Around the world in 90 minutes
by James Snyder
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I was snuggling down in my easy chair with a riveting book in hand when the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage shared with me an observation.
"I just was thinking," she began very seriously, "that we have not taken a trip lately."
We once went to Thailand for several weeks, which was wonderful. One of the delightful things of that trip was visiting the elephant ranch and ride elephants.
As we were in line to ride the elephants the person in charge took one look at me and said, "No, no." He said something in some kind of language I could not understand and then proceeded to pair my wife up with another woman and insisted I ride the elephant alone. From what I got out of his gestures and tone of voice was he thought I was too heavy to ride an elephant. Being compared with an elephant and being on the losing side of the comparison, is not something I enjoyed experiencing.
I have been insulted quite a bit throughout my life, and this certainly was one of them. But, being the congenial gentleman that I am, I submitted to his evaluation and rode the elephant by myself. I did a lot of bouncing, deliberately, on my elephant ride. I hope that elephant remembers me.
We have had other trips and have enjoyed ourselves tremendously. But when she asked about the last trip we took I could not bring into focus our last trip.
Not world travelers, of course, but we do like to take little jaunts here and there just to get away from the rat race. To participate in the "rat race" I suppose you have to be a rat. It is good to get away from other rats and associate with rats you do not know.
Nothing really came of my wife's observation. She just mentioned it, then the subject was dropped, and we went on to what we were doing.
Several days later I was about to take the trip of my life.
I had bought some ink cartridges for my printer and happened to buy the wrong kind. The way the world operates today is that you cannot make a mistake and then take the product back and exchange it for the right one. The only way I could get any satisfaction about this was to call the company and put in a request to have this ink exchanged for the right cartridge.
I got the number and called the company. That was the beginning of my trip around the world.
The first stage of this trip is punching in numbers. I am not sure what the purpose is for punching in numbers in order to get to somebody that can help you. What happened to the good old days where you actually talked to a person you could understand what they were saying?
For about fifteen minutes, I punched in number after number after number. I thought for a moment I was reading the book of Numbers in the Old Testament. I do not mind numbers when they add up. However, what I really do not like are arbitrary numbers that absolutely make no sense to me. Of course, many things do not make any sense to me.
Finally, after punching numbers until my fingers began to bleed, I got an actual human voice. Ah, the great satisfaction of actually encountering a living, breathing human being on the telephone. I took a moment to enjoy the moment. It was not to last long.
As I began listening to the voice on the other end of the phone, I became a little puzzled. I heard the voice, she came through loud and clear, but I had no idea what she was saying. I said quite a few times when the conversation warranted, "Huh."
After a few minutes of this, I realized the person I was talking to was in the Philippines. How I got to the Philippines, I will never know. I am not saying that the young woman’s English was bad, just that my ears were not able to catch the nuances of her phrases.
Not getting any satisfaction from this young woman in the Philippines, she transferred me to someone in India. I had just got accustomed, or so I thought, to the Filipino accent and now I was hearing someone talk to me from India with a completely different accent.
I spent a few minutes in India and what we talked about I have no idea. I just wanted to exchange my ink cartridges for the correct ones. I am not sure what somebody in India has to do with my problem.
Not getting any satisfaction from the chap in India I was transferred to someone in Idaho. I wanted cartridges not potatoes.
After some quasi-delightful minutes in Idaho, I came to the excruciating conclusion that it would be worth my while, not to mention the cash involved, to just forget the whole thing and throw those cartridges away and buy new ones.
On my way to buy a new cartridge, I thought of a verse of Scripture. "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known" (1 Corinthians 13:12 KJV).
I am looking forward to that final trip where I will see Him face to face, no misunderstanding then.
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