On the tactility of listening and reading

I want to make a note of two articles.

The first is ‘Skim reading is the new normal. The effect on society is profound.’

Karin Littau and Andrew Piper have noted another dimension: physicality. Piper, Littau and Anne Mangen’s group emphasize that the sense of touch in print reading adds an important redundancy to information – a kind of “geometry” to words, and a spatial “thereness” for text. As Piper notes, human beings need a knowledge of where they are in time and space that allows them to return to things and learn from re-examination – what he calls the “technology of recurrence”. The importance of recurrence for both young and older readers involves the ability to go back, to check and evaluate one’s understanding of a text. The question, then, is what happens to comprehension when our youth skim on a screen whose lack of spatial thereness discourages “looking back.”

and the other is an interview with David Sax in The Technoskeptic:

This was a point of time when I really moved most of my music collection, which was largely CDs at the time, and iTunes. I had got rid of all my physical music and moved to streaming. And then as a consequence of that, almost stopped listening to music. When it wasn’t there as a physical thing, music just kind of disappeared. And then shortly after that, a couple months later, my roommate at the time got his parents’ old record collection, and we started listening to this stuff and I became really sort of intrigued at what it was about, the records were pleasurable and it wasn’t the sound quality. And it wasn’t that it was such a great record collection, because it wasn’t really.

It was around the time that everybody I knew started getting their first smart phones. And really seeing the behavior of people changing in such a fundamental way, people suddenly ignoring you in the midst of conversations. Going out for dinner and everybody was just there with their heads down, responding to messages, which is something we now take for granted…. But at the time, it was just really stark, stark change. And also, at this time there was sort of the green shoots of what I was writing about, which is that these supposedly obsolete analog things were starting to see kind of new life and find new audiences and find a different sort of value in what they were, compared to what they were in the past.

 

Peasants at the forefront of dealing with catastrophic climate change

Rwanda at a project to reclaim degraded farmland ‘The most important thing is to have people with you on your side’.

Obviously we can’t do this sort of thing in Australia. You need to be poverty stricken peasants in order to fix the land and bring water back to it. Pity.

This report, towards the end, points out how cost-effective fixing degraded land is as a way of dealing with climate change. But this necessitates a different way of living where people can look beyond their very short term interests and understand that big business, aided and abetted by government, is the very opposite of what the planet needs. Obviously can’t happen in Australia.

Climate change catastrophe: the importance of water

It isn’t that there is no good news available on the issue of water generally and its impact on rising sea levels. But why would we hear it when the wholesale plan of global media, the wealthiest few and politicians in the main, is that they want to bring it on. They want us to believe we are helpless. They want total control and where better to start than with water?

So you have to look between the cracks, for the hidden possibilities.
WATER: THE MISSING LINK TO SOLVE CLIMATE CHANGE A Global Action Plan is such a work. It describes the enormous impact of water runoff into the oceans on rising sea levels, the runoff being a consequence of  factors including deforestisation and, of course, urbanisation. The ways of dealing with this are incredibly simple and best for the land as well as for the ocean. After all, it is water that once upon a time stayed on the land. To quote:

November 2015: After five years of extreme drought, the long-desired rain is finally falling in California. What could actually be a blessing quickly develops into the next catastrophe. Torrential rain pours down onto desiccated land. In Lancaster, for example, 80 liters of rainwater per square meter fell in only half an hour. The rain hits sealed, developed, overgrazed, parched and hardened ground. Where once humus-rich forest floors absorbed and stored these waters, it now rushes down the slopes carrying with it the last remaining fertile soil. Straightened river beds are deluged, flooding streets and basements, causing millions of dollars in damages. The land is left even more bleak and barren.

What happens in California is the symptom of a global phenomenon. Forests are cut down; water is driven out as quickly as possible through drainage; soil is sealed; cities create “hot spots” whose thermal lift no longer allows the clouds to discharge its rain.

