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I don’t know what to call this post but…ummm

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on April 5, 2009 4 Comments

So “Janet Jackson”, a UC Berkeley graduate student, three other graduate students, and I had just wrapped up our presentations at the Expanding Literacy Studies International, Interdisciplinary Conference for Graduate Students at “the” Ohio State University in Columbus. It was a glorious day, bright and sunny, and we were thrilled that we were all finished with our pieces. To celebrate, we headed out to the downtown Short North district, for the famed first Saturday of the month gallery hop. High Street was teeming with crowds of people sauntering in and out of art galleries, lining up outside the restaurants, and forming small appreciative circles around the live bands playing on the street. We initially went to the Lemongrass, a fusion restaurant, but then we decided 30 minutes was too long to wait (interestingly, all five of us yelled “THIRTY MINUTES!” in unison, walking out without a second glance). After walking several blocks without finding any restaurant without a long line, we returned to the Lemongrass, where we were told we now had a 45 minute wait. We sheepishly accepted. We were ravenously hungry when we finally managed to sit down to eat.

Over plates of piping hot shrimp dishes and cold beverages, we had the most stimulating conversation. We were all graduate students at different levels in the program, from three different universities, and we debriefed over doctoral programs, our research projects, and…life. Finally, it was time to go. We remembered that we’d received a card with the hotel number, and with a number scrawled in the back, from the hotel cabbie who would take us back home for free. “Janet Jackson” was elected (or volunteered, it’s not clear) to call the number written in pen, to ask for a ride.

She fished out her cell phone, as we all waited and listened expectantly. She dialled the number, then she started, “Ummm I don’t know your name…but ummm” and her voice trailed off as we all burst into laughter at the unlikely start to the conversation. Then, she valiantly tried to continue: “I’m calling so I can get picked up,” at which we exploded with laughter. We were all laughing so hard at this point, and “Janet Jackson” had just realized exactly what she’d said, and was laughing too hard to continue. Finally, she hung up, unable to speak through the laughter. We called a different line after that, and managed to get a ride home. As the five of us piled into the van, we were still laughing.

When we neared the hotel, she explained, “When you call somebody you’re supposed to say ‘Hello, may I speak to Joe or whatever,’ and when I called the guy, I didn’t know his name. So I said, ‘Umm, I don’t know your name,’ and then asked to get picked up.”

Telephone etiquette 101: Know the name of the person you’re calling. Romance 101: Don’t ask a stranger to pick you up.

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4 Responses to “I don’t know what to call this post but…ummm”

  1. janet jackson on: 5 April 2009 at 5:16 pm

    I called and he said “Hello?” I said “Umm, Hello, Umm, I don’t know your name.” He didn’t say anything. He just kept waiting. So what else is a girl to do besides try to get picked up?

  2. Usree Bhattacharya on: 5 April 2009 at 5:18 pm

    For all those of you thinking the first comment may be spam, I can vouch for the fact that it comes from the person referred to as “Janet Jackson.” She’s sitting next to me.

    Rhythm Nation rules.

  3. janet jackson on: 5 April 2009 at 6:23 pm

    How do you no my name is Janet Jackson? No hablo ingles! Je ne parle pas Anglais! I don’t speak no English!

  4. Usree Bhattacharya on: 5 April 2009 at 6:40 pm

    seriously, man, you may need to learn some to help deplane in a hurry.

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