Dear license renewal people

On Monday morning I decided to embark on an adventure.  I had to renew my driver’s license.  Fun right? So after I spent the morning sleeping through 3 alarms, setting off my house alarm, knocking my shoulder alarmingly hard against a door frame and launching a mad search for my ID book which suddenly decided to disappear I finally ventured to your offices.

Your staff was less than friendly from the get go.  No clear directions on where you are supposed to go or who you are supposed to speak to could be found.  After pulling a ditzy blonde move some other victims of the system indicated where I had to go wait in line.  It was a LOOOOONG line.  I was quite happy to stand and wait my turn…but then I was instructed to “SIT DOWN!!!” rather loudly.  I gave the filthy, sweat and germ infested fabric coated chairs a swift once over and politely declined, stating that I’d rather stand.  A rather intense tongue lashing quickly changed my mind and I found myself balancing right on the edge of the chair, trying my best not to actually touch anything with my bare skin and cursing myself for wearing a short little dress.

But this was only the start.  It was HOT and there was not a fan or an aircon in sight.  I feel for the staff…I really do…it can’t be easy having to work in those conditions..but trust me..they sure as hell made sure we understood what an absolute pain it was for them to work there O_o.  After not moving at all for what seemed like an eternity, the line finally started moving.  This meant more filthy chairs, more balancing acts and, in an attempt not to be bored to death, chatting with the people sitting around me.  I was then shouted at for talking to much by one of the people working there…REALLY??

When it was nearly my turn for eye tests etc. I had the unique opportunity to tweet the following:
(Arch being catch of course) Yeah that was pleasant…NOT.  I had absolutely no idea how to react.  Do I ask him what the hell he’s doing? Do I shout and throw a little tantrum and risk getting shouted at again? Do I make a joke about it?  I just didn’t know how to deal with it…but was luckily saved from having to deal with said neighbour for much longer when it was my turn.

I smiled all friendly like, said “Hi” and started asking the guy behind the table a question.  Right in the middle of my question he started talking.  Then proceeded to shout at me saying: “Stop talking when I’m talking!!!”.  Excuse me??? I was talking FIRST! I think you could literally HEAR my jaw dropping when he followed that up with a “Now be quiet!”.  Really? Firstly…you interrupted me and then you shout at me??? What the hell?  I could have sworn I had walked into a parallel universe when I entered that building.

So I promptly snapped my mouth shut and listened to his instructions very carefully.  Pull the little lever in the direction of the solid line.  That shouldn’t be too hard right? Except that he informed me I needed glasses and failed the eyetest completely.  It was at this point I finally snapped, figured out he explained the procedure to me incorrectly and then told him in no uncertain terms that he better allow me to do the eye test AGAIN or I would make the rest of his human life a complete and utter misery.  I was allowed to retake the test…my eyesight, as 5 years ago, is perfect.

I was then sent to a new line in order to pay…oh joy! another line of dirty, sweaty, germy, fabric covered seats….at this point in time I was tired of being surrounded by freaks taking pictures of my feet, the heat and being shouted at…I couldn’t wait to get out of there. The payment line went smoothly and quickly except for one incident where the girl working in front stepped out to shout at EVERYONE waiting in line telling us that we’re useless because ONE guy didn’t have his R300 ready and waiting when he got to the front.  He had to actually take it out of his wallet… SCANDAL!

So guys…please…train your staff…send them on a people skill course…clean your waiting area….allow people to stand if they so choose and for goodness sake install some aircons or fans in that place!

Regards
Ruby
xxx

Dear Diary

I learned a couple of things this weekend.  It wasn’t pleasant…in fact…it was awful, mostly….

