My friend the vampire

Back in the mid-nineties I worked at a telemarketing agency while I was going to NYU. I worked late at nights and I remember the account I was calling on was a Chevy Chase credit card. No, really. Needless to say I didn’t get any of the awards for sales although if they had instituted an award for the most people laughing at you before hanging up I may have had a shot.

Telemarketing seems to draw some of the most interesting characters I’ve known. I worked with a number of prostitutes. No, really. They turned tricks or ‘danced’ but they also kept telemarketing as their respectable job, don’t ask me why… I never quite understood.

I worked with the usual cast of frustrated and broke actors who were still looking for the perfect waiter job. Their jolly thespian voices could be heard booming over the headset as they addressed their audience of one with unbridled enthusiasm. Rejection junkies.

There was a smattering of students, mostly in useless areas of knowledge, you know the philosophy major, the art student, the English major… I think the angst held major appeal.

There were a fair number of transgendered people. That was one job where they didn’t have to deal with discrimination or with the mindfuck of reverting to their genetic gender in order to be employable. They were fun– they taught me the tricks to keep from going insane from boredom and we’d pass notes and dirty drawings while on the phone. Some of my tranny friends from this job went on to open their own telemarketing business where I worked for a while. But that’s a whole other story!

By far my favorite character, the one person who made me trudge to work was Lestat. If you are unfamiliar with Anne Rice then the reference was lost on you. Yes, this person’s name was Lestat. This person was a vampire. I am refering to this person in gender neutral terms because I was unable to unequivocally ascertain this person’s sex (trust me I tried). Lestat had nicely sharpened incisors before it was cool. Lestat had porcelain skin and black hair and gorgeous blue eyes. Lestat wore a cape to work. And lots of velvet. And jewlery. And makeup. And Lestat never ate. Lestat self-identified as a vampire.

I think the entire section I sat with had the hots for Lestat. Lestat would sometimes grace my friends and I with his/her presence over break or for the collective smoke break outside, which even those who didn’t smoke joined for the sheer proximity of such a being. Lestat’s smooth indiference only made her/him more attractive to all of us. Lestat’s subtle androgyny only added to the attraction and the curiosity. We had betting pools going on the gender issue.

Then one day Lestat stopped showing up. No one knew what happened to Lestat. Lestat had not crossed the work boundary to hang out, other than a few group outings to goth clubs. We lost our vampire!!! And we never found him/her again. We never settled the bets although debate and speculation continued.

Shortly after that I stopped working there. Call me crazy but it just wasn’t fun to work there without a vampire seated a row over.



  1. *chuckle*…

    When I was in college (english major!), I worked in our local newspaper telemarketing room part-time for extra cash. You’re completely right on about the odd sorts of people that are attracted to evening telemarketing. There was maybe 10-12 people in our department, and I would say about 5 of them were in a glam rock hair band (this was in the late “80’s). They were always dressed in leather, and black, with the 80’s heavy metal hair, of course, and eyeliner too. They were really nice guys.

    Seems to me there was also a tranny or two who passed through, and I also remember there always seeming to be at least one creepy person who either smelled bad, or never talked, or both. Not really a long term type of position, alot of people seemed to come and go quite frequently.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. thealeticia Said:

    Good to hear from a fellow telemarketing survivor!

    I’d forgotten the creepies and the smellies. There were a few of those on the crew as well. They sat far away though. 😉

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