Monday, December 10, 2007

Countdown to National Stomp Out Worry Day!

So. I wasn't kidding. Because I can't kid about these things. If you read my previous post you will recall my proposal to create National Stomp Out Worry Day! Without further ado, I proudly declare this Thursday, December 13, 2007, National Stomp Out Worry Day! Anyone who wishes to join me in celebrating this gently used day can do so by STOMPING OUT WORRY!!! Big worries. Little worries. High worries. Low worries. Skinny worries. Chubby worries. Flat worries. Lumpy worries. Polka-dotted worries. Puce worries. Grape flavored worries. Invisible worries. Worries of every shape, size, color, flavor. Worries of every type.

My plans for National Stomp Out Worry Day! are as follows:

1. Make a list of my most significant worries.

2. Light list of seemingly significant worries on fire.

3. Stomp out list of seemingly significant worries currently on fire so they will no longer be on fire.

4. Eat pie.

Celebrate National Stomp Out Worry Day! however you see fit. Just be sure to exclaim when you do it. Please feel free to share stories of your National Stomp Out Worry Day! celebrations.

Monday, November 26, 2007

More than a Flurry of Worry

Some might describe me an individual who is prone to worry. Worry is a funny sounding word when you say it aloud. And I find that it sounds exactly like it feels. Tight. Constricting. Suffocating. Recently I have begun to realize that my propensity to worry is compromising a variety of wonderful things in my life. And I do not like it. I have been able to get away with excessive worry for the overwhelming majority of my life due to the fact that I have not been forced to share my aforementioned feelings of worry.

Early on I became quite skilled at kung fu subject changes which I would often call upon when the topic of worry surfaced with others. I maintained an excellent game face. That mask as since begun to crack. And I am beginning to realize that I may very well have a problem which just so happens to begin with a W much like other current problems facing the nation.

So I am seeking a reputable worry removal service. It sounds easy, but there is a problem. I am afraid to let go of worry. I need worry like a junkie needs junk.

Perhaps my biggest fear with this letting go of worry thing is the fear that I will shift my perspective from one extreme to the other and cease all worrying. And in doing so everything will fall apart. I know it isn't realistic for me to fear that after a lifetime of being a worrier I will suddenly fall into a worry-free slump and end up hustling my ass for mac and cheese. The generic variety no less. Logically I know this won't happen.

But it gets worse. Because...and I'm going to say it so sit down everyone...I may very well look at "non-worriers" as suspect. And what I mean is I may assume that those who don't appear to worry aren't ever worried and therefore could very well end up hustling for mac and cheese faster than you can say public defender. It seems that somehow I have equated the worrier with the responsible.

Okay. There. I've said it. It wasn't easy. But I think it's true.

I know it seems insane. You don't have to tell me so. And I would certainly seek out some professional help, but my health insurance isn't all that great. Hence, something else to potentially worry about which clearly I do not need, now or ever.

I have thought about making a list of my worries. Face them directly. Look them in the eye and sneer. But I don't think I'm ready for such a bold step. Mostly because I feel that I will embarrass myself if I actually put pen to paper which of course means that I should reconsider this whole list thing.

Besides. I like lists.

So perhaps I will be making a list. Checking it twice. Responding to my own insanity. Kicking worry in the junk. I feel stuck and I want to be unstuck. I feel that I am missing out on so many things and I don't want to miss out anymore.

I also tend to feel that I am very much alone in my worry. But I know that I cannot be. Perhaps what we worriers truly need is a national stomp out worry day. Actually, it's not a bad idea.

Therefore, I declare the 13th of December National Stomp Out Worry Day! Stay tuned for additional details on this exciting non-event. Maybe I can get the greeting card companies in on the action and get a kickback. That would certainly give me one less thing to worry about.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tiiiiiiiiimmmee Ain't on my Side. No it Ain't!

