Here are two things I hate in my town and, no, there won’t be any cute moral at the end of this. I’m just venting or ‘givin’ out’, as we tend to say in these here parts.
The first thing I hate happens in my local petrol station, which also frequently doubles as my emergency bread, milk, and dark-chocolate-Bounty shop. It’s a great shop and the people in it are all lovely, so no gripe there.
It’s the technology… man, it’s the technology.
When it’s my turn to pay at the till, I get my card out and, if the amount required is under the magic thirty euro, I tap. After some initial troglodyte reservations, I am now a consummate tapper. It is the way of the future… well, no, strike that, it isn’t actually. In the future we’ll think about paying and it will be paid, unless we have no credit in which case our thought will be declined. The tap is the present, though, and, yes, I embrace it.
All good so far.
But sometimes, often in fact, the money owed at the petrol station cash till is more than the tap limit. I buy fuel sometimes and then the total is well over. Now that tapping simply won’t do, I have to shove my card into the key entry machine and go about things the old-fashioned way. Here’s where it all goes wrong. As you will know, the machine has a series of prompts to get me, the customer, through the payment process. ‘Enter your card’, ‘enter your pin’ – that kind of thing.
Nothing to it.
Except for the thing.
Here’s the thing.
The person behind the counter evidently get those same prompts up on their screen. BUT THEY GET THEIR PROMPT ONE FULL SECOND BEFORE I GET MINE.
What does this mean, Ken? What does it mean?
It means that the person behind the counter thinks I am a dope who does not know what I need to do with my card. Their screen has issued the prompt that it is time for me to put my card into the machine. BUT MY SCREEN HAS NOT YET TOLD ME TO DO IT. So the good person behind the counter tells me to put my card in and, just as I might be about to tell them that the bloody machine hasn’t asked for it yet, THE MACHINE ASKS FOR IT. So, I put my card in and wait for the machine to prompt me to put my PIN in. But, one full second before the machine tells me it’s ready for my input, THE TELLER’S MACHINE SAYS IT IS READY. So the bloody teller (maybe this is where they get their name from) TELLS ME TO PUT MY PIN IN. But the machine is not ready_ oh, wait, of course, it’s ready now, just before I can explain.
This sounds trivial, I know. In the greater scheme of world troubles and strife, this little card thing seems like something of a mere bagatelle. I accept that, I do. BUT IT HAPPENS EVERY BLOODY TIME.
Every time, I pay more than thirty euro, I end up looking and feeling like a man who doesn’t know how the card machine works. “You can put your card in now.” “You can put your PIN in now.” I KNOW!!!! I’M A SMART FUCKER, I’M JUST WAITING FOR YOUR FUCKING MACHINE TO KEEP UP WITH ME.
Here’s thing number two and it’s a driving thing so… watch out.
We have a number of roundabouts in our great little town and the rules about approaching and using these roundabouts are quite clear. There are two lanes on the approach to each of these roundabouts and the rules are clear. What? I said that already, did I? Well, there’s a reason for that. IT’S BECAUSE THE RULES ARE CLEAR.
If you’re turning left or going straight on, you use the left lane. If you’re turning right or going back the way you came (and I wish some of you would) you use the right lane. If you’re going straight ahead, you don’t use the right lane. Everybody knows this, the signs are irrefutably clear on this point.
The trouble is that most people are going straight on so the queue in the left lane becomes quite long while the queue in the right lane is mostly clear.
And there’s a special breed of gobshite who race up the outside lane and then go straight on, cutting the shit out of all rule-abiding drivers who are in the left lane meekly awaiting their turn. I’m not even going to get into it about them. They are bastards and fuckwits, the spawn of the devil. They are soft dogshit on the sole of my shoe and they are not worthy of my time here this morning. A pox on all their houses.
No, let’s leave those turds alone and concentrate of these other feckers. The smart, smarmy ‘I’m better than you are’ types who invariable ruin my day.
Can you guess what they do? These smarmy types? I bet you can.
Yes. Yes. They go up the right lane, passing all of us waiting in the left lane, then they turn right on the roundabout like they’re supposed to, and then… then… they go right around the roundabout and off up the straight-ahead road.
I sit in the queue in the left lane and I watch these bastards do this all day long. They whizz past me, get a nice easy access on to the roundabout and then round they go. I can only imagine the self-satisfaction they bathe in. I can almost see the pitying glance they toss to the waiting fools in the left lane as they roll on up the road.
AND THEY ARE MAKING ME LATE.
I could be gone through the roundabout by now. I could be almost home. But I have to sit and creep forward and watch and watch while a long string of pissy prats sail up and cleverly and cunningly RUIN MY DAY.
This second thing is the worst. Mostly because I can’t help but see it as a metaphor for life. We, the Plain People of Ireland, sit and behave and wait our turn. While the Flash-Harry fast track boyos take and take and take and wave at us and smile condescendingly as they pocket what is ours and sail on by to a better life with our rights wedged in their back pockets.
It makes me mad as hell.
But, unlike the Network Guy, I guess I am going to continue to take it.
It’s why I am where I am. In the queue. Losing.
It’s why you are where you are. Breaking the rules. Sailing on by. Winning.
I do love my town though.
It’s a great place to live.