Given the ring around

John ward and his bird pool.
John ward and his bird pool.
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WARD’S WORLD: By John Ward

One sport that should be given Olympic status is the telephone or rather the fine art of calling somebody and once you explain you would like to speak to somebody regarding an issue or complain about something or body, the ‘game’ can take on a whole new meaning.

The supposed response can be quite something from really helpful to downright misleading as they at their end possibly crave excitement.

Some are constantly looking at the screen just out the way of anybody like the management or whoever pays their wages of their mobile phone, tablet or paving slab sized electronic device, awaiting to see or hear on their chosen breed of particular ‘social media’ what somebody in Outer Mongolia is having for their lunch.

Inner Mongolia is three hours, 17 minutes behind clock-wise and the news of what they are going to chomp on for breakfast is sadly not so eagerly awaited.

In the not too distant past I got fed up of being given the ‘ring around’ and turned up in the reception area of the company of the person I had tried in vain to contact.

I was having or trying to have a conversation with the receptionist as while Miss Conception was explaining which part of the building I should be heading for, I saw her keep glancing down below her desk/counter and I wondered if some wild animal was about to feast on her ankle or wotever, assuming she had brought her wotever to work of course as I was unable to see what it was.

I asked politely in between her furtive glances ‘below decks’ if there was a problem I could possibly assist with but her stare was as if she was on another planet.

She sat there in a trance-like manner, still staring beneath her desk/counter and as her eyes bulged and then… “It’s a boy!” she shouted out and I thought that must beat an ankle or a wotever even on a points-scoring basis.

She then leaned over towards me to tell me, as she looked from side to side in some effort to see if anybody else was/could be listening, that she had just read a message on her tablet device partly hidden below her desk/counter, and it would appear that Jodie (?) has just given birth to a boy and both are doing well and she said she was so thrilled for them both.

More mind-numbing conversation and the following came to light.

They were not family, she has never met or spoken to this Jodie – hang on – news just coming in: baby will be called Marcus Delaney (no doubt after somebody Jodie has never met either) as up to the minute details were still coming through on a second by second ‘news update’ as this groundbreaking story unfolded.

You may have guessed this was another incident of ‘social media’ taking over somebody’s life and a percentage of their ‘job’ in that they look like normal humans who turn into robots and get involved in other peoples business and lives.

In my mum’s day they were called ‘nosey devils’ but then ‘networking’ was usually conducted over the garden wall as it was cheaper and instant plus the thought of ‘sharing’ with somebody unknown in Peru was unthinkable, plus how many bricks it would take to reach Peru wall-wise?

Back to Miss Conception as I struggled to find out what was going on before she broke out the bottle of bubbly to ‘celebrate’ and could she tell me for certain where I should be heading within the confines of the building as my life was ebbing away.

Example 2: acquaintance Eric was on his local town preservation society and conducted assorted bundles of paperwork to his local council as in protecting buildings of interest and pointed out that if he rung the council, regardless of who he asked to speak to, was told almost by auto pilot response that the person required was ‘In a meeting, on a course, unwell, on holiday’ or the extreme, dead in one case

He replied that the person supposedly now dead was in good shape earlier – as he had driven past him as he was taking his dog for a walk two hours previously, so it must have been sudden – did he have time to park okay?.

He swears the receptionist must have checked her script quickly and said she was confused with another person of the same name (later research proved there was nobody else of that name in the fold unless they were ‘taking their time’ in the executive toilet) or then again this could be a rare but unreported incident of a human resurrection.

Thankfully this does not go on nowadays of course...

Example 3: A few years back now an estate agent had a ‘sales executive’ or ‘Miss Paint n Powder’ as she referred to due to her full time hobby – it seemed – of slapping make-up on and staring into windows (but not Microsoft Windows) be they car, shop or anything that reflected her most wonderful radiance, who was messing me about and whenever I rung she too was ‘not available, in a meeting, a conference, in make-up or a trance’ – you name it, she was anywhere but where she should have been.

Plan X

I rung the office/shop number and the receptionist said she ‘would look to see if she was at her desk’ and ten seconds later the response was of ‘I’ve checked and I’m afraid she is not available’ but would take a message for her to get back to me (I had fallen for this before with no calls returned, like other people it seemed) and simple soul that I be, I played my ace card.

I replied that would she, the receptionist, like me to book her in for an eye test at the local opticians and if she gave me a few dates and times I would do the necessary.

The ‘reply’ was one of real bluster as she asked “EXCUSE me!?” but I let her rant on and on and once she stopped for breath I asked politely if she was finished?

By the sudden hush I took it as being a ‘yes’ as I then explained that I was being helpful as her vision was slightly impaired as if she was to look to her left, past the stand with all the new built homes bumf on, there she would see Miss Paint n Powder pruning her fingernails and if she could not see this a mere, say, ten foot away she needs an eye test quick.

I then pointed out that if she turned her head and looked across the street towards the ladies hairdressers dead opposite, why dash it! it’s little ole me leaning on the lamppost on my mobile phone and guess what, waving as well – so tick the multitasking box.

Her turning an instant beetroot colour was pure amazing as she pointed me out to Miss Paint n Powder who promptly vanished through a door behind her.

I walked across the road and popped in to say ‘hello, sweetie pie’ and suggested if they wanted to mess people (I was not the only one) about – I was more graphic to be fair – then get one that wouldn’t bite back.

Note: If you have been affected by any issues raised in the above, I have a few numbers for you to try.