Watching the news Monday night, first ABC News with David Muir and then CBS News with Anthony Mason, one of the headlines they both had and even featured was the latest medical report stating that over 100 million Americans suffer from hypertension. Now it should be noted that the definition of hypertension has been changed from 130 / 90 to 120 / 80 sweeping in a great many citizens who until Monday night thought they were safe.
The "expert" doctors on both shows noted that before people start taking more medicines that lifestyle changes could also make a tremendous difference. Diet, exercise ... the same mantra that is used for just about every condition.
However, after events that Monday, I think I know another factor that increases our blood pressure and does so each and every day in our modern world.
I am taking a holiday trip later this year. While I ordered the tickets in early October I never received a confirmation that everything was confirmed. The sheet of paper I had even said this was not a confirmation, one would be sent shortly. It wasn't.
Since I have had several pulmonary embolisms, one that could have been caused by a long plane flight, and have suffered other blood clots I have to prepare what I wear on the plane and "should" get up and walk about every hour. Since my flight will be about 15 hours I need an aisle seat.
|I'm not so sure about the "happiness." Efficiency is better.|
So a call to Hotwire finally got me to a human that I explained my predicament to. He looked up the itinerary number and sure enough there was my flight information. When I told him I never received the confirmation he said one was sent. I replied that I had nothing. He sent one and I received it while we were talking. (A month ago would have been better.)
When I told him that I needed to pick my seats he said, "Oh, we don't do that. You will need to contact the carrier and pick your seats." Odd, you can do that on Expedia. I thanked him, hung up and went to the United Airlines web site.
Dante wasn't kidding about the 7 circles of hell. United Airlines has that down to a science. After a bunch of questions that led me around and around their web site without getting anywhere, I finally found my flight information and the four flights there and back. Since I am flying from Palm Springs to San Francisco, a flight that is 90 minutes, I wasn't concerned where I sat on that flight. On the 15 hour flight I was.
After picking seats on the going flights the site went wonky and it throw me back to the home page. No amount of trying could get me back so finally, I found a number (trust me, a phone number is NOT stressed anymore. They don't want to talk to you.) The recordings say over and over you can do everything online, only, as you find out, you can't.
I finally got a human after about 10 minutes of number punching and explained my plight. She was nice and offered to walk me through the process though I could tell she thought I was lame. We went through the same steps and picked seats on all my flights. Then, when she went to save my selections it wouldn't save. Her response was that they knew there was a problem and they were working on it. I should call back in an hour and it might work. Her inference was that I should stick around the house and call every now and then. I asked for the seat numbers noting them on each of my flights and then asked to speak to her supervisor. I wasn't going to sit around all day and hope that the site might work. I can say it didn't work the other three times either. Who was it? United? Delta whose flights stopped worldwide for a few days because of such computer nonsense?
Finally her supervisor came on the line and sounded about 10. While the first person said she explained our plight, with the supervisor we started all over again. This time I knew which seats and finally he was able to pick them and confirm them while I was on the phone. Later, I did receive confirmation of this conversation. I think from the time I started and I hung up I had spent 2 hours on the phone. Just about 100 minutes too long. Do you think I was a bit stressed after this? You bet!
Unless I am cursed and a black cloud follows me around, just about everything we do today is like this. I already recounted the experience with my iPhone X, which has taken a week and some tricks to put all the data from an older phone onto it. Hours and hours over a week to do what once took maybe an hour or two.
|You don't need to go to hell. The Feds have created|
the perfect preparation right here on earth!
When I was a kid and even a young adult you called a company, a human answered and you were transferred to the person you needed to talk to. Today a quick question turns into a 45 minute experience of punching numbers and numbing waiting all the while being told you call is sooo important to us and they will be with you shortly between bursts of staticky music. Heard that one? Or how about this one ... please hold, we are experiencing an unusually high caller volume. I called at 3 am one time and got the same message but was so pissed I held on for 45 minutes and when the guy finally answered admitted, when grilled, that they only had one person ... pretty much for the whole day. I have witnessed phone calls at desks where the employee let their answer phone pick up. And not just once either. For all we know, it could have been your call. The newest wrinkle is, "We can't come to the phone right now so please leave your name and number and we will call back as soon as possible." That's a lie too. They never call back.
So yes, experiencing this kind of behavior all day, every day is certain to raise your blood pressure. When I worked at a manufacturer of furniture I felt that I had two jobs ... the one that paid me and the other constantly following up on orders hounding people who hadn't gotten around to it yet. The excuses I heard would fill a book. In fact, I often wondered if there was such a book of excuses because everyone seemed to know them but me.
The other side of this same coin is, well, coins or dollars. Companies are constantly looking for ways to cut costs and human interaction is expensive. Just like big box stores, how many sales do they lose because they don't have enough employees to stock the shelves or help you?
Our lives are also getting stressed because you never know when some nut with a gun will begin shooting at you or drive a car into you or, as we learned on 9 / 11 hijack a plane and crash it into skyscrapers. While you may not consciously think about it, be honest here ... when you're at the airport, stadium, crowded mall, concert, movie theater and now church, aren't you a bit nervous? I
|Remember how carefully you packed? The TSA didn't.|
remember how the underwear bomber during Christmas in 2009 changed airport check-in. Our flight to Egypt was relatively calm. However, coming home after the underwear bomber nearly brought a flight down over Detroit, a security guard at the Charles De Gaulle departure gate put his hands inside my pants and my underpants looking for a bomb. And to be honest, there were some pretty dicey looking characters on that flight. I took comfort that they too were "completely" checked.
So yes, our lives ARE stressful and as any doctor will tell you unrelieved stress causes hypertension. We live in a world where quiet and calm are now an anomaly. The most sought after vacations are those that are those beyond the range of cell towers, Facebook and often people.
The other option is to pursue art. Once you begin painting the world, and all it worries, fade away and you live in a world of imagination and hopefully quiet and beauty! It gives your body a break from the stress that surrounds us each and every day. Now, where IS that paintbrush ....
Thank you for reading my blog. I invite you to take the time to read earlier blogs where the emphasis is to explore the ways art and design affects our daily lives ... and always has. I share with you what inspires me with the hope that it will inspire you as well. Comments are always welcomed! Be sure to check my re-opened ETSY store ... KrugsStudio.etsy.com. Many of the items talked about here are for sale there!