The author of this article Michal Kravcik, has been running one of those thankless campaigns that wonderful people around the world have committed their lives to: getting people to understand that they have power over water and how to exercise it.

People and Water NGO encourages Slovaks to take advantage of their newly-minted democracy by organizing town meetings where citizens questioned officials about the legality of water usage. As result, in November 1996, the Environmental Ministry canceled the dam proposal. It was Michal Kravcik, Chairman of People and Water NGO who showed how drinking reservoirs had not been used in full and how much water was wasted by an old and repair – needed distribution systems. His alternative plan outlined the repair of these problems while minimizing the impact on environment.

The mission of the undertaking “People And Water” is to provide services to municipal and rural communities, mostly within the Carpathian region. The goal is to solve the economic, social, cultural and environmental problems on a grassroots level by encouraging citizens to be active through development, renewal and promotion of the traditional culture and diversity of this region.

He participated in the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen from 7 – 18 December 2009 and, interviewed at the time, said

My expectations are simple: to incorporate in the Copenhagen Protocol a mechanism of using water for recovery of the climate based not only on local and regional – but also on continental and global level of the Planet Earth. Until now, all initiatives for solution of climatic changes addressed only CO2 reduction, and through this, to stop the breakup of the Earth´s climatic system.

Somehow we keep forgetting that water is the thermoregulator of heat. So where there is enough water, the landscape heats only slowly, while where is dry weather, the landscape overheats fast reaching big differences in temperature e.g. between night and day – or winter and summer. According to our estimates, each year over 700 billion m3 rainwater vanishes from continents – that in the past had been soaked and saturated in soil, and evaporated in the atmosphere. This is how rainwater kept the climate within limits – without any extreme floods, droughts or sudden shifts in climate.

It is hard not to smile when a person says his aim to save the planet is ‘simple’, but when you read about what he does and what others are also doing in micro ways around the world, the word that overwhelmingly applies is simple. It is all so simple that I’m starting to wonder why that explains how all these efforts are ignored by us. Because if the methods are simple and relatively non-technological, then what’s in it for big business? And if the answer is ‘nothing’, then one can see how the process of empowerment at local small level is never going to take on, certainly not in Australia.

Instead, Australia will stay as it is right now. Watching the burning, watching the drought, and hoping for handouts. Everything will be reactive, not proactive. We believe hogwash we’ve been told – it isn’t for us to change, there isn’t anything we can do, if the whole world does nothing, then what’s the point of us changing?

And while we sit about concurring on this, in the world there are villages in Slovakia, in India, in China, in Africa, which are dedicating their existence to changing how they do things….and it is working for them. But hey. Just because peasants in Africa, and India, and China, and Africa can backtrack on bad methods and turn arid land into that of green and plenty, why would we Australians be able to?

Catastrophic climate change: ideas for ‘making’ water

Rajendra Singh and the TBS have revolutionised the state of water in Rajasthan, India. They have done that by simple methods of low cost and low technology. This has led to their winning the Water ‘Nobel Prize’. The story starts like this, quoting wiki:

Alwar district, which once had a grain market, was at the time largely dry and barren, as years of deforestation and mining had led to a dwindling water table, minimal[clarification needed] rainfall followed by floods. Another reason was the slow abandoning of traditional water conservation techniques, like building check dams, or johad, instead villagers started relying on “modern” bore wells, which simply sucked the groundwater up. But consistent use meant that these bored wells had to be dug deeper and deeper within a few years, pushing underground water table further down each time, till they went dry in ecologically fragile Aravalis. At this point he met a village elder, Mangu Lal Meena, who argued “water was a bigger issue to address in rural Rajasthan than education”.[3] He chided him to work with his hands rather than behaving like “educated” city folks who came, studied and then went back; later encouraged him to work on a johad, earthen check dams, which have been traditionally used to store rainwater and recharge groundwater, a technique which had been abandoned in previous decades. As a result, the area had no ground water since previous five years and was officially declared a “dark zone”. Though Rajendra wanted to learn the traditional techniques from local farmers about water conservation, his other city friends were reluctant to work manually and parted ways. Eventually with the help of a few local youths he started desilting the Gopalpura johad, lying neglected after years of disuse. When the monsoon arrived that year, the johad filled up and soon wells which had been dry for years had water. Villagers pitched in and in the next three years, it made it 15 feet deep.[5][1]

