Wednesday, January 20, 2010

That time of the day ...


... Or night!

In my case it was at 11:30 pm, the fatalistic hour when I discovered a totally new side of me... And apparently new powers I never imagined I had!

The night before (between Jan 18 and Jan 19 at 3 am) I heard a huge explosion coming from the street (I live on the 7th floor and when I sleep, well let's just say that nothing could ever wake me up so no need to elaborate on how big the whole thing was).

I got out of bed (and woke my parents up in case of fire or emergency) and we discovered the whole street was dark: the buildings, the street lights which are not really a reference in Lebanon since we have casual power cuts, but in Beirut, never after 6pm. So that was unusual but what definitely confirmed the explosion came from the main neighborhood power supply was that even the power station was off which never happens at all, even during cuts.

Of course at 3 am there isn't much you can do (or feel like doing, because actually there is a night shift in order to ensure 24/7 repairs when/where/if needed).

So we immediately started calling the next morning, i.e. yesterday. We spent all day on the phones dodging rude answers, hang ups (AAAGGGHHH!!!) and all sorts of crap crapped by public sector employees.

In our area of Beirut they shut down all generators providers for pollution reasons (Mmmh... Did you really believe that last statement? They just kept one single supplier in our area, a mafioso who doesn't allow anyone else to compete against his services, charges exorbitant fees and rules the neighborhood; all this despite his regular law-breaking -- he spends a few months in jail every year but since a prominent politician in Beirut backs him up, he always ends up back on his feet in no time. What kills me is that the power he provides doesn't come solely from his generator. He actually steals power from the state. When one street is off, he steals from another street's supply line which is on at that time... And everyone knows!) But Lebanese corruption is not the topic of this post. Moving on.

So basically, we had no electricity and the building's tiny generator cannot cater to all the apartments, let alone the entire day.

We ended up spending all the afternoon in the dark. All that time, the lying employees (customer service is not a word they could ever understand so I won't even bother using it) were constantly assuring us that they sent a crew to assess the situation.

Finally, in the evening at around 9 pm they told us that the problem was too big for them to resolve immediately so we had to wait until the next morning.

Of course they were lying because we saw no crew ever showed up and since this same problem happens every year when it rains heavily, we also knew that it was a matter of 15 minutes for them. They do it every year for God's sake!! Just because they can't bother changing one single piece of equipment which cannot contain all the power distribution needed when radiators and all sorts of heating devices run full-fledge in the winter. Naturally, when it comes to collecting the bills, they are always very punctual and efficient. But providing the services paid for in those aforementioned bills, that's too much to ask for!

So at 11:30 pm sleepless as usual, the wiring in my head disconnected and I just couldn't take it anymore. I called the same number and this time with a very harsh Lebanese-backed-by-shithead-politician tone, I asked for the night shift manager. They put me on hold and wanted to ask me questions, to which I would reply each time the same answer: "I want to speak to the manager. You are useless. I've been talking to you and your colleagues all day. Now I want to speak to your manager."

I don't know if I really got transfered to the manager because I could hear them fussing in the back and putting me on hold, then fussing some more, then putting me on hold again until finally one of them gave me his name and said he was in charge of the night shift. I don't know if he truly was or if they just wanted to get the crazy bitch (me) off the phone.

I won't repeat all the things I said because, well, some sensitive ears may not survive it.

But basically, in my wild tirade I made sure to mention valid arguments such as the fact that we were paying for 24hr service in our bills and in our taxes and I didn't care for employees who sit on their asses collecting salaries for doing absolutely nothing, salaries we are paying from our hard-earned money.

To which he had to audacity to lie and tell me that they had no complaint from our neighborhood in their records! That drove me madder since I myself had called a million times! Then he said, the complaint came at noon (?!) Ok... Well done dude. If you can't even be smart enough to maintain your lies; and I know for a fact I personally called in the freaking morning. That only served to aggravate me more: let's assume the complaint was recorded at noon... It was midnight!! Since noon, and nothing was done yet?!

Of course the guy was standing tough (as any arrogant public sector employee would) and telling me not to shout and to respect myself which of course drove me to the end of what little sanity was left in me!

I told him that I, unlike him, do respect myself, that they're the ones who don't respect themselves because they don't care to get our respect. If they did they wouldn't be lying thieves and finally, everyone will be held responsible for their amazingly inadequate performance (and many more things that cannot be repeated).

I am sure everybody threatens like this every day but it seems my tone was apparently very convincing and projected a crazy bitch, yes, but a true Lebanese-backed-by-shithead-politician crazy bitch!

