Suddenly It Dawned On Me

July 27th, 2015 by elaine

One day last week I was doing the federal and provincial sales tax report for my husband as I have been doing for a number of years, four times a year. It’s a simple procedure to do online if you know exactly what to do, where to go, what to click, and if you don’t forget from one three month period to the next.  I don’t take any chances.  Not only do I keep each properly filled out form to use as a guide, I also keep my own instructions as defined by the process:  Click on the green box on the left; check the lower circle, NOT the one on top!!!!!, etc. We have filled out and submitted all the appropriate power of attorney forms so that if there’s a question, I may ask it.

Even in the best of times, it doesn’t usually work like magic, but I get it done.  And if I’m having problems, the people who answer the phone are very helpful and very kind and sometimes we even have a good laugh.  The recorded message before you get to a person proudly (imperiously?) states (insists?) that all our contacts with our clients are based on respect and courtesy, and we would ask (demand?) the same from you..  It also says that if you are a third person calling for information about an account not in your name,  (they do not seem to have a concept of a second person, which would certainly come closer to describing a wife of many years) then you must have a power of attorney to protect the confidentiality of the other person.

O.K.  So then I get out my notes and my priors and go to the website and POW! It doesn’t look familiar.  Oh well.  So I begin, trial and error….get so far and then…there is no green box on the left.  And windows open automatically with all the identifying numbers and I think, fine, but it isn’t fine because at a certain point, no matter what I do, I am blocked from going any further.  There is an error number in parentheses, but of course, impossible to find a definition.  So finally, I make that phone call, hear all that jazz about respect and courtesy and confidentiality and procuration (power of attorney).

After a good long wait, I get through to a person to whom I give the appropriate numbers she has asked for.  So then, of course, she must ask my name because I do not sound like George.  I tell her my name and that I am his wife.  She asks about the procuration.. She hunts for it and can’t find it and I am referred to an online site to get the form and have my husband fill it out.  But, I insist , I am only asking a general question – just tell me what that error number means.  And  she says she can’t do that because she doesn’t know who I am. But she does agree to connect me with the tech department.

Another very long wait and I get a very helpful person on the phone who approaches the problem in the absolute correct way, figures out what has happened, (the circle I was NOT supposed to check, the one way back there that wasn’t where I expected to find it, that one, was already checked and I didn’t uncheck it.  He helped me start all over, step by step, we got it right, and bingo I’m in.  But first I tell him about the other person who wouldn’t talk to me because she couldn’t find my procuration.  Oh, he said, you don’t need that online. And he made a joke or I did, and we both had a good laugh and it saved the day.

Until suddenly it dawned on me:  I was talking to a person on the telephone, the telephone is not a new invention, it is not the newest new thing.  Telephones have been around for more than 100 years.  I remember hearing my mother on the telephone with businesses, relatives, you know…. You would say on the phone, hello, this is …….and I would like to speak with……or something like that.  This person who said she didn’t know who I was, was lying.  I TOLD HER WHO I WAS.  She, however, is authorized to conclude that I AM LYING!!!!  Not only is she authorized, she is ordered to assume I AM A LIAR.

This hit me like a ton of bricks (yes, it’s a cliché but it works for me).  It’s one thing to be a potential terrorist at the airport, but honestly, it really hurts to be denied belief on my own telephone.

Last week I wrote about the fellow who bought his mum and dad  tickets to hear Danny Bhoy at the Maison Syphonique in Montreal….and he had to send a procuration and a photo of his credit card or his parents wouldn’t get in, even though they had a copy of his ticket order and he shares the same last name.  Can you imagine that?

Ladies and Gentlemen, get over it.  You are all crooks, fraudsters, liars, just like me.  This is the world we live in.  There is no respect, there is no courtesy, there is no faith in mankind.  The government, the banks, the corporations DEMAND you behave in a certain way, filling out forms, feeding their data bases, protecting them from US, us liars, cheats, terrorists.  And they will offer zero tolerance for our outrage, even our humble protests.  Kids who organize protests against rising school fees are met with police in riot gear, “kettled”, rounded up and arrested even if they just happen to be walking by.

There are certain people in this world who have a very low tolerance, close to zero perhaps, for injustice.  Some of them look the other way and try to be good and do good, and I admire them greatly.  And some others are not so gifted.  They cannot play it deftly, safely.  In one way or another they succumb to these wounds to their character.

And then there are those, most of us, I guess, who know the score and keep their balance, most of the time.

Danny Bhoy is very funny.  He knows the score.  He makes a joke of it.  And people laugh hysterically with every breath he takes.  That’s what we heard all around us.  We didn’t get the jokes half the time because we couldn’t hear the punch line for all the laughter.  But it was a wonderful thing to witness.  Thank you Danny Bhoy.  You are very bright and very funny indeed!. You make me think of my mother who sometimes laughed so hard at what life was like, she would have to add in Yiddish when she caught her breath,  it’s not to laugh, it’s to cry. (That’s her photo up there, hers and mine, laughing so hard we’re almost crying.)

And thanks to our own boy and his girlfriend for the perfect seats at the show they knew we would love because it made us laugh, not cry.

©Elaine A. Zimbel 2015.

Posted in Eighty and then some..., Letters to the corporation, Theatre Reviews, Uncategorized


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