I have to tell you. I am exhausted! Seriously exhausted. Everything about me is exhausted. My brain is exhausted. My left ankle is exhausted. My nose is most certainly exhausted. Even my right earlobe is exhausted. I have exhausted intestines. My pancreas is very exhausted. The lower lobe of my left lung is exhausted. My blood cells feel quite exhausted. Even my mitochondria is exhausted. Do I have mitochondria? I don't know. My exhausted brain cannot remember anything I learned in college.

My exhaustion and sudden realization of said exhaustion causes me to realize that I have a question. And my question is simple. Here we go. How do people manage to wake up and make the bed and eat a healthy breakfast and get themselves together and go to work and travel to work and work an entire day and manage to drink enough water and maybe even eat lunch and accomplish everything they need to accomplish at their job and travel home from work and prepare and eat a healthy dinner and sift through junk mail and clean the bathroom and pay their bills and do laundry and exercise and spend quality time with friends and/or family and do something productive such as volunteer or finish an art project or plant a garden or read a good book or stay informed on current events or write their congressperson or read the damn voter's pamphlet and maybe even relax for a moment or two and then go to bed early enough to get a full night of sleep so the whole damn thing can repeat the next morning???

Notice the questioning punctuation. Because I REALLY want to know. And I really want to know how someone does it because I am -- as I have previously expressed -- incredibly exhausted in my attempt. I am also incredibly behind schedule. I am not "doing it" because I cannot seem to find the time to do everything. And maybe that's the problem.

How do we do everything. I know what you are going to say. You are going to tell me that one cannot possibly do everything and therefore one must make choices and prioritize the things of importance. But what if everything on the list is important? And the important things do not even make the list. What then?

There is all this talk about the decline of the family unit and blah blah blah. People are making a bigger "to do" than ever about what it means to be a family and how a family should be defined and what a family should be and so on and so forth. This isn't about any of those so-called conversations that are happening. But if it were about those conversations that shouldn't even be conversations I would say this. Get as many damn people as possible in the family to help with all this crap! Seriously people. This is a cultural SOS. How the hell are we supposed to find time to do all this crap? And what about people who have children? I cannot even imagine their lives. Granted they have chosen to procreate. They have made their proverbial bed. But seriously how do those people do it when I cannot even come close?

If I could afford it I would rent a wife. Someone who could do my laundry (and put it away!) A person who could prepare all of the healthy meals that I need to eat. I wouldn't even mind if they were prepared ahead of time and frozen. I would be fine with warming them up. Someone who could make my bed and clean the bathroom and make sure the mail is brought in and organized. Someone who could pay my bills when they need paying so I don't forget because there's nothing worse that having the money to pay a bill, but forgetting to pay it and then getting a late fee tacked on. Someone who could renew my car tabs and put more oil in ol' S.G. when she needs it. Someone who would gently remind me that I haven't been to the gynecologist in more than a year and a half and might even make an appointment for me to force me to go.

How much would I pay for this service? Well. This of course is the problem. Everything is becoming more expensive in the city. And wages are not increasing to match said increased expenditures. Unless of course you work for UNNAMED ENORMOUS TECHNOLOGY COMPANY or a similar high paying industry. But I do not. So what is the "little guy or gal" to do? I can't afford to pay someone to do even some of the aforementioned tasks for me. Living in the city is challenging enough. As it is I have resigned myself to the fact that if I want to remain in the city I will never be able to afford a house, townhouse, condo, or even a garage.

I am curious at the fact that we are expected to do more and more. I am also curious as to what this means with respect to our mental, physical and emotional health and well being. I wonder how our quality of life is impacted. And more than anything I would love to find a solution.

Not for the rest of you...for me. I've got enough on my plate!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Attention. Attention. Attention.

I have been thinking. Since my last post I have not stopped thinking. And it isn't that I typically take a hiatus from thought. But I believe it is fair to say that there is a great deal going on around me and this has propelled me into an adjusted state of thinking about thoughts.

Quite a number of friends of mine have recently articulated varying degrees of difficulties that they are currently facing. And in their challenges I find myself questioning bits and pieces and fragments of my own life. It is a curious position.

