6 January 2015, TV = 1035.9 hours
I needed to make a dental appointment for my semi-annual cleaning and checkup, so I call the hospital whose dental clinic I’ve been using; the phone is answered with an automated message that informs me that I can “press nine for English.”
I hate phone calls in Thai, even though I’ve been handling them fairly well for some time now. But between there being no visuals and the audio quality usually being mediocre to abysmal — especially on a cell phone — I kind of dread them.
I know that I probably should go for the Thai as a learning experience: rise to the challenge and take as much Thai as I can get…I’ve been learning the language for three and a half years, I should be actively combating my Thai-phone-call-phobia by taking advantage of every opportunity that comes up…. Eh, screw that!, I think to myself, as I hit the “9” key on my phone.
A couple seconds pass as I’m patched over to a real person — who greets me in Thai. I could wuss out and respond in English or ask for an English speaker, but I decide to just go with it and respond in Thai. I tell her I want to see a dentist (can’t remember the word for “appointment”) and then I’m connected to someone in the dental department — who, again, answers in Thai.
The connection’s not great — her voice is a little on the faint side, and far from crystal-clear — but it’s good enough. The conversation proceeds fairly smoothly with her asking, and me answering, a series of questions. At one point she asks me something and although I can’t understand or even catch any of the words she’s just used, I’m pretty sure that she’s asking if I’ve been to the hospital (or perhaps the dental clinic) before, so I tell her that I’ve seen a dentist there in the past.
I must have gotten it right because the next few questions concern my name, after which she’s able to look me up in the computer and, bam! just like that I’m told I can come in the following morning, just like I wanted. No need to wait several weeks for an appointment — how’s that for Thai efficiency?
I hang up the phone with a slight feeling of satisfaction.
Sometimes these things are all in your head.