Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Friction/Burns the butter back to milk

I've got that Soul Coughing song, "I've Got To Get Right With This", where the lyrics include a phone number. I looked up the number.

I don't feel so bad cold-calling a business. And I didn't want to mess with them or otherwise waste their time; I just wanted to see if they're who the phone book says they are. Maybe I'll want to actually do business with them. And the person on the other end is almost always paid to pick up the phone anyway. So I called a few months ago, and a lady answered, "Hello. [Garbled]," and I said, "Excuse me?"

She garbled her garble again.
"I'm sorry. Wrong number." I hung up.

This happens to me almost every time I call a number where I don't expect how the person on the other end answers the phone. It reminds me of speech recognition software on a Mac I saw in 1995 where it worked only if what you said was one of a pre-made list of choices (to its credit that list was easy for the user to modify). Even if I suspect they're speaking English, which I'm positive this lady was, I just can't figure out the name said. If I accidentally call, to make something up, "The law firm of Samuel Hugh, Thomas Luis, and Sarah Dewey", the receptionist could say "Hello. Huey, Looey, Dewey; can I help you?" I'll just hear, "Helfosihefyouledhwdycnhpeheeou?"

Last month I was at out drinking with friends and friends of friends - about seven total. Granted, two beers didn't help, but I'm sure I was the only one who had to give up on figuring out half the conversation. Two people left, alcohol got metabolized, and then I had an easier time.

It's not my hearing - I can sometimes hear that a muted TV is on in the next room because of the noise the CRT makes. It must be that bit in the brain that turns the sound to words. I think the bit of the brain that goes from words to sound needs work, too. People complain that I mumble.

No comments: