Fate happenstanced to find me at a certain ‘golden-arched’ drive-through ordering coffee.
“Could I have honey sachets, instead of sugar? Thanks.”
The speaker-voice responded earnestly “I don’t have a key to press that allows for that”.
When I reached the pay window, I smiled up at the boothed beauty, and reiterated my request, vis a vis the honey, and she gawped at me, lipsticked mouth ajar.
“Honey goes with toast.” She answered, not unlike an automaton.
I differed, patiently, “I have had honey sachets, instead of sugar with my coffee, from this branch, many times actually.” She maintained her bland smile, ignoring my glance at the container of ‘condimentary’ sachets, visible, and within arm’s length.
“If you pass me a honey sachet, instead of a sugar sachet, I will put the honey into the coffee myself OK?” I offered helpfully.
The boothy babe couldn’t process this, and went off to ask her supervisor, ignoring the queue-through traffic accumulating behind me. (In the time it took for her to return, I could have donned a bee-keeping outfit, acquired a license, found a beehive and harvested the honey myself.) When she reappeared, booth side, she handed me a honey sachet reproachfully, as if I had asked for a pint of blood.
“Would it be too much trouble to get a spoon to stir my coffee with too?”
‘Spoon?” She repeated.
“Spoon!” I confirmed, “rhymes with ‘moon’ and ‘loon’.
She gave me a plastic stick.
Later, it occurred to me as I stirred (and I am a keen stirrer) that this was emblematic of a very modern malaise.
I once worked with a ‘suit’, in a large corporation, he looked the part, had a ready smile and a strong grasp on corporate lingo; meaningless phrases like ‘leverage’,‘onboarding’ and ‘synergize’ would fall from his lips like kisses. In reality, he delegated all his work, took the credit for other’s efforts, undermined his colleagues, and spent weeks on ‘professional development’ courses in order to embellish his ‘sus’ resume. (His actual intelligence and initiative ranged from nought to subterranean.) Cunningly, just before his ‘review’ was due, he secured a promotion and left. The last I heard of him, he was heading a global corporation, on a six-figure income, as its CEO.
(Note: ‘Celebmania’ – making billionaires of the brainless, banal, vain and immoral.)
Maybe if you can’t beat the system you should just join it? Hard work, talent and initiative so often go unrewarded, so why bother? Next time someone asks you to do something requiring effort, thought, skill or initiative, reply with a bland smile “I’m SOoooo sorry, I don’t have a button for that!”