A life uncertain but ducks remain calm.

first'rickety' house in Balmain 1968.

first’rickety’ house in Balmain 1968.

So much seems to be in flux lately. My local bank branch and ATM machine have suddenly moved to the other side of town. Why is it that familiarity and permanency  of everyday life is rapidly disappearing, going away? There is so much nervous movements about. I still keep walking to the old ATM to try and get our daily bread in cash.  For the last two week I  have still walked to the old address and end up staring at a brick wall covered over with black plastic. That is where the old ATM used to be. A sign tells me where the bank and cash machine have moved to. I am not the only one to end up looking at the brick wall which is a great relief. I still marvel each time when the money comes out. If ever there was a bit of magic! The ATM at the new address is now in an alcove and has bits of electronics bolted on the ceiling. I know I am being watched and now make sure I wear my RM Williams instead of casually dressed in long black socks and open sandals. You just never know of being called to a police line-up after a large SUV has driven into the ATM and made a grab for cash. It does happen. My grandsons refuse to go with me when I wear those sandals.

I find the message  to cover the pin numbers with one hand while at the same time pinning in the numbers with other hand complicated. You would have thought that technology could improve on that  a bit better. Today there was a long queue at the ATM with an employee of the bank patiently explaining the ATM routine to an elderly client. Please note that the word customer is rapidly being replaced by ‘client’. Even a prisoner now is likely to be called a client. The elderly client had great difficulty with understanding ATM protocol and the queue was getting longer. The employee did her best and I overheard common terms being used that now is assumed everybody knows. I overheard the elderly lady asking what is a ‘pin’ number followed by the lengthy and patient explanations. However, the queue of other clients was getting  restless, brows were being raised , feet were shuffling and some words being uttered, albeit still muffled.

I have some sympathy for the elderly though. I mean, how far will this go? The technology is mainly to cut out employing people and save the bank money. It is not designed to improve service. It is all so faceless and impersonal. I mean that mindless electronic message at the end of having scanned all the shopping through, after money has been pushed in that slot, change given, you get that inane message ‘Thank you for shopping at Woolworth, the Fresh food people.’  Don’t you feel like hitting the machine? Where is the warm smile, and personal contact or exchange of pleasantry?

Creek

Creek

We now try and compensate and get warm contact with many uncritical ducks in the small creek that never stops flowing over muddy pebbles at the back of our house. Some of them know us and expect a crust of bread, especially a large white duck. Milo understands and behaves with a degree of decorum by not barking madly. Often similar people, seeking a smile or greeting, take that walk too and escape from the wiles of ATMs and overhead rotating sinister black eyes, electronic blinded thanks from shops and the IPhonic cluttered up youth in holey Diesel jeans, with some so iced up, hurling trolleys into creeks or around telegraph poles.

We should be so thankful for calm ducks.

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37 Responses to “A life uncertain but ducks remain calm.”

  1. roughseasinthemed Says:

    Sadly, all too true. It’s depressing to turn into an old person and moan about progress, ‘eeeh it were better when I were a lass’. Trouble is, I actually believe that.

    But even then technology and ‘progress’ was sneaking up behind. We used a night safe at our bank on Saturdays after work. We counted the money, filled in the slip and put it all in a nice leather zip-up pouch. No. This wasn’t good enough and people were untrustworthy, so we were issued with grey rectangular boxes, some plastic closure tags, and a stamp thing to imprint our personal code on the yellow tags. That way, no one could break into the box. It was a major faff compared with the zip-up pouch. And all those terrible plastic noxes. Where are they now? Cluttering up a landfill?

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I used to deposit inside the bank but have been advised to do it outside in an ATM machine. I pointed out that internet fraud is now over 3 billion $s a year in Australia. I don’t buy or sell using Ebay or anything over the internet but am paying my Internet usage on line automatically, probably getting the attention of some Nigerians who send me promissory notes of millions wanting a good home from a fleeing Minister for finance.
      He will cut me a couple of million, so, please send me details of your account etc.
      No, I still pay direct by cash into the post office with real paper receipts which I keep in a drawer for posterity and future funerals.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Yvonne Says:

    I sometimes wish that the CEOs of companies were forced to listen to the robotic voices on their call centres for 2 hours each day, to find out what we real people have to deal with. I don’t want to become a grumpy old woman, but, by George, some days it’s a close thing!

    It’s 9;50 am in Florence, 5:50 pm in Eastern Australia, and I’m listening to the ABC FM Classic station as I read and write.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. rod Says:

    Ducks. These are sold for food here and for most outlets – I now learn – they are bred in a waterless environment before being bumped off for the shelf. This must stop.