1.  People are cruel
2.  Being snubbed by people who used to call themselves your friends hurts
3.  It doesn’t matter how hard you’ve worked to get where you are…some people will always try to break it down
4.  No matter what you do…for some people it’s just never good enough
5.  It hurts when people who were once close to you takes everything you’ve worked so hard for because you were working towards a dream and with one foul swoop of their tongues diminish it to superficial things you do to impress superficial people
6.  People who claim to be non-judgemental can be awfully judgemental
7.  No matter how many times you tell yourself it doesn’t matter and no matter how well you KNOW that you shouldn’t let it get to you….it hurts
8.  Realising that you’ve outgrown people is both freeing and sad
9.  Having your best friend give you a hug and comfort you makes it a lot better..makes you more grateful…and makes you realise what you do have.  I am happy, I’m working towards my dreams in a big way, I have friends who care about me more than I can ever realise, I have a family I love and adore.  So you know what…take your superficial little friendship and your little clique and go play all by yourselves in your limited little world.  I’ll stick to being happy and chasing my dreams and having people around me who care about me, thank you very much.

Regards,
Ruby

Dabbling in politics

As you can see, this is not a letter.  I’ve also ventured outside my normal rules for blogging, as I never blog about politics.  But this specific little post has been brewing in my heart for a while. I need to get it off my chest…and then I realised: That’s exactly what my little blog is for.  If anyone is really offended by it…I’m not about to apologize.  This is my blog, and therefore I’m allowed to air my voice and my opinions here.

It’s a little something about South Africa’s beloved Nelson Mandela.  Don’t get me wrong.  I have respect for the man.  He’s come a long way in his 93 years and he has indeed achieved many great things.  He worked hard towards achieving equality for all, he uses his name to obtain funding for many great causes and on all accounts he seems to be a very nice guy.  He loves South Africa, and for that too I want to give him credit.  I think it’s great that South Africans can unite on his birthday and do something nice for their fellow countrymen…a noble cause indeed.  And I applaud the initiative.

What does make me sad however, is the way that he is being romanticized.  I watched a little piece on the news the other day.  And some organization had taken a whole bunch of school children and organized a sleep over for them at Robben Island and they were telling them stories about Nelson Mandela and showing them where he was locked up and where he did hard labour, etc.  And then the camera focussed on this little kid and he said:  “when I listen to this story I get really angry with the white people.  But (insert name of facilitator here) said we shouldn’t hold grudges.”  This statement made me sad and angry all at the same time.

Don’t get me wrong.  There were many things wrong with apartheid and everything around it.  And I am by no means a racist, nor do I support any form of discrimination against anyone.  But what everyone seems to forget is the fact that Nelson Mandela didn’t only go to jail for opposing the South AFrican government at the time.  He was a terrorist and in many ways involved with the deaths of innocent civilians.  It’s one thing to blow up military/police people during uprisings etc.  it is quite another to kill innocent people. In fact, I recall him once speaking after his release, and he himself admitted that he was in a way responsible for terrorist acts and therefore it was right for him to be in jail.  He will therefore NOT bear a grudge.

I look at all this fuss around Madiba and I weigh that up against some of the less than saintly things he did in his youth and I wonder how the families of his victims must feel.  How much it must hurt them when he is labeled a saint and practically worshiped by some.  Did he have a good cause? Sure he did.  Apartheid was wrong no matter how you look at it.  Does it justify the killing of innocent people? never!  It is also here that I would like to point out to all those people who love to accuse SA of having a sordid past called Apartheid that SA was no worse than some other countries.  The only difference between, say SA and the US was that South Africa dared to give it a name.  Thereby making it a tangible thing.

It makes me sad to think that Madiba’s struggle is being romanticized and that people are not being told the full story.  To be perfectly honest, I’m tired of all the hype.  Yes, he has achieved many things, and I think South Africans in general owe him a big thank you.  But that thank you is only owed to him for the latter part of his life.  I’m so tired of the fact that only half-truths are being celebrated.  I’m white, I’m proud of it, I was never part of any form of apartheid and I resent the fact that people forget that every story has two sides.

By all means celebrate his life.  Celebrate what he has managed to achieve in the last 22 years.  Celebrate the fact that he was able to leave his past behind him and focus on building a beautiful SA along with other amazing people.  Celebrate the fact that he’s helping people.  But don’t call him a martyr and a saint, for he is neither.

Maybe some of you will think I’m being stupid, some of you might even think I’m being racist and who knows what the rest of you think.  All I know is that I’m tired of the fact that certain people are allowed to say whatever the hell the want, while others are forced to tiptoe around on eggshells.  South Africa has changed in many ways, but until the pendulum swings back to a more balanced and central position we will not be able to reach our full potential.  We live in an amazingly beautiful and generally incredible country.  As South Africans we have overcome a great deal, and for that we should be proud of ourselves.  But we still have  long way to go and I pray that one day we will reach our full potential.  And while Madiba will most probably no longer be alive to see us reach that point, I hope he’ll know what we’ve done and what we have achieved.  He deserves to know that his hard work the last 22 years meant something.

So what’s the moral of the story?  I think what I’m really trying to say is that I find it annoying that the story we share is only half a story.  I’m annoyed by the fact that one man is put on a pedestal, in such a way that we try to sweep his wrong doings under a rug.  If we’re going to tell our children the story, at least give them the full story, even the not so pleasant parts.  Don’t call a man a saint and sanitize the truth to suit your own needs.  Rather celebrate the full story.  Because you know what?  I find the person Madiba has become so much more amazing knowing where he came from.  Mommy and Daddy Letters always taught us that not telling the full truth still makes it a lie.  Personally I think they have a point.  Just consider this.  If we are feeding our children half-truths about our history, what kind of morals and values are we teaching them? And how can we expect to build ONE nation if we refuse to own up to the whole truth?  What kind of a nation are we building if we build it all on lies and half-truths?

 

Dear *insert name of guesthouse here*

So I’ve been making use of your establishment for a total of 16 nights now.  The place is absolutely lovely.  It is so lovely with the little (read not so little in the current flood situation) river running just below, the splash pool and the general calm and tranquility that seem to be the atmosphere you try to create.

In the time that I have been here I’ve only come across 2 things worthy of complaint.  Firstly, and I do understand that this is a bed and breakfast you run here, but surely it’s my choice if I want to partake in the breakfast?  Last week I was simply just running late every morning and couldn’t afford to go and have a sit down breakfast.  The two weekends that i spend here I try and relax as much as possible, considering that the job is highly stressful and that I’m not at home and in a super relaxed environment.  I was amazed to find out that you only serve your breakfast between 7 and 9 in the morning.  While 9am is perfectly fine for a weekday if you are in town for business…..there is no way that I’m going to drag myself out of bed and get myself presentable to face a whole bunch of people for breakfast before 9 on a saturday/sunday morning if I didn’t wake up early to begin with.  In my opinion this is my choice and I’m free to do so…I am after all paying the full amount regardless of whether I’m making use of your breakfast facilities or not.  I do NOT think it is on that your manager approaches me over the weekend to inform me that she considers it rude of me NOT to attend breakfast. WHAT THE HELL??

Secondly….I love the fact that your staff comes in every morning around 11 to clean my room and make sure everything is super clean and tidy when I get home after work.  It’s nice to walk into a fresh smelling room with clean towels and sheets every day.  And until today I would not have complained about this.  But today I got back and the door to my room was wide open.  Not just unlocked, oh no, WIDE OPEN.  It had been wide open since 11 this morning when you guys finished cleaning it.  Leaving all my personal belongings open for all and sunder who have to walk past my room to get to theirs to investigate.  While I’m extremely grateful that nothing was taken I would just like to inform you that this is not on.

