Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Owner of 2 Cell Phones…Master of None

My cell phones are in the possession of my daughters who aren’t rich enough to be trusted by the phone companies.

One of my phones is in Montreal and one is here at home except when my daughter is out which is rather often lately. I’ve never operated my phones, or at least I haven’t until Sunday night when my youngest lent me my phone for the first time.

Sunday night was the first time I actually found myself needing a cell phone. Elizabeth and a friend would be visiting another friend in the hospital. They wanted to be picked up when they were finished visiting but didn’t know when that would be.

Marty and I would be at a church meeting. So, we arranged that Elizabeth would text us from her friend’s phone. (As a jobless high school student, she can only afford the texting plan.) Then we would text her back on her/my phone to let her know when we could get there.

“The keys are so tiny…how do you press the right one.”

“No, mom don’t use you nail…use the pad of your finger.”

We came up with a simple plan. I would simply text K and a number, the number of minutes it would take us to get to the meeting spot of her choice.

As insurance she gave Marty a lesson as well. She thought he might be less cell-phone challenged. I don’t know why. His fingers are fatter than mine.

By the end of our church meeting, we hadn’t had any action from the phone. I checked the screen. Just then the message came in.

I clicked on the message area. I typed in the K. Then the screen changed. I don’t know why it changed. I didn’t know how to get back the message. I pushed the few buttons she had showed me and several others as well. The screen kept changing.

While I was doing this Marty was doing his part leading me to the car and driving us to the hospital.

The text message didn’t reappear. When we were about five minutes from our destination my daughter sent another text. “Where are you?” 

Now I had a new starting point. I gingerly pressed the K, changed the keypad to numerical with two clicks on the number icon and then a 5. SEND. Oh the joy of success.

Five minutes later the girls were in the car. “How come it took you so long to return my message?”

“The message disappeared. I was working on getting it back.”

“That took 10 minutes!”

Monday, September 19, 2011

To Leave a Trail of Joy...

(continued from previous post)

While standing in line at the DriveTest Centre:

I could have passed out oatmeal cookies (if I had brought them).

I could have held sweet-smelling roses.

I could have told jokes.

I could have not told jokes (I did that).

I could have prayed for the people in line with me.

I could have prayed for the lady at Desk 4.

I could have sang a song.

I could have sang, "Joy to the World."

I could have sang until someone paid me not to. Then I could have given the money to the poor or maybe to the lady at Desk 4 (Bribery?).

I could have organized a line dance. We could have had a line dance competition between information and drive test lines.

I could have recited "You will be saved." Romans 10:9. 

I could have smiled.

Friday, September 16, 2011

It’s All Based on Choices

(continued from previous post)

Worse things:

I could have been escorted from the premises for talking to the lady at desk four without first standing in line for two hours.

I could have actually had to wait in line two hours.

Better things:

The DriveTest people could have answered the phone.

The DriveTest people could have answered the email.

Even better thing:

My daughter could have timed her driver training a tad sooner, like two years ago.

Even better than that:

I could have left a trail of joy at the DriveTest Centre.

But how?

(to be continued)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Every Problem has an Expiry Date

(continued from previous post)

I relayed the information I had gleaned at the DriveTest Centre to my daughter in Montreal. She would not be able to arrange to do her test during the Christmas break.

She went online and booked one of the many dates available to her. (I don’t know why the man told me there would be one date and one date only.)

The date she chose fell on the Monday after the weekend she would be coming to Ontario to celebrate a cousin’s wedding.


It worked out.

There are worse things in the world than driving 10 kilometres to the DriveTest Centre, and waiting in line twenty minutes to find the answer to a simple question.

(to be continued)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

An Answer to My Simple Question

(continued from previous post)

I stood in line. I wondered if the lady at desk 4 may have taken the time to warn the person at the information desk about me. Now that was a paranoid thought.

Twenty minutes later, the lady at the information desk patiently listened to my question, but wasn’t sure about the answer.

She referred me to the man at the desk next to her who was taking applicants for the road test and just happened to be wanting to ask her to do something for him. Inadvertently he heard my question.

The man said my daughter would have to go online before September 27th (when her five years was up) to book her test. She would have to take the date offered and she couldn’t just pick a convenient date during the Christmas break even if she lived out of province.

A simple and straightforward answer to my simple question.

I thanked them both and left.

(to be continued)

Monday, September 12, 2011

This is Streamlined Service?

(continued from previous post)

I decided to ask the lady at the desk beside a big blue number 4. She looked pleasant enough.

I told her I would like to ask her a simple question about my daughter’s driver’s license. She told me she wouldn’t be able to answer my question. She really didn’t even want to hear my question.

She told me I would have to go and stand in the information line and they would give me a number and then I could have my question answered.