    Old people are doomed. Let’s have them pay for parking with a smartphone they don’t have and don’t want. Makes perfect sense.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes Rod. That’s why we don’t eat duck. We still have lots of wild ones within a hundred yards or so. They are wood ducks and seem to avoid the canny fox. No parking meters here in Bowral either. Just lots of people who love our PM Abbott, but nothing is perfect and like all of us, is doomed as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. berlioz1935 Says:

    Those talking machines at the automatic checkouts I can’t understand. I don’t use them after trying them out. The talked to me after I checked my goods and they said something. It took me a while to work out what that was. They wanted me to lay down the goods and not keeping it in my hands.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, It even asks if I use my own bag. I now am reasonable comfortable with them but prefer the girl or boy at the counter.
      Some of those machines you can get cash out, others you can only pay by card and don’t accept cash. It is a madhouse.
      A cash machine that doesn’t accept cash!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. auntyuta Says:

    I refuse to hand over my purchases to a machine. At the library I go to one of the friendly librarians to get my books done. Some things I just do not want to let a machine do. Even though I must admit that I have been a user of ATM machines for a long, long time!
    It is good to look at calm waters, with or without ducks.🙂
    For the elderly changes can be pretty distracting. Why for instance do have some changes to be made on the internet every so often? I am used to a certain layout and would very much like this to stay the same all the time. I cannot see that changes do improve my use of the internet.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Oh Aunty, Don’t get me going on internet changes. They do that at night when you are asleep. They are called ‘ essential updates’ and I have been so close to jumping in the creek seeking solace with a flock of ducks. They would understand immediately and provide a wing to cry on.
      I am forever changing my computer’s setting to an earlier date and undo the blasted updates.
      I am an old man now but would have no hesitation of raising my index finger into the direction of Micro- Soft star-like puckered entrance towards Windows 8.1 innards and (inappropriately) teach them a lesson they will never forget.
      I am sure that is why I can not print from my own WP. This will get sorted out by my good friend this week-end.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. bkpyett Says:

    You have echoed my thoughts so beautifully. I hate the way machines are taking the place of people and then we have unemployed youth not knowing what to do! Animals/ birds are so uncritical and constant!🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, we are surprised that young people are finding it hard to get a job, yet everything in the economy is geared to employ the least number of people. When a large company sacks hundreds the shareholders are rewarded by a steep rise in the price of shares.
      I like ducks and dogs too.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Jackie Says:

    Nature is a great remedy for this impersonal world we live in.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. elizabeth2560 Says:

    I had read that junk food companies refer to their customers as ‘users’ (like drug addicts). They get them hooked and then they have them for life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, eating has become an addiction killing thousands and nothing is done about it. The purveyers of fat, salt and sugar have infiltrated schools and even hospitals. Coke machines in the emergeny ward that are treating people suffering from the effects of coke.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Silver in the Barn Says:

    Even more discouraging is to be treated as though you were invisible by the real life person when you do encounter one. At an airport gift shop, the cashier handed me my purchase with a blank stare as though she were waiting for me to thank her! Excuse me, i am the customer. Or should I say client? Annoyingly, over here they are now referring to customers as “guests.” Blech! I am not your guest. OMG, Gerard, I’m a curmudgeon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, it is not easy to become a good curmudgeon. Many might want to but few are chosen. Oh, airport shopping is a good training area and I have seen the conversion of hopeless optimists being transformed into curmudgeons almost overnight.
      Of course there are those who are just beyond saving and we should feel sorry for them but never give up hope for their eventual healing process.

      Like

  10. Curt Mekemson Says:

    I don’t mind the ATM as much as I mind the fees, especially when I am forced to use some other bank. But Yvonne has hit upon one of my all time peeves. I hate, let me repeat, hate the message “all of our lines are busy now.” I start poking “O” in hopes of a reprieve. I could go on and on Gerard, but won’t. It’s one of my favorite rant subjects.🙂 –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  11. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    The ATM I liked to use got duffer up two years ago and never replaced. I still miss it. In the 1990s I worked in a mental hospital there… we were instructed to refer to the patients as clients!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, everybody now is a client. The world only knows clients now. In a magazine we will soon see ads for ‘male client seeking female client, ns,nd,ng with view to visit other clients resolving logistics and find solutions and overcome challenges.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. M-R Says:

    Time to acknowledge publicly that banks are bastards, Gerard. They couldn’t give a rat’s (_|_) about their customers: they just want to cut costs and increase profits, because it’s only the shareholders who are their clients.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Lottie Nevin Says:

    I enjoy your rants enormously. I’ve got so many things that drive me bonkers – many of them similar to yours. It’s nice to know that we are not alone! Fortunately, I have a very loving husband who I can spend hours in discourse with. Discussing the woes of the world and various things that are on my current list of whatever it is that I am finding deeply unsatisfactory and need to vent my spleen about.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I can’t tell you how delighted I am to hear that. Talking is the lubricant of good relationships.
      Glad you found such a great husband, it isn’t easy. I am still in awe of how lucky I was first time. Listening, talking and laughter is what it is all about.
      We just had some very nice lamb cutlets.

      Like

  14. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    “Talking is the lubricant of good relationships” Great phrase Gerard. So true.

    Like

  15. Apollonia Says:

    Prachtige kreek, PLAATJE, Geniet van de mooie dingen van het leven!

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Ja, het is de kreek die achter ons huis stroomt. Hebben nog steeds het plan om over te komen. Misschien eind Mei of zo.
      Was jij in weer in Griekenland? Hoe is de expositie verlopen van je werk?

      Like

  16. Patti Kuche Says:

    Here in NY we are neither clients nor customers – we are “guests” which annoys me no end while back in the UK one supermarket chain has the cashier apologizing – “Sorry to keep you waiting.” while all they were doing was serving the customer in front. People as automatons . . .

    Like

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