Thursday, May 15, 2008

Actually, is modern life rubbish?

I think mostly, yes, and a number of things have been swimming round my head these last few days on that theme, which I’ll try to put into some sort of order. These have included not only the Impostume’s recent, uncharacteristically psychotic and expletive-riddled outbursts (good show old boy!), but also some experiences of my own, partly in connection with the demon technology. One thing that really pissed me off last weekend on a train ride to (and back from) Krakow was the utterly thoughtless, inhumane arrogance of technology, or rather the totalitarian bastards responsible for putting it into practice. Technology’s so fucking brilliant and so much more appropriate for running our lives than we are, cutting out the meddlesome and impudent decision-making process of the human brain, so we get superbly smoothly gliding, air-conditioned trains, which naturally, being air-conditioned, are also air-tight. So if the air conditioning is shit, which it invariably fucking is, we can’t open the fucking window. In order to like, breathe. Which is obviously a gigantic and potentially alarming pain in the arse for those mere travellers (although why should we give a shit about them if the trains run on time? Which they usually don’t) during the entire journey, but much, much more acute during those periods when the train needlessly stops dead for half an hour at the station nearest the border (presumably out of nostalgia for the pre-Schengen Agreement days, so that we can all at least reminisce about the old days when being molested by pot-bellied, pistol-packing border guards with acrid b.o. was the highlight of the Warsaw train ride), when the shit air conditioning system shuts down completely and so everyone on the entire fucking train rushes to the doors at the end of the carriage, to press the informatively coloured green button (which means open, and they even tell you that in several languages – thanks for that) repeatedly every thirty seconds (after which the doors automatically close and have to be re-opened) for the entire half hour until the train starts moving again, in order not to fucking DIE.

Ah of course, I could be a liberal fence-sitter and acknowledge how great technology can be, and it can, but is that the point? Why should it be shit? Why should anything be shit? So to the next techno bitch ready for a good slapping, easy fucking jet. Yes, you cuntheads, let’s address the issue of your website. How stupid do you think we are when your “contact us” button leads us to a number of pre-arranged questions you’ve designed? To maximise our comfort, no doubt. Like we should be grateful that you’ve absolved us of the cumbersome responsibility of thinking up our own inquiries. You know you don’t believe that. And you know we don’t believe that. It’s one of those grim, stoically hypocritical marriages. “I know you know I know we both despise each other and have been sleeping with everyone we know except one another for the last ten years, but we’ll soldier on just so long as nobody actually says it out loud”. Let’s just admit it you cynical Nazis, this is a fucking war. You don’t want to make life more convenient for us, you just want to make it as convenient as possible for yourselves. With your rigged questions you’ll do virtually anything to avoid facing a direct inquiry as to why you’re so shit. Now naturally your answer’s going to be something like “we just want to save time and cut costs to make life easier and cheaper for you”, whereas what you mean is “we don’t want to employ anyone who has the skills to answer your questions because that would cut into our profits too much, so we’ll fend you off with a computer generated banality. And don’t get cocky, if you don’t like it you can fuck off and pay (at least) twice the price with British Airways – a truly ethical airline! You come to us for cheap flights, not good customer service!”. And cheap bastard that I am, it’s a deal I’m more than ready to accept. But I’d be much happier if you just owned up about it.

Wait a minute… wasn’t that Impostume weirdo going on about how there’s too much good service about? Well FUCK THAT SHIT!! What does he know about anything? Seriously though, having lived in a post-communist state for over 12 years now, I’ve had my fair share of bad service, and to be frank, I don’t see why I should put up with any more. Fine, in shitty, soulless supermarkets I don’t want to be drooled over by some obsequious twat or be bludgeoned with insincere, fatuous chirpiness by some poor fool who clearly has no more enthusiasm for such bullshit than I do, but on the other hand I, unlike a great deal of public servants here, can’t see what’s wrong with being polite. Let’s take restaurants. Now these days I have no idea how much waiters are earning back in the West, but I do know that here in CZ the wages they’re earning are certainly better than those earned by supermarket checkout drones. And don’t get me wrong, some of them do a bloody good job. But others are right shitheads.

Let me start from the beginning. When I first came out to “Eastern Europe”, as the Czechs hate this region to be called, I’d already been warned about the standard of service here. And lo and behold, in many, but by no means all places, it was appallingly, but also laughably shoddy. Having a sense of humour, which over the years has been whittled down to a forlorn husk, I rather unthinkingly put this down to the evils of communism, which is after all almost indescribably evil, and simply accepted that this was my fate as a stupid foreigner when I first arrived. But having been here a while and learnt the language, and having experienced dumb, arrogant crap service, frequently from sullen young pups patently too young to even remember the old regime, I’ve come round to the conclusion that there’s no excuse for being so pointlessly fucking rude. Why can’t these people smile and be polite? In the case of waiters it’s virtually in their job description. I don’t want to be their best friend, but I also want to deal with someone who actually knows about their job and what it entails. For example, about a month ago I was in a restaurant, which boasted the speciality of a “Serbian cutlet”. Sounded ok, but I required some clarification, so I asked the waitress what it meant. “Some kind of meat” was her answer. Oh, right. Not a lettuce cutlet then? Now call me a tyrannical middle class fascist if you want, but why can’t these people learn the job they’re clearly not doing? Here I genuinely believe that the owner of the restaurant ought to be checking up on them and sacking the grumpy, lazy arses who are driving customers away.

If it’s any consolation to the Czechs (I don’t want to slag off your country, honest!), the situation was worse in Poland, where we not only had to pay more than double Czech prices for almost undrinkable piss beer, but despite being paying customers were in one case charged extra to use the pub toilet. To which we chose the only possible dignified response, i.e. since we were sitting in the beer garden we merely hopped over the railings and pissed against a tree in the park, in full view of the waiter.

Bollocks to the Impostume! Long live good service! Proles, lick my balls!


Blogger TONA said...

Now thats a proper rant! Good job!
Whata fuck is serbian cutlet?!

11:03 PM  
Blogger ASHDAV said...

If not even the Serbs know what a Serbian cutlet is I feel pretty vindicated. (I already told you, it's a piece o fuckin meat! Some customers are never bloody satisfied!)

So I guess that means it's like that other Czech speciality, American potatoes, which no American outside the Czech Republic has heard of. Could be very nice for all I know, but of course thanks to that lazy ignorant bitch I don't know, do I?

1:02 PM  
Blogger TONA said...

Boss, we got a troublemaker here!
Throw him out of the bloody restaurant!

7:08 AM  
Anonymous jitka said...

Home sweet home....I was laughing out loud when I was reading it, but it's not really funny, it's just very accurate. Did you like Krakow?

8:03 AM  
Blogger ASHDAV said...

Bloody hell, what are you two doing up so early on a Saturday morning?!

Apart from the crap service and truly disgusting beer (and a few other things, I'm sure given time I'll compile a comprehensive list) I loved Krakow. In fact I feel a post coming on loosely related to that theme. Watch this space!

12:03 PM  
Anonymous jitka said...

Ha! I work on Saturdays!! And Sundays (my weekend is Thursday and Friday). Plus I have to be at work by seven thirty, plus I am in a different time zone from you.

12:38 PM  

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