Yesterday morning, when I set out for my run, I went past a young woman pushing a pram one handed as she used he other to keep her phone to her ear, deep in conversation. Twenty minutes later, after I had run up the hill, round the back roads and back down again, I came across her once more, still deep in what I presume might have been the same conversation. It's a good job the child in the pram was sleeping. No chance of conversation for him from the pram-pusher!
Some people's ability to talk on the phone is astounding. I remember organising to receive itemised bills from the phone company, back in the time before mobiles, because our daughter spent hours talking to her best friend on the phone. The best friend only lived across the road. It would have made more sense to go across and talk directly but somehow that would have broken the magic of the phone conversation!
At least theirs was a private conversation. Nowadays, people live their lives in public more and more often. You hear details of divorce and more at top volume in mobile conversations carried out by people who have not realised that shouting does not make the phone call any clearer! Of course, not everyone needs a mobile phone to wash their dirty linen on public. The other day I walked behind a couple having a loud argument about some object that had been lost in the course of the afternoon. Although only a yard or so apart, both were shouting at the top of their voices. The small boy who was with them sensibly walked increasingly further ahead of them, disassociating himself from the row!
We have managed to avoid a row with the Vodafone shop. In fact, we were extremely reasonable throughout our visit there and the Vodafone shop assistants were models of excellent customer service. For the most part we use internet cafes for our internet access but we have a mobile dongle, purchased fro Vodafone some years ago, which we use to check email in the flat and do things like check the bank accounts and order stuff online, the kind of transactions you don't want to do on a public wifi. This gadget has served us well for a few years now. We renew it whenever we are here, taking advantage of whatever offers the company has available this summer there has been a special offer, clearly aimed at holiday makers, a fair amount of internet time for €15 over a three month period.
This was fine until we returned from our stay in Pontevedra, where we had not used the dongle at all, and discovered that it would not connect. In the shop, they contacted their customer service who said that, despite what our laptop showed, we had used up all our allowance. Somewhat sceptical about this, we nonetheless paid another €15 for a recharge. Within a week we had a repeat performance. Back to the shop we went! The young man who had sorted things last time was mystified and spent a good deal of time arguing the toss with customer service. Then light dawned. Nobody had told him to put in a special code when he last did the recharge. Consequently we had been charged at a different, faster, more expensive rate and our €15 had been consumed in double quick time. Contrite and a little embarrassed, despite it not being totally his fault, the young man sought, and got, permission from his manager to recharge our dongle at the shop's expense.
Now, that is what I call customer service?
I mentioned giant spiders the other day. Now, how about giant wasps? There I was, quietly going about my business, thinking about making a start on getting lunch organised yesterday when I spotted it: a huge, really HUGE, wasp. It must have been well over an inch in length. Its wingspan alone was almost an inch. It was the kind of thing to really give the heeby jeebies to an avispaphobe, or whatever you call someone with a pathological fear of wasps.
Fortunately it was just flying around, without obvious signs of aggression. So I opened every possible window, hoping that the silly thing would leave of its own accord. No such luck! Instead it managed to fly between to two layers of double glazing and buzzed around there, having no idea how to get out. Neither did we have a clear idea of how to get him out.
Summoning up all our bravery, eventually we had a go at sliding open the various bits of window, still trying to persuade him that a sharp exit was what was called for. But wasps must have extremely small brains for he remained there. Large, slim-waisted, black and yellow in colour. But mostly LARGE!
Eventually he reached a position where all we could do was slide a section of window closed on him, pinning him against the frame. With much trepidation we investigated later and a still twitching form fell into the bottom of the window frame. Taking care not to be accidentally stung, I scooped him into a piece of kitchen roll and flushed him down the loo.
Not very kind to the poor insect, I accept, but I have been stung by wasps of normal size and did not fancy taking my chances with this big fellow.
I just hope none of his brothers and sisters come looking for him!