Mice and Miracles By Trevor Plumbly
It might be me, but I reckon the number of people anxious to enter into my life without invitation is showing an alarming increase. Whilst this provides verbal ammunition for a grumpy old bugger, it’s bloody inconvenient when the old bugger is three parts blind. By far the easiest to deal with are the ‘door tappers’. Fundraisers are my most frequent visitors, earnest, but respectful young folk without a facial blemish between them, seeking a slice of my retirement cash, to rescue all manner of unfortunates from humans down to obscure rodents. Time was you could send them merrily on their way with a couple of bob, but now they want you on a ‘donation plan’. Doorstep decision, be the miserly old fart or sign up for a viral invasion of everlasting good causes? I don’t know what’s happened to the Mormon’s. Time was you could bank on a couple of visits a month, nice humble young guys in dark suits, blindingly white shirts with teeth to match, much less complicated than the others, they didn’t seem to want to save my soul, just sort of divert it to their own headquarters. There was no money involved, but I always felt that I was being vetted for some sort of ecclesiastical mafia. I found confessing to Druidism was the quickest way to get my day back.
Grade 2 pests are a bit tougher. They haunt by telephone offering anything from fantastic investments in banana republics who haven’t got any money to start with, to cheap power and insurance. They usually ring when I’m either a long way from the phone or just as the meal is put on the table. They kick off with a chirpy “Hi Trevor! How is your day?” I could point out that it was great till I just about broke my bloody neck scrambling for the phone but that would be churlish, and grumpies shouldn’t do churlish, it waters down the image. There’s not a great deal you can do here, for every one you hang up on there’s another crew waiting in the wings, and none of them seem inclined to accept any criticism for creating a dialogue that takes rudeness to end effectively.
The winner of the septic tank award for intrusion as far as I’m concerned goes to the folk that have decided that my computer needs protection. With sickening regularity I get little pop up messages containing dire warnings that my system is now unprotected. This electronic bludgeon is surrounded by instructions that I can’t possibly read along with what they tell me are boxes that need to be ticked in order to insure that my literary gems don’t get contaminated. Those in the know, (and there’s no shortage of them around here), have strictly instructed me not to click on anything when this stuff appears for fear of opening a portal for all sorts of nasties to enter. The problem for me is how to get rid of them? The escape key doesn’t do it and I can’t see the little x thingy so the only solution is alt, control, delete, but how risky is its continual use? And, like telemarketers the others are out there just waiting for their turn. Age tends to mellow, there’s little point or even room for anger when 70 zips past. But honestly to think of elderly and handicapped people sitting at a computer fearful of clicking the wrong command is disgusting. Unlike the other visitors we can’t say no, hang up the phone or easily hold any dialogue with the culprits. Sending this stuff out on a blanket basis may make logistical sense but when it blocks free access to the elderly and the handicapped it’s nothing short of blatant bullying.