Monday, July 11, 2011

A Four Slices of Bread Country

As long as I can remember I have associated South Africa with imposed scarcity and Calvinist rules that almost always don't make sense but are kept in place dutifully despite the apparent dysfunction.

When I got to Village Hell University in 2009 it took them about two months to get me a computer and then they sent someone to explain the antiquated piece of sh*t to me.

Somewhere in my first couple of days I got a note to sign up for internet access at an office that stayed close.  When I did sign up it was explained to me that faculty were allowed 30mb of internet access a month!

Read that again.  Not 30 gigabytes.  Oh hell no, 30 megabytes.

"What happens if I go over 30mb of internet activity.  Say I checked my emails like 4 times in one month," I said sarcastically.

"You will be charged for anything you use over 30 mb."

"So in fact you will be charging me to do my job then," I replied in angry frustration.

Today at Salary Hell a directive warned us that we cannot use more than the 600 mb of 3G time allotted to each one of us.  "If you do you will have to pay for it yourself."

I wrote a nice letter explaining that there is no research without mobility and I was not about to start paying a multimillion dollar organization to do my job.

I also checked and found out that they were paying just a shade less than R300.00 for 600mb online data access while the service provider offers packages for less than half the price and you get 2 gigabytes of data.

I sent an email to the bean counter's desk and the reply came soon.

"You will pay for anything you use over 600 mb.  We have looked at cheaper deals but have been told it is only for new customers so we won't be getting those."

Huh?  A multimillion dollar institute being f*cked around by a mom and pop store up the street.  How does that make any sense?

In South African rationale it does.  The customer is never right.  The service provider does not provide a service.  You owe their asses a living and so it is whether you like it or not.

A fellow colleague pointed out that the new customer protection laws allow for the amending of contracts where there are better options available.

The bean counter responded: "The decision has been taken.  Please adhere to policy."

And so it is.  And so it will stay.  Don't ask just pay.

So when you are out there and someone grabs the last can of beans just as you reach for it and on your way out runs you over thinking you may get to the stoplight first, please be patient.

We a sh*t for brains country.

How else can you explain a bank charging you for an option on your credit card you declined when you got it?

"I do not need a credit facility on my credit card because it is a credit card."

"Yes sir but you may want to pay more than your balances and earn interest on your card.  So by splitting your card into a part you carry a balance and a part you don't you can have credit and actually earn interest too," the f*ck at the bank explained to me after I queried the charge they post for this option.

"Just cancel it.  I will never use such a stupid option when I can save for real under my mattress."  "We can't sir it is a built in charge.  You are being charged for the option of having the option."  (This is a true story.)

I am working on a grand political theory that describes this piece of contrived post-Frankenstein sh*t we call South Africa.  It is modeled on the thinking that we are so f*cked up because we always starving for just about everything in a country where there are just four slices of bread left.

It's gonna be genius.  Trust me.

I'm gonna buy a one-way ticket to India soon and write the theory there while sitting in the middle of a major south Delhi intersection.

At the very least the chaos in India is functional and the sliced stuff is not the naan of choice.

Hope you will still have a lot of shopping to do when I get there.  I need the quiet and tranquility of packed open bazaars in India ;0)


PS: Sometimes I just hate living here and at other times I hate it even more.


Erica said...

I'm sensing you had a bad day! I think I got you beat!!! Came to work here at the "electric farm" this morning and NO AIR! How in the hell does a mulit million dollar facility have no AIR! Not to mention it's nearly 90 degrees up in this bitch! You figure it out!!

I win!

Ridwan said...

I am sorry Erica. It must be hell in all that humidity.

When you sent me the text about this earlier today I was in one of my researchers offices blowing steam.

My cell beeped and I read through your expletives. When I got to the part where you said you were cussing like me I handed my cell to one of the young ladies and said "read this aloud for everyone."

She did. And they started giggling.

"Do I sound like that," I asked.

'Absolutely not," she said and I sighed a heavy relief.

"You sound worse!" she added with a grin the size of the Grand Canyon.

Damn luv I am about to put several caps in the ass of several folks.

When I got home there was a huge fire blazing next to my apartment complex.

A white boy came over and said it was started by folks who don't belong in that field.

He meant black homeless people.

The fire is still blazing and the townhouse is filled with smoke.

You wanna try again?


Erica said...

You ain't bussin any caps in anyone...... Are you?

You know I'm sure The Guru may have a spark of wisdom for you. Maybe he could perform a sage brushing session to ward off assholes.

I'm not fully aware of the powers he possess, but I think he could be a big help to you and your phyche.

And for the record.....I didn't cuss as much as I did before you. You've just been a bad influence!!!

You win big tyme!!!

Ridwan said...

That sage brushing/burning sh*t don't work Erica.

That is white folk crap. :0)

Been there and done it though. With YT too. On a river somewhere in Oregon.

It was supposed to center my anger and give me purpose toward forgiving and sh*t.

It pissed me off even more and I left that heffa calling the spirits on those banks.

The Guru has given up. He sees my anger as the opposite to his zen.

I say the nigga just a delayed f*ck who drank half his senses away all those years ago when we were barely sober from being stoned.

I need to eat at a really nice Tex Mex place and shoot a few ... know what I am saying?

Though it has been a stretch since I rolled that way ... but damn I like myself a whole lot better with Sol goggles on :0)

And I miss lemon and lime and salt and Corona.

Sober ain't what it is cracked up to be huh? Too damn sensible to really enjoy life huh?

Just asking.

Peace and luv ... ummmm should your fyne ass not be working at the 'electric factory'?


Kweli said...

Remember that "next level" you were cussin about in your blog post titled "Kenya on my mind"?
This SA bureaucracy is IT. All that ambiguous investment talk about taking it to the next level is shorthand for "you gotta pay an arm and a leg to get a decent anything." This is the next level.

This reminds me of Kenya: the customer is never right; he should be damn thankful for any pitiful and poor service we offer him.

Ridwan said...

My brother Kweli I think you are on to something. I see it now.

They front a lot and it gets out there but nada happens.

In SA it is as you say in Kenya. Don't try to take something back that does not work.

Or cancel a gym membership after you have completed the contract.

It is a mess anyway you slice it.

Trust you are well brother!