Time Thieves – 2022 January No. 2

I am going crazy and want to change areas of life which are probably causing many of us to have way too little time to do all the important or pleasant things that we should have the time to do.

This wretched world of “me, me and more of me!” is the problem, and it’s sucking the soul out of many of us, though millions of people will continue to be in total denial! Have any of you stopped or even paused for a single second to think about the ways in which your time is being stolen from you every day? Okay, so we all (or at least many of us who are living in a relatively sophisticated country) have computers and mobile phones. Each time you do anything on either of these devices, you are bombarded by advertisements which, if one is totally honest, are useless and irritating to say the least.

So, you switch on your phone and click onto Facebook, as an example. There is a new post by someone whom you actually know and like. So, you decide to watch the video which she has posted updating all her friends and followers about her current circumstances. You think this is going to be a quick update. Think again! This person has no consideration for your busy life, and all the commitments which you have to fulfil during a normal day. 15 minutes after starting to watch the wretched, dragged-out video, you are angry with yourself for falling into the trap of even caring what this person’s life is all about! You were hoodwinked into wasting valuable “you” time because of someone else’s self-centred “me, me, me” time!

The same thing happens when you log onto a news app and see that there is a tantalizing question regarding, just as an example, the British royal family. The question seems simple but, lo and behold, it takes wading through reams and reams of trivia and barely related facts to try to find the answer to the question and the chances are that you will be so frustrated, that you never do. For heaven’s sake, let’s start remembering our school days, and having to make a precis of a lengthy piece of literature. Can’t we all start considering other people and stop dragging out information. As most of us cannot bear to wade through garbage to get to the nitty gritty of a situation, wouldn’t it be great if everything were simplified and answers were, as they should be, readily available in the minimum amount of time!

I am also getting frustrated on a regular basis with well known authors who, despite the fact that they have in the past written some really gripping books, are now taking about 500 waffly pages before we identify the killer, let alone the crime. All of this could have been reduced to a mere 250 pages – is this all a matter of trying to justify their existence on the year’s best seller list? For me, personally, short chapters, and a comfortable, easy writing style say it all.  I don’t want to read a page whilst wishing to high heavens that the author would stop all the filling and waffling and just get on with the job in hand – and a bit faster too please!

Just the other day I saw an article on U tube where a young American woman was offering to show viewers how to make very attractive fabric gift bags in a maximum time of 5 minutes. Now that really did appeal to me, as I do like to indulge in the rare bit of creativity. So, I started watching. 15 minutes later, and totally fed up, I turned her off. She had taken all this time and the gift bag was only half finished – so much for a 5 minute job! We are being coerced into wasting valuable time over and over again. I really am going to try to make 2022 the year in which I nurture each and every moment I have and not allow my curiosity to steal any of my “me” time!

Update and Comments: 28 June 2019

I initially began this update with a summary of my shocking experience regarding the renewal of my South African driver’s licence in a town called Krugersdorp, which is in a municipality adjacent to the Johannesburg municipality in which I reside. However, just remembering the 7 hour agony of the wait made me decide on a précis (it has become a rather long précis!) of the whole unpleasant debacle. If the characters working there had any self-respect as well as some human dignity, we would all have been in and out in record time. Many people had suggested that the Krugersdorp licencing department would be far more efficient than one closer to my home. This was not the case. Suffice to say that the disgustingly militant attitudes from every single woman working there on that day should have resulted in them being fired or at least hauled over the proverbial coals for rudeness to those of us who actually pay their salaries through our taxes. Unfortunately, this is the state of affairs in many government and municipal offices in this country these days.  No-one is taking pride in their work, and the public is treated with disdain and contempt regardless of skin colour. Sad but true.

One good thing to come out of all those wasted hours was the interaction amongst many of us who were in the same situation. One woman kept on telling us that she was sending messages to Cyril Ramaphosa (our president!) and that he was on his way to sort things out!  I had a Black guy called Tumi, who drives children to school, sitting near me and between his chirps and my own, we managed to laugh our way through what would otherwise have resulted in one or both of us having a stroke or a heart attack. My licence only needs to be renewed in 5 years’ time but he has to go back in two years due to his public transport licence! I feel that after a certain age we should have a renewal from now until death – except that when I saw some of the elderly people doddering around and waiting to renew their licences, it would actually make sense to be re-tested at some stage. Oh no, forget I said that. With the incompetents working at the licencing departments let’s leave things the way they are!

Well, at least my passports are valid, I am legally allowed to drive my car after waiting 8 weeks before my new licence was ready for collection and I have a valid South African identification book. Just one other comment before I bore you all to death. When a request was made to change my husband and my I.D. books over to the new card system, we were informed that because neither of us was born in South Africa (we both have South African citizenship and vote) we cannot get a card. However, we can apply for a new book if we want!! What kind of logic is this? Someone must have got the wrong end of the stick. Just another frustration in an otherwise perfect world! The sun is still shining in Jo’burg even though it is mid winter so what on earth is there to moan about!!

I would really be interested to know whether people living in other parts of the world have to suffer similar situations at government or municipal offices, or is this purely a South African scenario? When I had to apply for a new British passport 3 years ago it was completely painless and professional. The relevant documents were couriered to the U.K. and I was kept informed every step of the way as to where they were and at which stage of the process. In a very short space of time I was phoned by a local courier company to ensure that I was at home in order to accept the delivery of the new passport.  Zero stress involved at all. Oh well, there is a saying that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!!

How about having the following saying displayed for all to see in government or municipal offices all over the world!

“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises, he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Bye for now and see you on the Magic Roundabout!

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