The battle was not just against nature, but was also political. Their efforts were being thwarted by mining. But unlike Australia, there is some backbone in parts of India to fight for water against mining interests.

A legal battle ensued, they filed public interest petition in the Supreme Court, which in 1991 banned mining in the Aravallis. Then in May 1992, Ministry of Environment and Forests notification banned mining in the Aravalli hill system all together, and 470 mines operating within the Sariska sanctuary buffer area and periphery were closed. Gradually TBS built 115 earthen and concrete structures within the sanctuary and 600 other structures in the buffer and peripheral zones. The efforts soon paid off, by 1995 Aravri became a perennial river.[1][6] The river was awarded the `International River Prize’…

There is a lot more to the story, but for now observe that it is working. Areas that were bereft are now green again.

 

So, how about it, Australia??! If villagers in India can do this, why can’t we? As well as using low tech small scale methods, for harvesting rainwater, we also have the advantage of being able to build desalinisation plants and pipe water inland. Australia has to make water a priority, and it has to be a priority for the land itself, not for mining or other interests that are damaging to the land, to water supply, to food supply, to the very idea of existence in this country.

But perhaps Mimmi Jain has the last word on that:

“How can we make this movement – the bringing back of resource ownership into the hands of the common man – global? In India it’s possible. Is it possible in the west? That’s a tricky question, because it’s a different kind of system altogether. You have privatisation of companies, lots of vested interests, lots of big corporations. It’s a really stuck system,” she said.

The Australian population has to take control of water. It has to incorporate it into the notion of ‘rights’ both for us and for the water systems themselves. Question is, do we have what it takes to do that?

 

Catastrophic climate change: Preparing for the Era of Disasters

Last year Robert Glasser wrote his report: Preparing for the Era of Disasters. You can download it here. He is the former Head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and now that he is back home in Canberra, he no longer has to pull any diplomatic punches.

It’s said that generals always fight the last war. This is the situation today with respect to climate change exposure: policymakers mistakenly base their strategies, policy assumptions, operational arrangements and funding allocations on experience of disasters in a stable climate or with the mistaken expectation that climate change impacts will increase gradually, rather than rapidly as the science suggests. The Australian Government’s 2011 National Strategy for Disaster Resilience states that ‘It is uncommon for a disaster to be so large that it is beyond the capacity of a state or territory government to deal with effectively.’69 Those words, and the systems, policies and funding underpinning them, will be out of date in little more than a decade.

Policymakers need to begin preparing now for this future. A first step should be to create a compelling narrative about climate and disaster risk reduction that explicitly recognises the changing scale of the threat and the new aspects we’re beginning to understand, such as the compounding, cascading effects that we—along with our South Pacific and Southeast Asian neighbours—are likely to experience. This is needed to lay the groundwork for more standardised, timely and frequent support from the Australian Government to the states and territories, and for changes in the posture and capability of our defence force and possibly the Australian Federal Police’s International Deployment Group.

