When Mr B needs something, he expects the domestic equivalent of a "blue light" service. In other words, immediate response to an emergency. From me. There not being anyone else around to be a First Responder.
I do, however, know a little about the Emergency Services and the fact that they have to prioritise according to the level of the emergency in question. Where Mr B is concerned, I am a One Person Blue Light Service and
I, too, have to prioritise.
If it is a real emergency, perhaps involving burnt toast and the likelihood of a conflagration which could render us homeless, then I will be onto it. Pronto. If not sooner.
If it is a lesser emergency, say mislaid reading glasses making it difficult for Mr B to play Poker On-Line, then I will take an executive decision that dealing with the matter in hand can wait until I have finished
my shower, cleaned my teeth and pulled on some clothes. Prioritisation is the Name of the Game.
The third category is rather more complex and this is the category into which today's emergency falls. Mr B needs
me to find a particular missive from British Gas. I know I have put it somewhere safe but I don't know where. It is in one of four possible places. Prevarication is called for.
"No worries!" I say. As the
Emergency Services know full well, reassurance is key. "I know where it is," I add, crossing every finger and every toe. Incidentally have you ever tried crossing your toes? All I can say is - don't even think of moving. Regular readers and close friends and
family know that I - like George Washington - cannot tell a lie. I do, indeed, know where this letter is - but as I said it is in one of four possible places. I need a little time.
I tell Mr B I will find
the Piece of Paper but in my own time. This is a Risky Strategy but Mr B appears to have bought it. He turns his attention elsewhere while I surreptitiously, all the while pretending to be otherwise occupied, methodically go through the possible places. I
find it in the second Possible Place - Mr B's own cash book. I could be forgiven, I tell myself, for shouting my success aloud but I choose the safer path.
"Here it is," I say nonchalantly, dropping it in
his lap, for all the world as if I had immediately laid my hands upon it. Mr B takes it for granted that the Piece of Paper ( please note that it has now acquired capital letters) has been located. Emergency, such as it is, over.
It's basically all down to British Gas. They send me a letter inviting me to book an appointment for my annual boiler service. If I do this on-line I can get a two hour slot, rather than waiting in most of the day, plus 200 Nectar
points. What's not to like? I go on-line but due to problems at their end, I can't book a service. I am given a number to ring...
The Voice tells me that my conversation is being taped "for training purposes."
I have a horrible feeling that the resultant dialogue might end up in a "Dealing With Difficult Customers" course. It should be a simple process, to book an appointment for a boiler service but it isn't. I do my best not to get over-heated (like my boiler)
but I find myself turning into the Difficult Customer as Ms Officious on the other end of the line implies that it is somehow my fault that British Gas's website is experiencing technical problems. Would that I was so powerful.
Mr B, hearing the despair in my voice, insists on taking over the phone. Issues escalate. The training course on Dealing With Difficult Customers goes up a level. We still haven't booked a service for our boiler.
I suggest to Mr B that we have Time Out. It's a bit like the Naughty Corner except that there is no blame attached and it's all about taking a breather to assess the situation and decided upon future tactics. Yes, I imagine
that is exactly how Young Faris uses his time in the Naughty Corner. Part of our assessment involves the Finding of the Piece of Paper.
We will try again tomorrow. We have the evidence aka the Piece of Paper.
We will keep cool, calm and collected.
Let's face it, it's not exactly an emergency...