Monday, September 26, 2005

If You Just Accept It, It'll Hurt Less

I've spent a good deal of my life angry. In fact, after a terribly horrific breakup (my last and I hope it remains my last), I was angry for more than 13 years (and still am, but it's a simmer now). And, despite appearances, I really don't like feeling this way. (Dr. Phil would argue with that, but I doubt he's had anyone do to him what had been done to me.) However, the breakup was the result of a betrayal I've not recovered from and probably never will. I have moments when I think I'm going to be okay. They pass -- Usually when I have a dream that he's come back, begged forgiveness, and, like an idiot, I forgive him, only to have it happen again. I wake up, incredibly depressed and angry.

Granted, those moments of non-anger are becoming longer and longer and, perhaps, when I'm 90 I'll be able to speak his name without venom and choking back tears.

ANYway, that's not what this post is about. It's just background so you know why I get so frothing pissed. I'm tired of being treated like shite.

I'm sure you've heard the saying, "People will do things to family that they would never do to a stranger."

Really??!! You're kidding, right? Because... see -- If that's true, then family life should be an education in homicide and body disposal (ok, I know it *is* in some families, but I'm talking as a general rule here).

Because on most days, often on an hourly basis -- sometimes minute-by-minute, I am treated like the scum of the earth. By complete strangers.


I don't like crowds. My friends all know this. The dislike probably originated from being fairly short in stature in a relatively tall society. "Pressing the flesh" means something entirely different to those of us vertically challenged. Usually it means a nose gets shoved into an armpit or someplace worse. And you are keenly aware of the general lack of dental hygiene.

Whatever. My dislike of crowds has matured to an intense anger in crowds. People are rude. They shove, push, literally step all over you. All because their needs are waaay more important than yours could possibly be; that is, if they even know you exist.

People are so bloody self-centered, I'm amazed we even *have* a civilization. I was raised to be polite. To think of other folks' feelings. And, despite my age and continued experiences, I'm still taken aback when someone's shopping cart is rammed indelicately into my Achilles tendon, without nary a never-you-mind, so-sorry, or courtesy reach-around. Instead, said ramming is usually accompanied with a glare as if to say, "Well? Move, dammit! If you hadn't been born, you wouldn't be in my way!"


And then there's rush hour. In Albuquerque. People have been complaining about rush hour in Albuquerque since I moved here some 25 years ago. Something inexplicable happens when Albuturkey-ans access the freeway. It's incomprehensible. Mysterious. Bizarre. Utterly mystifying. And it usually begins with the actual access.

NOBODY HERE KNOWS WHAT THE TERM "MERGE" MEANS. And the most baffling part of the merge process is that this is the only time an Albuquerque driver is shy. Any other time, no other cars exist on the freeway. But, to merge into traffic thrusts cold spears of panic into the heart of an Albuturkey driver. Palms sweat. You can see the whites of their eyes from across three lanes of bumper-to-bumper traffic. They swallow spasmodically and their foot hovers over the brake and accelerator pedals in indecision. If you're lucky enough to be behind someone "merging" onto the freeway, it takes herculean effort to resist the overwhelming impulse to ram the poor soul into a lane. (Or to hell, your choice.)

Yet, once on the freeway and having reached the compulsory 20 miles over the speed limit, suddenly no other cars exist. It's as if having reached optimum speed, one passes into a dimension all one's own, where the road is entirely yours and --

Oh, wait! What was that? We *must* slam on our brakes and see what we've missed! What *was* that? A cop? An accident? Someone has broken down? Did you see it?

Oh, wait! The cell is ringing! We *must* slam on our brakes and fumble around, weaving maniacally through nonexistent cars, locate the phone and chat away about the new hot tub that's being installed tomorrow!

Wait! Ohmigawd! An orange barrel! I've *got* to slam on my brakes so I can see *why* there's an orange barrel!

But, wait! I see a police officer! I *must* slam on my brakes and make sure I'm now going 20 miles *under* the speed limit so that I don't get stopped.

And, so on, and so on, and so on, ad nauseum.

The above scenarios may seem silly, but they are the only explanations that make any sense to me for the sudden and inexplicable cessation of movement during the rush hour. What would normally take five minutes to navigate will now, during rush hour, occupy a full maddening and wearisome hour or hour and a half in your otherwise serene life. That's if things go well and nobody slams into another car because, by gawd "Move! If you hadn't been born, I'd be home by now!"

And once you're through the jam, you realise you have observed ABSOLUTELY NOTHING that might have caused the slowdown.

So I plead with the universe to please PLEASE transport me to that magical place where no other cars exist and where I, too, may drive as I please and enjoy my ride home and my phone conversations with my friends and the leisurely viewing of all things in progress.

Instead of arriving home with blood vessels bursting in my eyes and face, wiping the slathering froth from my mouth, and growling incomprehensible vernacular to no one in particular.

Because, you see, if I could just accept it, it wouldn't hurt as bad.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I Should've Gone to Overstock.Com

AngryI can't help myself. After this week's experience, I *have* to rant. I'm flat-out pissed.

I'm not a big Ebay user. Until this past month, I'd used Ebay exactly once. For a very special collector's item.

But, there's this old id Software game I bought when it was new and couldn't find the CD and wanted to play it so bad, I *had* to find it.

So I went to Ebay.

And so nonchalantly walked into hell, you'd think I knew what I was getting into. Sauntered, I did. Searched here and there. Found several people selling the game. Compared a couple of sellers and picked one. Placed my bid. Same seller had the add-on. Bid on that, too.

