Saturday, March 22, 2008

If I Could Say Just a Few Words...

I've been losing my voice for the past three days or so. Tuesday I woke up with a hint of a sore throat and tried to stave it off with a vitamin and some hot chocolate. But after teaching class, not only was my voice in poor shape, I felt sick. I skipped my own class to take a nap and get some ibuprofen so I could make it to a meeting with my thesis advisor.

I made the mistake of going to work at a fast food joint the next day. I wasn't running a fever, so I figured I was okay. But I did still have a sore throat. As soon as I showed up, the shift manager put me on the drive-thru headset. Not what I wanted to do at all. That meant talking and standing in front of an open window. Better yet, nobody saw fit to give me a lunch break, even though I asked for one, so I did this for over seven hours without stop. This was not good for my voice.

Yesterday I felt better. Only I didn't try out talking before I went in to work. Turns out I still had little voice. But I decided it was okay for them to put me on the headset--it meant I was on a speaker, so I didn't have to raise my voice as much. In fact, we've got the headset on a speaker in the kitchen as well, so I didn't even have to shout to the other parts of the store. Still, the constant talking was a problem.

Eventually I was moved up to passing orders out of the drive-thru instead of taking the orders. This requires less talking, but sometimes louder talking. I stopped asking customers if they'd like any ketchup and figured they could ask for themselves. I stopped asking the cook to make more fries and started making them myself. But I didn't stop talking entirely. I had to give the customers certain cues, like "Have a nice evening," so they would know it was time for them to leave. And interestingly enough, I had to chat with my coworkers. My coworkers don't consider me a talkative person, but even when I was conserving my voice, I still commented about the customer who had twice requested a medium drink and then when I gave it to her said, "I asked her to make it medium." Yeah...this is a medium.

On the other hand, I was annoyed when one of my coworkers started asking me about myself--did I go to school, what does "grad school" really mean, and so on. Like, can she not tell I'm losing my voice? But I wasn't going to tell her that. It would've been rude.

At home, I would become annoyed with my husband asking me questions because talking hurt, but then I'd have stories I wanted to share with him anyway. Over and over again, I wonder--what is most worth saying?

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