If you’ve wondered what they did with the phone calls recorded for Quality Control, here’s one answer: Marchex, a “mobile analytics firm,” which I gather is supposed to make sense to someone, studied millions of calls to see who talks the fastest. Minnesotans, it turns out, are the second fastest talkers in the nation, and we say the least. Oh, great — we’re annoying, AND shallow?
No. A culture with a strong work incentive gets to the point. New Yorkers use the most words; Southerners are slowwww and orotund. Example:
Taciturn, sensible Minnesotan: Sven, your barn’s on fire.
Verbose New Yorker: “I don’t know if you caught a whiff of something acrid or saw a glow in the distance like those paintings of sunset we saw at the museum when they had the exhibition of Turner’s paintings of English sunsets? Or perhaps you heard horses whinnying in fear like those haunting cries in that off-Broadway production of ‘Equis’ I got tickets to because I knew the stage manager? OK, well, you know that oil lamp — is that from Pottery Barn? It really captures the authenticity of 19th century domestic tools — anyway, it fell in the hay and — hello, why are you calling 911, I’m TAWKING.”
Southerners are the slowest. “Honeychile, you all know I love you and I knew your momma and we all put up with your brother when he had that spell of trouble startin’ the fahrs, and I hope he got help with that, bless his heart. But he was pourin’ kerosene out there by your barn not 10 minutes ago, and now — oh, listen to me, prattlin’ on like this, and I haven’t even asked after your sister. How is she?”
If you’d taken this survey 60 years ago, the results would have been different. Why? Coffee. We’ve gone from translucent Lutheran coffee to full-strength prattle-juice.
By the way, the data were taken from calls to businesses, the majority of which may not have been made under happy circumstances. No one calls their cable company to say “hey, guys, great job! Over a hundred days without an outage. Just wanted to say thanks.”
But maybe you should. It would be a Minnesotan thing to do.