'Time is the coin of your life'
"Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have and only you can determine how it can be spent.Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you." - Carl Sandburg
Well, Mr. Sandburg, you are so right. Today is another day that I was robbed of my "coins" by people who are hired to work, but the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. In addition to that many of them do not seem to care.
In the mail recently was letter by an insurance company that read, "We may have sent you information that does not apply to your contract." Therefore, they sent me a letter (maybe) that did not perhaps apply to me. How in the world would I know if they sent the wrong information? So it took time and postage for the first wrong information. Then it took time and postage to tell me that maybe it did not apply to me. I tried to call them back to find out their problem. The number it said was on the back of my card. That was easy … so I thought.
But the automatic operator wanted my I.D. number and birthdate, only to tell me that I did not exist. For more than 50 years I have paid them premiums and they have covered what they were supposed to. Who am I, or where am I that I do not exist in their files?
Ah ha! They also have a number in Maine, so I tried that. She was real person but said she was sorry she could not answer my question. She did have another number that could. That was easy!
When that number was answered by a chip operator, it said “This number cannot be used by your area.”
I found yet another number and tried that, but was cut off and the friendly automatic voice said, ”If you want that number, hang up and dial again.” I did hang up as directed, but I really did have better things to do.
Why should I spend any more of my "coins" on them?
I had plenty of work to do on my computer, but what in the world is that message? “You have a problem with the Internet.” Well, I did read that someone had hacked some accounts on Yahoo, Google and AOL. I couldn’t receive my mail. I tried everything that I know about computers, and that really is not very much. Nothing worked on Yahoo mail.
I called their customer service number and they automatically replied,” We cannot take your call because all the lines are busy. Send us an email.” How could I explain that not being able to send an email was my problem? For three days I played with that, and then one day I turned it on and it was magically working. I quickly began to send the work that needed to go out for publication.
Then the phone interrupted my process, but it was only my friend, “Rachael” who still wants to tell me about interest on my credit card that I always pay immediately, in full, so I have never paid interest. So I hung up on Rachael again. I do not have many bad thoughts, but I do wish she would disappear forever!
As I tried to continue again, while things were working, the phone rang again. The caller had a very important message for senior citizens. I was not brought up to be rude, but I didn’t want to hear one more time that I am a “senior” citizen. It is mostly just a state of mind, plus a number of aches and pains anyway. Don’t they know that?
Then for three more days I could not receive or send messages. I wanted so to tell them that my messages were not something to keep me occupied, it was work. Some emails looked like they were sent (when working intermittently) but the next day I would find them in drafts or spam. How I yearned to tell them to shape up or ship out, because at my age I did not have too many coins left to be spent unwisely.
Suddenly things were working. Happy once more I went to get my regular mail that day and among junk mail was an invoice for the telephone and Internet service.
But it was more than I had been paying, so I called customer service. The voice said “If you would like to pay your bill by phone for an additional $3, press 1. I did not want to pay the bill, I just wanted to know why it was more, but you can’t talk to an artificial operator. She kept saying, “I didn’t hear your response.” Well, I was not answering her because she cannot hear anyway.
I called again and let it ring, until finally a voice said, ”For a technician call number ... ” Neither did I want that but dialed it and hung on for 20 minutes, while they played crackling music. When at last a real voice came on, I told her I really wanted to find out why my invoice was so high this month. She gave me another number.
At this point my patience and my “coins” were being used up. The real voice said that they had changed their program. I told her it said on my bill that long distance was $19.99 extra a month, and I do not need long distance. Well, that was fine that I did not want it, but because of changes they had made, my bill would be $49 with long distance and $52 without.
I have been doing accounting for a total of 70 years. That did not make sense to me. However, my “coins” were being used up too much, so I just said “OK.”
It is certain that many people go through this often, but you know what? Why don’t I just get rid of my phone, therefore all the hassle, save what “coins” I may have left?
Barbara Dyer is Camden's official town historian; from time to time she tackles non-historical subjects.