Mother load

May 18, 2015 at 10:51 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

On reflection, life seems largely composed of small fragments.

Some pack more punch than others …

I was visiting a packing and sending place.

It was hot out and not much better in, as an open loading bay countered the office air conditioning.

After a while, a flushed woman emerged from a corral of half-wrapped plasma screens.

Her smile was drawn.

To her right, a baby inched off a foam mat.

From another room came toddler talk, followed by a clattering sound.

‘What are you doing, Jason?’



The woman dashed to the noise.

She returned to the counter with an apology.

I asked for a quote to send my package.

She rifled back and forth through a price book that looked as worn as she did.

Finally, with what seemed great mental effort, she calculated the fee.

I chose to buy cardboard tubing and post it myself.

As the woman cut the tubing to size, she nudged the baby back onto the mat and glanced to her left for Jason.

He emerged from her right and confronted me with a large, whippy, metal tape measure.

The woman disarmed him and shepherded him back with the tube before laying it on the counter.

‘Five dollars, thanks.’

‘No worries; could I have a receipt please?’


As she took out an old-fashioned receipt book, the phone rang: a customer inquiry.

She put the prospect on hold, fished for carbon paper and failed to find a blank receipt.

She fossicked in a drawer for another book with such mounting despair that I told her not to worry.

But she pressed on, scribbling out the details of a cancelled receipt and writing mine.

I apologised for taking up so much of her time for a measly five bucks.

She nodded her thanks and returned to the phone, but the prospect had hung up.

Jason vanished.

The baby crawled.

The plasma screens beckoned.

And the hot wind slammed the front door behind me.

Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.




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  1. Sometimes it’s a s.l.o.g. being in business: sometimes it’s a s.l.o.g. being a parent.

    You’ve captured the emotions, the heat, the struggle…

    Love your work!

  2. This comment via Facebook from our Carol:

    ‘Greetings Paul from rural Australia. How evocative is this story! And how often have we encountered businesses that are run just like this. I felt I was at the counter. Right beside you. Love! It!! You’re a wonderful story teller.

    Best wishes,
    Carol Jones
    The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies
    350,000 customers. In 29 countries.’

    Many thanks, Carol, for permission to publish your thoughts. Kind regards, P.

  3. Carol Jones just keeps on giving. Herewith the latest from her Facebook page:

    • Paul Hassing follows The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies. And is also a fabulous story teller. This post will resonate with every mother who struggles to juggle young children at their workplace. It’s a good read. ~Carol, Ironing Diva❦

      • Five hours have passed since I read this. I can see that one fabulous story teller, Carol, the Ironing Diva, recognises another here! (Read Carol’s Blog). But I agree. “Mother Load”, by Paul Hassing is a good read. An effective little story told simply in one sentence scenes. And progresses from a scene of described pressing heat to a pressing work situation ~ that’s all wrong! For no bub, kid, mother, business, nor customer can be expected to cope well in this poignantly told situation. Stress, with all characters, is immediately suffered through the distractions of the children, and through the resulting dissaray in the work place. Normal interruptions inevitably turn into annoying disruptions. And when should any customer’s enquiry be just that!! The story is an incident, articulatedly written ~ as a sensory experience NO-ONE would choose. I notice that Mr. Paul Hassing uses literary choices of intangibles, visuals, audios, onomatopoeia, and dialogue. I’m sure his story will resound with anyone who has had to juggle any children. But pity such mothers, AND businesses, who ever might have to put up with youngsters at their workplace. Beverley Stowe

        • What an extraordinary analysis! I feel like I’m looking at my work with fresh eyes. So important, when one is striving to hone one’s game. I’m deeply grateful for your generous share, Carol. And delighted at your acute observations, Beverley. Thanks so much for articulating them. Would you and Carol mind if I added your words as a comment under the blog post? They’re too valuable not to tie to the source. Kind regards indeed, P. 🙂

          • I’ll speak for Beverley Stowe as well as for myself, Paul Hassing. Beverley would be thrilled to have her comment added to your post. Let us know when it’s up so she can see it. Beverley’s a lovely, lovely lady with a sharp mind. And you’re fortunate to have her appreciate your work. Go for it. Post it. Best wishes ~Carol, Ironing Diva❦

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