I cannot help but wonder if there is a lesson in the difficulties those I care about are currently experiencing. I cannot help but feel that there is something I am supposed to be watching closely. I have been thinking a great deal about my experience with the crow. This is mostly due to the fact that my crow friend or foe once again flew about me in a way that caused me to take notice of his or her presence.

So now I vacillate between logical explanations and curious omens. My personality is split such that I could easily find an answer in either explanation. However to choose would only make me question my own decision moments later in favor of the alternative. Today I found the crow and told him or her that I was paying attention. No crow attack occurred.

And I am paying attention. Perhaps too much. I find myself noticing very small things and making efforts to determine how the pieces fit in my life. Or more importantly whether I want them at all. I believe it is time for something different. Only I do not know what that different should resemble. The only thing I am sure of in this moment is that nothing as it currently exists is safe from possible removal.

Curiouser and curiouser.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Two Days of Reading Tea Leaves

On edge. I have been. Admittedly. I feel shaken. Not stirred. And my gin has become bruised. I am naive. But no one seems to believe that possible. I possess the optimism of a child. But there are very few that actually know who I am. Anymore.

The burn surfaced. And everything became clear. My melancholy was spread out before me. And in one instant I understood. I am the caricature of a character in a non existent novel depicted in a mediocre film.

But I am not counting brush strokes. Rather I believe that have allowed myself to accept less as enough. And because I so much want to believe in half-full glasses I smile and nod. Sometimes the smiling and the nodding are not always beneficial. The art of diplomacy can also find its end in tragedy.

This will make no sense unless you understand. If you understand it may continue to remain non-sensical. But it will make perfect sense all the same. I want a life filled with those who will make me eat cookies.

I didn't realize I was falling. I developed amnesia. But I think I am remembering now. Remembering all of the things that I never learned. And now there must be something different.

But that was last evening. When everything was clear. This morning something happened. And now I feel as though everything I thought I learned in an instant was perhaps wrong.

As I was walking to the twenty-eight I was followed by a crow. And perhaps a more accurate description is that I was stalked. I felt a swoosh of air and heard a loud cawing. And the flapping of wings I could almost feel against my skin. But he or she did not rest. Rather this crow continued to fly past me in extremely close proximity. Flapping and cawing. This occurred several times until I turned the corner at the end of the block.

And then I missed my stop. The twenty eight passed the corner of "this street and that" without notice. I looked up and realized that I was several blocks south of "that". Something unusual seemed to be occurring. But what I could not say.

I continued. Far too busy to consider it in any depth. Until I read T's recent post. And then I could not help but wonder if the universe was trying to tell me something. Maybe everything I thought I understood last night was wrong wrong wrong. Maybe there are things more important that I have failed to recognize. Or maybe I am misreading everything entirely. How does one know the most accurate way to interpret emotion and signs and words and actions.

I have no secret message decoder. If you find one please let me know.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

12,410 * 24 = 297,840

Once upon a time I was born. It is not uncommon for me to post something reflective on or around the day of my birth. However I am not feeling particularly reflective at the moment. I believe this is due to the fact that I have been incredibly busy as of late. Both personally and professionally. I have been distracted and I have not had much opportunity for reflection. And maybe this is good because I do have a tendency to over-reflect.

But I am wondering how it is possible that another year has passed so quickly. 12,410 -- give or take a few -- is a rather large number of direct oxygen breathing days. How do these things happen. Yes, yes. Rhetorical. But if someone could explain how time is able to pass so quickly on some occasions and so slow on other occasions it would be appreciated. I am particularly curious as to explanation behind the scientifically proven fact that time does indeed take two or three and sometimes four times as long to pass when one's body is prone on an examination table with a speculum inserted into one's girl parts. Perhaps the reason that I do not understand the scientific principle behind this phenomena is due to the fact that I did not enjoy the year of physics I was forced to take while attending college and missed the lesson that discussed this principle.

As an aside I occasionally see my college physics professor while waiting for the bus in the morning. It seems that we both reside in the same neighborhood. I have been tempted to approach him at times and inform him that he was the worst instructor I have ever had to suffer through during my many years of formal education. I have not done this. But that could change for I have heard that age tends to make an individual say things they might not otherwise be inclined to say.

Another interesting and seemingly unrelated side note I will share is that I have never personally known anyone who was born on this day. This is still somewhat the case. Somewhat because although I am not personally in the know, the man I am currently in a relationship with has a former partner who was born today as well. I find this comical, but also incredibly convenient for it is far less likely that he will forget the day due to this fortunate albeit odd coincidence. It would be more interesting if we were also born in the same year. Alas this is not so.

Despite 297,840 seconds and counting I have no words of wisdom. Actually it hasn't been 297,840 seconds as of yet, because I was born in the evening. But that is not the point. The point is rather than imparting my lack of wisdom to you all today I am more interested in the wisdom that you might have to share with me. I still have a great deal to learn and since I do not have as much time as I once did I could certainly use the added assistance.

And in case you're wondering I'm not very fond of cake. But cash is always accepted.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Take a Flying Fuck at the Moooooooooooooon!

I am sitting in my office. I am typing on my super cool "natural ergonomic" keyboard. I am drinking coffee which is swill-ish in nature. I am eating a pop tart. I am wearing flip flops.

I am doing all of these things simultaneously. Wait. That is inaccurate. I am not simultaneous drinking coffee and eating a pop tart. I eat a bite of tart. Chew thoroughly. Swallow. Moments later I take a sip of coffee. And then swallow. I do not simultaneously have a piece of tart and a sip of coffee in my mouth together. It would make for a soggy tart. And that would be gross. Maybe not to some, but to me it would be foul.

This is not the point of this post, but I thought you should know.

I must confess that I did not in fact have a point when I began typing. But then I glanced at the morning newspaper headlines. And I found this article:

Combined Effort Aims to Stop Suicides off Aurora Bridge

I read the article and I have questions. My first question is rhetorical. As is typical with my rhetorical questions there will be no question affiliated punctuation. But I want my rhetorical question to be clear. So I will assist you. I will segregate my question so there will be no confusion.

Who cares.

Yes. Who cares. Clearly I do not. And let me share with you one of the reasons why I could give a flying fuck less. If individuals wish to jump off the Aurora Bridge to their death or permanent disfigurement or merely for the hell of it why should I be concerned. It amuses me that we live in a world where we value our right to personal choice often to the death -- no pun intended -- yet suicide or merely bridge jumping is deemed unacceptable.

Toothpaste is a good example of our obsession with personal choice. We can choose among various brands of toothpaste. I cannot even count the total number of toothpaste brands available in your average toothpaste retail location. We can choose either a paste or gel. Toothpaste flavors are so plentiful I can barely keep up. I have witnessed at least seven different types of mint alone. We can choose the "special features" we wish our toothpaste to impart upon our teeth and gums. Tartar control. Whitening. Breath freshening. Toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Sensitive gums. Fluoride. No fluoride. Baking soda. Various herbs and spices. We can choose whether we want our toothpaste to be contained in a tube or a pump. We can even choose organic toothpaste.

It's overwhelming. But this is the United States of America and apparently we value personal choice so much -- even with respect to our toothpaste -- that we must have a three foot by two foot section of shelving devoted to this tooth cleaning product.

But if someone chooses to jump off of a bridge that is somehow deemed socially unacceptable. We must "do something" to stop it. Choice is not permitted. This brings me to my second question which is not rhetorical. How much money does the Washington State Department of Transportation intend to spend on trying to curb the bridge jumping "problem" as they see it? I imagine they will have an entire team including, but not limited to, psychological experts, public relations experts, engineering experts, construction experts, advertising experts, and graphic designers to name but a few.

And please understand I am not suggesting that we should not be providing services and resources for those who need them. But do we really feel the need to create an entire campaign to deter bridge jumping? There have always been suicidal individuals and there will always be suicidal individuals. Should we put suicide hot line telephone numbers on razor blades, knives, rope, aspirin bottles, or the barrel of a gun. Each of these items and many many more are all used to assist in committing suicide. They are also used to shave, cut bread, reduce fevers, and hunt for food.

