Sunday, January 24, 2016

Battling Private Bureaucratic Automaton Armies

I hate bureaucracy. Partially because I can't spell bureaucracy correctly the first time ever. It doesn't matter how many times I see Mulder and Scully's faces on their FBI IDs in my head, I will never spell it correctly the first time.

There are too many kinds of bureaucracy. I'm not even talking about government bureaucracy. I'm talking about the bureaucratization of our entire lives. You have a problem with something you purchased? Here, dial a million numbers into a phone as an automated voice continues to ask you seemingly pointless questions. I just want my damn bulk order of Cheetos, man. Where the hell are they?!

It used to be that you could dial '0' at any point during an automated session to get to a real live operator but half the time I try to pull that shit on the phone now, the Voice of Order says, "I'm sorry. That entry was not recognized. Let's start the fuck over so you will contemplate gouging out your own eyes before we can be bothered to resolve this."

I've moved recently. Not far, just a few blocks down on the other side of the highway. The good side of the highway. The side of the highway that doesn't have a 24 hour Whataburger and sirens blaring throughout the night. The USPS has this great program called mail forwarding. You change your address with them and they forward all your mail to your new address for the ludicrous price of less than $2.

I've used this service before and it works great when it actually works. I'm going on a month without any mail forwarded. Luckily, I changed my address with all my creditors so they know where to find me when they need to kill me for not paying them. I use mail forwarding to figure out who I forgot to change my address with. It happens. We have too many masters in our modern life and some are more forgettable and less scary. Let's just say some are more Jesus while others are more Old Testament jealous, angry, vengeful God.

Sitting on the phone for more than fifteen minutes is my idea of Hell. Sitting on the phone, hitting numbers, and, worse, being forced to say something to a robot is like going to Hell and getting each pube ripped off by a pube ripping maniac only to have them grafted back in and ripped off again. I'm talking full-pube. Taint pubes included. The robot couldn't understand the word, "No." I had to say it over and over again. It failed each time.

Worse is when the robot doesn't tell you what to say. It just says, "Hey, man, say some shit into the phone and we have a less than one percent chance of understanding you because AI is still stupid as fuck right now."

It's not like talking to people is any better. I don't even have a strategy any more. I used to be very good at getting people to listen to me and I used to be very understanding. Now I just sob into the phone and hope they can pity me in the short time before it takes them to get aroused by an innocent person's pain.

Can I battle bureaucracy? No. I have given up on any kind of idealism and passion when it comes to the modern world. We have accepted our overlords and their desire to have as little contact with us as possible. We have GMail and Facebook and Amazon and they make life so much easier. They work 99% of the time, too. It's when they don't work when you realize how faceless everything is.

GMail, cool. Take my private conversations and send it to the government as long as I can get an email from whatever most of the time. Facebook, sweet. Tag my friends automatically in my photos. I don't have any so your job is very easy. Amazon, sweet. Give me 25% off of something that's worth 50% more than it's being sold for but where the fuck is my bulk order of Cheetos, man!?

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