Perusing through the New York Observer’s “contact us” page, looking for an editorial contact and finding none, I called. Finding a main number wasn’t straightforward, either. I realized it had been years since I needed to call any company’s main number. The main number lead me to a company mailbox. Dead end.
Searching my memory, I was reminded of how ubiquitous company main numbers and switchboards used to be. They were legendary, especially in New York. So many movies immortalized switchboard operators and mail-room clerks, from glamorous to industrious, all the way to lazy and conniving.
Before I became a blogger and opinion writer, before I became a homeschooling mom, before I became a technical writer, before I became a sysadmin, before I became a graphic designer, I worked full-time at a couple of hotels while earning my B.A. as a PoliSci major. My second hotel job was as a night auditor (a job that no longer exists thanks to automation).
My first job at the Tel-Aviv Dan Hotel, though, was straight out of a scene from Ernestine. The switchboard we used was only slightly more up to date, with buttons to pass calls through after we plugged the cables into the appropriate socket. We had a microphone to page guests with. We had a VIP guest named Dr. Death. Keeping a straight face and a steady voice while paging him at the pool was a hoot…
I ended up calling the Observer’s ad department and speaking with a very pleasant young lady who gave me an email address for the editorial assistant. She said he’d know who to forward my submission to.
So, here goes, another submission into that great big void!