Monday, June 08, 2009

American Crude

I've been playing phone tag with Carol's voice mail when I make my bi-weekly call to my mother to let her know I'm still alive and check to see if I can drink the champagne in the fridge or if she is still alive and the champagne has to wait. I don't know how long champagne stays good in the fridge, but I guess I'll find out. It may outlast me. After more than a week of voice mail tag and no return phone calls, I finally got hold of Mom.

During the conversation, Carol's boyfriend, Clark, someone she talks to or sees nearly every day, called and Mom put me on hold and cut me off. I didn't call back. Instead, I called her this morning to tell her how I felt about being cut off. It isn't the cut off part that bothers me so much as being put on hold on my dime so she can answer the phone to talk to someone she talks to or sees every day simply because he's calling long distance. Uh, Clark is a multi-millionaire and stands to inherit several more millions and it's more important to save his dime than to save mine? What is wrong with this picture?

For someone who chastises me for using words she doesn't understand and not calling twice a week when there's nothing to report or say, I consider it very rude to put me on hold or hang up on me to talk to someone who will call back or leave a message if no one answers. Mom is more concerned with other people being rude than in how rude she often is. It's becoming an epidemic. That isn't to say there aren't exceptions, but it seems that people are getting ruder and ruder all the time and technology gives them an excuse to increase their rudeness. People have lost touch with manners and taste and simple courtesy.

People who should know better don't. Today, and every day, I get proof of that. Every day I listen to doctors dictate operative reports, most of them barely intelligible or talking so fast slowing things down only makes them more garbled, but the worst offenders are those doctors who waste my time looking through files they should have checked before they began to dictate or take phone calls and carry on conversations with colleagues and leave me hanging for long periods of time for a one-page report, out of which I had to waste 30+ minutes listening to their conversations or sitting on hold while insipid Muzak or recorded advertisements on endless loops play in my ear. And I have to listen to the whole tape, for which I do not get paid because there are no words making it onto the page. One of these days I'm going to type what I hear whether it's their conversation or ads on continuous loop and let them pay me for it. Of course, I'll be penalized because it's not part of the report, but maybe, just maybe, someone will get the message and they'll stop being rude and wasting my valuable time. I cannot afford to waste 30 minutes in which I could have typed 10-15 pages to get one page of dictation at $1.70 a page, but doctors don't care because it doesn't affect their salary, just mine and I'm nobody important, just a wage slave who is there for their convenience. Just when I thought people couldn't get any lower, I found out I was wrong.

In San Francisco, politicians have reached a new low with a homeless man who has decided to work his way back into the mainstream. Moore, an enterprising fellow, decided to buy some brushes and shoe polish, picked out a street corner and offered to shine shoes for $7 ($5 for the unemployed). An enterprising reporter did a feature story on Moore and the city of San Francisco repaid Moore's get-up-and-go by taking most of the money he had earned towards getting an apartment and out from under the bridge where he's been living for a few years to pay for a sidewalk vendor permit. Out of the $573 he earned towards the $600 he needed, the city demanded $491.

When the people of San Francisco found out what had happened to Moore, they responded by inundating the city with emails and phone calls and finding Moore to give him $100 tips for their $7 shoe shines. People went out of their way to patronize Moore's corner and added $1000 to his coffers.

I guess you could say that for every rude person there are at least a dozen decent people who don't waste your long distance charges to talk to someone they see every day or allow the politicians to beat down a man who is doing his best to climb back up on the ladder of society. It gives me hope. However, I don't think I'll make any more bi-weekly calls to my mother. She more interested in talking to people she sees all the time and who live in the same area than in finishing a short conversation with me. Maybe if I don't talk to her she'll forget about me and not start calling the police and neighbors in the area to find out if I'm still alive or, worse yet, hop on a plane and make a surprise 2-week visit. I can always hope.

Oh, did I mention that I called Mom again today and got right through. I asked her one question. How often do you and Carol see and talk to Clark? She said, "Every day." Then I told her what I thought of her cutting me off to answer his call when he made a lot more money than I do and they saw and talked to him every day. She said, "Okay, I get your point." Too bad I can't do that with the doctors.

That is all. Disperse.

No comments: