Why aren't they more...well, "Convenient"?
I was in the mood to pay bills today. I actually looked forward to getting that dreary stuff done. Unfortunately, today was a dreary day. Gray and rainy. Rain, rain, rain. I can only think of one thing worse than rain. And that would be SNOW. I mean, I don't have to worry about "Rain-plows" blocking off the entrance to my driveway. So that's good. As long as the water doesn't wash my house away or "tsunami" me out of existence, I'll be okay. I don't get into town very often; the little post office a couple miles from me is a "satellite" office that closes at NOON. Gosh. I don't think I've been up before noon since my colonoscopy last October. And another little satellite post office 4 miles south of me CLOSED. Yep, a government business going out of business. Who said things couldn't get any worse? Which means that, to get to a post office, I have to drive a minimum of 7 or 8 miles to get there. And then stand in line. And wait. And wait. And wait. And since this is the Christmas mailing season, wait some more. And since it was so rainy today that a snorkel would've come in handy, after breakfast at a local eatery, I decided to go back home. Just not a good idea to be outside today. Unless you're a duck, that is. Quack!
So, I decided to pay my bills ONLINE. I had an electric bill, phone bill and cable TV bill that each beseeched me for immediate attention. Turns out all the websites wanted me to establish accounts, complete with account names, passwords, personal information, and wow...all of a sudden my brain began overloading. It was getting pretty complicated, and I didn't feel like doing any sort of masters'-degree research just to pay a damn BILL...so then I resorted to paying by PHONE, and oh, what fun that was. I have two words for you: PHONE MENUS. Phone menus times three, that is. "If you have a business, press ONE. If you have a residential account, press TWO. If you want to listen to another automated voice, press THREE. If you are about to gobble cyanide-concentrate 'cos you can't take another MINUTE of this phone-menu runaround, press FOUR." And, it costs money to pay bills by phone; these utilities have "outside collectors" which then route the payment to where it's supposed to go. So, on top of paying your bill, you pay another $2.95 for the privilege of paying by phone. So, I ended up paying a 'paying fee' so I could pay my bills.. Now I ask ya, "is that Capitalism or what?"
All of these modern conveniences. Big deal, huh? I remember when a little portable record player which contained TUBES was considered hi-tech. I remember when a little six-transistor radio was just the coolest-ever thing to have, magically pulling radio waves out of the sky. My first troublesome encounter with modern technology was in TYPING class, back in high school. I learned to type on an old Royal "440" machine that was made out of CAST IRON...or at least heavy steel. That thing was like a tank with keys. And I could pound the keys and slam the carriage back for the next line like a white tornado, and I hit 73 words a minute. Not bad. I was a pretty heavy-handed typist, though. The following year, I took "Typing II", and oh my gosh, the class featured ELECTRIC typewriters. I'd 'pound out' a letter, and several of "that letter" ended up on the printed page. If I rested my thumb on the space bar, the typewriter would go, "brrrrrt-brrrrrt-brrrrrrrt", and all of a sudden I had blank lines on the page. My typing speed actually went DOWN on an electric typewriter.
I took another typing test, which qualified me to apply for a job that, in the end, I didn't qualify for, just a few years ago, and found that my typing speed actually INCREASED. I'm up to 75 words a minute now. I think the computer might've had something to do with that...not because I have any talent, but more because I've been online so doggone much over the years. That's good for posting purposes, only sometimes my hands move faster than my brain thinks, and that's when it takes me the greater part of 3 hours to edit, re-phrase, and edit some more until I get my post the way I want it. And just when I thot I was fast, I was talking to some secretary somewhere once while doing business over the phone, and I told her, "I type 75 words a minute". Her reply? "I type 120". That's almost physically impossible, ain't it? So, as Eric Burdon once sang (on the Animal's "The Twain Shall Meet" album from 1968), "no matter how fine you are...there is always somebody finer". I guess I've learned two lessons here. One, to drive to the post office to pay bills, even if it's 40 miles away, and two, never try to impress a secretary with your typing speed, 'cos she'll mercilessly SQUASH you.
You might've noticed I changed my blog's layout somewhat. Basically, I took a lot of garbage out of the sidebar; the little "gif image" of George Bush dancing just grew tiresome. Now the only junk you'll see on this site is what you're reading here. However, the Prezzidential Countdown clock is first and foremost here, and it's tick, tick, ticking away...
Breaking news: Rudy Giulani, one of hundreds of Prezzidential candidates who we're enduring these days, checked into a hospital yesterday; he felt ill, but nothing serious was found. Only thing I can imagine is, if he doesn't have an ulcer yet, running for Prezzident will definitely give him one. (Seen on MSNBC's 'Scarborough country', 3am, PST. That's all from the 'night copy' desk.)