"Hi it's Tim from Contracts" says a voice in the elevator and I shift to his side to make room for any incoming passengers.
"It's Jane, from Environmental Policy" I reply automatically. Sometimes I lie and say I'm someone else. You can get caught out this way, particularly with people adept at recognizing voices. So I usually only do lie when I have a cold. Or I try a cracked tenor voice when I really don't want someone to ask me about something. Ok, so it isn't totally ethical, but haven't we all lied on the phone? "I'm not here?" Sometimes it's a game of who will identify first, but this is so childish and frowned on that it rarely happens. Although I cannot claim that government folks have any superior manners to any other office workers--we can be pretty petty about it too.
But now I have Tim as a captive audience, so I pounce. "So, how is that financial agreement with the Winnesox Water District going? Will I get it on my desk sometime this century?" I put a sarcastic lilt in my tone, maybe overacting a bit, yet I know how sensitive Tim can be sometimes.
"Gimme a break," Tim pleads. I can hear the desperation rising in his voice, and I ummmmm in sympathy as he continues: "One crisis at a time. I need to get through some congressional audits and end-of-year deadlines by Friday and then I can work on that financial. How about next week? Will that work?"
The 6th floor bell rings and the elevator doors open, so I hurry out, with a quick ""Yeah, sure, that will be ok, but I really need it by the meeting next Wednesday!"
He yells back at me through the closing doors: "Sure, but you'll owe me lunch!"
I yell "You got it!" to the by-now shut doors, and go on, mentally ticking that troublesome task off my list.