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Sunday, April 28, 2013


Starting the week with a cup of coffee at Joe was about as perfect as it could be.  Having had to make my own coffee first thing in the morning (imagine that!) I was ready to have someone else take on the duty!  My previous week had not only seen me responsible for our first caffeine beverage, but it had the added liability of looking after the dog.  Although I rank rather far down on the animal's list of favourites, when Samantha is out of town he seems to gravitate towards me. 

Being treated like royalty first thing Monday morning, (well having my coffee made for me each morning does make me somewhat of a princess!) gave me reason to think that things may not stay on the same level.  I am not sure how people react to my presence, either in person, or on the phone, but I had somewhat of a roller coaster experience with all those with whom I made contact. 

I had cause last week to call a clerk of a courthouse, and tell her that she had issued a writ incorrectly.  As always, I was polite.  It is always a good rule of thumb not to tell someone how to do their job, despite personal opinions to the contrary!  It was about the fourth call I had made, and the previous three had not been particularly well received.  The word 'mistake' appears to be a red rag to a bull.  I have taken to using the modern method of teaching, and rather than putting a large red 'X' next to their error, I have metaphorically suggested they, 'try again', but to no avail.  However, the clerk who answered the phone was absolutely horrified at her slight blunder.  I will not repeat the word she used, as it may offend, but I was very quick to put her at ease, by laughing off the mistake, as a 'typo'.  Thanking me for my understanding (now there is a first), she promised to make right her mishap, and I received corrected papers, with a note of apology, two days later.  I was so amazed, due to previous experiences, that I wrote her a note of thanks.  Her phone call on Monday morning was very well received.  I explained that a usual response to my suggestion of error ranged from being due to a computer program, which could not be changed, to a possible gremlin in the envelope, who altered the name on the document during transit!  Whatever the reason, the fault was always mine.  I further told her that I was so grateful that she had agreed to make the change without fuss, or bother, that I wanted to let her know how much it was appreciated.  After extolling each other's virtues for the next ten minutes, she told me that she would put my 'thank you' letter on her desk, should she ever have the need for a 'lift'. 

Just as my faith in humanity had been restored, and the 'jobsworth' title (as in the phrase 'more than my.....') appeared to be a thing of the past, I was given a chance to rescind the option.  We had been asked to retrieve some photographs from an office downtown.  I will not divulge which department I was to visit, to protect the innocent, (including myself,) but it was within walking distance of the office.  Upon entering, I saw three windows at the counter, the length of which was approximately twenty five feet.  I chose with caution, and went to the far right, and approached the male figure behind the bar.  'I have come to retrieve some photo's, from....', and had to refer to my notes to see the name of the person who held the vital documents.  The look of confusion set in, and I conceded that this was, indeed, a rather large establishment and my contact could be anywhere in the vast building.  I am, as I believe I have mentioned, always willing to give the benefit of the doubt.  However, as I believe I have mentioned, most of the time it is out of place.  After scratching his head, and a complete blank look replaced that of mere uncertainty, it was suggested that I go to furthest window, take a ticket, and wait.  I followed instructions, and walked the few steps to the other end of the bar, and took my ticket.  There were two ladies at the end window, and another at a desk immediately behind them.  One of the ladies at the window was on the phone, and the other was nodding at her associate's response to what presumably was being asked by the caller.  I sat and waited for the call to finish, and the autopsy which followed Eventually, a beckoning finger silently called me to the window, and I repeated that I had come to retrieve some photo's from.......'.  Despite the building being vast, and full of perhaps several hundred people, amazingly enough, the lady who had my photo's was the woman sitting at the desk behind the two ladies at the counter.  How fortunate that they did not have to call someone to come down several flights of stairs, or wait for an elevator, from the opposite end of the building.  I resisted introducing her to the man at the other end of the room, who was still looking rather blankly at the empty foyer.  I decided that perhaps they were once an 'item', and he chose to erase her entire existence from is memory (along with everything else!)  There, I am still able to give the benefit of the doubt! 

