Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
Regardless of my admiration for the man’s wit, I admit that I have not had cause to pause and reflect much for the reason suggested by Mark Twain as I am forever friggen’ finding myself at odds with the world rather than on its side. So I reflect on this instead, somewhat. I think I might have spent entire minutes, at least three or four times that I can remember, wondering if the world was right, and I was wrong.
It is exasperating, of course, and often a little depressing to have to wade through the folly of life at large, mostly because I cannot do my work without the cooperation of people who don’t give a toss. I could tell them how be more efficient, but I have found in the past that this tends to be inexplicably counterproductive.
I am moaning because of the protracted exercise of getting the transcription of a 12-year old court case out of the transcription service, Bupkiss*. We sent our first written request for the transcript at the end of May.
More than two months later, two more written requests and bi-weekly phone calls had produced nothing. Dulcie’s* stock answer was that she “cannot find (her) typist” and that I should call her “in the afternoon”. I exaggerated a bit, perhaps, when I suggested that the administration of justice in this country could not possibly hinge on a missing typist, and I raised my voice somewhat in exasperation. She seemed to speed up a notch, noticeable only because we spoke on the phone so often, and suggested that I call her back “in the afternoon”. Not good enough, I said, I will call you back in two hours. In the meantime I left a message for her supervisor.
It seemed impossible that for two months, the audio tapes from an old case could be lying on the desk of a typist that was never around.
Dulcie phoned back, uncharacteristically, to give me the number of said typist. I don’t want to talk to the typist, I said, I want to talk to the typist’s boss. He has no boss, Dulcie told me. That is impossible, I said. Most people – almost everybody who works – have a boss. Not Hannes, Dulcie insisted. It was mysterious and irritating.
In the end, I spoke to the typist. Hannes*, as Dulcie explained, used to work for BBW*, and is the only person who still transcribes work that was recorded on cassette, like it used to be in the old days. (These days the record is captured on CD, and they have, I imagine, hundreds of people transcribing those.) Hannes and his sister work from home. I think that means that Bupkiss subcontracts the old cases to them, which, I guess, means that they do not have a boss. Lucky them.
Anyway. Hannes bewailed his computer crashing earlier in the week, claiming that he lost two weeks’ work. He promised that I could have my transcript “early next week” and when pushed, “Wednesday by the latest.”
I wondered, briefly, if I should phone Dulcie and apologise for raising my voice. On the other hand, if I had not, I would have had another dizzying phone conversation with her “in the afternoon”. I think the world is crazy. It’s a very good thought, the one by Mr Twain, and in my case, a very affirming one.
* All names of persons and places have been changed, where indicated, in case it mattered.