I’m on the phone with a Customer Service Representative and I’m trying to be as polite and friendly as possible in order to work out a mutual mistake (that quite clearly does not involve me giving my credit card number and subsequent $2,782.43 to PervOrProgrammer.com).
Unfortunately, I’m in a “Pat” situation where I literally cannot tell if the person on the other end is a woman that has smoked more than a carton of ciggies a day, or a man who, on the best of days, merits the term “effete” lobbed at him, or maybe an alien that sucked up an entire gravel driveway on their way into work at the call center this morning.
Anywhoodle, this situation ends up involving a lot of involuntary “YesMa’am-YesSir-YesThankYou-YesPlease-s.” (It starts of strong and resolute and then sort of tapers into a questioning whisper).
In my head, I keep telling myself, “Whatever you do, do not use a personal pronoun toward him/her/it.” But to no avail. If I had just decided on one and kept it consistent, I’d have a 50/50 shot. Had I gotten it wrong, maybe he/she/it would have just assumed there was a bad connection. But, nooooo. I kept having to cover me bases.