Adding Injury to Insult


It seems there are two groups of people in this world: those who are easily insulted and those who are not. Personally, I feel that I fall into the latter group, so I’ve decided to work on this. Having little prior experience in this area made me realize that I have to tread carefully so as not to destroy any friendships or relationships, at least not yet. This is why, instead of focusing on people I meet, I decided to focus on the voices I hear. Shall I explain?

If you’ve ever called a business, school, or doctor’s office, you are often greeted with the following message, “Hi, you’ve reached ___. Please listen carefully because our menu options have recently changed. If you are trying to reach ___, please press 1, etc., etc., etc.” Now, here is where the situation gets murky for someone like me: Is this a compliment or an insult? After all, if she (and it’s usually a she) is telling me to listen carefully, she’s assuming that I am smart enough to have memorized the previous options. I mean, why else would I have to listen carefully? On the other hand, this could be perceived as an insult, because let’s face it, does she think I didn’t notice that this is the same message that’s been playing for the past five years? The menu options have not changed recently, and quite frankly, I’m tired of having to hear about it every time I call. However, I figured that before I made my decision about whether or not to be insulted, I would give the company the benefit of the doubt. So I continued with my call and listened for the option that would allow me to speak to a customer representative. Well, apparently they weren’t lying when then said I should listen carefully. After following the directions and pressing a never-ending sequence of numbers, I was finally booted out of the system with a message saying, “We are unable to process your request. Please call back when you are able to listen carefully.” I think – I could be wrong – that this was an insult.

My next experience of a voice that speaks to me was not from the heavens but, rather, from the gas station pump. As many of you have noticed, pumping gas has now become an opportunity to catch up on sports and entertainment news with the “new and exciting” Gas Station TV. You know, that little monitor that begins playing just when you’re back is turned, scaring you half to death because you’re not expecting the pump to talk to you. To me, this clearly falls into the category of insult. I mean, have we really reached the point where we need to be entertained during the two minutes and forty-seven seconds it takes to fill up our cars? Isn’t it enough that we are handling a flammable liquid while trying to ensure that our children, who are waiting impatiently for us to finish, don’t cause each other bodily harm? I, for one, would appreciate it if they would simply go back to the good old days when they displayed the weekly forecast, which, quite frankly, is much more useful than knowing who won a football game and doesn’t distract me from the task at hand.

As it turns out, it’s also possible to be insulted by a voice inside your car that does not belong to either you or your passengers. Just try turning on your GPS. My first complaint, which might not quite qualify as an insult, involves the unit of measure that my GPS lady uses. How many of you have heard her announce: “Turn right in 1200 feet” followed by periodic updates. Now, I get the “turn right” part. What I don’t get is the 1200 feet. I mean, the last time I heard about anything being measured in feet was when I took my kids to the doctor. So far no one in my family has even reached six feet. Therefore, I’m not really sure how I’m supposed to know how long 1200 feet is. I’ve thought about asking my family members to lay down head to toe along the road so I could get some idea of it. However, even with every member of my immediate family lying sprawled along the sidewalk we wouldn’t get close to 100 feet.

Luckily I don’t use my GPS often. The real reason, though, is that I don’t feel like I’m being heard. Did you ever notice that, whenever you go against your GPS lady’s wishes, she pretty much disregards your choice? How insulting is that? If I’m going to have a relationship with a voice inside my car (thank goodness it’s not inside my head), then I want to be respected, feel that I’m an equal and know that my opinion counts. So far, that hasn’t worked out so well for me. My most recent spat with my GPS lady occurred when I was trying to find a store that I’d never been to. I wanted to go straight, she wanted me to make a U-turn. She insisted I turn around, I declined – you get the idea. After a while, I got so frustrated with Ms. GPS that I decided to call the store for directions. Unfortunately, it seems there is a conspiracy against me, because I was greeted with the following message, “Please listen carefully because our menu options have recently changed.” I was so upset I accidentally hurt my finger when I pressed the button on my phone too hard when hanging up. Talk about adding injury to insult.

After I calmed down a little, I did some introspection and came to the conclusion that this new outlook on life just wasn’t working out for me. I decided I would have to revert back to my old ways. Since then, I’ve been on better terms with all the aforementioned voices to the point that I even got to talk to a real, live person yesterday when trying to get directions to a store. Unfortunately, I got so excited I accidentally hung up on them. I just hope they weren’t insulted.




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