I’m incandescent with rage. It might be more accurate to say that I’m florescent with rage because I can feel my colour rising.
It’s not that a lack of access to an on-street parking permits will result in the towing away of my hugely expensive car. I don’t have one to tow away. I’m much more concerned that my friends will stop popping in for cups of tea and even the odd glass of wine because they are afraid their old wrecks will be towed away on the back of a council truck and that it will cost them more to get their cars back than their cars are worth.
I’ve just been onto the new web-based “renewal of permit” site that my local council have provided now that they seem to have closed all their offices and shut down their phones. It’s a public health initiative that has sent my blood pressure rocketing.
I had to log in three times before the system would let me complete the form. Luckily for me the form was pretty much filled in and with screen magnification on I could see that this was all in order. But where was the button to confirm my purchase? It was lurking behind an icon that lives at the bottom of my screen, so it was invisible. I wondered if that might be the case so switched magnification off in the hunt for Red October, that remained invisible now that magnification was switched off.
Then I had a go at uploading proof of residency. My combined utilities came to nearly £80.00 last month. It’s a good job I’ve invested in wool as I feared I could be sitting here for a long time grappling with technology.
In the end I went back to the home page where I was asked to log in again. I logged in and then called the number on the bottom of the screen for help. A slightly tense voice read through a menu of seven possible areas the council thought I might want help with. Parking was not amongst them.
I’m not at all surprised about the warning that the council will not tolerate abuse or rudeness. I don’t find it hard to imagine a multitude of ways in which I might be rude or abusive once I’m put through to an operator. I stay on the line as instructed but the line goes dead. I try again. The line goes dead again.
I fired off an email explaining that the online application process doesn’t work with my magnification switched on. In case anyone suggests that switching it off might help, I explain that the process is invisible to me, and can someone call me back or send email confirmation that my application has worked.
I’ve had an email explaining that the council are experiencing high call and email volumes so I will need to exercise patience. In the meantime, if I want to sign up to the new garden waste scheme, I can do so by following the link to the new online sign up. They say it’s also the quickest way to report a missed bin collection. The big news is that in the event of wanting to report loss or damage to council property, there’s a hot line you can call.
In the interests of research, I called the number and would you believe it? There are real people at the council looking after council property. Good to know the service ethos is still alive, just, even if the hunt for Red October is lost.
I’m reading Kafka, just for laughs, and marvelling at how art mirrors real life.