Saturday, April 27, 2024

HEAR YE! HEAR YE! PLEASE YE HEAR ME PLEAS!

                                                                            





It’s a wonderful world we live in today, isn’t it?  Please note the intended sarcasm!  I need to purchase a wig. My patience was pushed way beyond its limits a few weeks back.  I was tearing my hair out because of the actions…correction…inactions of some others.  I wanted to scream my lungs out while tearing wildly at my hair.  Having now calmed down I need to get a couple of things off my chest.  It’s neither hair nor vest.

Faceless “powers that be and useless” are displaying their ignorance by trying to turn us into a cashless society.  Bank branches are disappearing faster than tree branches in fire ravaged bush land. The end to the ATM is nigh, as well.  

Those making these idiotic decisions are living in a Disney-like fantasy world of their own creation.  The harsh reality is it’s more like a Stephen King horror story.  The sooner “they” wake up to themselves the better, in my humble opinion!

The reason for my recent frantic hair-thinning was; I’ve been a loyal customer of a particular bank since Federation…a slight exaggeration, I know…but for many, many years.  When trying to access my bank account, to my annoyance and deep concern I was unable to do so no matter how often I tried.  Days upon days of endless calls to the bank aka impersonal “Call Centre” followed in hopeful efforts to have the problem solved.  Over and over, my efforts were hopeless.

In each call, in clear, precise detail I explained the problem I was experiencing, but no one listened.  No one heard a word I spoke. I could hear myself, but for strange reasons those receiving my calls couldn’t.  The situation was exacerbated even further when some with whom I spoke were impossible to understand because they couldn’t speak English.  Why anyone unable to speak English is employed by Call Centres beats me! 

Day after day, hour upon hour, I made desperate phone calls. No resolution was in sight; no intelligent help offered.  More worried and agitated I became with each fruitless attempt as each moment, each cry for help, and each day passed without answers; without action; without a remedy. 

After days of getting nowhere, in sheer frustration I tossed in an offhand, off-the-cuff, flippant comment to one of the deaf recipients of my endless plaintive pleas for a positive solution to the problem.  I made an innocuous comment many of us, I am sure, in moments of absolute frustration have pulled out of the hat once or twice.  The odd thing was my curt ad lib remark was the first time any of my words were heard by the dozens of people to whom I’d spoken.  Everything else I’d voiced had blown away in the wind except for that one spur-of-the-moment comment tossed in, in exasperation.  I’d made call after call until I was blue in the face, hot under the collar…until I turned from blue to red in the face, finally verging on purple.

The brief comment uttered by me in hair-pulling despair sure put the cat among the pigeons. I was the cat. Emotionally exhausted, and at my wits end, was I expected to cop being ignored?  I’d been copping it for days. Sick to death having to cop it, I blew my top!

Within far less than an hour of my comment made out of sheer frustration there was pounding on my door.  Upon throwing on some clothes, tidying up my hair, I opened the door.  To my surprise, two of our local policemen were standing there with smiles on their face. I proceeded to tell them of my grievance, annoyance with my bank, and the disinterest shown by its Call Centre folk.  

When I finished my tale, the older cop who had a smile on his face said to me, “You made a certain comment in one of your calls this morning….”  Both of the cops looked at me with a smile on their face as they waited for my reply.

The penny dropped.  I laughed and explained my position…why I had said what I’d said after more than a trillionth time of not being heard; after six days of not being listened to. I’d carefully explained in minute, concise detail to the uninterested person on the other end of the phone the problem I was facing. And like all the others before him, he wasn’t listening; he didn’t hear a word I said, until I uttered, “The best thing for me to do would be to put a bullet in my bloody head!  

Finally I was heard. Finally someone listened to me!  Upon hearing my frustrated utterance, the fellow contacted the police!  And, they in turn, promptly arrived at my door!  The two police understood my grievance, and the problem I’d been dealing with over the previous days.  

In final parting, again with broad smiles on their faces, the younger of the two asked me, “Do you have any guns?”  

 I laughed, and answered, “No!” 

 Wishing me well. off they went.

I understood the police were only doing their job…as was the fellow at the Call Centre who finally heard what I’d said!  However, it should not have taken that one, innocuous comment to have stirred up action!  And, it should not have taken days of fruitless phone calls before someone listened to me.

And yet, even after those few moments of excitement, another day passed. More useless phone calls followed before my dilemma was eventually taken seriously.  Until then no one, other than me, appeared to understand, or care.  Had I been speaking in a foreign tongue? My pleas had been shamefully neglected.  Corny it might sound, but I’ve always believed ears are part of one’s hearing system. Ears are what we hear and listen with. They are not just for dangling ear rings off!  Obviously the ears of those “working” at the bank’s Call Centre are blocked. 

Finally I was passed onto an empathetic, intelligent young woman named Jacquie. At long last I was heard by someone!

To my exhausted relief, my voice had magically returned. I was audible! I wanted to cry, and cry I did, in private, once the problem was solved. 

In what felt like an eternity, almost a week after the first phone call I’d made, I was heard; listened to by an understanding young woman. Within 20 minutes or so, with Jacquie’s calm, empathetic assistance, the issue that should’ve been rectified long before the days and hours spent making numerous fruitless phone calls, was set right.

Those employed at Call Centres obviously read from scripts handed to them. And like sheep, meekly they follow the script. They have no intention of straying from them, or are too lazy and uncaring to do so.  They’ve no mind of their own; they’ve no mind to help others in distress.  We, the ones in distress, just have to cop it!

By the way, thankfully, my hair has grown back.

Grilled Chilli Corn on Cob: Fill a large bowl with enough cold water to completely submerge 4 ears of fresh sweet corn, husks on. Pull away outermost layer of husks. Using scissors trim off topmost part of husks up to the cob including the silk tassel. Place ears in the water. Let sit for at least 10mins, or up to 8 hours (this will keep husks from burning). Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium. Remove corn from water; shake off excess. Place corn on grill, cover; grill 15-20mins, turning it every 5mins or so to ensure corn cooks evenly. When corn is done, the kernels should be tender when pierced with a thin, sharp knife. Meanwhile, in bowl, melt 2tbs butter. Stir in 1tbs grated Parmesan, 1/2tsp chilli powder, 1/2tsp chipotle chilli powder, 1/4tsp ground cumin, and 1/4tsp salt. Zest 1 lime directly into the bowl; then cut the lime into wedges. Let corn cool for 5mins. When cool enough to handle, peel back husks, removing any stuck-on bits.  Brush the corn all over with the chilli butter; serve hot with a wedge of lime to squeeze over top.   

Saturday, April 13, 2024

TO DREAM THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM…