Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lipstick on a Pig

Earlier this week, I was forced (for reasons I won't go into) to order a pair of pants from Land's End Business. You wouldn't think it would be that difficult; but you go to their website, and place your order, and input the size and the quantity, and then do you know what? They want your inseam!

I don't know that. I'm really more of a skirt person, but when I do buy pants, I generally find that whatever I'm buying, right off the rack, reaches the floor. Unless they're capris. So I have no earthly idea what my inseam is, and the whole enterprise ended with me, hopping off-balance around the room, holding the end of a wildly flailing metal hardware-store tape measure up to my crotch and swearing profusely. My kids will be telling their therapist about this someday.

Okay, so I will go into the reasons. I have to deal with the public these days; not on a regular basis, only once in a while when the people whose actual job it is to do this have to go to lunch or something, but it's a damn sight more than I used to. And that means I have to have a uniform.

After only a few days of dealing with the public - in one-hour increments - I think I understand why. The public consists largely of middle-aged men who will hit on you unless you're wearing something that would make a nun grumble. They do this while their wives are four feet away, riffling through the brochures on what there is to see and do in Yoakum. Earlier this week, one asked to order a beer. These men have no shame.

But, believe it or not, my job is not only about unwanted male attention and con-artist motivational speakers lately. This week, we selected a professional voice talent to give recorded information over our toll-free line. The minus side of this is that I won't get to wax rhapsodic about where the wildflowers are anymore; but on the plus side, I got to sit in on four hours of conference calls, listening to our contact recite more than 2,200 place names in the state of Texas and making sure that we have the correct pronunciation for each and every one.

This is what I went to school for.

Well, except of course that I never graduated. But no matter! I'm using the degree I would have gotten! Because after our calls, I came away with a list of about 75 place names we still weren't sure about, and researched several myself, and divvied up the rest among those people whose lunch hours I show up in my as-yet-undelivered pants to cover; and by the end of the day I was able to fire off a document with expert diacritical markings indicating the exact, correct pronunciation of each of those place names.

So overall I am pretty pleased with the work I did today, even though it meant that nothing I was actually supposed to work on today got done. Oh well. Monday is another day. Maybe by then my pants will come in.

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