I have a self-imposed rule for dealing with call centres. The first is never to call them until the wolf is at the door. The second is to make the wolf wait til after 11am (no matter what time I get up, pre-11am is the dead zone). I've learnt from bitter experience that not following these rules ends up in mistakes and being treated like I'm 92.
Cue a call this morning. I'd been up half the night so my reasoning was to get it over with as waiting til after 11 wasn't likely to improve me in any way. Logic is great, except when it's based on 3 hours sleep.
I took it slowly, spelled everything, twice - I'm Cumbrian, and only the Irish and Indian call centres have any idea what I'm talking about. I was almost at the home straight and then...
I was asked for an 8 digit security word. It turns out I don't know any 8 digit words at all. Not one.
I sat there with tumbleweed blowing through while she helpfully repeated the request, as if I hadn't understood. That made me feel like everyone else must answer this one quickly, they must all know lots of 8 digit words. Why didn't I carry on watching Countdown?
I thought of my own name, as if I don't already know it has 6 digits. And my son's name - what is my son's name? Does it have 8 digits? I start to count on my fingers.
Finally, I say 'cupboard' because I'm looking at the cupboard and have realised, after reaching my second hand, cupboard has 8 digits. Feeling like I won some sort of prize, there's a pause and then a chirpy voice informs me that word has already been taken and can I choose another? (Does everyone sit staring around their room when asked this question). ((I bet they do)).
I told her I would write them down so I could figure it out and had a gentle but firm scolding for even considering putting pen to paper. They don't recommend anyone write anything down, because of security. This misses the fact that I hadn't even been able to think of the word, let alone write it down, so security concerns were way along in the queue.
It turns out some people are made for quiet waiting and other people are made to be encouraging. It also turns out that someone being constantly encouraging in the background does nothing for puzzle-solving and I cast about on the desk for something else that was 8 digits, with the cat staring grumpily over the top of the laptop. (Grumpily is an 8 digit word, why didn't I think of that?!)
Finally I found a word, which of course I can't write down and couldn't tell you even if I was allowed to write it down. I am more awake now, after this adrenaline-filled few minutes, but also feel like I was temporarily back in Physics class with the book open in front of me and the expectant face of Mr Griffin smiling encouragingly at me as I struggled to remember anything the rest of the class seemed to know.
Next time it doesn't matter how long I've been awake the night before, No Calls Before 11am. That wolf can do one and come back when I can think in words of at least 8 digits.
Or next time I'll take better inspiration from my surroundings and the word can be catcatca