Sunday, February 3, 2013

Singing...when you don't know the words

You walk in to the sit down...and instead of giving you a book with music, some bright person has the idea to just project words on a blank wall.

Words are great...words are like a poem, right?

 The voice kind of goes up and down when we talk, but that's just normal stuff. HERE, you are expected to have the background knowledge to walk in, look at words and say in your head (or to the person next to you, that's good, too) "Hey, I know this song!! It starts with a half note on B and is in the key of C. And when the chorus starts, it goes down to the 5th, and then the minor 3rd...."

This is the same sort of problem you run into at a bus stop in South Sacramento....or at a vet hospital.

In South Sac, it can sometimes be hard the decipher a person's sex when presented with shaggy hair, no figure, a rawboned face and clothing leaning towards anything that can be salvaged from a dumpster.

There's usually also some withdrawel twitching as well.

At a vet hospital, gender is very important to our clients.

Not just their gender either, but their pets' gender as well. This is understandable, as if you are going in to do a neuter (the general term for either sex), you want you vet's office to be aware of which parts they are cutting out. I suppose it would then be unsettling to hear your dog referred to as a he instead of a she in these circumstances.

The problem is when the client comes with a dog you've never seen before and they expect you to know these details. They also get angry when you don't or you try to assume.

Me: What's his name?

Them: (derisive glare) It's a girl. >:(

What do they want me to say?

Me: What's its name?

That hardly sounds any better. Now I'm equating their dog to a toaster or other genderless appliance.

Good Toaster! You good Toaster, you!

This puts me in the unenviable postion of trying to sound appropriatly adoring and gushy about their pet while avoiding the use of a prounound.

Me: I hope....Gigi feels better! If...Gigi has problems, don't hesitate to call!

Now I sound like a soap opera. If you've ever seen an episode, you'll know what I'm talking about.

In regular conversation, you may get someone saying something like this:

Gosh! I can't believe she drove her car off that cliff! If Mom hadn't been sober that night and able to go to the hospital and let Uncle know she was there, she may have died!

In a soap opera, everyone has to be named because the plots are so ridiculous, and most watchers have no idea who's who:

Gosh! I can't believe Margaret drove her car off ShoresideCliff! If Glenda hadn't been sober that night and able to go to General Memorial Hospital and let Uncle Carson know Margaret was there, Margaret may have died!

It just feels awkward.

What's even worse is that we have tall counters and can't always see the I don't even know if it's a dog or a cat. I'm still working at the "be nice and sensitive because it's my job" thing, so more often than I'd like, I say:

"What kind of animal do you have?"

People don't like to hear their pet called an animal. Go figure.

Saying "What the name of your little one?" can work...unless the "little one" is a 150lb Saint Bernanrd. Then you have to play it off with "ha ha haaaa....not so little then huh." and try and smile your way out of it.

What's the most annoying, Fifi and I have decided, is the Client who names their dog something androgenous in the worst way. They take wicked pleasure in watching you struggle and inwardly cackle in glee when you get it wrong and they can pounce.

Me: What's this one's name?

Them: Taco.

Me: (thinking furiously and makes a pained guess) He's so cute!

Them: (smirking I am sure) Taco's a girl (you numbscull, can't you see the delicate angle of her jaw????)


You can't win.


Andrew said...

I can picture some people naming their dog Toaster and then being offended when you look surprised.

Anonymous said...

Toaster would be a good guard dog. Mess with Toaster, become toast!