It is important to keep in mind that bridges are primarily used to assist people in getting from one place to another over a body of water. Perhaps the solution is to cease in the building of bridges completely. Rather we could simply fill every body of water. That would solve the problem entirely. It would also solve the problem of individuals who attempt to commit suicide by drowning. In fact why don't we just ban water.

How many warning labels and advertising campaigns do we really need. Again, rhetorical I know.

I don't mean to be insensitive. But I feel that we as a society often fail to think logically about problem solving. We fail to analyze which solutions are reasonable and which are not. We are blinded by emotion and feel even if a solution is illogical it should be undertaken so as not to seem insensitive to the needs of others.

Let us remain sensitive to the needs of all, but continue to use our logic and intellect in the process. Actions should not be undertaken because they give the impression of concern. Rather they should be undertaken because they are sound and just. Rather than slapping a band aid on a bridge, perhaps we should try to reach out and connect more directly with our fellow human beans for we could all benefit from reassurances that we are wonderful and worthy and valued.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Eating Cake

Some of you have recently discovered that I don't so much care for cake. I'm sorry if this upsets you. I do enjoy a good cheesecake every now and then. Sometimes a torte. And I'm semi-fond of angel food cake. I must admit "regular" cake is not so much my thing. But I have been thinking recently about the eating of cake.

And when I say that I have been thinking about the eating of cake what I am actually referring to is the metaphorical having and eating of cake. I mean to say that I have been thinking about having cake and eating cake in a metaphoric sense.

I am being vague. I know this. Say no more. I will explain.

Once upon a time I was "progressive" thinking. I say "progressive" but what I actually mean is "different" and by putting "progressive" in quotes I am attempting to be humorous or ironic or something else.

Uh...where was I. Oh yes. I shudder to admit that I once scoffed at the man holding a door open for me or the one willing to give me his seat on a bus. I saw no reason why women should not have to register for selective service. I refused to let a man I was dating pay for dinner.

I think I was wrong. No. I don't think. I know I was wrong. I've known this for some time, but I'm somewhat of a procrastinator so I'm really just now getting around to formulating these thoughts in print for your reading pleasure.

And I know that in this moment feminists everywhere are falling over dead. Okay. I'm exaggerating. But seriously. Some women may say that I have lost my grip on feminism. Maybe that's true. I would like to think that as a former women studies major in college I have not. But college was a long time ago. And as I have gotten older I have realized that I want cake. And looking at it isn't enough.

Being a feminist isn't a crime although it can feel that way. I think the reason for this is simple. There are a number of wack jobs out there that give the rest of us a bad name. There are women who date and simultanteously hate men. Those that blame every male on the planet for patriarchy. There are women who believe that the pyramid should be flipped and men placed under the heel of our collective boots.

But they still date and fuck men. And this I will not ever understand. I am perfectly willing to accept that some women believe that all men are the root of every bit of evil in the world. I cannot say that I agree, but I consider myself fairly tolerant and if you believe this more power to you. HOWEVER if you are going to FUCK MEN and let men FUCK YOU IN RETURN then you absolutely cannot believe that men are the problem without being an absolute moron and a raging hypocrite.

These women need medication. And any man who agrees with such a philosophy is simply trying to get laid by as many women as humanly possible in his lifetime. This isn't feminism. Feminism is very simple. It's about equality. Boot kissing is not equality. End of story.

All of this brings me back to my current state of being. For I have digressed once again. This is not a rant about women who hate/fuck men. This is about something different.

I have now come to believe that women have missed the boat. We -- being the collective we -- want this equality thing -- whatever that is -- so badly that we give up what I will refer to as social pleasantries.

And then we don't even get the equality anyway. Not really. So we're double screwed.

I live in Seattle now. I didn't always. I say this because things are different here. Men are different here. They're not as aggressive as the men on the east coast. Maybe they have less testosterone. Perhaps it's nurture and not nature. I don't really know. But I can tell you that most men in this general area are considerably more shy and sensitive and so on and so forth.

