A very short story about international frustration

frustration,writing,How To Write Better, Suzan St MaurHere’s the reality of what happens when international communications should work OK, but don’t.

And also it’s a lesson in why basic geography can be very helpful, especially when you’re staying in a far-flung country a long way from home.

LOCATION: south central England. November. 50 degrees Farenheit, 2:00 p.m. Mid-week. Dull grey skies, light rain, windswept plaza surrounded by soul-less apartment blocks, forlorn tapas bars, empty cafes and restaurants.

StMoo arrives to meet Eastern post-grad doctor from Oxford Brookes University for 1-2-1 discussion on cancer survivorship. Venue: Cafe Rouge, The Hub, Milton Keynes, England. Arrives, no Eastern lady in black coat. No anyone, actually. Cafe Marie Celeste.  StMoo waits. Tries cellphone number 8 times. No response.

About an hour later, SFX: Ring, ring.

Eastern Medic: I’m in Cafe Rouge. Where you?

StMoo: Hi (name of Eastern medic.) Which Cafe Rouge? Is it in the big shopping centre in Milton Keynes? If so just grab a cab and come to this one.

Eastern Medic: No, just on street corner.

Humor in writing on How To Write BetterStMoo gets that awful, sinking feeling. Bored waitresses are giggling.

StMoo: (name,) are you in Oxford?

Eastern Medic: Yes of course.

StMoo:  This could be the problem then. I am in Milton Keynes. Milton Keynes and Oxford are two different cities 50 miles apart. Did you realize that?

Eastern Medic: No. I thought Milton Keynes part of Oxford. No come 50 miles. Have to get assignment done by end of month so I email you. Goodbye.

StMoo hits End Call tab. Flames whoosh from her nostrils. Waitress hurries over and places steaming espresso on table.

Waitress: I thought you’d probably need this.

StMoo: (TO WAITRESS, CURSING) I’d probably do better with 20 milligrams of IV diazepam and a blood transfusion. But thanks anyway….

StMoo drinks coffee, pays, exits into drizzle, muttering to self.

Have you ever had a frustrating and unnecessary experience like this? Please share!

While you’re here, don’t forget to stop by my Bookshop…books and eBooks to help you write better – and to give to friends and family (don’t forget the Holiday Season is coming soon)…

photo credit: Robert Semk via photopin cc

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