Eddie is striding through the short isle of the
Eatemup. Heís got that ĎI donít want to be messed with look on his
face. Eddie is not normally a patient guy. Heís learned to pretty
much control his impatience because his wife, Tildy, wonít put up
with it for very long.
I guess some people mellow as they get older.
Some get a little grouchier, and some just stay the same. Iím not
real sure which category Eddie would fit. Iíve been with him when
I could sense him fuming but controlling himself. He will usually
begin to take deep breaths and shuffle his weight from side to
side when this happens. Sometimes I, or Tiny, or LeRoy will be
able to defuse the situation and keep Eddie from being apprehended
for public display of anger.
And I can understand his distress, and I bet
you can too. It seems there are so many people in the work force
who are not suited or trained for the job they are performing. Or
ought to be performing. How many times have you had to wait on a
clerk who was talking on a cell phone or to another employee when
they should have been taking care of business?
I got up and let Eddie slide into his regular
place. You know itís kinda weird how humans are such animals of
habit. So many times, even though there are no assigned seats,
people will time after time sit in the same place. Iíve seen it in
church, college, and high school. And, lord, woe unto the person
who sits in your place.
Eddie rubbed his hand over his face saying,
"Whereís Shirl? I need a cup of coffee. I really need a shot of
whiskey after what Iíve been through, but Iíll settle for a cup of
"I just canít get over it," he continued. "Do
you believe there are any real people in the telephone world of
help or information? I get so sick and tired of push this button
push that button. And on top of that they very seldom give you
time to get the phone back to your ear before they tell you which
button to push next."
"You want to clue me in on what youíre babbling
about?" I asked. "I didnít really mean babbling I should have said
talking." I had forgotten the kind of mood Eddie was in, but the
look on his face quickly reminded me.
"Iím talking about companies who have automated
their phone system to make it more convenient for Ďyouí, and we
all know thatís a crock," he answered. "Itís done so they wonít
have to hire someone to answer their phone and are hoping that you
will get so disgusted youíll just give up, and they wonít have to
do anything for anybody. And as much as I donít like to talk to
people I donít know on the phone, itís even worse talking to those
"Havenít you ever been able to successfully get
any information you needed or passed on any information you needed
to on the automated system," I wanted to know. "I mean the school
arranged it so the teachers could get a substitute just by using
the automated system. I thought it was easy to use, and you know
Iím fairly technologically challenged."
"Well, I think youíre challenged in more ways
than one," retorted Eddie. "But I just spent about forty-five
minutes on the phone trying to get some simple information about a
form I had faxed to see if it had been received. I must have been
asked four or five times whether I wanted to talk in English or
Spanish. Push one for English, two for Spanish, and donít you know
I couldnít get that machine to accept the fact I wanted to speak
"Are you sure you were pushing the key down
right?" I asked. The look on Eddies face told me I had misspoke.
"I mean, sometimes times you might push too hard or not hard
enough, and it wonít work right if you do that. You know?"
"Look," said a very exasperated Eddie. "All I
know is that itís very irritating, aggravating, and frustrating to
be told what to do by a non-person voice that canít even answer a
simple question. I want help. I want answers. Not someone whoís
just going to annoy me."
Looking around the Eatemup, he spotted Shirl.
"Hey Shirl, can I get some coffee over here?" Finally, a real live