Skip to main content

Is it just me?

AAAARRRGGGHHH
Photo by Evil Erin
Is it just me or has it become exceedingly difficult to get information from people these days?  Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm just not asking the right questions. Maybe you can help. A few scenarios:


Exhibit A
I'm at the post office. I'm mailing a package. It's a framed piece of artwork. The postal worker asks the requisite question, "Is there anything fragile, perishable, hazardous, or potentially hazardous?" [side note: I think they started asking this question when they stopped asking you at the airport if you packed your own bags.]

Me: Well, it's a framed picture. Is that fragile?
Postal Worker: Well, you tell me.
Me: Um. I guess. Sure. What difference does it make in mailing this?
Postal Worker: It just means I mark it as fragile. 
Me: Oh. Ok. Then, yes. I guess it's fragile. I'm not sure what you classify as fragile.
Postal Worker: Well, if it can break, it's fragile.
 Me: (in my mind) Well, I could break a lot of things if I throw them around hard enough. Did you really answer my question?
Me: (in reality) So how much to send this priority mail (as postal worker stamps the word "fragile" all over my package)?

I really didn't think it was such a ridiculous question. They don't tell you why they ask this question and if it meant that the package needed to be sent a particular way, maybe he could have explained that. 

Exhibit B
I'm trying to track down some information for a school district I work with. I'm at the school, speaking with the secretary, and the conversation goes something like this:
Me: I'm looking for this staff person's contact information so I can schedule a training with her. Can you help me?
Secretary: No. I don't have that information.
Me: Ok. Well, do you know who I could contact?
Secretary: Well, you could ask her (points to other secretary at the desk across from her). She might know.
Me: Ok. (I look at secretary #2) Do you know where I can get this person's contact information? 

Secretary #2: No. I don't have that information.
Me: Ok. Well, do you know who I could contact?
Secretary #2: Um. You could ask the principal (who is literally next door to this person's desk). 

Me: (to principal) Do you know where I could get this information (Please notice that I have asked the same question to three people who are all within 10 square feet of each other in the span of about 30 seconds and none of them seem willing to help me. At all.)
Principal: No. You could contact (person's name) in HR. 
Me: Ok. Can I get that telephone number?

Sheesh!  It was like pulling teeth. All three of these people were in positions where interaction with others and, more specifically, helping people is part of the job.  I think that you would expect them to be (maybe just a little) helpful. Am I out of line to expect people to help a little bit instead of being permanent members of the "your problem is not my problem" club?

I'm starting to wonder if maybe it's me. Maybe I've lost my ability to communicate effectively. Maybe I'm losing my patience. If so, please stage an intervention or just tell me to get a clue. If it's not just me, then can someone tell me how we fix this mess that has become our world because it's examples like this that make me want to go postal on people sometimes. 

Wait. Was that wrong?


Popular posts from this blog

The Edge of Seventeen

It's that time of year when the blog musings center on my grief journey. Every year, it seems like we are busy with end-of-the-year school activities and the start of summer, planning vacations, and then (kablam)...it's almost July 9.  Grief is funny. Grief is weird. I remember very early after Charlotte died, I watched the movie Rabbit Hole.  There's an amazingly poignant scene where Nicole Kidman's character is talking with another woman who lost a child over 10 years before (played by Dianne Wiest). She talks about grief being like a brick in your pocket. It never goes away. Sometimes you can even forget it's there. But it comes back and makes its presence known from time to time. And (she says) "it's what you have of them."    I probably did not fully realize then what a powerful and true analogy that is. As time goes on, our grief changes. Yet, it is always there on the edge of things. It sits in that pocket and sometimes makes itself known.  This

The Stages of Grief: COVID Edition

It's 2020. It's almost Christmas. We're still in the middle of a pandemic. In fact, we are experiencing what appears to be an incredible surge that is exerting tremendous pressure on our healthcare and social service system. The headlines are clear: we're not done with this madness and December 31, 2020 will not magically be the "end of it".  Earlier in the year, our family thought about whether we might be able to travel at this time. We thought that maybe the curve would be flat enough that we could take a few days away from home during the Christmas holidays. We realized that the pandemic would still be happening, but with the right protections and with prolific mask usage, we could get a much-needed change of scenery. During what is now (clearly) a delusional thought process, we booked a stay in Gatlinburg, Tennessee for the week of December 19th. Spoiler alert: we canceled the trip almost two weeks ago.  Canceling this trip was not a tragedy. In fact, I

Bittersweet Sixteen

I think about Charlotte every single day. However, this time of year, I'm flooded with all kinds of memories as we commemorate the anniversary of her birth. This year feels like a bit of a milestone. Sixteen.  If cancer had not taken her life back in 2010, I have a feeling I would be planning a massive birthday celebration this year. 16 always feels like a landmark year in someone's life.  I have been thinking a great deal about the last birthday party we had for Charlotte in 2009. We didn't know it at the time, but we were halfway through her treatment journey. We had been through three major brain surgeries and a few rounds of inpatient chemotherapy. Treatments were not going well. In fact, right after her birthday, we would make the trip to Houston, Texas where we would settle in for about 10 weeks of proton beam radiation treatments and a new customized chemotherapy protocol. This was the unspoken "last chance option" to beat that aggressive brain tumor into