Call Center Purgatory <$BlogRSDURL$>
Call Center Purgatory
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
  Don't be trite!

I was about 17 years old when it happened. I was sitting in the car with my mom as we were leaving work. I got a job with her, at a Christian publishing house in the Midwest.

One of the people we worked was a single lady in her thirties that was in some sort of personal crisis all the time. At work that day, she had told both of us about the problems she was having with her current boyfriend. Even though I was a teenage boy, I seemed to have inherited that same quality that my mom has that makes people want to tell me their problems.

I was very active in the church youth group, had recently become an usher, and felt I had it "all together". So when mom and I were discussing this lady's problems, I piped up and said, "You know, if she would just pray more, she wouldn't have so many problems." I said it with a real arrogant tone, like she was pathetically stupid to not see such an obvious answer to her problems.

"I don't ever want to hear you talk like that again! Do you understand me?! Don't be trite! People's problems are not that simple!"

My mom had never talked to me in that tone before. I was speechless. I was the baby, my mom thought I was the best thing since sliced bread and got me everything I ever asked for if she was able to. She had never spoken to me in such a harsh, direct tone.

As I got older, I understood the full truth of what my mom was saying. The world is a tough place. Everyone you see around you carries hurts, broken dreams and struggles to understand a world that changes the rules everytime you think you have it figured out. I could tell you some theological reasons for all of this, but it breaks down to God loves us, but we are bound to screw up, and life will suck for all of us from time to time.

When I look at people, or talk to them, I always try to remember that each one is an incredibly complex combination of thoughts, beliefs, and values. What makes people tick inside their hearts and minds is as complex as the strands of DNA that make up their cells. No one is as they appear, and people and their problems are not labeled so easily.

Do I have a point to all this?

Yes I do. Since the election, I have had this aching inside my heart. Every blog I read, every newspaper I pick up, every TV show I watch, is going on and on about how the Red States are all idiots, or how the Blue states don't have a clue. I have heard people say that anyone that voted for Bush must have been a retarded inbred, and how anyone who voted for Kerry is a godless atheist.

It's all arrogant bullshit, both sides.

All Republicans are not theocratic, gun-toting, sister-marrying fascists. All Democrats are not elitist, members of planned parenthood, who want to toss out all of historic Christianity for some form of sloppy one-world religious pluralism. These caricatures, these internal archetypes that we use to describe those "others" we hate are as dangerous and as damaging as any other forms of prejudice this country has experienced. Don't give in to this type of prejudice. There is more common ground between us than we realize.

Thanks for reading,


Well said AC. A constant striving for understanding is the only defence against hatred and anger.
This is my disclaimer to this post-I felt the post was too long anyway, and thought this was a great place to put the footnotes and disclaimer.

I'm not against debate over public policies. What I am against is dismissing half of the country as ignorant based on their vote. Policies should be judged and attacked, not people.

And for those of you that think I've got some axe to grind I will be glad to oblige you:

I voted for George Bush.

I still feel conflicted about it. I'm glad that he won for some reasons, and dreading it for others. I'm sure that he won't raise the minimum wage, or come up with substantial health care reform, but I believe that he will do a better job on other issues. I'd rather not debate anymore about it, because I've already debated with myself inside my head for so long it hurts.

OK....enough of the long-ass rambling....
Thanks for reading.
Excellent post and very well said!
Excellent post and very well said! It's a lot easier to be black and white about issues. But seldom is anything that clear cut. Gray is a hard place to be but it's worth it to have some balance in perspective.
Agreed - great post!
nice post.. i liked ur style too.. read a few previous entries.. and am coming back to find out what happened at the GM meeting.
and yes, there is more in common between us humans than we realise.
sadly, we don't want to realise this either.

Terrific words!
What an inspirational thinker you are AC.
Couldn't agree more .
Words and explanations are nice but they fix nothing. Kerry, Bush, Nader all same difference. The problem i have always had is the amount of influence exerted externally over me. I like continuity, i will accept change but moderately, i detest surprises. One of my mottos: No news is good news. All i have heard in the last years is from Bad to Worst and its even getting worser. No i am not doom and gloom. I make my own little glowing world around me. Praying is a great source of internal peace. However i do not let it go outside my little envelope, thats my comfort zone.
I hear how great the war is going, only 20 americans killed and thousands of iraqi terrorist?? killed. Gas is going higher but thats good because now oil companys are making more money and they can afford to hire?? America is doing great but citibank just announced another 1,000 jobs are going overseas and the buying power of the dollar is at an all time low??
I am sorry, i believe actions speak louder than words and the direction the US is heading is one i'm not looking forward too. All i can say is " I will wait to see whats at the end of the tunnel"
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Exploring the mind numbing insanity and childish corporate culture of an unknown call center employee.

Purgatory: A place of suffering and torment with an unknown duration. In Roman Catholic Theology-the place where the dead are purified from their sins.

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