Friday, April 30, 2010

A Tale of Two Phonecalls

The phone rings...

Hello, this is Wayfarer.

Uh, hola. Soy (student calling for his exam on phone calling).

¡Hola, Student! ¿Cómo estás?

Uh,,, bien. Sí, bien. ¿Y tú?

Less nervous than you, I’m thinking... Bien.

[continuing in Spanish...]

Heh. Uh, ok. (shuffles papers) Uh. Is Mbungo there ?

No, I’m sorry. He’s not here right now. He’s in another class.

Oh. That sucks. (lengthy pause as more papers are shuffled) Can I... Wait. May I take a... No, wait. Can I leave a message?

Sure. What’s the message?



Oh, um...(gives message but at a volume that one would need superhearing to decipher).

I’m sorry, but I don’t understand you. Can you repeat that?



Can you (indecipherable)?

I’m sorry. What?

What? (shuffles papers)

You need to call me back.

[sigh] What?

I’m hanging up now. Bye!

Oh, OK. Bye!

The phone rings...

Hello, this is Wayfarer.

[in French] Hi, Wayfarer! It’s (another exam-taking student) on the phone. How are you doing?

I’m well. You?

Fine, thanks. Is Mbungo there?

No, sorry. He’s busy.

Oh, that sucks. Can you take a message?

Sure. What’s the message?

It’s important. Please tell him that Anne’s lost at the airport and can’t find her tickets. She says Mbungo has them in his backback. (Disclosure: The student came up with this unconventional dispatch entirely of her own accord, using random bits of vocabulary from several units.)

Wow! OK. I’ll tell him. Do you have a number?

Oh, yes! It’s [gives number]. Can you repeat the number to me?

Now I’m really impressed! Sure. It’s [repeats number, but gives one digit wrong intentionally].

No, it’s [gives correct number]. Do you have it?

Yes. I have it. Is there anything else?

No. That’s it. Thank you!

You are VERY welcome!

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