Recently Oklahoman Congressman Markwayne Mullin stood before his constituents and complained about to their complaining, telling them, it’s “bull crap” that constituents pay his congressional salary. I’m confused why anyone is confused, insulted, or put upon by his statement. He merely stated the unspoken. The word rude is an adjective, and means “discourteous or impolite, especially in a deliberate way.” Rude, ruder, rudest are variations on the theme, expressing degrees of discourteousness. No matter the tense, I muse to say I believe we have become a ruder society (for a long time), progressively ruder and growing. Deliberately, unintentionally, matters not, we are ruder, cloaked under the guise of convenience. A progressive fungus first appearing in the public sector, migrating to the private sector, then on to the populace.
Public employees hidden behind a series of voice mails, promising to get back with us, never fulfilling that promise, forever shocked when we learn the inside number. “How did you get this number?” Forgetting we pay their salaries.
“Push 1, please”. One doesn’t work; works only two out of ten times. They – those on the other end of the phone – are disappointed that it worked at all, on those two occasions.
“Can you hold?”
“No, no, please don’t put me on hold.”
“Push 2, please”. Pushing two works a little better; something about the percentages; a percentage of callers will be filtered out, after messing with pushing one – one – two – three times; allowing frustration, resignation to take hold, much like a genetic trait, part and parcel of the calculus.
Farming out consumer service to other countries, a little better, most times nicer, somewhat akin to exporting convenience (or is that inconvenience?), exported, across county, state lines, across one, two oceans.
Developing, making sure our input is not a computer bot, requiring us to type in symbols and number – Y O U W I L L 7 N E V E R 1 1 G E T T H R O U G H F O O L 7. Answering after successfully typing in the required letters/number, after three times; the first time not able to read the code, the second time, entering the correct letters/numbers, being told we erred, “try again” or “you can call this number”, third time, getting through and reaching not a real person, but a computer bot.
We have been primed. Somewhat like a Darwinian mutant, texting instead of calling. Receiving a call, responding by text, email, or never returning the call or calls, seeing nothing wrong with our conduct, heads down, text, text, texting away – yes we do. Texting birthday wishes, chocolate cakes, flowers – “woo thank you.”
Primed over the years, wondering why we can’t talk to a real person, instead retreating, adopting the same behavior, emailing “I love you”, before going back to your favorite television show. Hiding behind caller I.D., pretending to have never received the call, lying, lying, lying, pretending the phone broke again for the thirtieth time this year. My, my, my, oh … oh …. Oh … how we have learned, how we have changed.
I dreamt – now I believe, convinced country and western music has the solution. To the Congressman, public employees, those in the private sector who play the game of transfer, never answering our questions (“Can you hold?”), to our friends hiding behind their phones (laughing about the irony, never being available, always busy, lying on cue): “Where did you come from? Where did you go? What did come from? Where did you go? What did I say? Bullshit!” You got it right; the appropriate response to rudeness is calling out the rude, rude, rudeness, kicking the right leg, Cotton Eye Joe-ing across the landscape, pronouncing bullshit (proudly, loudly), picking up the bull dung and flinging it back. Bullshit.