I’m in quite good spirits today, I think the new meds are perhaps now having an effect on me, also I have taken my own advice and got myself a Wii Fit from Cash Generators (I couldn’t afford a new one). I thought I might share this little incident with you, some might get a bit uptight about it and have a bit of an “anti Tourette’s” moan, but I like to look on the light side of life, also bear in mind most people have had no disability awareness training let alone TS awareness training. So here goes, here’s a phone conversation from a couple of days ago I had whilst booking the venue for the next group support meeting.
Guy on phone – “Hello (insert name of venue)”
Me – “Hi I’m looking to book your meeting room please, am I speaking to the right person”
Guy on phone – “Could I ask who’s calling please and have you used the room before?”
Me – “yes, I’m Catherine Mosey; I’m calling from Tourettes Action”
Guy on phone – “I don’t remember you”
Me – (after trying to hold it in it pops out – I have also been whistling and making little puppy whimpering like sounds) “F*** OFF, it’s been a while since we used the room”
Guy on phone – “Ah, yes, I remember you now!” (by this time I’ve also remembered him, the cute blonde guy that me and another meeting attendee thought looked a bit like Dave Brown from the Mighty Boosh, unfortunately you don’t get to see Dave Brown much because he’s usually dressed in a gorilla costume)
Me – “hahaha” this has actually amused me, it would have been nice to be remembered by my sparkling wit and charm and my striking good looks rather than an unfortunate neurological condition, but hey ho it can’t happen all the time.
Guy on the phone – “I’ll pass you onto my colleague who deals with the bookings”
I usually like to take these things in good humour, after he said that he was probably feeling quite embarrassed, if you get stressed about these things and can’t see the funny side things tend to escalate and you get upset and stressed.
Having coprolalia and talking on the phone to strangers can be quite difficult at times, believe it or not I used to work in a call centre so I got paid to talk on the phone all day so I know how important it is to be able to put across the right image over the phone and to also be able to put the other person at ease. Unfortunately the a lot of call centres before actually speaking to a human you spend an inordinate amount of time selecting which options you need to speak to, which is FRUSTRATING, the ones you need to speak to are the worst, because of course being a ticcer with cop I can’t just say the simple “yes” or “no” it wants me to say, out pops “GERBILS” for example and the calm automated voice says “sorry I didn’t quite get that”. By the time you get to speak to a human (hopefully in the UK) you’re a ticcing nightmare so of course you warn them “just to let you know F*** OFF that I have Tourette’s syndrome, if I swear or make silly noises they’re just tics” usually they’re ok then and happy to proceed and if you miss something they’ve said due to you ticcing they’re usually happy to repeat it. Just remain upbeat and polite and the person o the other end should do so to. I have made sure that some of the businesses I deal with have on their system I have TS, just to forewarn the person in the call centre that I will probably, definitely shout some expletives. One thing I would suggest from my call centre days is to stay calm on the phone, as a call centre agent I did enjoy solving peoples problems but unfortunately so many people as soon as the call is answered you’re bombarded with “RARARARARARARARA” coming at you, it drags you down and up go your defences, however if you approach the problem calmly and remain polite still remembering that the call centre agent IS a human being and wants to do their best for you despite being paid very little you will probably get the outcome that you want (or a good compromise). Most importantly remember the call centre agent will probably have very little or no knowledge or experience of TS so you will have to guide them in being able to help you, it’s not their fault, it’s just the way it is at the moment so just be patient with them and leave them with a positive feeling having just spoken to probably their first ticcer with coprolalia. We would like them (the statues of the world) to think that us ticcers are a smart, articulate, intelligent bunch, not an angry idiot that makes you want to press the release button on your phone.