They are also seemingly more "progressive" which means that they will let you struggle with your hands full and not make any attempt to help you with a door. They won't hold the elevator for you if you're running. You will almost never get one of them to give up their seat on the bus.

It's different. I do not believe that it's better or worse, merely different. And here's the one thing that's going to go over wonderfully with all of you. I believe women are at least in part to blame. And you should know that I originally typed the previous sentence to read "I believe women are to blame" but it even disturbed me so I added the "at least in part" so that I would not spontaneously combust.

Waitwaitwait! Before you attempt to stone me to death you should at least hear me out. Women overall refuse these social pleasantries from men. I observe this numerous times per day. We refuse the open door. We decline the seat on the bus offered to us. We arm wrestle with men and the winner gets the privilege of paying for dinner. We do these things so often that men don't know what to do anymore. They are confused in part because we have confused them. So they let us stand on the bus. They permit us to pay for dinner. And I suppose this means that we've achieved equality. As long as equality equates to tired legs and a less substantial bank account.

We as women need to accept the fact that these small things do not equate us with being weak and ineffectual. It isn't easy to permit someone to do something nice for you. And I can not help but wonder why some of us still fight so hard against such things. In short, permitting a man to pay for dinner or taking his seat on the bus doesn't make him a filthy patriarch who wants to slap that bitch up.

I am not immune to this disease. In fact you should know that I absolutely refused to let the man I am exclusively dating pick up the check for dinner this weekend. I insisted that we split the bill. He gave me that look that he gives when I'm being difficult. He tried to fight me on the issue, but he didn't fight me too hard because he knows how stubborn I am and that I will win. And in an interesting twist when our cards were returned he discovered that they ran my card twice instead of running both cards.

Until the "pollo asado incident" I had been working on this post for some time. I was unable to finish it. When I was informed of the card error I realized this may very well be the universe poking fun at my continuing inability to permit anyone to do anything nice for me.

"Fine. We'll show her," said the Universe. I chuckled while my dining companion signed his name or mine name or someone's name to the receipt and thanked me for dinner. In this moment I that these ideas required posting and it needed to be soon if I am ever to end this madness.

For those of us afflicted I cannot say that it will be easy to develop a cure overnight. I know that I am often far too independent for my own good. And this doesn't mean that I think I or anyone else should swing the pendulum in the opposite direction and merely take what can be taken. But I can say that from this point forward if a man offers me his seat on a bus I'm going to sit my tired ass down and graciously thank him. No political analysis required.

Maybe then we can begin to make some real and significant change regarding the gender related problems that both men and women face in our current society.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Bank of America is the Devil

We interrupt this regularly scheduled post for a new and irregular and not-so-scheduled post. In this post you will find my current rant about Bank of America.

Normally I would have typed UNNAMED EVIL FINANCIAL INSTITUTION but not this time. This time I'm naming names. That's right Bank of America. This means you!

I should have known. With an acronym like BOA I should have suspected they would attempt to constrict the life out of me. But until recently my complaints were few and far between.

It all started when I decided to enroll in the Bank of America Keep the Change program. It seemed like a good idea. They round up your debit card purchases and put the difference in your savings account. What's not to love. Especially since I do all (and I mean A-L-L) of my banking via my debit card. I haven't physically walked into a branch for years.

I start the on-line enrollment process. After a series of prompts I am informed that I must have a check type debit card to enroll. I've never had one of these check card things because I already have a credit card. But I'm not opposed to the idea so I follow the link to get a check card so I can enroll in the program.

It seems I have options. I decide to go for the airline miles card because who doesn't love airline miles? The only thing left to do is wait for my card in the mail. So I wait.

And wait and wait and wait. I wait some more. I finally decide to email Bank of America. I tell them the whole deal and inquire about the status of my check card. I receive a response from Nancy Ware that reads as follows:

"Our records for your account ending in [-XXXX] do not show that a check card has been ordered for the account. Unfortunately, we are unable to order check cards through this channel."

