Attack of the Crones
The first aged emissary called me regarding the imminent disconnection of her electric service. I had a hard time understanding the woman at first, because her voice sounded like two balloons being rubbed together. Eventually, though, I managed to piece together her story. She was outraged because the electric company told her that her cat’s recent diagnosis of feline leukemia did not consititute a medical emergency, and would not affect the impending termination.
Unfortunately, I had to agree with what the company told her. As tragic as her pet’s condition was, only a human medical emergency can forestall a disconnection. In response, the caller squeaked that the electric company and I were in league with Satan, and she hoped we’d all freeze to death during the winter. The caller hung up before I could point out that it’s always nice and toasty in Hell.
My second old bat was a sprightly gal who hailed from one of the more, um, rural parts of my state. Apparently one day she was doing dishes and saw a squirrel climb up a utility pole in her backyard. Upset that a posse of the little critters had eaten some vegetables in her garden, and desirous of some sweet Old Testament-style vengeance, my caller reached for her shotgun and put the squirrel in her sights.
Alas, the caller’s aim was not what it used to be, and her shot missed the squirrel. It did, however, strike a transformer on the pole, showering the panicked rodent with sparks, and leaving her neighborhood without power for most of the day. Subsequently, she received a repair bill from the electric company for the sum of four-hundred dollars. She called my agency to demand that this amount be broken up into ten-dollar installments over forty months. I informed my addlepated Annie Oakley that I had no jurisdiction over this issue, but that she should thank her lucky stars the company didn’t have her rickety old ass tossed in jail. (I did actually use nicer words than this, so get that prissy look off your face.)
The last withered old crone made the most unusual request I’ve had in a while. She wanted me to call the optometrist and see if her glasses had come in yet. She said that she had been calling them every day until an employee told her to stop bothering them (I love this person), and that they would call her when the glasses were ready. I patiently explained to the woman that I worked for a government utility agency, not a messaging service, and would thus be unable to fulfill her request.
In response to this information, the caller suddenly morphed into a shieking, hissing squallcat, and launched into a rant about how no one cares if old people live or die, blah blah blah. I think her little tirade must have gone on for a few more minutes, but I can’t really say for sure since I took my headset off and went to gossip with some co-workers. By the time I came back a little while later, she had apparently hung up or died, either of which was a perfectly acceptable outcome in my eyes.