Dr ‘busy & v important’ is grumpy about my calling at work Me:”I’ll call your secretary” J:”NO!” M:”Good idea” J:”Email me!” M:”EMAIL YOU?"
J's not very good at modern communication.
No, not very good at it at all.
So, getting hold of him to actually organise anything while he is being very busy and important at work, can be a bit of a challenge.
I usually weigh my options.
A phone call?
Generally this might be answered. If not, I can always leave him a voicemail.
"Did you get my voicemail?" I'll ask politely when he gets home.
"No, I don't listen to them if they're from you, you go on too long." Is one of his more memorable retorts to my querying his voice mail listening ability.
Sending a text?
That's always a good one.
"See my text?" I'll ask as J arrives home.
"No, did you send me one?" He'll answer.
"Yes! It said BUY ALCOHOL!" Is a fairly frequent response, as I grab my car keys to head down to the supermarket, hopeful of catching them before they close for the evening.
"Oh dear. Sorry!" Is the usual refrain as I head out the door.
So, unsurprisingly, yesterday I decided to call Dr 'very busy and very important' in order to check a couple of dates with him. I noticed from our joint diary that the evenings on which the School Governor's meetings arranged for this term coincided both times with days on which J was due to be on call. As I am the Chair of Governors, it's a bit difficult for me to miss the meetings. OK, it's impossible for me to miss the meetings.
Therefore, a quick call to alert J to the dates. Ask him to ensure he arranges swaps with colleagues. Job done? Yes?
"I'm busy, is it urgent?" I was asked when he picked up the phone.
"Umm, well, sort of," I answered.
"I'm having a very busy day. Make it quick!" Was the barked reply.
So I did.
"I can't look at my diary now, I'll check later." J said and we rang off.
So, I felt it was quite reasonable of me to ask at breakfast this morning whether he had arranged the swaps.
"Oh, I forgot," J responded.
I rolled my eyes.
"It's no good ringing me in the middle of a ward round!" He said, defensively.
"I didn't know you had a ward round." I answered quite reasonably.
"It was in my clinical diary." J answered.
"Which is where?"
He looked confused. "On the iPad!" J said that slowly and deliberately as if talking to an imbecile.
I mimicked him. "And where was the iPad?"
"Oh, I had it with me." J had the grace to look slightly abashed. Only slightly though. "Anyway, you need to follow up requests like that with a.."
"Text?" I finished J's sentence for him.
The children were by now beginning to take note of the conversation, watching the verbal ping-pong in the manner of those in the front row at Wimbledon.
"Yes! A Text."
"But you never read our texts!" That wasn't me. That was our seven year old son.
I raised my eyebrows with my best 'out of the mouth of babes' look. "Nor do you, EVER, listen to our voicemails" I said.
"Send me an email. You need to send me an email!" J knew he was on the back foot. His tone of voice conveyed the unsaid portion of that statement, 'I'm very busy and very important you know.'
So I did.
Here it is:
Dear Dr J
I'm so very sorry to interrupt your busy and very important day with such an inconsequential and utterly trivial request.
Could you please attempt, if at all possible, to change your on calls on XX May and YY July, as I have very minor and unimportant meetings to chair.
Of course, I recognise this request is entirely beneath your level of seniority and importance, so do please delegate it to someone else to resolve as you see fit.
If you could perhaps ask your secretary to let me know if you are able to swap the dates I would be very grateful. This would allow me to either attend the meeting, decide to leave the children home alone or perhaps organise a baby sitter as necessary.
Thank you in advance for your (and your secretary's) assistance with this request.
Nicholas P R King
J rang a little while ago. "I showed my colleagues your email so they know what I have to put up with!" He said, sounding slightly affronted.
"What did they say?" I asked
"They laughed." He replied, quietly.