Now I'm worried. Because I know I did not dream the ordering a check card. I start wondering what went wrong. I start thinking that something bad happened. I write another email and copy the message from Nancy Ware along with it. When I arrive home later that evening my check card is waiting for me with the rest of my mail.

I receive a response from Jennifer Hinebaugh. She explains that I have an airline miles check card. She does not address why I was informed that there was no record of my request. She does explain that I cannot use this card with the Keep the Change program because I cannot keep my own change and earn miles simultaneously. She states:

"If you still want to be enrolled in the Keep the Change, please send us another email and we will take care of it immediately!"

I respond. Because now I'm angry. I express deep concerns about Bank of America's record keeping system and their inability to respond to my concerns. If they had no record of my check card order perhaps they might have no record of my latest deposit. I ask for an explanation and chastise her for not providing one in the previous message. I also ask for an explanation as to why I was not informed that I could not use this card with this program when I signed up for the card. She responds, explaining why I cannot do both and "apologize[s] for the misinformation [I] received earlier." She ends her message with "Have a great day!"

Are you fucking kidding. What happened to her "we will take care of it immediately!" response. She didn't tell me that they would send me a new check card or that I would be enrolled in this program. I send another email copying all the previous responses.

The next day I decide to give up with email communication and call the bank directly. I explain the situation and I'm informed that they can send me a new check card. I am told that my old debit card will be active for one month and that my current PIN will be used for the new card.

Then I receive a response via email from J. Cline. J is smart not to use a first name. I think J knew I would be writing this post. J informs me that my airline miles check card should arrive by March 10, 2007. Keep in mind I received it on March 2. I was informed that I would need a new card to enroll in Keep the Change. Again I am told:

"Note that we are unable to order another card for you through this channel." Again note that they have no record of my order.

I decide not to respond to J. So now I wait for my new card. I am already fairly pissed, but I know that customer service isn't what it used to be. I receive my new card roughly seven days later. It's a weekend. I activate my card.

I then take a trip with the Sprinkel to UNNAMED NEARBY STORE to buy soap and toothpaste and such. I decide to use my new check card. I am told that my PIN is "incorrect" so I try re-entering it. It is still incorrect. So I try my old debit card. Same problem.

Thankfully I have a credit card. Otherwise I would have been without soap and toothpaste for the entire weekend. That would have been unpleasant not only for me, but for those close to me. Seriously.

Then I start thinking about how lucky I am to have a credit card. I know people that don't have a credit card. For some individuals this is a personal choice. What if I was one of these people. I had no cash whatsoever. What if I needed to purchase gas for my car or food or life saving medicine. What if I needed to bail someone out of jail or bribe a cop. These things often require cash or access to cash. I spent the entire weekend without access to MY OWN MONEY.

And people wonder why crime happens. I think we should ask the question to individuals who are arrested for robbery and burglary, "Do you bank with Bank of America?" If the answer is "yes" we should immediately release them without further question. They have been punished enough.

On Monday I call the local customer service number to my bank. I speak with Adam. I tell Adam that I am cranky and angry and I know it isn't his fault, but I am probably not going to be terribly pleasant. I go through the entire story. From beginning to end. Adam tries to interrupt me. I don't let him. He explains that Bank of America didn't change my PIN number. He cannot look up my PIN and tell me what it is, but he tells me that I must have changed it because Bank of America would not do this. I told him that I have had the same PIN number for more than fifteen years. I'm glad he has such faith in Bank of America.

He then tells me that he cannot help me. That I must go into the branch. I explain that this is impossible for me to do. I have a job. I cannot simply take valuable time off work and hop down to the branch to resolve this problem. This is why I'm calling. I ask to speak with his supervisor.

Adam tells me he can have me speak to the supervisor but it will not help. He says that I should speak with the branch and he can transfer me. I tell him that is fine because I am about to tell Adam to fuck off.

