By Sue Murphy
I received a bill from my doctor the other day. Since I am insured to the hilt, I knew it was an error, and as soon as I could explain it to them, the office would correct the problem and we would all move on. But first, I had to make that phone call (sigh).
It wasn’t a big thing. It wasn’t even going to be difficult. It was just going to be tediously annoying, taking up time that could have been spent doing something else. In short, it was one of those things that I would have passed off to my personal assistant if I had one.
I don’t, of course, but that is my dream. I love the movies where some bigwig (best played by Meryl Streep) walks into a room and is immediately flanked by a personal assistant who has made all the day’s necessary arrangements and even prepared her coffee just the way she likes it.
I wouldn’t be that demanding. My life is not that complicated, and I am happy to make my own tea. Still, I would love to have a person on my payroll (I would pay handsomely) who would take over the nitpicking jobs that I am loathe (or sometimes too lazy) to do. Anything that involved waiting on hold on the phone. Anything that involved waiting in a physical line. Anything that was a non-productive gnat buzzing around my to-do list.
I don’t have a problem “to-doing” the big things, but in between the official “to-do’s” a number of unwelcome annoyances continually arise. Calling to rectify that doctor’s bill was a speed bump, something that kept me from moving forward. Now, in truth, I do not know where this forward is, but my mind is proceeding there anyway.
Even when the annoyances are anticipated, they slow me down. My dog Dave must feel the same. I say, “Let’s go for a walk!” and in our mind’s eye, we are already happily out the door. But then, I realize that first I must gather up the treat bag and doggie bag and make sure I have a key and my phone in my pocket. Meanwhile, Dave is waiting at the door. He has no pre-walk requirements and I’m sure he doesn’t understand why I do.
My personal assistant would have anticipated this. When I said, “Let’s go for a walk,” she would meet me at the door with these items in hand. I would tell her that she was a treasure and Dave and I would emerge into the sunlight.
When the washing machine broke down, my assistant would phone the repair person. When the maintenance required light came on in my car, she would schedule the oil change. When an airline problem arose that absolutely, positively needed the intervention of a live trained agent, she would park herself at the desk and wait until her turn came up in the day-long phone queue.
The situation wouldn’t work long term, though. After a while, I would feel guilty about sticking the poor girl with all those maddening details. A week in, I would become concerned that I was single-handedly robbing her of her joie de vivre. I would tell her to sit down and I would bring her an iced tea and we would relax and have a wonderful conversation while the bill from the doctor’s office went unresolved.
No, I will just do it myself (sigh), but if I have a problem with the airlines, I’m just going to stay home.