Mixing fact with fiction is one of my forte's, as it is so much nicer to have a happy ending!  Samantha and Edward arrived at the airport shortly before midnight on Tuesday, and the dog was very happy to see them, (although probably not as happy as I was to give back the responsibility of watching the dog!)  Wednesday morning was an opportunity to practice what I preach, but the fictitious happy ending was not to be.  The fact was that Joe was not feeling well, and would not be in the shop early enough for us to visit, and I had not had a good night's sleep.  No matter how hard I tried, I was not able to convince myself to the contrary, and I remained in a comatose state for most of the day.  This was probably a good thing, as I was very mellow when I offered to go to the local stationery store for office supplies.  My offer had been accepted, after I had convinced Dana that, although I was not completely au fait with the layout of the store, I did have a tongue in my head, and could ask, despite my English, and that of the store's staff, were probably two different languages. I could use my hands to gesture, if needs be!  Dana agreed that I had a tongue in my head, and it could be used to 'lash' at will!  It was an interesting trip!  I did have to ask for some of the items, and the staff were most kind when directing me.  However the cashier considered me to be somewhat of an imbecile, when he returned my check, after the transaction was completed, and I asked; 'Don't you need this?'  For the record, the answer was 'No', to both questions; the first being mine to him, and the second of him to me, when I continued, 'I am not familiar with the electronic method of payment by check'.  Perhaps I will ask the scanner at Walmart next time I go in!  As I said, fortunately, I was rather comatose, and the lash switch on my tongue was temporarily out of order.  Instead, after my quick, and abrupt, lesson in the modern day payment process, I smiled, said 'thank you', and rather untruthfully, told him to 'have a nice day'.  The (mis)quote, 'It takes all sorts to make a world', was definitely going through my head as I left the store and headed back to the office. 

Joe was back in the shop on Thursday morning, but the technology that considers itself advanced, to wit, the text message, failed, and we received the reply of 'Yes, I am here', twelve hours after the question was sent.  However, I did have a reasonable amount of sleep, which was just as well, as we had a very busy day.  I had no need for the chocolate with additional caffeine, (what an excuse to eat chocolate!) and we did not leave the office until much later than usual. 

My trip to the post office on Friday restored the faith that had been lost on Monday.  (It had been a good day all around, as I received the happy news that my nephew had proposed to his long time girlfriend, and mother of my precious great niece, which of course means that my mother will have achieved a full house on the 'married grandchildren' card, in the not too distant future.)

  It was near closing, and there were two people in front of me.  One had a single piece of mail, and I had several.  When I was waved forward, I suggested the gentleman with the single object go first, as I was going to be sometime.  After about the fourth, 'after you; no after you', the lady at the counter shouted across, 'We are closing in five, so you better decide who is going first!'  Her jovial comment extinguished all frustration that had built up over the week, and I stood back and ushered through the polite customer.  Fortunately, I was able to make her laugh again, as the customs form for my heavy package to England, simply read, 'Candy'.  She found it very amusing that the contents of the package was worth less than the postage, but I advised her that when you cannot purchase an item on one side of the pond, its worth becomes priceless. 

The switch to my tongue was repaired and in full working order on Saturday, as was my mischievous gene.  Samantha and I were out and about.  As we had no particular tasks to perform, or achieve, we fell prey to publicity.  An empty store had been converted into a 'market' of sorts, and the radio had been advertising amazing bargains.  As we approached, we were struck with how this did not look completely 'authentic'.  However, as one should not always judge a book by its cover, we entered the establishment, only to be told that the usual price for entry was $6, but we were being offered a one time only, 'two for one' discount.  Paying to get in was not an option, and I shook my head, and declined.  As we walked away, a young man gave Samantha a ticket, which allowed one free entry, and then handed me another.  We entered and judging the book by the cover was indeed what we should have done (obviously my opinion).  As the benefit of the doubt was still on the agenda, we did walk around, and upon departure, I was very pleased that I had not donated to the cause by paying an entrance fee.  We left the area and went to get some petrol.  After Samantha had filled the car and replaced the cap, I drove away, leaving her standing by the pump.  I found it highly amusing, as did she despite her insistence to the contrary!  She warned me to behave as we entered Walmart for our weekly shopping!

It was not easy to keep quiet, when an older gentleman in the vegetable aisle, picked up a bunch of 'greens', sniffed them, and then returned them to the box.  'Well, I won't be wanting any of those', I said, in a slightly louder voice than perhaps I should.  No offense was taken, but it did not stop me from then asking, upon picking up a lettuce, 'Do you want to sniff this?'  The bruise on my arm will no doubt subside, but my daughter assumed it was necessary to prevent me from 'shouting my mouth off', for the rest of the shopping trip. 

Another week 'done and dusted', and once again Sunday has arrived.  Faith in humanity is something that will definitely be on the agenda on Monday, as proposed legislation reaches the critical stage, and the states representatives vote on unconstitutional legislation, (my letters to said people this session have told of the 'Englishwoman's mourning of the passing of two old friends, Common sense and the Texas Constitution! - Political as well as a synic!)  However, life goes on and tomorrow I hope the practice of me being served with a cup of coffee will continue!  As the saying goes, March winds and April showers, bring forth............... another story!

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