Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ma Bell would turn over in her grave

Answering the phone on weekends at Alcatraz is interesting. I never know what sort of calls I'm going to get. Oh, most of the stuff is standard like wanting to speak to an employee or someone calling to talk to a kid. That's normal. I also have to take care of intra campus calls, which are usually no big deal. (If a kid is running, we have lots of phone traffic I have to manage, between intra campus calls and I have to facilitate the police officers who are called in).

Otherwise, I get the 'usual' stuff. But sometimes, it does get weird.

People call and ask me for directions to get here. For our address. For our fax number. My favorite was when a woman called and asked me for our phone number. After a few seconds of silence I just gave it to her; she thanked me, hung up, and called back about 10 seconds later.

Since we do foster parent stuff, I get calls from foster parents who have kids with them. These are one of our very top priorities. These are often scary. One foster mom called to say her foster son was threatening to kill himself and they were in her car. Another time a kid wanted to come back here rather than stay in his placement.

I get new parents who call and have to tell me who they are and the name of their kid. And why the child is here. And that they aren't bad parents. All they really have to do is call and ask for "house [insert number]" and I connect the call. I don't even need the name of the kid; the house parents get paid to sort that crap out. But I feel badly when a new parent feels they need to explain it all to me, and I'm just the measly phone operator. And I really don't want to know why... trust me, you don't usually want to know the why. Ever. At all.

One parent wanted to know if she could bring a birthday gift and leave it with me to give to her daughter.

One dad asked me if swearing was allowed by the boys in his son's house because they cuss in the background all the time when he's on the phone with his boy.

I had one woman call and ask if a certain student had a home pass because she was calling the cops on him if he did because he molested her daughter.

One parent asked if I could watch her 3 year old for four hours while she visited her older son. She didn't have a babysitter and her son who is at Alcatraz has a "no contact" order with the three year old.

I've had people call and ask if my town has a mall or a specific restaurant so when they pick up their child they can take them there to eat.

I've been asked if pets are allowed so "Joey" could play with his dog that he misses.

Former students have called collect from jail.

Last night I had a call that "takes the cake." A mom called me, en route, and wanted to drop her kid off here because she was, and I quote: "done with her." Let me tell, ya I sent that to our on duty boss ASAP!



Lilith said...

I about wet myself laughing at the woman who called asking for the phone number. How did you not burst out laughing?

Anonymous said...

Very funny:)
As I sit here contemplating another week of misery at work you've made me smile and for that Maggie I thank you!