If you were swept into my soggy saga, you may remember that the story ended with praise being heaped lavishly upon one Vickie Adams, my AAA adjuster. She truly was an angel, and calmly unwound me from around the anxiety axle on more than one occasion. She repeatedly assured me that everything would be OK — as good as before, if not better. And, in the end, she spoke the truth. Everything was repaired or replaced to my satisfaction. And that’s no easy task, because almost nothing on this Earth meets my satisfaction.
Besides being completely satisfied with my insurance company, I was hugely impressed with Vickie. She made me feel like I was her only customer — like I was the center of the universe. Which I am. But I didn’t know anyone else realized that.
Vickie’s calm, concerned voice on the telephone was my lifeline during 10 weeks of flood-induced homelessness, and the high-speed demolition and reconstruction of my house. She went above and beyond the call of duty for me, and I wanted to do the same for her. I wrote a column about her, but it wasn’t enough. So I e-mailed her supervisor and told her all about the wonderfulness of Vickie, and recommended a year’s salary for a bonus and that Vickie be the standard to which all the other adjusters could hope to compare.
I got a nice e-mail back from Vickie’s supervisor, and thought that was that. Then a few weeks later, I get a call from AAA headquarters, with more questions about my experience with Vickie. I was happy to sing Vickie’s praises. And I reminded them about that bonus.
A few more weeks, and AAA’s advertising department calls, asking if I’d be willing have my story recorded for a radio commercial. Sure. Why not? AAA spent more than $60,000 repairing my house. They helped me out, so I’ll help them out. It’s good karma.
So, a week or so ago, I walked into One Union Recording Studio in San Francisco and who’s there in the recording booth? My AAA angel, Vickie. I finally got to see the face that went with the voice on the telephone. So that’s what angels look like!
They were also recording Vickie’s side of my flooding story that day too, and I wondered if she said something like, “Debra was the neediest, whiniest nutjob I’ve ever had the misfortune of dealing with and I’d rather hurl myself into traffic than be in the same building with her.” But no, true to form, Vickie relayed her feelings about how she seeks to support her clients emotionally, and felt bad that she couldn’t do more for them.
Like what — come over and rock us in the chair, and feed us cookies and stroke the hair back on our wittle heads?
When it was my turn, they placed a huge, round microphone in front of me, and I rambled on about this and that while this really sweet guy asked me questions. I figured he was just loosening me up and the recording would begin soon, but it turns out, that WAS the recording! Which was brilliant, because afterwards, they asked me to read from a script, and I pretty much mangled that.
Apparently the folks behind the one-way mirror who were listening and recording the session wanted me to say some things over because I kept smacking the microphone with my Italian hands, and I guess that’s a recording studio party foul.
I was handed a short list of my own statements, and I read each one with all the vim and verve of a dead possum. Turns out, I’m just fine rattling things off the top of my head or the tips of my fingers, whichever the case may be. But when I have to actually concentrate on the words, I unravel. Sort of like concentrating on walking. You start tripping all over yourself.
Example: They wanted me to say, “I’m Debra DeAngelo and this is my Triple A story” for the commercial’s opening. Now, how many attempts do you suppose it takes to say that without botching it or sounding like I have a pipe jammed up a place that we don’t talk about in the newspaper? Enough times to, say, make a sound editor behind a one-way mirror slowly bang his head against the wall and wish he’d gone into catfish farming instead?
“’I’m am Demra Dee Angello, and this are me my Trooplay story’… sorry, lemme try again… ‘I’m Debra DeDangle…’ Rats. ‘I am Debra DeAngelo and this is my Triple A history.’ Crap. Sorry. ‘I’mDebraDeAngeloandthisismyTripleAstory.’”
Pant pant pant.
One more time? OK.
“’I’m Debra DeAngelo and…’ oops sorry, smacked the microphone again…”
Let it be known that the people at One Union Recording Studio are fine, patient human beings. The fact that they let me live is proof.
Anyway, they’re gleaning bits and pieces from my yammering, and blending them with Vickie’s and turning it into a radio commercial that airs this summer. So, if you hear it, yes, it’s really me; yes, that’s really my story; and yes, Vickie is an angel. In fact, “AAA” should stand for Angel Angel Angel.
Dang. Wish I’d said that in the recording session. No matter. I probably would’ve said Dangle, Dangle, Dangle anyway.
— Follow Debra DeAngelo on Twitter. Links are posted at and http://www.edebra.com and http://www.wintersexpress.com. Find Debra’s columns online at http://www.wintersexpress.com, http://www.edebra.com and http://www.ipinion.us