Challenged

I really intend to keep my blog pleasant and accessible to a wide audience. I write keeping my grade school teachers in mind. What would they tolerate? What would they frown upon? Would they get cranky if I get sloppy?

So I have thought I would hold myself to a high standard of civility and good conduct. No naughty four letter words, no name calling, no exposing the ugly truth about bad messy people. But you know…sometimes people make maintaining that objective a bit of a challenge.

Take the dung hole of a mouth breather I had to deal with today. I chase this garbage man all over his little neck of the woods and get only his poor manners and his lack of civility for my efforts. I am trying to complete a simple little contract for a simple little man. He wants only the most basic help I can offer. We go back and forth and he changes his mind on this and on that and we go back and forth again. You would think he were King John signing the Magna Carta but he ain’t no King John! And his paltry little advertising contract will leave no lasting mark on history.

But I am a civil and professional man. I have a job to do. If he wants to change his mind – and waste more of my time – I suck it up and make his changes. He has decided that his storage business is more important than his truck washing business, for example, so we switch some things around. Ok…fine. All is good and ready to go…except he isn’t going to pay for it…

What? You have to pay for it, fool.

Well, ok then…he won’t pay the quoted amount. Unfortunately that is the amount…a tiny amount, an embarrassingly small amount even for a little player from a small town…but he wants to pay less. Suddenly his storage business isn’t worth advertising after all. The phone doesn’t work anyway, he says, and when it does no one answers it. (I see great success in this business’s future.) So we redo the contract and when I look up…he’s walking out the door. He’s busy. He left.

I am about to blow my top, but I maintain my cool. He is, after all, proving to be a lower form of intelligence so perhaps simple social courtesies haven’t been implanted on the behavior of his breed. I reach him on the phone and calmly ask where he is and why. He is heading down the highway and will be loading a roll-off dumpster behind some convenience store. Can I meet you there and finish this, I ask? Yes…come down.

I arrive at the convenience store and he is about to leave. I tell him I need four signatures (too many, in my opinion, but that’s another issue) and all seems well. It does take a little time. It is all done on a computer and the computer doesn’t do much to speed the process. It is slow, clumsy to use, and prone to locking up when time is an issue. Things move along well enough, however, and we are through three of four signatures when I reassure him that I only need one more. He turns on his truck, which is fine, but then says he cannot wait any longer and puts the truck in gear…

I am on his running board with my computer and paperwork. He starts moving the truck! I explain that I need only a moment to get the last signature and he brushes me off telling me to drop it all. He hasn’t time for this and doesn’t want it…

What I said and did at that point is unclear to me right now, but I am convinced it was somewhat humiliating and absurd. An hour of my day had been wasted working and re-working this clown’s advertising program. Commissions on such an insignificant proposal would barely cover gas for the day. I essentially cheated the rates to get him to a dollar point he wanted so the deal could be done. Besides, I thought, he is a small businessman…I can justify doing him the favor. And what do I get? I get left in a cloud of dust, literally, calling out to him to stop!

This is when it really hit me: At times my job truly sucks. It can be a demeaning, thankless job that requires patience with uneducated, unsophisticated simpletons who have no respect for time and protocol. Instead of working in a professional environment with accomplished men and women I get left in a cloud of dust kicked up by a garbage truck driver…a guy that doesn’t even understand that answering a phone might be important in business.

What the hell am I doing?

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