| I’m at the end of a tiring day, one in which I’ve become even more aware that
my life, like everyone else’s has become entwined with people from everywhere else in the world. It would have been a lot easier if I were able to speak Spanish, Hindi and Japanese.
No, I didn’t go on a super fast trip around the world. I simply sat, telephone implanted in my left ear trying to conduct some credit card business, pay my income taxes and attend a baseball game.
Take the tax problem, first. My tax lady had figured out how much I owed and
all I wanted to do was pay the bill with a credit card, something I have often done before. I learned that I could pay this way again but this time I had to call the company delegated by the federal government to handle the process. Using a special number, I reached the company and the longest, most complicated menu options ever. When I finally pressed the number I thought would serve my purpose, it didn’t, but did give me the chance to speak to someone who, finally told me what I had to do, lead me through the works, and let me pay by card over the phone.
When I told the lady this made me a bit nervous as I made it a policy never to
give a credit card number over the phone she said, “Don’t you trust your government?” I wouldn’t touch that question with a forty foot pole.
It didn’t help that every few minutes she had to put me on hold while she checked with someone to make sure she was doing things correctly. I guess if I don’t end up in Leavenworth for failing to pay my taxes or my identity isn’t stolen, she would pass the test.
While the phone was still hot, I decided to transact some other business. I was not looking forward to this because once again I had to straighten out a mistake made by my credit card company. I should point out that in doing over 30 years worth of mutual transactions I’ve never had a minute’s worth of trouble until they transferred their work to various places around the world.
Since then, this is the fourth time I’ve had to call and they’ve had to apologize and set things right. I thought my problem was simple. I should have known better. Solving the world’s biggest problems would have been simpler. I kept a record of today’s call, for further complaints at the corporative level. I started in Canada
with a young lady who heard my story and switched me to another nice Canadian
lady who heard me out then switched me to another young woman in India, who switched me to a young man in the Philippines, who finally switched me back to someone in Canada who swears that she corrected the error.
Of course none of the call transferrals were instantaneous. Each required at least five minutes of awful music. All the people were polite and friendly, even calling me by my first name. At one point I dozed off, to be awakened by a male voice in Hindi calling, “Virginia, are you there?”
At last everything was finished and I avoided even looking at the phone for the
rest of the day, until five o‚clock when Katy called. In the course of the conversation she told me that she and her friends were gathering at a restaurant to watch the Red Sox game which I told her I’d be watching too.
If you’re a fan you know, but if you’re not you’re probably not aware that last
night was not only the home game season opener in Boston but also Japanese night at the Boston park. It was the home debut of the new, young Japanese pitcher, Daisuke Matzusaka.
The opposition featured a great Japanese centerfielder Ichiro Suzuki and a catcher Kenjie Okajima. Suzuki had been a super star in Japan before coming to Seattle to play ball. It seemed as if half the press in Japan was at the game. One of the announcers was trying to say Good Morning in Japanese to the millions of fans in Japan who were up to watch the game.
It’s a shame, not to mention a hardship not to be multilingual to some extent. At least it would be nice to yell Go Sox in Japanese and Spanish and a few words in about three other languages, like, “Put me on hold one more time and I’ll scream.”