So, this morning while I was exercising, about ten minutes in, the phone rang. Suffice it to say the rather important surgery someone in the house (not me) is scheduled to have “has to be moved” to a week later. Right. This is the second time this has happened – and because of the recovery period and other commitments, that date just became impossible. Since this has never happened before this year (and we’ve dealt a lot with this group before) I’m going to guess it’s Affordable Care Act influencing things, or as we call it around here #Obamacaregames.
We’re still dealing with that, which I don’t recall being what I asked for for the new year “More bureaucratic cr*p” please.
Because my nose was acting up, I washed the filters for the heating system (they’re reusable.) While doing it, I realized the whole-house humidifier is leaking, so we need to call repairmen.
I put the filters in the tub to dry and evil cat (D’Artagnan) peed on them so they had to be washed again. Also, someone forgot to turn the hissy motion detector cans on again after we took the tree down, so I’ll need to wash the sofa covers…
This is more nibbling by ducks, in that it’s now almost eleven and I’m sitting down for the first time today to actually write a blog and hopefully to work on Noah’s Boy afterwards.
I had something or other to write about today, but I’ll be d*mned if I remember it.
This can’t go on. It just can’t. The books must be written. Yes, day to day life still must be lived, but I fail to see why “emergencies” need to take up two or three hours every day, and leave me so tired I can’t do preventive stuff so that more stuff breaks. (And before someone asks about the rest of the family, they too are dealing with their own ducks.)
This pattern of life is disturbingly familiar.
While I was in Portugal two years ago, I was absolutely astonished at how long doing anything takes. Part of it is stuff like insane traffic where you simply can’t obey the rules and get anywhere. But also, everything from official business to “just” retail takes forever. Everyone works to the clock, see, and since everyone is working to the clock and doing the minimum possible while still getting paid, everything takes forever, and the client/patient/customer is petitioner, hat in hand, while even the most lowly of retail clerks is a “figure of authority” since he can make your buying experience impossible. (Part of this is cultural, but part of this is simply that there is no point. You’re not going to go anywhere from your position in retail, and you’re not ever going to get rich anyway. So you pretend to work, and they pretend to pay you.)
Add in – and this is probably not the fault of the regime, though I wouldn’t bet – a culture that requires (at least for the older generation) three cooked meals every day, and if you’re a woman at home, you’re either cooking, or washing up or if you’re in an office, male or female, you’re taking a break to eat. In the two or three hours you actually have free in the afternoon, you’re trying to transact business that should, in a normal course of events, where people’s goal is to do the stuff as quickly as possible, take no more than a few minutes.
Dealing with doctors at least is becoming like that here, as is dealing with any type of officialdom. The rot hasn’t fully percolated. I can still run into a store, find what I want, buy it and run out (which in case you wonder is my ideal shopping experience. I’m an unnatural woman.) Stores in general still stock what the customers want (Oh, yeah, I remembered what I was writing about – the “how comics get sold” article. Well, it shall happen tomorrow) instead of “What we can find easily and let them stew.”
My guess from seeing my kids’ generation which truly don’t expect to go anywhere or do anything, is that this will get worse as they take over the lower levels of retail.
And I don’t like it. Yes, I know, capitalism is unfair and unjust and eeeeeeeevil, and the best thing is to legislate that everyone has to have the same guaranteed job and get the same guaranteed pay.
If humans were ants or drones, this would even be true. Humans aren’t.
The unfair part of capitalism is exactly what makes it work. Capitalism favors those who are good at doing something and pushes them to do more. I know that a lot of the people our colleges are pushing out think this means what the successful ones, under capitalism, are good at is sitting around twirling their moustache and committing fraud. Actually I think the amount of fraud has increased the more we teach the finite pie model of economics in our colleges. When you’re taught all the rich are thieves, you get on with thieving.
That’s not capitalism. That is the same old “I steal because I can” that has been going on since the first tribe raided the neighboring guys and took all their stuff.
Under capitalism, you get paid for services/goods. You compete with others providing the same services/goods.
The end result is excellent service and excellent goods, as cheaply/efficiently as they can be provided. Yes, sometimes someone gets by with inferior goods/services, if cheap enough, but there’s a bottom to that, as several discount airlines found.
We used to understand that. We did. We used to teach supply and demand. We used to understand that forcing someone to work for nothing was slavery. We used to understand that paying someone for not working is theft (and counterproductive. You get more of what you pay for. Always.)
Then we got teacher’s colleges filling teachers’ heads with nonsense (among other things that they were special snowflakes by virtue of being teachers and that they were ALL underpaid.) And the teachers’ dutifully filled the kids’ heads with nonsense. I knew it was bad news when “mandatory volunteer hours” came in. “You have to do x number to graduate.” This is nonsense. If it’s mandatory it’s not volunteer. My sister-in-law who is a teacher informed us it was to teach the kids to care. Because you know, nothing, but nothing teaches caring like being forced to work (shoddily) at something you don’t give a d*mn about. This is why slaves cared soooo much. (Sorry, I think the sarcasm meter is breaking.)
So – carry on. In the unjust capitalist future (and capitalism will always be blamed, even if socialism is in full control. Trust me. I’ve been there) you can’t get anywhere or do anything, because the man holds you down. (This is actually true if the man if some senseless bureaucrat.) So you do as little as possible and you try to make everyone else’s life as impossible as possible.
Because, unlike teachers’ fantasies, this is how slavery actually works: you do as little as possible as shoddily as possible because what’s the point? If capitalism encourages efficiency and speed, all types of slavery — including socialism and mandatory volunteerism — encourage slow and sloppy.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had about enough of it. I’ve endured ducks nibbling me to death for a year, but I TRULY have run out of patience now. I’m about ready to make duck soup.
UPDATE: Post on editing and quality control for Indie writers over at Mad Genius Club