An action plan to come from a national strategy:

1. the development of indicators of resilience at federal, state and local levels
2. the identification and implementation of incentives to promote private- and public-sector investments in resilient infrastructure and broader socio-economic and environmental resilience (for example, Suncorp has introduced discounts on insurance premiums for property owners in cyclone-prone areas who invest in strengthening homes against cyclone damage73)
3. an assessment of the exposure of critical infrastructure and other socio-economic assets to expected and emergent natural hazards (for example, critical infrastructure resilience should be strengthened through modularity and redundancy to cope with hazards and cascading impacts for which there’s no historical precedent)
4. initiatives to increase training and research (integrated across disciplines and stakeholders) at Australian universities and policy institutions into the compounding and cascading impacts of climate change, regional and subregional scale climate modelling and resilience-building74
5. financial support to the states for economic recovery following disasters and ‘fodder banks’ and ‘land banks’ to address the needs of communities in chronic crisis and the permanently displaced
6. the strengthening of disaster response capacity and planning at all levels, including in the Australian Defence Force (which will play an increasingly important role in the transport of firefighters and equipment, fodder drops from helicopters and the provision of shelters) and through joint taskforces to coordinate the ADF contribution, like the one established during the Black Saturday Victorian bushfires.

Of course this presupposes that we had leadership, which we don’t.

One of the prime objectives of the national strategy should be to scale up Australia’s efforts to prevent the effects of natural hazards, such as extreme weather, from becoming disasters. Currently, funding for mitigating disaster risk equates to only about 3% of what the Australian Government spends on post-disaster responses…

And this is exactly what happened recently. The Federal govt has done next to nothing preventative – infamously refusing to talk to senior fire fighting management during 2019 – preferring to react, whilst behaving as if it is ‘giving’ us something. ‘Giving us aid.’ Giving us the military.’ ‘Giving us money.’ ‘Giving us planes.’ Not giving us Danish firefighters.

 

Trees in the City of Unley vs Geneva

I have been involved in a discussion lately about trees in Geneva – are there enough? Are they being cut down when they shouldn’t be? This will sound familiar to anybody living in Adelaide, but especially in my local area, where public trees are such an important part of the character of the neighbourhood.

My intuitive thought, based on living in both places, is that Geneva is a bit of a concrete jungle, but that it has magnificent parks. Unley, in contrast, has lovely street tree settings, but its public green areas are dire. They have little shade, no aesthetic aspect whatsoever. They are often totally utilitarian, there for sport and dogs. Anybody wanting a pleasurable experience of sitting in a beautiful green place need not apply.

Indeed, the facts bear this up. Geneva, being a typical medium density city, has an area of about 16 square kms with a population of 200K. The City of Unley has about 39K population in an area of 14 sq kms. Unley has 2728 persons/sq km, while Geneva has 12,000/sq km. Geneva has 40,000 public trees, whilst Unley has only 26,000.

However, the makeup of where those trees are, is incredibly different in the two areas and I think each could learn from the other. Geneva’s public trees are mostly in parks. Unley Council must do something about this. It’s such a shame that your green areas are the very opposite of the pleasing areas they should be. On the other hand, Unley has a huge number of street trees compared with Geneva: about 23,000 compared with 5,000 in Geneva. Thus the street scenes are all lovely in Unley – shady and verdant and utterly vital to making this part of Adelaide what it is.

This is not to suggest that the residents of the City of Unley have no obligations. We should all have as many trees as possible on our own property, but it all goes together. The beautiful gardens of the area are visually enhanced by the street trees. One has only to compare areas with nice gardens – eg the beach suburbs around Somerton Park – and no (or stunted) street trees to see the striking difference. The street trees give a continuity that makes the area one big garden. Maybe that explains why I often feel like I’m walking in the country when I’m walking down my street in Clarence Park.

Which is why it’s so disappointing to hear the idea expounded in Unley that trees on footpaths should be cut down so that people in wheel chairs can cruise around enjoying the gardens of the area – it’s their ‘right’. But take away the street trees and you’ve taken away a lot of the impact of the gardens too. They are symbiotic. And without the trees, there is not the shade which is crucial to walking around the area. This is not an option. In fact, noting that the Unley Council has put the occasional bench on streets in the area with signs saying that these are old people friendly, the very idea that benches have any purpose at all without being in shade is hard to understand. Ditto, one might add, for the CBD, where along North Terrace etc public seating places are rarely put where they can be used in summer/sun.

