The evidence was clearly there. The clues would have jumped out at me if I’d paid attention. They’d have signaled that this day would be very different. The first clue was that destroyed road sign.
Like a battlefield casualty it lay lifeless and alone. Fescue grass and knee-high weeds shadowed it, lying there on the side of the road. Its thin metal support posts were twisted in 32 jaunty angles. The road sign had been the unintended victim of a speeding vehicle or maybe it was a hit and run job. Whatever.
The once majestic sign was now crumpled. Its bold, distinct verbiage was rendered garbled gibberish and impossible to read. The message on the mangled sign had once cautioned drivers to “Please Drive SLOW.”
More subtle was the next clue that a trying day lay ahead. Some people now spoke with a strange language. For instance, folks at the bank were now using two languages. The teller spoke Swahili. Her manager spoke a low volume Doctoro Esperanto as best I could tell. I’m fluent only in North Georgia Hillbilly English. So, I listened to them and spoke little.
Unable to understand what the bankers were saying to me, in my best English I wrote the manager a note requesting an appointment to meet with them in one week. She penned in a date, smiled down at me and gave back the note.
Maybe I’d bring a CPA interpreter along with me to the scheduled meeting. Maybe before then I’d polish up my listening skills and work on reading body language. Or could take that TV advertised short course called “Babbel.” But definitely I’d brush up on my computer lingo before our next meeting. Here’s why:
After returning home from that day of mass miscommunications and misunderstandings, I checked my telephone voice messages. With the help of cyber technology my troubled day only got worse. The first stored message informed me “you have been detected to not be a human, therefore ignore this recorded message.” This was disappointing.
My entire life I’ve strived to act and talk the talk of a human being. But today a computer had rejected me for being non-human. In today’s vernacular I’d consequently been “canceled” by a talking computer.
I became “agrafrustrated.” I had heard and clearly understood the computer’s words. They were in fact the first communicated words I’d fully understood on this bewildering day. I had decisions to make.
Should I take seriously the computer’s clearly articulated words that I had been canceled and was a reject?
Should I take time to determine the source of the computer’s words? Not trusting computers, I decided to meditate on the questions and make my decisions later. For now, I’d listen to other “urgent” stored messages.
While listening to the remainder of the stored human jabberwocky voiced by telemarketers and other fast talking canned messages on my answering machine, I heard a delivery truck drive up outside. I thought to myself, Hallelujah! Maybe something good is being delivered to me.
Maybe that heating element for the oven I ordered online two months ago is finally arriving.
With great expectations, I rushed into the garage, looked out and saw a ginormous box being dumped on my driveway. The deliverer drove away without saying a word.
The box had glossy black Spanish words printed on its side—the name and address of a company in Mexico. I removed the attached bill of lading from the jumbo box and read what was inside. In English it read “one heating element—(1) each 3 KW, 240 volt element.”
I was now thinking, Oh, Happy Day! I can fix the oven. Maybe start having biscuits for breakfast again. Quickly I opened the box only to discover more disappointment. Not one, but a total of 19 heating elements were inside the monster box.
Somewhere in Mexico, in a lonely warehouse there’s a logistics supervisor as agrafrustrated as I. He’s scratching his troubled head and in Spanish he’s mumbling to himself, Hmmm? … Que paso con esos otros 18?
I’m presently counting on Orphan Annie’s song being proven right:
“Tomorrow, tomorrow I love ya tomorrow You’re always a day away.”
Thanks to brother and educator Gene Crawford for supplying the North Georgia Hillbilly home-grown word, “agrafrustrated.”