I talked to Lucy today. Actually, I’ve talked to Lucy a lot lately. In fact, I’ve rang her twelve times over the last week. I’ve never met her and I don’t expect I ever will, but I like talking to her.
One of the really good things about Lucy is the fact that she is a REAL PERSON!
(Don’t worry, I’m not going to divulge here that I have imaginary friends )
Anyway, my friend Lucy is real, as in she’s not an automated voice message. I’ve come across an awful lot of automated voices recently in my quest to file my taxes. They usually make you wait twenty minutes before telling you, one of three things:
- Check it up on line
- The lines are busy, call back next week
- The robot deliberately misunderstands you before saying it can’t help you
They also insist on relaying the whole message in both English and Irish before cutting you off.
Filing taxes is a bit of new one for me. Now I’ve become officially ‘self employed,’ it’s become as necessary and pressing as going to the dentist.
Whatever anyone tells you, filing your own taxes is not simple and straight-forward.
Thinking back to yesterday’s Q post, I’d have to say that tax is another type of quagmire and I have felt myself to be sinking very deep in the obscure and incomprehensible language of Irish bureaucracy.
I’ll give you an example. In order to even register for online revenue services, you have to complete a three part application process which takes over a week.
Even when I finally managed to register, I couldn’t open my files. It took me another week to find out that the only person who could actually open my file was an accountant I had brief dealing with twenty five years ago. When I did manage to open my files, I really was none the wiser about what I was expected to do.
It’s not that I can’t do paperwork. For years my job involved making applications for funding for different organisations. It involved a lot of paperwork.
And yet, revenue has me totally bamboozled.
You can imagine my relief when I finally encountered Lucy. I don’t know how my call even found it’s way to Lucy’s ear, but when it did, she immediately gave me her direct number in case we got cut off.
She explained things really clearly. Together we worked through my problems. I felt that we bonded over this experience.
I’ll give you an example.
Me: ‘Lucy, it’s me again. I am so sorry for bothering you but is it my Form 11 or my ROM 1, I need to upload??’
Lucy: ‘Hi, Marie. That’s all right. It’s your form 11.’
Anyway there was a lot of this type of exchange.
When I finally reached end point, I phoned Lucy with one last question-
Me: ‘This probably sounds so stupid, but I cant’ find the send button…’
And listen to this. Lucy was just so lovely. Having explained where the send button was, she said:
‘Well done. You have come so far this week! You can relax now.’
Personally I felt as if I’d climbed two mountains. But I felt more than that. I felt as if I’d climbed the mountain with Lucy at my side.
So R is for Revenue- a word we all love so much.
R is also for ‘relationships’ which can occur in the most unexpected places.
And R is also for ‘Rarity.’ Sadly people like Lucy have become as rare as unicorns in a culture of automated voice responses.