Yes, crime statistics in Namibia are much lower than what they are in SA.  But you know what? It doesn’t matter.  It’s a matter of principle.  You don’t just leave my things that I have entrusted into your care open for the whole world to look at.  You had no right.  And I’m sure your response would be…it was a mistake, we’re very sorry.  But you know what…if you want to run this kind of establishment you can not afford to make these types of mistakes.  It is completely and utterly unacceptable.  I think my annoyance became even greater when I was unable to locate your manager to complain about this.  According to you guys there is a manager on site 24 hours a day…yet, although I looked everywhere and I rang the bell I could not locate this so-called manager.

Please, you really need to sort this stuff out.  Other than that you run a really awesome little guesthouse.  But I’m not exactly happy at the moment.

Regards

Ruby

The view
The view from my own personal little patio at the guesthouse

Dear Morningside MediClinic

Right now I am not a happy camper…as in not at all.  I can’t believe what you guys have done, it is shocking to say the least.  But let me back up and explain.

In December I came to your clinic one friday morning because my hand was in agony and because the growth that had steadily been growing there over a couple of months had reached alarming proportions.  The staff was absolutely fantastic.  I spent the day being sent from emergency to X-rays to sonars and back to x-rays and finally to a specialist, who booked me for surgery 4 days later.

When I was admitted to emergency that friday morning I paid the fee required of me based on the coloured rating I got.  I was quite happy to do this as I’m only on a hospital plan and a lot of things aren’t covered.  I didn’t hear from you again.  My bills for the actual surgery were mostly covered by the medical aid and the small amounts not covered by the medical aid were subsequently paid by me.  The whole thing was rather pleasant as far as hospital visits go.

Since then I haven’t had one single statement, e-mail, sms, phone call or any other form of communication from you.  Then my old office sent me a message stating that there were a number of letters that came in the post while I was in Namibia.  So, as I was home for 5 days before heading back to Namibia I popped past the office to pick them up.  Great was my surprise when there was an envelope marked ‘final demand’ from you guys.  The really ridiculous part was that I had been handed over to lawyers and they were now demanding money from me, but the amount being demanded was R0.00.  See Exhibit A:

 

Exhibit A

 

Initially I found it rather amusing.  So I scanned the document and e-mailed it to the person mentioned in the letter as a contact person, stating how ridiculous the whole thing is and explaining that this is the first time in almost 4 months they’ve contacted me and now they are demanding I pay them…well, nothing?  I didn’t hear anything back from this person, so after a couple of days I resent the e-mail again, just to make sure that I did my part.

Then today I receive a sms informing me that a summons has been issued in the Magistrate’s court for an amount of R114 (Please note this does not agree to the R0 amount stipulated in the first and ONLY letter i got) and that my name will be published in the official debtors Gazette which is used by credit managers.  It also states that I will be liable for all your legal fees.

Now excuse me….but in all the documentation I had to fill in when I was admitted to the emergency that day I had to fill my cell phone number and my e-mail address in on numerous occasions, so that you guys can get a hold of me.  I also specified that I would like to receive any statements/invoices from you guys via e-mail.  I remember this quite clearly in fact.  So why, for the love of apple pie, didn’t you guys e-mail, sms or call me to inform me that there was an amount outstanding?? And then, why do you send me a final demand letter telling me that this is a final demand for an amount of R0 and then I suddenly receive a sms (oh wait! so you guys CAN contact me on my cell phone, so why didn’t you do so before???) to tell me that I will now be served by the magistrates court for a different amount than shown in the final demand.

Don’t get me wrong. If I do, in fact, owe you R114, I am quite happy to pay it.  What I don’t understand is why you ignore me for almost 3 months.  You had a whole array of communication lines open to you and you didn’t use a single one.  And then suddenly you not only threaten me with legal action for owing absolutely nothing, you also want to blacklist me for an amount I never even knew I owed.

Trust me, this is NOT the last you’ve heard of me.  I’ve e-mailed the so-called contact person again, and I WILL come and give you guys a piece of my mind as soon as I’m back in Jozi.

Regards

Angry Ruby