Part four of draft re-edit………
On Joe’s return from making the tea he handed Louise, who was sitting at her desk, a mug of tea. The young lady looked pleased with herself after what’d been a successfully handled inaugural phone chat with a patron.
He’d overheard Louise’s call to the woman called Joanne who wanted to be called Geraldine and was impressed how well she handled it for a rookie. He was also surprised that anyone would want to be called Geraldine when it wasn’t actually their name!
As he sat down he raised his mug as if to toast the handling of her maiden call, whimsically greeting her with “Welcome to BEST”
Louise didn’t respond, instead partially raising her mug before taking a very unladylike slurp, flashed a forced smile, prior to returning her gaze to the magazine.
Following Joe’s inaugural swig from his mug, bearing Lennon & McCartney’s rueful lyrics ‘Yesterday – All My Troubles Seemed So Far Away’, his phone rang.
“Hello, Birtdale Emotional Support Team…… How can I assist?” Keeley politely greeted his new caller. The follicly challenged call recipient determined to make up for his earlier inappropriate behaviour.
A male voice at the other end of the phone advised him “I have had a nightmare of a day and was hoping you could assist!”
Leaning forward onto his desk to be supported by his elbows, Joe pressed his headphone closer to his right ear, prior to responding “I’ll certainly endeavour to assist…… Can you give me some context as to what’s made your day so irksome?”
“What’s irksome mean?!” the caller was moved to enquire.
“Troublesome.” Joe responded politely.
“Why didn’t you just say troublesome…. Instead of big words I don’t understand?!” the man on the other end of the line tersely observed.
“If taken literally troublesome is a bigger word than irksome!” the Bestie countered firmly; although mercifully not at the level of irritability of his earlier interaction with Terry.
“Yes, but I know what troublesome means!” Keeley’s caller advised matter of factly.
“Well, in my defence, how was I to know you didn’t know what irksome meant?!” Joe enquired maintaining his calm.
“You should know troublesome is a much more widely known and utilised word….. Irksome is a far less well known and used locution!” the dialler opined patronisingly.
“What does locution mean?!” Joe enquired, his collected demeanour starting to waver.
“It means word!” the man (who Joe’d now labelled The Pedant) relayed with far more smugness than the Bestie thought appropriate.
“So, you’re telling me you know the meaning of the word locution, but not irksome!” Joe enquired disbelievingly and with increased sterness.
“Yes!…. Doesn’t everybody?” The Pedant continued.
“I didn’t!” Joe responded with slightly increasing vocal volume.
“Well, your lack of education isn’t my problem!….. Now, are you going help me with my issues?!…. I certainly didn’t ring to find out how poor your vocabulary is!!” the caller rudely continued to test the fatigue recipients patience.
Despite being annoyed by The Pedants tone and inferences, at this juncture of the interaction Keeley knew it’d be prudent to diffuse the situation. Knowing full well, as it’d done earlier in his shift, if he didn’t his manner would spiral out of control.
Consequently, he ignored the baiting of the caller and once again asked for details which’d led to him contacting the Birtdale Emotional Support Team.
As Joe pressed the right earpiece to gain clearer aural experience, the pedantic fella informed him “I’ve had a rubbish afternoon…… Including a golf round with buddies where I shot a round of 98.”
Before Joe could ask him for further context of his irksome (errrr… I mean troublesome) afternoon, he added “I’ve just bought a new golf driver and it’s causing me to slice the ball all over the place using it!”
“Did you not slice the golf ball with your old driver?” Joe asked; feigning interest.
“Yeah, that was faulty as well….. That’s why I bought a new one!” The Pedant inadvertently alerted Joe to the root cause. That being that this guy was a substandard golfer who was a perfect example of the bad workman blaming his tools adage.
Seriously hacked off with this idiotic time waster, the fatigued emotional support worker decided to have some fun at The Pedants expense, asking him the loaded enquiry “Is your new club a Kryptonite driver?”
The voice at the other end of the phone replied, “Do you not mean a Graphite driver?”
“No.” responded Joe, adding seconds later “I mean Kryptonite.”
“I’ve never heard of Kryptonite golf clubs!” the disgruntled golfer candidly proffered.
“ Seriously?!….. Apparently, they’re of no benefit against human opponents, however if you ever play Superman you’ll kick his arse!!” Joe gleefully delivered his punchline.
