My gosh, if the clichés aren’t true after all! So they’ve been advertising that the Town of Huntsville now has a staff person to answer all of our questions about the G8 Summit planned for next June. For my novel, I wanted to know if they had decided where the Free Speech area might be, or where protestors might be allowed to camp. The woman in town said curtly that they wouldn’t know because they weren’t running the G8 Summit, and gave me a toll free number to call the Summit Management Office. At least I hope it was toll free. It started with 819. Here’s how the conversation went.
V: How did you get this number?
V: This is a private number. How did you get it?
M: The Town of Huntsville.
V: They gave you my private number?
M: I don't know.
V: I don’t usually get calls on this line.
M: I don’t know your private number. I called a number and they put me through to you.
V: Oh. I’ll have to speak to them about that.
M: I’m writing a novel for young adults that is set at the G8. Do you know where the Free Speech area is going to be?
V: No, you’ll have to call the ISU (Integrated Security Unit.) Here’s that number.
M: Look, I just want to know if it’s been announced yet or am I wasting my time.
V: Well, I believe it’s going to be announced really soon.
M: Thank you.
... Wow, that was almost enough research for me for one day.
This was one of those times when I wish I was quicker with the responses. I could have strung her along for quite a while. I also wish I had had the presence of mind to tell her she is paid with tax dollars and does not actually have a "private" line.