Thinking of my own back yard, something like 15M x 3M, I’m amazed at how many trees one can have in a small area and the fabulous visual, psychological and practical impact. The Unley Council should be a driving force in stepping up the process of increasing green tree coverage of public spaces, both streets and parks, and the local residents should be doing everything they can to facilitate and extend this into their private space. We should, in short, be a leader in making green matter.

 

 

High rise box living in Australian cities

This is obviously the serious problem of cities across Australia at the moment. This, combined with the future problem that the aim is to create hugely increased populations which Australia cannot sustain.

The developing disaster is most obvious in Melbourne. But Adelaide, Perth, Sydney (Brisbane?) all follow. We are supposed to think it is inevitable. What a crock.

In particular the point must be made that Australia has decided to follow the Asian high rise pattern of most people living in small boxes in badly built ghetto highrises. An extraordinary decision, perhaps brought on by corrupt dealings between politicians and developers. There is presumably a big connection with inferior Chinese building products commonly used.

The obvious and preferable option would have been to follow European design principles of medium density mixed buildings, typically 5-7 floors high. Decent amounts of space and light are always part of the developments even those of more modern vintage which are frequently ugly from the outside.

How ironic that Adelaide is called the Urban Forest when it is stripping itself of those inconvenient assets as fast as possible both in order to assist in big business’ building objectives and also to cater to the ‘that tree might fall on me’/that tree is….brigade.

The good thing about Adelaide is that it is way behind the catastrophe as developing in Melbourne and maybe there is the possibility of doing something about it if we can find politicians who are independent of the business behind building development.

One point worth noting that in Europe nobody as a rule wants to live in the more modern medium density apartments either because of their ugliness and the fact that they tend to be in outerlying areas. They live there because they can’t afford to live in the older, gracious apartments in the older more central parts of the city.

Links.

By retrofitting our capital cities, we’re forcing residents to live with planning failures discussing some of the catastrophic decisions being made in our cities.

Backyard blitz having an adverse impact on our health, planning expert warns

To investigate planning policies that deliver positive social outcomes in
hyper-dense, high-rise residential environments. Report by Leanne Hodyl – 2014 Churchill Fellow Hodyl_L_2014_Social_outcomes_in_hyper-dense_high-rise_residential_environments_1

The Housing We’d Choose includes a downloadable report on what Australians want in housing, report is 2011.

Transport-Oriented Development – US site but the ideas have been brought to Australia.

Activity Corridor Intensification in Perth and the role of Design Based
Research A 2013 report on this development strategy in Perth.

Melbourne Activity Centres – trying to make suburban life attractive enough to stop pressure on the city centre. Looking at their timeline for Broadmeadows, one cannot help thinking of Elizabeth in Adelaide. Can governments create such things successfully?

City Futures Research Centre (UNSW) has a large list of resources including a literature review of a couple of hundred pages:

Healthy Built Environments LiteratureReview_FullDocument

The Adelaide Parklands’ future.

Written in reaction to this story in The Adelaide Review. A bit depressing that such news gets no reaction. My two cents’ worth. When the idea of the Parklands was conceived, the impact of cars/traffic was obviously not factored in. I want to compare Tiergarten in Berlin with the Parklands. The Parklands are bigger, but it is all shallow and surrounded by cars. There is no meaningful concept of being ‘In Nature’ when you are in the Parklands. Compared with this, Tiergarten is smaller, but it is less spread out and only divided by one (large) road. This means that you can be inside away from roads and traffic. You can really feel, as the original intention was, that you are In Nature. It is a highly successful way for urban folk to get the sensation, the peace, the ambience of it.

