Today I had to look at booking a bus to Canberra. I've used a few online booking systems in my time, I'm no newbie at this. All I wanted was some straight forward answers to a couple of questions. I jumped around their site for about a quarter hour before giving up in frustration, my questions unanswered, close to tears.
I'm using all my energy and reserves to do other stuff, like walk, move things about, stay upright. I don't have a lot of mental/emotional energy left to waste on badly designed websites with awkward systems.
Online booking has been around for ages, as have webpages, it shouldn't be hard to get them to be at least manageable, if not totally helpful. But there are an amazing range of websites that are meant to make things easy, but in fact only make it harder. Countrylink is only the one I dealt with today. By comparison I then checked out both the Vline and Greyhound sites, and had my answers in less than five minutes total.
In all likelihood, someone was paid to put together Countrylink's website and online booking system. And while I may be a little more fragile than normal at the moment, I'm not stupid. If I'm having trouble navigating it and going elsewhere, how many other people are doing the same?
Another site I found incredibly unhelpful a while back was Parks Victoria. I was trying to find details on which state and national parks allowed camping. That bit was easy. But they all said permits were required. Fair enough. There was no mention of fees, or where to buy permits, no ranger numbers, nothing. So it's impossible to find out whether they have room for you to camp in the first place. If you're on a budget, the fees can be an issue as well, some parks charge substantially more than others. This is all basic info. I can't think of any reason for it not to be up on the website.
So many of these websites are meant to make life easier, but instead they just frustrate and upset the customer. No-one wins.
Absolutely adore them, always have. I love playing games with them, I love watching them learn, love hearing their views and theories on the world... One of the big joys of playing Santa is that I get to deal with hundreds of children! And I almost never get tired of them. I get tired, but not of them. Of their parents being greedy, obnoxious horrible people, but not the children. The kids are generally pretty damned good.
Some are cheeky, some are curious, some break your heart by being so amazingly cute, other will ask endless questions. I find many of them much more interesting to talk to than adults - they aren't jaded or cynical. They can still find the same joy I do in silly little things like running for the sake of it, or playing games with no point or rules.
I have two... are they nieces? They are my cousin's children. Anyway, there are two of them, they are grumpy and funny and I love them to bits. Every time I visit, Felicity draws me a new picture, I draw her one back. We get on well. When she gives me a random attack hug, there's nothing to do but give into it.
And yes, I'd like some kids. A kid would be great, but having a pair has some appeal. I'd prefer girls. I like the idea of raising a daughter or two with tonnes of attitude. I'd love to read to them, show them the Australia that I know and love, write stories for them...
But until I have one of my own, I'll just have to keep using everyone else's :)