Part I can be found here.
My cubicle is situated near the main door of our office suite, so by default I’m constantly directing traffic, answering questions, looking up information. One day I heard it open, followed by a man’s voice bellowing, “Hello?” I waited for him to enter, to read one of the signs, to look at the map, to find someone to ask for help. I waited to hear the door close. I tried to keep working. Again I heard: “Hello?”
Irritated, I got up from my desk and walked into the man’s line of vision. My expression was less than friendly.
“I’m looking for a financial counselor,” he said. Not polite or apologetic, just matter-of-fact and expectant, as if I could magically discern what his needs were and solve all of his problems simply because he’d opened a random door and made his presence known.
I told him that our office suite housed a variety of academic departments, none of which were relevant to what he was looking for. I said I wouldn’t be able to help him, that he’d have to find the information another way.
“Well can’t you just call the operator?” he said.
I was becoming more visibly annoyed by the second. I explained that calling the university operator wouldn’t help him at all, because he’d just told me he was looking for something outside the university.
“Look, why don’t I just use your telephone and I’ll call the operator,” he demanded.
I hesitated. He saw my hesitation, and it made him angrier. “Just let me call the operator,” he said, his voice growing louder. Read more »