Further, Tiergarten is deliberately left mainly uncultivated rather than manicured, but it is lush. You can always sit on the ground, there is always shade nearby. The parklands suffer, as all common area does in Adelaide, as opposed to Melbourne from being dry, harsh and generally unshaded. (Do the toffs in North Adelaide have it better?). It can’t be used in the way that Tiergarten can be. Or, indeed, Melbourne parks such as Treasury Gardens.

It will be a great pity if the Adelaide Council or the SA Govt is allowed to give the parklands to cronies to build more cafes (because we don’t have enough of them) or to make them places for Events (yes, let’s have more noise and environmental degradation because? I’ve forgotten why) or to make them increasingly sports places combined with the accompanying car parks. What’s the problem. It’s a parkland right? So we’re parking on it.

But I would be strongly in favour of improving the usability of this natural asset by making it more accessible to the idea of urban residents being able to seek solace there. Not Coffee, not Events, not Sport. Solace. The expensive way is to put all the road surrounding parkland underground, which I guess isn’t going to happen. The cheap way which will only make things better, not best, is to slow down all surrounding vehicle traffic substantially. Uproar. Cars travelling more slowly than they might? Well. Yes. It can be done.

PS: I wonder if I’m the only one who feels unsafe walking through the parklands even in daylight? Didn’t feel safe when I was a teenager, don’t feel safe now. More could be done in this regard to facilitate use.

Adelaide: food out

EATING OUT

Chianti Classico  is still my favourite breakfast place in Adelaide. Sophisticated menu, impeccable service. However, there are many great sounding places that we didn’t get to this time. Unlike other trips we stayed in our own place and sitting in one’s backyard eating breakfast under the shade of a vine has its attractions.

Ichitaro is is a world-class Japanese restaurant on King William St Hyde Park. Its lunch menu on Fridays and Saturdays is plain unbelievable value and its evening offerings are masterly in taste and presentation, whilst remaining excellent value too. Whereas we will be able to go to London for good breakfasts when we are back in Geneva, nothing will replace Ichitaro.

Mrs Q Gouger St. Good Asian fusion, nice surrounds, overly attentive waiters ( large place, we were early), generous serves, will be back.

Vietnamese Laundry We dropped in for a quick lunch the other day, tried the salads, a really nice heat to them, excellent value at $12 or so per serve.

Lucky Lupitas  We almost didn’t get here, it’s up towards the North end of O’Connell’s St and we had to walk past the enticing smells from a Greek restaurant to get there. We managed, but only just. Just a quick meal, but it was darn good – Manny said it would hold its own in California which prides itself on its Mexican. I can only compare it with the dire Mexican interpretation that New Mexico inflicts upon unsuspecting tourists. No wonder the Mexicans want to build a wall.

Katsumoto is a simple cafe in Gays Arcade, it does cheap unpretentious lunches. We can’t go past the eel and the eggplant to date.

Larry and Ladd There will be a moment in your life when you need a toasted cheese sandwich that very moment and I can only wish, even upon my enemies, that they find Larry and Ladd close to hand. Their plain toasted sandwich is practically life-saving.

Naturally we tried out some of the places close to us. In no particular order:

Sublime East Ave. Everybody should live on a short street with a cafe at the end of it!

Carnevale East Ave. Even closer than Sublime. You can get freshly ground coffee/beans to take home, as well as all the usual things onsite.

The Middle Store Winston Ave. Sort of Lebanesey, nice!

Dear Daisy  Leah Street. Cute, and like the others named above, all nice places to hang out.

Bar Fifty 8 Brand new, a couple of us grabbed coffee there on our way back from lunch at the Rice Bar and it was declared excellent. It has a good look about it and we look forward to lunch there some time.

Pickle in the Middle I just love this breakfast dish and haven’t yet managed to get past it: Breakfast greens 16 Poached egg, shredded kale, Asian greens, snow peas, whole oat kernels and lentil sprouts, toasted seeds, watermelon radish, orange. If you ask me it sounds weird at best, but honestly? It’s fantastic!!

