Customer service, to cats

It’s Saturday, which apparently has become Grant’s cooking day. He’s experimenting with curry recipes and it’s not just mixing up a bit of curry powder. This is starting from scratch, with every spice available, which impressively, considering we are in the stix of NY, is almost everything.

Cooking is NOT my thing. Way too much work. But I got roped into measuring spices. Teaspoons and Tablespoons and fractions thereof and in some cases, working out substitutions, because we are using dry as opposed to fresh. Jeepers. The man was going to use a whole jar of dried onion. Not my business, but I said to him, “mate, you’re going to kill it…I think you better use 4 Tablespoons.”

At that point, I fled, because I can’t be dealing with cutting up dead animals. Bad enough it’s in my fridge, but I try to be reasonable and not inflict my sensitivities on other people.

For example, if I was invited to dinner and got served beef (or any kind of dead animal), I would not have a fit and fall over. I would just eat it, with my morals safe in knowing, that particular animal was dead anyway and I had nothing to do with it. I would just say a private “thank you for being my food” and smile sweetly. Not a big problem, anyway, because I am a hermit.

Now my house will smell like a curry joint for 2 days…maybe even 3, he’s got heavy duty spices there…but air freshener will help. At least Grant doesn’t cook bacon. The smell of that makes me physically ill.


All of that is probably no more interesting than what I was going to write about, which involved my ex-employer.

I have a ring binder holding copies of emails, mostly “sent” by myself, which tells a story in itself. No one ever replied.

Why did I keep the file? I imagined myself looking back from – now, I suppose, and laughing about “those days”.

When I got the file out this morning, I thought I might find some amusing incident or other that I could write about. Yes, well.

For starters it’s not funny. It’s all quite sad, or at least un-funny in the extreme.

The period covered is only 14 Feb, 1999 through 20 May, 2000, – the episode when I was actually in a sort of downward spiral which ended with my very abrupt (and no doubt very welcome) departure to Seattle, where I assumed, technically, the same position.

In fact, the job could not have been more different. Picture a large terminal at JFK staffed by some 300 people, all working as teams in various parts of the building, handling dozens of flights.

In Seattle, we were in a small and I have to say it, crappy, terminal, with all the other airlines. We were based out of a tiny office, and there were less than 30 of us all told, so we just ran around, changing jobs throughout the day as required. We handled only our own flight/s.

Part of my reason for transferring to Seattle was that I knew who I would be working for and he had indicated that he would welcome me. What a refreshing idea. To go somewhere I was wanted!

It was a sad commentary of where I had come from, that in Seattle I had to get used to the sound of laughter in the office. I had worked in an environment where the daily dialogue was a series of moans and complaints.

In the end, of course, my new work situation was too good to be true. The airline was changing and not for the better and it became harder and harder to provide anything like the kind of customer service I remembered from “the good old days” of Lord King and Sir Colin.

In the end the decision about what to do was taken away from me. I had reached a point at which I could only stand for ten minutes at a time, such was the pain in my back. A fiasco with the medical profession ensued and I finished by having a multi-level spine fusion. Twice. (Something went wrong after two weeks.)

It would have been my right to keep my job and if necessary work from a wheelchair, but it would have meant my colleagues having to pick up a lot of extra work and I was not prepared to accept such a situation.

Most likely, I could have made it a workman’s compensation case, but I had heard management personell discussing people who were on “comp”. I was not going to be one of “those people.” And I didn’t have the stamina I would have needed to endure what they put “them” through.

My expectations of my employer were not great. They paid me and offered medical benefits, and the only thing I required that I did not get was respect. I don’t think anyone did.

So I quit.

And did cats instead.

But that is a whole other story.

Little Yeti, on the left, came with me to Seattle. I became known in the office, alternately as “Yeti” or CSmith, sometimes, irreverently, “Tbag”.

Kina, Mr Blue Eyes, on the right, had made alternate arrangements for himself, not wishing to live with a single female. He went to live with my friend Bill and his family and he lived a long life of luxury. He was so beautiful. And his nose was heart-shaped.

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