The times are a changing.

The rains are not as rare as they were just a couple of years ago. It’s one of those lovely truths that are real.

If you stand outside and it rains, you’ll get wet. Try and disprove that, and you’ll come up against a fairly formidable body of dissent.

But irrefutable truths are becoming rarer these days. It is strange that everything seems to be in flux and that truth changes so often. It is not as solid as I first thought. Let me give you an example.

I go to bed having sorted something out. It might be something as insignificant as planning to pay the gas bill the next day. I fall asleep with yet another pleasant intention, a man of action after all.

The next morning all that resolve may be gone. You just feel different, and anyway, it is not a good gas-bill-paying day. It’s more than that. Ecouter svp. The truth of the evening before has changed. Why, and how?

One of the latest truths to change is that I always thought that the benefits of our domestic utilities were grounded in a solid unmovable truth. All gas and all electricity comes through the same cables and pipes. The cost of which depends greatly on usage and, (I foolishly believed) we are all charged the same.

If I see a nice suit in a shop I pay the price that is on it. If someone else wants the same suit as well, he pays the same as me. So far so good, but it is not so the case with gas and electricity. Even though my electricity and gas are the same type as my neighbour’s, the bill might be quite different.

Soon after moving here we had a knock on the door (not the dreaded midnight knock) and a young man told us the calamitous news that the gas and electricity company we belonged to had been privatised and we should, with some urgency, change over to another more stable and cheaper company.

He was a nice young man and seemed earnest. His brown eyes had a kind of pleading look and he even had taken his shoes off. People in socks have vulnerability about them. You feel they must be honest and sincere although the link between not wearing shoes and those attributes are difficult to prove if proving you must.

We quickly and assiduously changed over to the more reliable and more solid company with a well-known and trusted name that had withstood the ravages of time and, most importantly, the scourge of modern life ‘privatisation’. We were fortunate for this young man to have knocked on our door. Just in the nick of time.

It’s a difficult life for those unable to ‘let go’. ‘Letting go’ is one of those sociological popular phrases that has taken the world by storm. Only last year everyone was busy with forming ‘new paradigms’. We felt snug and above it all, but alas, as always, we grew tired of it and it soon wore off, we live in such an ever-changing ruthless Google world. It is so hard to keep up with the latest but ‘letting go’ might well give us an answer for a momentary survival in this neck breaking and speed obsessed life.

Please let me continue.

Six months after we changed over to the new gas and electricity provider, we had yet another young man on our doorstep, who convinced us that the latest company we signed with had now been ‘overtaken’ by a foreign company and was now out of the hands of Australia. Our future bills would be at the mercy of Taiwan. We would soon be charged with even higher prices. He had also taken off his shoes and had also the look of being so earnest together with hints of an entrepreneurial aura.

‘What the heck,’ we thought and changed over to yet another utility provider with yet more pensioner discounts and cheaper rates per cubic metre of gas.

Then we received a bill including a penalty of having broken our signed contract with the previous provider. We are now years behind financially. Unbelievably, we have just had another knock on the door – yet another friendly young man with brown pleading eyes and a solid-looking laminated name tag around his neck, with yet another earnest story about joining a truly ‘Aussie’ provider.

This is why my previous night’s resolve to pay the gas bill has evaporated. I am now having a little cry with a biscuit and cuppa. The gas bill will have to wait till after I learn ‘letting go’.

Gerard Oosterman is a word painter and blogger of tens of thousands of very wise and/or whimsical but hopefully amusing words. View his full profile here.

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