By Blackbird Still haven’t been here – it has a dark look from the street which somehow puts me off – but a friend brought their cakes around recently and they are stunning. In the posh cake French style Manny thought they were at least as good as anything he’s had in Geneva. We are going to have to bite the bullet and go there one day.

A small intro to the next two. One of the things that makes Adelaide special is non-licensed cafes that open at night, generally specialising in dessert. The atmosphere is totally different from places that serve grog. Long may they thrive!

Eggless Cafe Famous doesn’t begin to describe this place. We had to go three times before we joined a queue small enough that we could actually get in when it opened! The first time I swear it was about minus 2 degrees, strong wind, rain, we got there a few minutes after opening time and yet the best we could do is put our name on the waiting list and try coming back in 45 minutes. Which we did not do. Instead we went to….

Spats Cafe  A blast to the past if ever there was one. Seventies written all over it. We love it and to have both this and Eggless Cafe (which is so very different from Spats) within a short walk of each other is very lucky for us. Spats isn’t quite as crowded as Eggless, but it’s close. You can book.

I can see there are many eating out experiences we’ll be leaving for our next visit, this one coming to a close soon. I pray that Adelaide doesn’t end up like Melbourne with too many cafes and not enough anything elses. For now, it has a great balance and more on that next post.

Something’s wrong with the banks

With his $12 million salary this year, Commonwealth Bank chief executive Ian Narev has become the latest poster boy for corporate excess, making 106 times that of an average Commonwealth Bank worker.

Nearly $10 million of his pay was in bonuses, while 25 per cent of the long term portion was awarded for customer satisfaction. from the ABC

Today I queued at the Commonwealth Bank opposite the Central Market. This sort of bank used to have a large line of tellers, but now it is down to one. There was an employee standing near the door ‘welcoming’ people who stepped in. I said to the lady in front of me that it would be better if that man was working instead of standing there.

She was elderly and bitter. She worked hard and paid her taxes for 50 years. Now she is treated like shit. She is treated like shit by society at large who thinks it can’t afford to pay her pension. She’s treated like shit by the bank. The same bank who employs the CEO who has apparently made $4M this year just for his customers being satisfied. How dare society, how dare the bank.

May I assure you, Mr Narev and the Commonwealth bank, that your customers are not satisfied. We do not want to wait an eternity for a teller. Once I had got to see the one teller in a bank which seemed to have lots of employees doing other things, we had this conversation.

Me: I’d like to get withdraw some money.

Teller: Hey, you could link your account up to a card and then use the machines.

Me: I don’t want to use machines, I want to stand in a queue and talk to a human being when I get to the top.

Teller: But you wouldn’t have to wait if you took my suggestion.

Me: If you took my suggestion and employed more tellers, I wouldn’t have to wait.

Teller: Do you have a financial adviser? I can organise an initially free appointment with a financial adviser for you.

Me: I could have said already, not unreasonably, I just want my fucking money. Is that too much to ask. Instead I said no thank you, I don’t want financial advise.

Teller: We’ve got some great Apps you can download to your phone.

Me: thinking WTF, this is how Mr Narev gets his customer satisfaction bonus? By getting this teller to harrass me instead of giving me my money?, said: I’m a Luddite, actually.

Teller: (thinking WTF’s a Luddite, no doubt) gives up. Offers me what I went in for in the first place.

Mr Narev, you should be ashamed of yourself, taking this money. You should employ more bank tellers. You should not use them to try to force services upon the customers.

Society, what are you thinking of? It’s not even your money, it’s her money, this lady who has paid her fair share of taxes and probably a contribution to make up for whatever Mr Narev avoids.

Our elderly citizens are angry. Something is wrong with our society. Something is wrong with a society so greedy for its bank dividends, it will kowtow to the excesses of men (sic) like Narev, whilst treating those they should be honouring like they are tedious interruptions to their time and their financial planning. Couldn’t we do better?