My Interactive Call Center.
BY Teddy Wayne
Hello, and welcome to the interactive call center for my girlfriend.
Hola, y bienvenidos al, uh, interactivo … tel … teléfono—never mind.
Main menu. If you are calling to make out, press or say “one”; if you are calling to sleep together, “two”; if you are calling to let me read the sports section in peace, “three”; or press “zero” at any time if you wish to speak directly to me about the state of our relationship.
I think you said, “One, then two, then three,” or possibly “Two and three, simultaneously.” Is that correct?
I’m sorry; I think I heard you correctly this time, and you don’t have to let the neighbors hear, too. Please hold while I passive-aggressively stall. Your expected wait time is: until after my show is over. Press pound if you would like to leave a hostile message that I will delete halfway through, or press star to return to a previous, happier time in our courtship. On that note, since I think it’s coming up soon, please touch-tone or speak the four-digit date of our anniversary.
My loyal girlfriend, would you like to learn more about saving money on your dining bills? How about not guilting me into taking you to the new sushi place on 23rd just because Jennifer’s new boyfriend took her there twice already and I’m tired of stir-fry and we never go on real dates anymore?
Thank you for waiting; your call is important to me, because you tend to be withholding in bed when you feel unappreciated, and will be answered in the order of pressing concerns in my life, so, before I buy more orange juice, and after I log on to WebMD and check out this thing on my big toe that I’m pretty sure is not athlete’s foot.
While you are on hold, if you would like to set up a recurring payment for the money I still owe you from last Christmas, please mention it in a snide, emasculating fashion in front of my friends so I feel even less inclined to pay you back.
I’m sorry; the hours I am available to speak about our relationship are Monday through Tuesday, noon to 1 p.m., when you are swamped at work, and definitely do not include just as I’m falling asleep on Sunday night.
Main menu. If you are calling to—
I think you shrieked, “You’re a goddamn narcissist with intimacy issues.” Is that correct?
I’m sorry; I don’t recognize that command, or who you are anymore.
You said, “More options.” Your other options include: Jeremy, the guy with curly hair and “3-D pecs” at the gym I overheard you telling Jennifer about last week; Tim, the total prick from your day job who always pretends we haven’t met before; and the drummer in your band, as if he’d even go for you, and I’m not saying that out of jealousy, but let’s be honest, you’re not 21 anymore.
You selected “Turning over in bed and refusing to speak.” That’s mature.
Note that my last sentence was supposed to be sarcastic; this interactive call center does not convey nuance of tone. In fact, it is as melodic as your singing voice, which I have lied to you about all along by saying it reminds me of early Joni Mitchell, which would be true if, at a young age, Joni Mitchell were a fatally wounded dolphin.
You can say “Main menu” or “End this relationship.”
You said, “End this relationship,” and added several cutting words I won’t repeat that raise deep-seated insecurities I generally repress and suddenly make me fearful about the future and being alone.
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