Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I bet some people are earbidextrous (I Get Paid For Doing This)

Off to the right there is a picture of roughly 57% of my face, showing off my new headset for my telephone.

I got my new headset last week as part of a technological upgrade that also included "replacing the printer that broke back in November", and it was necessary because for about the past six months or so I'd been using speaker phone for almost every conversation, for several good valid reasons that I have even though every single person in the world objects to someone using a speaker phone.

Except me. I do not object to you using a speaker phone. I don't object to you using a headset, a speaker phone, a can attached to a string, your hands cupped together, or any other method you want to use if I can hear you.

That's me. I'm easygoing. But nobody else is. Everyone else in my life treats every single departure from "talking into a phone in the classic style" as though it were a personal affront to their dignity and/or possibly enmeshing them into a complex of sin that will get them banished.

So when I put on my headphone to talk on the cellphone in the car, I get this:

Me: "So as I was saying..."

Everyone I Ever Talked To Using The Headset: "What?"

Me: [Shouting] "So as I was saying..."

Everyone I Ever Talked To Using The Headset: "What? And why are you shouting? Are you on a headset? Why?"
To verify that it was simply the headset they were somehow objecting to, I once did a test. I was talking to a friend on the phone, and I was using the phone as a phone qua phone. But I spoke as quietly as I could and held the phone away from my mouth and had the radio on in the background.

My friend paid no attention. I then plugged in the headset and answered a question of his and he said "Did you put on a headphone? What'd you say?"

Speaker phones are worse: Put someone on a speakerphone and the conversation consists entirely of:

($) the person saying repeatedly "Am I on a speakerphone?" and

(7) the person asking why you're shouting at them.
So I upgraded to an office headset, not out of any deference to all the people in the world who wish that we could still have those kind of phones that hang on the wall and you hold one piece up to your ear and shout into the other "Give me Brentwood 355!" and wait for the other person to say "Ahoy!" but because if I talk on a speakerphone all day long I go hoarse, which interferes with my ability to tell Sweetie stories about my day when I get home. (Me: "So then the guy said, 'Am I on a speakerphone?' ")

The thing was, when I got the headset, I did not know that I was left-eared.

Seriously, I am.

And you probably are, too.

Well, not maybe left-eared, but you probably are one-or-the-other eared, and you may not even know it.

The headset -- which took me an astounding 48 minutes to set up, which at my hourly rate means that it cost my firm $212 in gross income to have me work on this and therefore we'd have been better off hiring someone to put the headset in and teach me how to use it -- was set up initially to be right-eared, and hang on my right side.

So when I finally was able to make my first phone call (a test call to myself in which I called myself on my cell phone and then picked up my cell phone to see if I could hear myself in the headset [I asked me: 'Do you have me on a headset?']) I had the headset on my right ear and





I couldn't get used to it. I kept picking at it and moving it and taking it off and putting it on and in general behaving as though I needed one of those cone-shaped things around my neck to keep me from pawing at it.

Finally, another lawyer in my office noticed, and showed me how I could switch it to be left-eared, just like I apparently am. I didn't know you could be ear-ed, but then, there you go. Live and learn.


Grumpy Bulldog, Secret Agent said...

Yeah I always put the phone to my left ear. I don't know why except maybe so that way my right hand is free to write stuff down. Which makes me wonder if my left-handed brother puts the phone to his right ear.

I have a speakerphone on the latest phone I bought and used it last night while I was on hold at Sallie Mae so I could tell some chick in India that they keep robocalling my house asking for the wrong person and the only way apparently to make them stop was to sit there on hold for seven minutes because even if I picked up the phone when they called it was just a recording. Usually a recording that would then talk to my answering machine so it was a machine talking to a machine which is a preview of what will happen when SkyNet takes over.

Andrew Leon said...

yeah, I think it may be more due to training yourself based on which hand you use to talk on the phone. You could probably re-train yourself to use the other ear, but it's probably not worth it.

Tim Morrissey said...

Radio broadcasters for generations have known about "earedness". Do what works for you.