I speak with Melissa at the Madison-Pike Branch. I go through my whole story. She tells me that she will need to do some research and determine the problem, but she will call me in one hour. She is nice and apologetic. She calls me in exactly one hour. She explains everything that went wrong and why. She tells me that a new PIN is always assigned with a new check card. She explains that I should have been told this would happen. She explains that I shouldn't have been told that my old debit card would remain active. They are always inactivated with a new card. She said I should get my new PIN in the mail in a day or so.

She then tells me that she is very sorry, but she will not be able to change my new PIN to match my old PIN. She said I need to come into the branch. The entire time she is the only one who is attempting to be helpful, not blaming me, not misinforming me, and not making me feel like Bank of America is taking my money.

I explain that I appreciate her assistance, but that I will be closing my account as soon as I can GET TO THE BRANCH. I am expecting the hard sell, but she doesn't give it. Instead she tells me that she wishes I would reconsider, but understands my position. I tell her I intend to write a nice letter about her to the company. She thanks me for this and tells me that she would like me to include all of the problems I have had in whatever letter I write. I tell her I have every intention of doing so. I also have every intention of reporting them to the Better Business Bureau.

It has now been more than fourteen days since I originally ordered the check card. I still don't have a PIN. My account will be closed soon enough. I will keep you posted on the results of my letter to Bank of America as well as my complaint with the Better Business Bureau as soon as both are completed and filed.

Maybe I'm just getting older, but customer service seems to have gone by the wayside. I worked in customer service for years. It isn't an easy job, but my requests were not complex. Businesses seem to expect us to accept poor service rather than take our business elsewhere. I say it's time we all start to put our money where our mouth is rather than merely accept status quo. Not just in who we choose to bank with, but in everything.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Government Cheese

Many of you know that I submitted some of my photographs to a call for art by the Seattle Public Utilities some time ago. Those who are aware of this also know that none of my photographs were chosen for purchase by SPU. I did quite well with the rejection if I do say so myself. It was the first time I submitted anything to anything and I felt quite accomplished having done so. It was empowering to actually complete a project, regardless of the outcome.

Recently I received an email from my good friend Soy. Apparently some individuals affiliated with INSANELY EXPENSIVE PRIVATE ART SCHOOL had their work accepted by the project. As an alumni of said institution he received notice of this news. Check out one of the works of art that was accepted:


Soy also included the following message:

"If a paper airplane photoshopped [sic] onto a satellite image of Washington (how lame!) got into that show, then I'm glad that your work is NOT associated with SPU! Unfortunately for me, my work IS associated with [INSANELY EXPENSIVE PRIVATE ART SCHOOL]!"

I appreciate Soy's sentiments because he is an artist that I respect highly and a good friend. And this is by no means intended to be any disrespect toward the artist in question. Kudos to you for your efforts. However I am curious about one thing. Because in thinking about this further I was reminded of the numbers. Let me explain.

My rejection letter read (in part) as follows:

"The panel viewed more than 1800 submission, with a purchase budget of $50,000 to award, and selected 49 artworks."

For those of you not well versed in mathematics you should seriously consider a refresher course. Just kidding. Okay. I'm not kidding, but this isn't my point. My point is that given the above information Seattle Public Utilities paid an average of $1020.41 for each piece of art. Not too shabby considering my work was priced at 10% of that figure.

I suppose I should have known that the government isn't accustomed obtaining a bargain. My affordable pricing may very well have caused their heads to explode. Silly me. But I do believe that art should be affordable. Not that this means that my time and effort isn't worth compensation. But rather art should be accessible to the masses, not merely the wealthy.

And in case you're wondering, here are some scans of some of the pieces I submitted:

Despite my rejection, I am thankful for the experience. I imagine the more rejection I receive the more accustomed to it I will become and the more apt I will be to submit work in the future. Because it won't matter. And it shouldn't matter. What matters is that we are all wonderfully unique and creative beans and the we should all do our thing and let the world experience it as they will.

And before I forget, does anyone know any rich folks who want to buy a bunch of overpriced art? Lemme know. Thanks.