And they say that academia is irrelevant......to real life. I say: not so.
Earlier this week I stayed home to wait for a service call from a company doing a minor cosmetic procedure on my house. The service person was due at 10. At 10:45 a.m., I called to inquire whether they were, in fact coming within the hour they had promised.
The guy who answered the phone had no idea who I was, why I was bugging him, or how to get in touch with his boss.
Being a nice and responsible young man, he offered to get more information and call me back. He did, to inform me that he had no idea where his boss was, or why he was unable to reach her. He also noted that the necessary supplies had not yet come in, although when I spoke with the boss the week before, she assured me that "it was in stock." [I should point out that her answer was in reply to my calling her to find out what had happened to my order, placed four weeks ago. I was initially told that the order would take two weeks, and that she would call me when it arrived. Two weeks after that, I got tired of waiting and called her.]
So what, you ask, does this long, convoluted, and impossibly dull story of domestic trivia have to do with the link between academia and "the real world"?
When I finally tracked the boss down, two days later (no, she never called me, although I had requested that she do so), she said that she was sorry, but (drumroll, please)
her grandmother had passed away.*
It's good to know that I am allowing students to practice on me the lies they will use in business situations their whole lives long.
*(Those of you thinking, "Dorcasina, you jaded heartless bitch, how do you know her grandmother didn't really die?" should consider two things: 1) I have a lot of experience differentiating between the truly and recently deceased grandmother and her myriad fictitious counterparts: the long-dead grandmother, the friend's dead father, and the terminally ill aunt. 2) She owns the shop, and the young man I spoke to said she had asked him to cover for her, which was why he was not performing the service call at my house. If she called him to cover an emergency, why wouldn't she a) tell him what the emergency was (if not in personal detail) and b) ask him to call the people with appointments for that day?)