Monday, January 26, 2009

Phone conversation with perspective interviewee

I called this lovely older gentleman to set up a meeting time tomorrow for a story I'm working on.

Phone rings, wife (presumably) answers.
Wife: Hello?
Me: Hi, may I speak with (old man) please?
Wife: Who's this?
Me: My name is (me), I'm with the (newspaper).
Wife: (shouting) Hey, (unacknowledgeable pet name, I presume), Wendy from the (newspaper) is on the phone for you. To me: Can you hang on a few minutes?
Me: Oh sure, no problem.
In the background is a lot of banging, huffing and puffing. The two appear to be having a lovely conversation about politics, perhaps, while I wait on the phone.
Old man: Hello?
Me: Hi, this is (me) from the (newspaper). Did I catch you at a bad time?
Old man: The question is, is this a good time for you?
*I pause, wondering if I would have called the man at a bad time for myself.
Me: (lying) No, this is fine. I have all the time in the world. I won't be long, I just wanted to set up an interview time, possibly tomorrow morning?
Old man: (definitely not answering the question.) Yeah, well I'm retired.
Old man: Only thing that keeps me busy is choppin' up the firewood.
Me: Well, I'm sure this cold weather makes that a bit of a necessity, eh? ::chuckle, chuckle::
Old man: (not responding to my lame joke) Any time you come by will be just fine. How much time do you have to spare for meetin' up with me?
Me: (thinking, oh I can imagine maybe 30 minutes is all it takes) ...well, I probably only need...
Old man: (cutting me off) 'Cause I think I'll have at least two hours' worth, from when you get there, more or less.
*I almost pee my pants. TWO HOURS, dude???
Me: (through clenched teeth) OK, sir, that should be fine. And I have directions to your house...
Old man: Yep, just look for the firewood.
*I start to wonder, just how much firewood does this guy have??
Old man: How old are you?
Me: (no longer surprised by the breaking of etiquette in these parts) 25. (OK, I will be in a month!)
Old man: Yep, that's just about right.
(What does that mean????!!!)
Old man: 25. *pause* OK, see you tomorrow then. G'bye.


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