I asked her if I would end up back at her desk after I stood in the line. She told me she couldn’t tell me that and I would have to stand in line and find out.

I asked her which line was the information line and how long it was. She said I would have to stand in line and find out.

I told her my daughter had phoned and emailed, but no one had answered the phone or the email. I asked if they ever answered the phone.

She said no because that would take time away from the person who had been standing in line for two hours to talk to her.

I asked her if I would have to wait in line for two hours. She said I would have to go and stand in line, so she could help the next person who had already stood in line for two hours.

I asked her if the government intended to hire more people. She said she didn’t know what the government intended to do. I guess that since DriveTest is now under a private operator, this was entirely the wrong question. 

I thanked her and went to find the appropriate line.

“Sorry about THAT,” I heard her say to the fellow she should have been talking to.

As I mentioned, I had trouble leaving behind a trail of joy.

(to be continued)

Friday, September 9, 2011

What Exactly is A DriveTest Centre?

(continued from previous post)

This is what the DriveTest Centre says about itself:

We are the new private operator of Ontario's 56 Driver Examination Centres, formerly managed by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. Our DriveTest Centre teams are helping maintain Ontario's road safety record with great customer service, such as reducing waiting time for a road test appointment and more convenient operating hours. With streamlined service, you can focus on what's important: meeting all the requirements to obtain an Ontario driver's licence.

When I walked in I was surprised to see dozens of people milling about and others in several line-ups snaking through the building. 

Where do I ask my simple question?

(to be continued)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

More Than a DriveTest

(continued from previous post)

I went to the DriveTest Centre to ask a simple question for my daughter who was in the process of booking a road test.

My daughter is out of province, her five years to complete expires this month, and she wanted to know if she could get an extension to perhaps do her test when she is home for the Christmas break.

She phoned the local DriveTest Centre but they didn’t answer the phone. She emailed the local DriveTest Centre, but they did not respond to the email, so she sent her mother to to local DriveTest Centre to ask the question.

My daughter is glad she didn’t go with me…like I said, I had trouble leaving a trail of joy behind.

(to be continued)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Leaving Joy Everywhere You Go

I’m reading a book called Blessing Your Spirit. It contains daily readings written to bless a person’s spirit. I’m on day three.

Today’s message blesses me with being contagious with the joy of the Lord…with having so much of His joy that my joy touches everybody I associate with…and I am blessed with leaving behind a trail of joy everywhere I go.

Today I went to DriveTest, a driver examination centre. I had trouble leaving a trail of joy there.

(to be continued)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Senior’s Moment?

Friday morning I got up at six.

That’s the time my husband gets up, and about two hours earlier than I’ve been getting up most of this past summer. I had volunteered to be at the 24-7 prayer truck down by the Rock by seven on Friday.

At 6:30 after a refreshing shower and an almost leisurely breakfast, my husband began urging me to make haste. He didn’t want me to glance at the newspaper, or check my e-mail or facebook or even turn on the computer.

I found this rather annoying and told him so. “It only takes 20 minutes at the most to get down to the Rock. I have plenty of time.”

“Marian, we first have to drop the van at the mechanic for service.”

I should have known that. Marty had mentioned it briefly the previous evening.

So, this was why my husband was trying to streamline my morning routine. Dropping the van off at the mechanics would take at least 20 minutes and I needed to hurry if I didn’t want be late for my commitment at the prayer truck.

Now I could claim my forgetting about his van-servicing arrangement to be a classic case of “senior’s moment,” but I think it actually results from another phenomenon. I don’t know if this phenomenon has a name. I’ll call it “melding syndrome.”

I’m thinking the melding syndrome sets in on happily married couples at about the 35th anniversary. I say this because Marty and I have been married for 35 years since June 12th of this year and I have been noticing melding syndrome frequently of late. Basically we are becoming more and more alike in our thinking, our attitudes, our expectations etc., so much so that each assumes the other knows what we know and has exactly the same priorities and objectives. Of course this is a mistaken assumption.

Just because we both wear green spring jackets and blue winter coats and often show up at church in matching clothes doesn’t mean that if Marty arranges to bring the van in for servicing  on the day I arrange to get up two hours early to pray that I will remember about the van.

What appears to be a senior’s moment on my part is actually an assumption on my husband’s part that I am totally in sync with his thoughts and plans. He assumes this because after 35 years of blissful marriage our thoughts and plans line up at least 35 percent of the time.

Of course we’ll never be completely melded and that causes the friction. We find ourselves assuming the other knows and thinks exactly what we do, merely because it happens so often. This leads to misunderstandings about what we are doing or not. (As well as strange half-spoken discussions impossible for an outsider to follow, but that’s another story.)

The only antidote: a good measure of the fruit of the Spirit—particularly long-suffering.