Sunday, 5 November 2017


I’m pumped up with goodness and positive energy and yes, now is the time to make those phone calls.

You know the ones. They start with recorded messages before you even get to the press-button menus and holding tunes.

Don’t go there, Adley. 
Don’t spoil it now. 

I’ve checked that my happiness tank is full and my fortitude levels are way up my mental dipstick. It'd be stupid to wreck the mission by blowing a gasket now, leaking anger into my brainbox at the thought of what lies ahead.

Whatever it is you’re calling a company or institution about, it’s never the fault of the person on the other end of the line. They didn’t make the rules. They’re not responsible for your predicament.

You’re way more likely to get a result if you've a full tank of patience and a purring engine supplying a smile to your voice. Act a bit human. Call them by name. Get into all that empathy hoojamaflip.

Anyway the first call isn’t to a bank or internet service provider, so it won’t be too bad.

She says hello, University College Hospital, and I ask to be put through to Mental Health Services.

It rings. It rings and rings and I do not mind. I am ready, prepared, and I’d rather listen to a ring than an ear-shattering rendition of Total Eclipse Of The Heart played on a blade of grass.

This is fine.

It rings and rings, so I sit back, breathe out and relax, thinking of all the people rushing around that hospital, trying to make the best of scandalously ill-funded jobs.

Oh, I’m back to reception.

“Sorry about that, I’ll try another number for you now.”
I’m surprised and gratified that she even knew I was still hanging on.


It rings and rings. Rings and rings and rings and then I’m back to herself again, who apologises again and puts me into another number which, yes, rings.

Holding the phone a little away from my ear, I think of how busy Mental Health Services must be right now, with everyone upset about the Tracker Mortgage scandal.

More homes lost and lives ruined by banks, but really, what do you expect?

Until the guilty bankers and politicians of this republic are sent to serve proper time in real jails, they will continue to operate with impunity from inside the cartel they constructed decades ago.

If you don’t arrest and imprison people when they steal money, they will do it again.

My own mental health is more challenged by the way the Irish focus their ire upon the banks - companies that openly exist to serve their own purposes - rather than the €13 billion of tax revenue refused from Apple. At present the Irish government are pursuing an expensive legal case against the EU: fighting not to take it.

Every time I think about the immorality of this stance, bile rises from my gut, tasting dark and visceral on my tongue

It utterly enrages me, yet nobody protests.

We should be taking patients on trolleys out of A&E and wheeling them into Dáil Éireann, demanding our billions. We should be taking homeless people to the doorsteps of rich cabinet ministers’ homes, demanding they give up their bedrooms until we are given our billions.

How can you not be outraged by this? You were upset for a short while, but now you shout at the banks, and -

“Hello? Can I help you?”

Through at last, but now I’ve been diverted to the outskirts of the system, and although she’s thoroughly helpful, she’s unable to find out what I need to know.

Ah well. We’ll leave that then.  
Time to move on to the ESB.

Here comes the first pre-recorded preamble of the morning and by god it goes on. Yes many are still tragically without power after Ophelia, but having told me straightaway the number to ring about outages and fallen cables, the recorded voice then goes on and on, listing websites to visit to find updates, while I’m wondering how the hell you find websites if your power is down and -

Ah! Here comes the pushbutton number menu, 
beep yeh, 
beep yeh, come on, 
beep and hooray! 

I’m through almost instantly to a woman who explains she’s sorry, but she can’t help me. Then I crank up my sob story a level or two and she reacts with intelligence and compassion, suddenly having an idea, trying it out and yes, there you go Mr. Adley, that is now done!

“Thank you so much! You have been great! Goodbye, and thanks again!”

Well this is going positively all lardeedaaar lovely. The universe is working my way today, so maybe now’s the time to make the Eir call.

Cue ‘Dum Dum Dum’ noises, thunder rolls and voiceover from a man with glass shards in his throat:

It’s time … to make … the Eir call!

Except it isn’t. Three times I go through the whole cycle of pre-recorded preamble and press-button bollocks, and three times I sit listening to the same tune, because each time I speak to an Eir person, they say they’ll put me through to Loyalty.

At first this news makes my heart leap with hope, but each of the three times they put me through I sit, increasingly angry, listening to the same pop song over and over again, until someone picks up their phone and puts it down again.

That was Eir’s Loyalty department.
Three times they hung up on me.

Given that Eir had gone to the trouble of actually naming a department after the concept, I so wanted to believe that Loyalty meant something to them.

Tank now empty.
I know my limits. 

Make a mug of Builder’s tea.
Eir are just too strong for me. 

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