Saturday, October 29, 2011

What I miss

This morning as I am sitting here with the wind and rain and snow blowing outside my window, I am thinking of how things are so different now.

We have very little connection with people. We connect with automation. If there is a problem we call and do we get to speak to a person? no ~we have a voice, a disembodied voice giving us instruction, repeating words that have no meaning, press one for this, press two for that, to get connected to a real person I have to break out in a sweat!

This past weekend I had an experience to drive me to drink.

A few weeks ago I went to the ATM at my bank to withdrawal money, it was early in the morning before bank hours, I withdrew $400 and low and behold $287 came out. In between the 20's were fives and ones. I was shorted $113 dollars.

I came home and immediately called the bank, after jumping through a series of hoops, I was told it was not the banks' problem, call the debit card company, I called them and fumbled through more recordings, until they finally put in a claim. Yesterday I received notification the claim was denied, they said the correct amount came out of the ATM,~no it didn't. I called back again and was shuffled like a deck of cards on poker night around and around, when I finally got to talk to a person, after a long time of me saying "person please" into the phone to an automated voice, being transferred god knows where, trying, hoping just to get to speak to a person instead of a recoding.

I spent most of the afternoon going between bank and debt card company, nobody was taking responsibility for this mistake, each transferring me or sending me to yet another automated voice.
I realized this is just one incident, just one time, but we no longer have communication with a human being. I am all for modern technology but sometimes it goes too far.

Our life is full of automation, automatic bill pay, automatic help centers, automated direction, cell phones IPADS, people walking around and yes, God forbid driving ~looking down! on the cell phone and texting.
On another note, but really the same thing, we now have super stores~ supermarket and stores that carry everything from diapers to lamp shades to ground meat.
What happened to the family run businesses, the people we can interact with daily, where did they all go?
Life is full of press one press two.

That is one of the reasons I shop only at family businesses, I want to talk to the person cutting my meat, making my pasta, selling my vegetables. I want to have a conversation about the weather, about how to cook something, about how they are doing. I want human contact. I want to resolve my issues with someone who cares, not a robot voice that just transfers you to another robot voice.

Seek out the family run businesses, seek out people you can talk to, commiserated with, share a laugh, a story, a problem, people are all around us and everyone is on the phone paying attention to something other than what they are doing.

It is time to stop, stop and smell the roses, be in the present, be aware of who is around you. Know that we are all in this together, that we can help one another and that we need one another.

Growing up in a very Italian small neighborhood, I had the pleasure of shopping with my mother. Our stores were on the corner, around the block, up the hill. We had a few butchers, with meat hanging on hooks, pens outside with lambs at Easter time, turkeys at Thanksgiving, butchers who carved your meat, made your sausage, talked to you about preparation and care. We had corner grocery stores with fruits and vegetables so beautifully displayed they looked polished.We had the bread man, scents of freshly baked bread and pizza on a Friday night filling the neighborhoods. We had the chicken man, in a little row home filled with cages of live fowl chosen by you to be freshly butchered and ready for a Sunday roast. The women stopped and talked to each person, exchanging recipes, gossip, smiles, concern.
I miss the neighborhood stores. I miss the interaction with real live people. I miss making a phone call to resolve an issue and hearing a "Hello" at the other end.
Slow down, take your life a moment at a time, talk to people, ask questions, make eye contact, laugh with someone, share a story, an idea, a recipe, a smile.

We go around much too fast and life as we know it is passing us by.

Take some time to interact with people, your life will be richer for just that!

1 comment:

  1. Susan, next spring you HAVE to start coming to the Lansdowne Farmer's Mkt on Saturdays (9AM-1PM). You'll find a whole community of connected people who DO have the time to sit and talk, listen to music, smell and buy some flowers! They even have a local wine seller that uses decorated paint cans for their take on a box wine. It's the greatest place and growing every year. I think everyone misses the life they used to have when there were neighborhoods.
    kathy klein