Posted by: joha5 | April 23, 2010

A Seinfeldian Situation

Sometimes life imitates art and sometimes art imitates life.  Today, life is imitating art because I have a very Seinfeldian problem.  I have a very good friend whom I love and adore but this individual is both a ‘low talker’ and a ‘mumbler’ when we speak on the phone.  For the life of me I just cannot comprehend what this person is saying and it drives me absolutely insane. 

I know this may sound absurd to be complaining or blogging about but short of telling this person that I have no idea what they have been saying for the past few months I just don’t really see a way out of it.  I have tried everything.  I go into quiet rooms, I turn off all extraneous sounds, I roll the windows up and turn the air conditioning off in my car when I drive, and still the problem has not been solved.  At first I thought that it could have been my fault.  Maybe my hearing isn’t as good as it should be but this hypothesis was quickly shot down when I realized that everybody else I speak to is totally clear and audible.  Then I thought that it could be my phone.  I looked online to see if my phone has had audio problems or if people had encountered similar issues.  No luck there.  Maybe it was their service, I thought.  4 Bars.  Dammit.  Then the worst possible scenario hit me.  My friend is a ‘low talker’ and a ‘mumbler’. 

As if the lack of volume control wasn’t bad enough, the words that actually come out of this person’s mouth all connect together in a mishmash of vowels and consonants that sounds eerily reminiscent of my alcoholic neighbor who vacuums his lawn.  As a consequence whenever we speak on the phone the conversation goes a little something like this:

Person: “Heeyyyjaaawnny”.

Me:  “Hey you!  What’s going on?  How was your day at work?”

Person: “Ohitsoobentappleogdanrupsantinerumplestiltskin”.

Me: “No way!  That’s awesome!”

Person: “Andemilioestevezbananakumkuatboonootime”.

Me:  “Oh wow.  That’s pretty cool.”

Person: “Evenschwarzeneggerlysolsandwich…”

Me: “Oh my God.  I am so sorry to interrupt but there is a grease fire in my kitchen.  Gotta go!  Bye!”.

Person:  “Mmmmm”

That is literally how I view our conversations and it is also about as long as they last as well.  I have come up with an unspeakable amount of excuses – and yes, grease fire has actually been one.  I have to walk my neighbor’s dog.  I have a deadline for an application.  I have to fix my car.  I have to go tutor deaf children.  I have to go and write the great American novel.  I swear, this person must think that I am the biggest renaissance man who ever lived.  And maybe if I understood what this individual was saying on the phone I would think the same of them.

The weird thing is that this person doesn’t speak like this in person so I can only imagine the way they hold the phone.  It sounds more like they are eating the phone – imagine a ravenous dog chewing the end of a rawhide bone – than somebody talking into it.  In some ways it is really beginning to affect our friendship because I literally can’t have a regular conversation with this person.  I imagine that there is somebody out there who knows an awful lot about me but have no idea that I know nothing about them except their name, their age, and what they look like – oh, and the fact that they talk like Cookie Monster. 

Jerry Seinfeld would probably tell George and Elaine and they would, in turn, tell Kramer who would let the cat out of the bag.  Hilarity and zany antics would ensue with a mildly amusing side plot that would somehow be connected to the story in the end.  I must admit, in some ways I am hoping that life will imitate art once more because I would love nothing more than my life to mildly turn into a sitcom, even if only for a brief moment in time.  But, in reality, this comedy of errors is actually a tragedy since I will have to suffer with Wolfman Jack (or Jackie!) and their hambone cellphone for the foreseeable future.  Hark!  Something is rotten in Denmark – and it is somebody’s terrible phone manner.

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