship a God that is different then yours.

I'm not going to go into the movie a lot because it doesn't really apply to what happened to me today. Except that it does. You'll see in a moment.

I took a call this morning that I seriously think may have been scripted in the Twilight Zone. It started out so normal. A woman calls in. She wants to know how to sell her shares. I start giving her the information. She asks if she can come in to sell her shares because she lives in the Twin Cities. Sure, I tell her. How does she get here?

I don't drive. I have no clue how she gets here so I go to and pull up the information. I start giving her the information. Then she asks if we are on a busline. Yes. We are on a busline. I go to because I take the bus here and I can't remember what the route number is that she'll have to take here. I say that I don't know what route she would take to get to downtown Saint Paul but she would need to take either XXB or XXE to get here. She says she will call Metro Transit. What are the cross streets? I tell her. And this is where it gets bizarre.

DM: If you tell the bus driver you're going to the NABABNA building, they will tell you what stop you need. It's right across the street from Burger Joint.
Odd Woman (OW): What are you saying?
DM: That we're on the corner of This Street and That Street. Burger Joint is right across the street.
OW: I don't think you understand what you are saying. Are you trying to lump me in with other groups? Are you putting me in a category with the blacks and the Jews?
DM: Uh, no, I'm giving you instructions on how to get here.
OW: You can't say these things.
DM: I don't understand. I'm trying to give you instructions...
OW: Why does the name announced not said clearly? Is that supposed to be an insult?
DM: What? I'm not sure what you mean.
OW: It should be Stock Transfer but, instead, it is pronounced as Stock Sfer (which, by the way, this is a fake name for my company and also, it is pronounced very clearly. It is not slurred at all). Is this a lisp? Or is that some sort of insinuation?
DM: Ms Woman, I'm trying to give you instructions on how to sell your shares.
OW: I don't sell my shares.
DM: Okay.
OW: Do I have to have proof that I killed a Jew or promise to kill a Jew in order to have assistance?
DM: Ms Woman, I think I need to disc...
OW: You stupid b*tch!
DM: I'm going to...
OW: You wh*re!
DM: I'm going to disconnect this call.
OW: You son of a b*tch!

Click. She has hung up. I am shaking. I immediately dial the Manager on Duty number and talk to one of the supervisors. I want someone to listen to this call because this woman struck me as somewhat unhinged and also violent. I am worried about her walking in our front door. I am asked to send an email to the management staff so they can pull the call. I ask if I can take a few minutes to calm down. This is approved. I spend a little bit of time trying to stop crying and shaking (I wasn't sobbing but I was upset and since I cry when I am happy, I'm not surprised that I was crying after this call).

I spent 2 1/2 years at the main call center for NABABNA dealing with escalated calls. I have been called names, I have been sworn at, I have been accused of not caring. Out of all of that time, there was only 2 calls that really disturbed me and made me this upset. One was a man who threatened to walk into a branch and shoot a banker (I just realized that the 2nd call was one that took place when I was a banker, not a supervisor so that is 4 1/2 years). Ms Woman was the 3rd call. It's not a bad track record when you think about it.

About a half hour to an hour later, I've been visited by every one of the management staff. They have all listened to the call. I am told I did absolutely nothing wrong. Nothing I said should have trigged this sort of response.

I tell them "I just watched Crash last night so I was wondering." They all laugh and say no, nothing I did should have trigged this. Obviously she is very disturbed. Maybe she is bi-polar.

All I want to say to this woman is "Thanks. Thanks for making me question myself. Thanks for making me worry that you were going to show up here with a gun. Thanks for being a complete and total psycho. And, if you are bi-polar, may I just mention that Effexor works much better for treating this disorder than the crack you are obviously taking."

Anyway, I hope you're all having a good day.