Excuse me while I have a bit of a rant.
I don’t trust people to be able to do their jobs properly. I know it’s not a particularly ‘nice’ trait, but it’s true. To pretend otherwise is pointless, and dishonest. I think people are inept, and I expect them to fail at their jobs; which is why they obviously need me to watch them, or worry, whilst they are doing what they’re doing. After all, I, on the other hand, am totally ept.
I do feel bad about it sometimes, when it turns out to have been unwarranted; and I try not to expect the worst. But it seems it’s either that, or going to the other extreme, and having high expectations, which are then usually not met.
And suggesting that it’s okay to have expectations, but that I should try not to set them too high is like asking me to throw myself off a cliff, but then stop my descent half-way down. As with everything else, I don’t have a middle ground: it appears there’s just a great big, cavernous hole where the ground should be.
Personally, my goal is to have no expectations at all, but I fear that this is probably only attainable by those who’ve achieved advanced yogi/spiritual practitioner status, which is beyond me at the moment. And possibly forever. After all, I have no idea whether it’s possible for an autistic yogi (with added adhd/anxiety/and obsessive compulsive disorder) to achieve such heady heights… But I can dream big, and die trying.
Now, as I said, some of this may come down to my having unrealistic expectations, which is exacerbated by me being autistic, and not understanding what to expect from people (plus the whole black or white thing I’ve got going on). This I accept. But sometimes it’s actually because people really are bloody useless.
Take my gas engineers, for example. PLEEEEASE, take them!!.
My gas boiler decided to have a bit of a nervous breakdown the other night, making lots of loud banging and hissing noises when I tried to run the hot water. It’s also been leaking for a few weeks, but I decided to ignore this because it was still working (albeit the pressure gauge had dropped to almost zero): and, basically, I just hate having to phone up and report repairs (I hate using the phone), so I generally leave them until they can’t be ignored any longer (you know, when the thing in need of repair ceases to function altogether).
My reticence is also due to the fact that, because I have anxiety and worry about things, I’m never quite certain whether I’m just making a mountain out of a molehill, and I don’t want to appear to be just some neurotic nelly.
So I finally took the hint on Tuesday night, and phoned the gas service people. An engineer came out the next day, and boggled me with some vague and convoluted diagnosis of the problem. It couldn’t be fixed that day, but would be scheduled as soon as possible. He did reassure me that I could still use the boiler.
A visit was arranged for two days later, and then had to be postponed until after the week-end (other, more urgent, jobs had come up; made me feel really valued). And finally the day arrived - and so did a different engineer, bringing greetings of doubt about the efficacy of the solution suggested by his colleague. Good start. It’s always reassuring when people working for the same company disagree with each other’s opinions.
He took one look at the boiler, said that the pressure gauge was really low, and that that was probably the problem. Had the other engineer not filled it up when he was here, he asked? Answer - no. And yes, I said, I had pointed it out to him: just as I seem to expend a great deal of breath on pointing it out to nearly every engineer who comes to service or repair the thing. But you’d think I was asking them to dismantle the whole boiler, the way some of them react to my request for them to top it up. I’d become rather worried that perhaps I was just paranoid and obsessed with the gauge, because none of them seemed to deem it that important. I have, after all, been known to become obsessed…
So he did that, and fixed the leak. And off he went… fortunately, only as far as to sit in his van outside my flat. I found that the drip was still dripping, so, at the risk of appearing neurotic, I toddled out to him, told him, and he reassured me that it was probably just a residual drip, after he’d filled it up: nothing to worry about. But if it was still doing it tomorrow, call them out again.
Two minutes later, he was back, saying he’d just check it to be sure. And lo and behold, there was a leak - caused by a fault in a repair done by a previous engineer, who happened to work for the firm which is no longer employed by my Housing Association. Good to know that ineptitude runs through all of the companies to whom they contract out work.
So, it’s fixed. This is good (though I do keep checking to see that the boiler is still working, as is in my nature). I don’t have to entertain the idea of the whole system having to undergo major replacement surgery, which is a relief. I was meant to be having a new system installed last year, but after receiving a letter of notification, I heard nothing else.
Which is the story of my relationship with my local Housing Association. It’s like dealing with the Keystone Kops. They are mostly nice people, but they excel at ineptitude. I need plenty of Ps when dealing with them - Patience, Persistence, Perspective, and Practise (all of which I am rather deficient in) - but just abandon all hopes of Perfection.
And here endeth my rather mild rant. By the time I was nearly at the end of writing this, the sting had gone out of it, and mostly what I could see was the humour. I’ve learnt that it’s pointless to keep holding onto the irritation and anger; that it can’t change anything; and it just harms me from the negative energy that it produces. This doesn't mean that it's gone permanently yet: it will probably take a few days, maybe even weeks, for that to happen - I am a chunterer, someone who doesn't let go easily. This is just the beginning of the process of me letting go.
So I leave the Keystone Kops to their bumbling, and give thanks to God that the problem was finally (hopefully permanently) sorted; and that I have central heating, and I don’t have to pay for the repairs. I have lived in homes without it, or with completely ineffective systems, and it was miserable. At times like these not only do I need to see the humour, but I also have to remember to count my blessings.
May you see the funny side in all your dealings with authority.