August 12, 2008

Double double, causes trouble

If there's one thing guaranteed to ruin my mid-year resolution of serenity (of course there are way more than one, but I'll try to focus), it's hypocrisy.
I realise I'm not alone in feeling outraged about this sort of thing, because society has developed a number of common words and expressions to describe the behaviour:
being duplicitous
speaking with a forked tongue

We see it in our public and private lives, and it is as insulting as it is infuriating, because acting like this implies that the other person is too stupid to see the truth. Unfortunately, people often do not realise the true situation, but I don't think it is due to stupidity. More likely it simply does not occur to them that they are being deceived or misled.

Please indulge me while I describe two specific  instances, one public and one private, because they illustrate the phenomenon well.

For reasons which escape me, I had to pay all the (large) fees for my recent surgery in advance, but I could not claim anything from medical benefits until a week afterwards. So as soon as I could drive I went to the claims department, and after waiting 20 minutes in line I presented my accounts and underwent the usual interrogation to determine that I wasn't a dangerous criminal with counterfeit documents. (I'm surprised they don't demand to see the scars.) Then she asked for all my bank details so that she could transfer the refund. I had expected to receive a cheque, and didn't think to bring all the required numbers, so she handed me a long, two-sided form and told me that if I filled that out and posted it in, I should get my cheque within 4-6 weeks. Yes, weeks.
Alternatively, if I returned with the required banking details, she could transfer the funds electronically and they would be in my account in 6-10 working days. 
Excuse me? How on earth can it take a nanosecond to extract funds from my account, and a minimum of 2 weeks to deposit them? Arrgghh.
(By the way, there's no need to send me similar banking/government stories. I do know what they are like. This was just the most recent and my blood pressure is still raised over it.)

On a more individual level, I learned earlier this year that I had allowed myself to be misled about what I had thought were friendships. It happens to most of us at some time, and I'm not really whining about it - we live and learn. However, I recently discovered that one of these people has been deceptive in far more than just friendship, and in fact has been for a long time. It's not a criminal deception, or I would have no hesitation about reporting it, but it does represent a prolonged case of being two-faced. The individual holds a senior position in an organisation to which I belong, and has frequently disciplined others over precisely the same behaviour, which has apparently remained undetected until now. I doubt there is anything to gain by exposing this person, but I am glad that I had already realised our friendship was not as I had thought, or I would be distressed rather than merely very disappointed.

But finally, to balance the above two whinges, here are three glorious headlines from today's news:
"Economy slowing faster than expected" (It's an oldie but still a goodie.)
"Dead 'collector' leaves behind stolen works" (Really?)
and just to show that I like toilet humour as much as the next person:
"House-sized dog poo causes chaos at museum" (Not to mention the actual dog!)

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