Listen up

Call this a rant. Perhaps it’s fueled by the fact our landlord has failed to repair the air conditioning, and it’s now at least 95 degrees in some of the editorial offices of the World Headquarters of the Reno News & Review. It is easy to imagine what our neighbors in the low-income houses that surround our offices must experience. Broken window? Put a piece of plywood over it. Nobody complains to code enforcement? No problem. Certainly no problem for the people inside.

It’s like Sergeant Schulz from that late, great sitcom, Hogan’s Heroes: I see nothing.

But there’s a lot to get heated about. It’d be easy to say we’re lucky to have a roof over our heads. Many people in this country don’t have that. You see them all the time downtown. Mornings, after dawn but before business hours, the streets along the river boil like the afterward of a post-apocalyptic, science fiction zombie movie.

Is there any level of society where the simple courtesies are honored anymore? It used to be, when a citizen complained directly to a member of government about say—the multitudes of incomprehensible lane closures in the downtown area, something would be done. Eventually. Yeah, eventually, somebody will come along to move the trash-filled Dumpster and old air conditioner off Lake Street, which, although they only occupy one lane, have three lanes and one direction of traffic closed.

And that’s local government. The vast, vast majority of this country supports getting our troops out of Iraq. Our “leadership” wasn’t leaders enough to win the war, and now, we have generations of new terrorists to look forward to in this country. Think there was government responsiveness there? Think our democratically elected leaders listened to anyone—including their own analysts? Hell, no. They were too busy worrying about how to avoid conflicts of interests with the enormous war profits they were raking in.

When’s the last time you called Sierra Pacific and weren’t forced to wait on hold. “The wait-time is between one and three minutes,” lies the silky, computer-enhanced voice. As three approaches 10, the customer has to decide whether it would be more efficient to hang up and call back later or to bash the receiver repeatedly on the kitchen counter. The second choice might scare the kids, but hell, the phone only works half the time anyway.

Tried to deposit a large check from a well-known financial institution lately? You know, the kind of check you might have to deal with when you’re buying a house? They’ll take your paper check and lie that they don’t know whether the check, from a financial institution bigger than the bank itself, will clear. They’ll tell you they’re required to put a hold on your money for up to 10 days—until you pitch a bitch. Then they’ll call to make sure the check was good and release the money in a few days. And you’ll grovel in gratitude for the pleasure of receiving what used to be a minimum standard in customer service—it’s not like us regular folks don’t do instantaneous Internet banking every day of the week.

Hmm. Hot in here.