Ponder this:

Saturday, May 2, 2009

I live to serve

I mean to be a regular contributor to my own blog, but I can think of nothing to write about. Some book that I have on my shelf advises:
“If you want to write, write! Just sit down and start writing.” I have been feeling crabby all day. I have been unproductive and uninspired and I have not been feeling the love. I am annoyed by complainers.
“My this or that hurts.”
“I’m so lonely . . . but I can’t stand to be around anybody I know.”
“Big Brother tells us when to go to the bathroom these days!”

Therefore, be forewarned: This will not be the kind of floaty positive isn’t Life grand entry to which I aspire.

Lemme tell y'about working for Big Brother’s tiniest little brother, the municipal government.

People call all day long for telephone numbers that they could look up in their own telephone books. Not even government numbers. They call for the phone number of the newspaper, or of the gas company, or of the attorney who handled the closing on their house.

One man regularly calls our office to rant about the neighbor who, on garbage day, puts his garbage four inches too close to the man’s lawn. Not on his lawn; the garbage is at the curb. But this man has to look at those garbage containers for as long as it takes for the trash collector to get there and pick it up.

One woman calls every spring because twenty years ago her neighbor paved his back driveway and the water runoff makes her back yard soggy. Every year, she calls to tell us that her back yard is wet.
It’s spring. Things are wet.

Another woman, voice like a knife, calls to see if it is legal for her neighbor to put up a clothesline in his back yard. She thinks it’s unsightly.
Yes, a clothesline is permitted.

Somebody calls because his electricity is out: Do we know why?
No. We don’t. Have you called the power company?
Well, no. He thought he’d call the village office instead. (Probably knows the phone number by heart; he’d have to actually look up the power company’s number.)

I expect that soon we will begin receiving complaints that the full moon is too bright and the weather forecast was wrong.

We receive near-daily faxes from a local attorney: He thinks the streets are dirty.
“Now that the snow is gone, you can really see how dirty Main Street is. Why isn’t the street department sweeping? Is the village too broke to fix the machine?”
In twenty-five years the street department has never run the street sweeper before Memorial Day, but this year the guy wore them down and they got out there and swept up all the dirt and gravel that they had put down all winter to keep people from complaining that the village streets were slippery.

The same attorney faxes us to let us know that there’s litter on somebody’s lawn.
Not piles of trash we’re talking; the codes officer went out and inspected and found that it was a couple of Kleenexes that had offended the barrister's sensibilities.

Our building houses the municipal court.
Directions to the court are posted: on the exterior entrance door to the building; on the interior entrance door; on a big red sign on the door to the court itself, directly in front of anyone entering the main hall. The court's office hours are posted on the door to the court.
Twenty times every day somebody shambles into the clerk’s office or the planning office asking us to take their payment of court fines.
We direct them to the proper door.
They plod off and two minutes later, return: “There’s nobody in there.”
We direct them to the sign on the court door that explains the days and times that fines can be paid.
They plod off and two minutes later, come back.

They explain to us all the circumstances of how they got their ticket and why they didn’t find out about the ticket until two weeks later because they’d been driving their uncle’s or brother’s or neighbor’s car. We stop in the middle of some complicated accounting process or in the middle of explaining an application to somebody, listen sympathetically and tell them to come back when the court’s open. After long blank looks, they shuffle out.
I guess if they could read and follow directions they wouldn’t be going to court.

Somebody’s store window got broken. It’s a local outrage: “Main Street looks like a slum!” The village takes the [uninsured] store owner to court for not repairing his window. The local paper reports the event and a week later steams with indignant letter writers’ castigation of the village’s spending tax dollars to enforce the law. “Why doesn’t the village just replace the windows for him?”


The mayor, paid a whopping fifty bucks a week for his part-time position, is not in his office every day. Constituents demand of us to know his whereabouts and when he will be in. We don’t know but we’ll certainly leave a message for him. They want to know when he’ll get the message. Well, I guess that depends on when he’s next in the office. And . . . we don’t know.

Listen. I try to keep a positive attitude. My years of waitressing provided me with skills to remain outwardly patient and pleasant and soft-voiced to all these hoo-hahs.

But I gotta tell you: When browsing through blogs and answering comments, I see “Big Brother tells us when to go to the bathroom these days!” I want to respond, “If that’s the case, maybe it’s because you wouldn’t know when to do it!”

I’ll just put this soap box back in the closet now.

Thanks for dropping by and, hey! Have a nice day!


Carolynn Anctil said...

I think it must be something in the air, or the water maybe...a lot of us out here in Bloggerland are feeling a bit out of sorts. Me included. I've also been uninspired, intolerant, and seeking solitude. I've been blaming a lot on hormones, lately....

It's odd how a certain segment of society lives with a Them and Us mentality. I guess it doesn't matter what your intelligence level or occupation is if you're inclined to play the victim.

It would definitely get on my nerves in short order. I hope the rant helped. :o))


Mary said...

Wow! It sounds like your job is really stressful. When you are nervous speaking in public, don't some recommend that you imagine your audience naked? Maybe that could brighten your day?

VioletSky said...

That was a great rant. Feel better now?
I like your coping skills.

June said...

My rant did help a great deal, thanks. I felt better immediately.
Mary, not so much "stressful" as "wearying." And believe me when I tell you: I do NOT want to picture most of these people naked! :-P

Michele said...

June, I love your blog! This post might not have been positive but it was certainly hilarious... probably not to you though, huh?