The guy said he was doing his best and he would send someone and that I should call back in half an hour to check on the crew's status. And that please I should calm down and appreciate he's doing a nice thing for me (!!!) To which I replied: "Thank you for doing your job" and hung up as any Lebanese-backed-by-shithead-politician crazy bitch would (duh).

My mom called back from another number after 40 minutes and we found out that the crew hadn't left yet but they were about to.

Another 20 minutes later the power was back on!!

So in 20 minutes they managed to get their lazy asses to the location AND repair whatever needed repairing! 20 minutes! 20 freaking minutes they couldn't bother spending in the morning (or even in the afternoon).


But since I'm an oversensitive idiot who feels guilty very easily, I had to call back and thank Haytham for his outstanding (yeah, right) work.

I was very nice and even apologized for being harsh because I know it wasn't his fault; blablabla.

To which he replies with a soft voice "So can we get properly introduced now? Who do I have the honor of speaking to?"

I can't even explain my face at that moment.
Is he a freaking masochist or what?!

I laughed as if it was a funny, funny joke coming from a funny, funny jerk... Sorry, I mean man, wished him a good night and hung up.

About 10 minutes later, I get an SMS on my mobile (which I had used to call the power station) with another funny, funny joke and something like "I've never accepted so much shit from someone in my entire life".

Well, believe me, I am flattered (?!?!?!)

Turned off my phone and went to bed.

God! Can't anyone be nice to someone else without them thinking there could be something more??

Wait a second, I'm not a silly silly little girl. I know very well he wasn't attracted to me.
He had never seen me.

He certainly wasn't attracted to my honey-candy-sweet voice.
I sounded like a crazy bitch, remember?

He probably just wanted to waste his idle (working?!?!) hours on the phone sweet talking a woman or something.

And regardless of whether I'm married or not.
Come on.

(And seriously, after the insane tirade I gave him, he's gotta be a masochist for trying to befriend me. Apparently he enjoys being reprimanded! You naughty naughty boy! You're punished! There. Done.)

(My dad & mom were seriously amused and laughed their asses off!! Glad someone was enjoying this whole thing!)


L'épice said...


Call back Haytham tonight... 7aram, he'll probably be bored to death... you owe him that, come on! he actually did his job. a job that other idiots refused to do all day long!!

any journalist in the area??!! :p

~♪ bl✮g ♫~ said...

Ça t'amuses tout ça, la p'tite??

Hady aurait été là, on se serait bien éclatés, mais la toute seule, j'ose pas! :P lol

Journalistes? Quels journalistes?? Celui qui vit avec nous s'est tout simplement assoupi sur le canapé, comme d'hab quoi :P

Farah Soubra said...

ohh my god that is horrible, dear I had the a similar situation but I had to be pay for a missed invoiced since I was out of the country. i went to the electricity company to pay it and they said simply that i have to call the collector and meet him somewhere to pay for the freakin invoice... it was like asking him for a date ... As a normal solution I thought they were supposed to tell him to pass by my house to give me the bill not tell me to go after him for the invoice!!! it was so frustrating. Willing to get rid of this shit i called him ... well i woke him up, nervously he answered like i have stabbed him. After being rude to me and saying that I can’t pass by i decided to go directly to report what happened since i was in there... the stupid guy laughed !!!! He said why don't you associate it to your bank it is much easier !!!! i was like what !!! it is my choice to decide that , i am paying my electricity fees and taxes so everybody does his jobs why should i pay for a bank to make this done for a second time !!!
Not to make things longer I left the issue and he came to our house to collect the bill!!! He could have done that before, keep in mind that he knew that I was travelling and we may miss a bill taking into consideration that we never missed paying one.
I should tell you that I become a very different person when it comes to public services!!! NO MERCY

~♪ bl✮g ♫~ said...

Waow Farah! I feel with you! Once my mom asked this guy who comes to collect money why her bill is higher than anyone else in the building (like 600,000 LL!! while our neighbors get like 50,000 LL) he just replied: if you don't like it; you can move. This street is an expensive street!

I just can't believe how rude and arrogant these people are! And they're not so rich themselves so they should feel with others. Instead, they take their anger (and inferiority complexes) out on us!!!

You are so right: in the face of such lack of decency; have absolutely NO MERCY!!

Farah Soubra said...

lOL this bill situation happened with me our neighbors had a 30,000 L.L with 8 people and ours of 200,000 with 4 people in the house the difference is so ridiculous. Had a fight with the collector too :) well he has to collect it since he will get 12,000 on every bill collected.( the number is not updated :)