On hearing her colleague’s laughter, Louise once again raised her head from the magazine in front of her. Glaring across her desk at Joe, she could only hope this mirth wasn’t the result of Joe dealing inappropriately with another caller. Notions formed from knowing, from her recently concluded training, having fun at the expense of a caller was utterly unacceptable.
With Louise looking on, Joe was confronted by the caller exclaiming in a less than amused manner “I thought you people were supposed to help individuals who require emotional support!”
Keeley, though, was unrepentant, going on to scold the time waster with “We are. But placating someone after a bad round of golf isn’t within our remit!”
The support worker adding “If you’d been severely depressed due to losing your house on the result of the golf game, I might’ve taken this call more seriously”
Sadly for Joe, the man with the alleged defective mashie niblick appeared determined not to let this verbal interaction wither on the vine. Instead responding angrily with the query “How do you know that I haven’t bet my house on the game?!”
“Well did you?” Joe responding to a question with his own query
After a slight pause, the man sheepishly replied “No”
Joe, his resolve wavering by every exchange of words, asked the disenchanted golfer “Did you bet anything on this game?”
The man took a while before responding sheepishly “Yes, my granddad Terry’s lucky black socks!…… I’ve just stolen them from his linen basket to fulfil the wager….. Expect a call!”
At this juncture Joe banged his fist on his desk, consequently knocking his mug of tea all over the front of his jeans. He momentarily looked at the ironic message of ‘Yesterday – All My Troubles Seemed So Far Away’ which stared up from his knocked over mug.
He angrily shouted “Idiot!” to the caller, rudely cut off his giggling antagonist. Abruptly concluding the call, he wandered off to locate a tea towel to dry his freshly scorched crotch. His a fruitless short odyssey to the kitchen, after finding the only tea towel on site was actually damper than his jeans!
Joe’s fatigue fed irascibility led Louise to worry further about her colleague. His inappropriate displays during the two calls he had received so far this shift leading her to conclude he was a poor mentor. These, though, the misguided opinion from the newcomer who’d not previously worked with Joe. A man who ordinarily was amongst the most accomplished exponents of the provision of emotional support.
“It’s quiet, go get some kip, Joe…..I’ll cover the calls here.” she considerately mooted to her clearly tired colleague. Before adding “I’ll give you a shout if we get busy, or anyone wants to know where their socks are.” her face lit by a cheeky grin at the footwear quip.
Joe looked relieved, even smiling at the whimsical sock observation; telling her “I might just grab a half hour see if that puts me right.”
With Joe heading towards the rest room, Louise took another sip of her tea from her mug emblazoned with the Lennon & McCartney lyrics ‘Nowhere man, the world is at your command’. In the silent, dimly lit environment, pondering what the next few hours might have in store.
Louise Swailes didn’t have long to wait for her next call. The first genuine call the BEST had received since she and Joe Keeley commenced their nightshift. The call came from a woman who explained she had been the victim of one of the many serial beatings from her partner. Louise spending several minutes pacifying and providing emotional support to this clearly agitated and frightened middle-aged lady.
Although fully trained and confident she could support this woman, there was part of her that felt she wished she had the comfort blanket of the snoozing Joe as backup if the conversation didn’t follow the desired path. Due to the caller’s deeply distressed demeanour, her inexperience manifested a need for the re-assurance of Joe’s presence. But, as he clearly needed some sleep, she was reticent to wake him.
It was this amiable young lady’s first genuine call for the BEST and had transported the lass outside her comfort zone. An insecurity which had her partly wishing the caller was someone who’d mislaid his favourite socks, or an individual stressed following a bad round of golf. Or someone asking who’d been voted off the reality tv show ‘The Apprentice’; a conundrum one of her colleagues had dealt with the previous week.
She was, though, aware the whole point of her role was the effective support of the emotionally challenged. The longer she listened to the story of the domestic violence victim, her resolve fortified by her words seemingly calming the lady.
Louise’s confidence eventually boosted by the knowledge, despite her inexperience in the role she appeared to have the wherewithal to handle more emotionally challenging situations.
Successfully pacifying this woman a testament to her humanity and caring nature, as well as the excellent training she’d received. The directors of the BEST maybe frugal when it comes to improving the working environment, however, it’s an accusation that cannot be levelled at them when it comes to training investment.
When the distressed lady finished her interaction with BEST she was in possession of giving her contact details for women’s support groups and shelters, who’d guide her through help strategies to end her ordeal.