Al Gore’s film about climate change, “An Inconvenient Truth”, made a big splash and was aptly name. But increasingly human beings are considered inconvenient because of two bullies: greed and speed.
There are days when I feel like a character in The Matrix. Others would be pleased if they could just strap me to a table and hook my bank account up to their tubes.
More businesses want me to just set up online accounts which siphon money directly from me to their account. They never have to see me, talk to me, or deal with me at all, unless it’s the nanosecond requirement for me to click “I agree.” Nor is it possible to explain a situation that does not fit their parameters over the phone.
Phone trees and websites are designed to eliminate the need for a business to speak to me at all. “You can get faster service by accessing our website” is the message I hear when calling with a problem about their website. I am not technologically challenged but the sophistication of systems to avoid human contact and responsibility are now at espionage levels. 20 minutes waiting on hold on my bank and still no answers.
The reliance on image over substance is especially infuriating. No, just changing your commercials, your website, offering me a rebate, or a survey will not substitute for a well-made product or genuine customer service.
An educated older person can be deemed most inconvenient. Well, really to be honest, senior service providers and health insurance companies just aren’t prepared for an articulate, non-bamboozled senior. After 30 minutes, my neighbor had gone as far up the phone tree as she could before being told they weren’t prepared to handle her question. Once I had an insurance company tell me they relied on their providers to update their eligibility for coverage. The providers told me they relied on the insurance companies to ask. Hell is being caught between two bureaucracies.
Women who have needs are by definition inconvenient, since their purpose in life to be make everyone else’s life convenient. Whether in the family, at work, or on the road, the message is loud and clear that if they don’t need me, I need to get out of the way. Mothers can suddenly become doddering idiots, too clueless to know what to feed their grandchildren. Younger supervisors are amazed that anyone over 45 could possibly know her job. And drivers of F150s are incensed that I am in front of him on the road! Why on earth would I try to be there? I have had drivers honk and give me the finger because they were in back of me and wanted to turn where I was turning. I had the nerve to want to turn before them. I was already moving with traffic beyond the speed limit but apparently I was supposed to pull over and let them turn before me. This is not an unusual experience but it is increasingly equal opportunity, applying to both men and women.
At some tipping point, speed and greed can overrun human worth. Considering a human being only for revenue or convenience is a pervasive poison. It’s behind much of the backlash we are experiencing today. Some call for more civility but I think it is not that superficial. Elaborate social considerations can put a veneer over the same crass disregard of human beings in the wrong class. I am always amazed at how callous some of the most elegant and articulate people can be. In fact, disdain for others can be considered a mark of superiority.
Consider joining me in the small daily resistance of standing up for our needs. It will be inconvenient to others. We have a right to be inconvenient, not for petty reasons or to be irritating, but because we have value beyond others’ needs.
So, to whom it may concern:
Yes, I will be expecting a receipt for the cash I am giving you.
No, I will be not paying a fee in order to pay my bill.
Yes, I will be expecting your product to work without paying extra for your
mistakes = a warranty.
No, I will not be subsidizing the cost of your business by covering your
financial risk. (legal now in myriad forms, such as mortgage insurance).
Yes, I will be driving my car in front of you.
No, I will not babysit while you take your cruise.
Yes, I knew my job while you were in utero.
No, I will not be talking to your computer. And it can stop calling me.
Yes, I will be letting you know how to treat me, even if it’s inconvenient.