Big mistake.

I won. Bigger mistake.

As I watched dozens of people post positive feedback on orders they'd placed after me and had already received, I waited to get my little treasures. And waited. And waited.

Emailed the buyer (and, oh, yesssss--you *will* be treated to this seller's Ebay name and number, never you fear; after all, one good turn deserves another) not once, not twice, not three times -- but FOUR times I emailed the address given in his/her (I'm almost positive this person is female) account information. ALL FOUR TIMES, HIS/HER SERVER BOUNCED THE EMAIL BACK TO ME BECAUSE THEIR BOX WAS FULL.

Now, some of the negative feedback I'd read had mentioned this little problem. I groaned ...

But, he/she also gave a phone number in the cheery little form email sent to me congratulating me on my order and expressing his/her deepest desire to ensure I had a pleasant experience (again, I should know that when someone has to point out a specific behavior, it's not a typical behavior of that person).

So. I called the cheerily proffered number. It rang. And rang. And rang. And rang. And a machine answered saying, "Thanks for calling" -- and here comes your first ID -- "Bargain Buyers Software. We can't answer the phone right now. Please call again."

Click. Disbelieving, I called again.


And I remembered that, in some of those negative feedbacks, this little problem had been mentioned. I groaned again.

I then emailed their Ebay email account.

No response.

So, knowing almost everyone will respond to something heinous, I put in the next email's subject line: "NEGATIVE FEEDBACK PENDING, PLEASE RESPOND."

Here's the text of my email:

I have tried to email you FOUR TIMES at your [my edit][end edit] address; all attempts have been returned.

I have tried to call; no one answers the phone.

I have tried to contact you through this email; no response.



[my edit]xxxxx, xx,[end edit] 2005.


P. Weber

I thought I'd kept my temper rather well and, after all, after numerous attempts, I was still willing to give this seller another chance.

Oh, yeah... I got a response. To wit:

Your [sic] right, I dont [sic]care. Ive [sic] not recieved ANY prior emails from you. Not one. If they are being returned the problem is with YOUR SERVER, not mine.

[sic]sent and recieved over 3000 emails this week and you are the only problem so guess what? YOU HAVE THE PROBLEM HERE - NOT ME. So, im [sic]not even going to attempt to resolve anything with you based on your childish feedback extortion tactics and your items are not even late based on the times we quoted you. [NOTE: No times were quoted, which was why I was
trying to contact him/her.] You also have a feedback rating of a big ONE
(Zero now). That will impress ebay
[sic]when you try to explain that a powerseller[sic] for 6yrs [sic] running with a 99% customer satisfation rate out of over 70,000 sales is giving you problems. You have no business doing mail order if you cant [sic] wait for the mail. Does that make sense to you? Your items have only been in route 7 USPS working days. [It was 14 days, but I won't quibble.]Grow up.............

And now for the feedback left by this seller, to wit:

Impatient child. Cancel this guys bids. Nothing but trouble.


Blames seller because they havnt a clue what they are doing

Just how much fun was that? I've not been happy with the condition of this country for a very long time. This person must be related to our good leader if grasp of the English language and deep driving compassion are indicators.

So, go ahead everyone: bid and buy from bargainbuyers621, Ebay seller number 77122. Just pray nothing goes wrong and you might need a little customer service.

Gee... It Wouldn't Be Because It's TEXAS, Would It?

So, I don't remember what I was doing. Must've been loading the washer or something equally mundane, when this little newsbyte came tripping across my field of hearing, kinda crawled across the brain, and slipped into a crevasse where it festered for a while.

I heard it a few days ago and now, with the evacuation of Houston in light of the threat of Hurricane -- Rita, is it? -- the abscess broke and has been seeping all through my righteous indignation.

The newsbyte? Oh, that.

"The federal response to the impending arrival of Hurricane Rita in Texas is unprecedented."

Really? Ya bloody think?

I believe I've talked about the federal response to a disaster in the great State of Texas. Lessee, I think it was the last post wasn't it?

Nawwwwwwwwwww... That wouldn't be it....

Deponent further sayeth naught.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Conservatives Are Freaking Out the Conservatives, or . . . Ya Just Gotta Love It

Ever since I found out, after four or five years of marriage, that my second (and last) husband was a hard-core bible-thumping gay-bashing save-the-fetus-ignore-the-child conservative (hey! it just had never come up before then——don't judge what you haven't lived), I learned that, as a tree-hugging crystal-light-twinkie pro-choice live-and-let-live liberal, I should keep my mouth shut. It was an ugly fight. Not to mention the beginning of the end.

Then, a decade later, this administration lied, cheated, and stole its way into power (and it *is* about power——the currency may not be what you expect, but it *is* about power) and started adjusting and interpreting and creating laws they way they saw fit and people who disagreed suddenly found themselves condemned, accused of treason, and it wouldn't surprise me if a lot of them (the invisible people——and that's another entry) were flat-out disenfranchised.

Well, looks like Katrina has put a new spin on this administration (actually, it's not new——we just can't ignore that emperor is naked any longer). Finally. I'm not a Condy fan, but I tend to agree with her this time: the administration's reaction (or lack thereof) to the Katrina disaster (and I'm not limiting this to the Big Easy) had nothing to do with race.

You read that right. Nothing. To. Do. With. Race.

He just didn't give a damn. Period. There will always be millions of poor, sick, dying, etc., and those that might be lost in a disaster such as Katrina will be readily replaced by others. They were the faceless stinking masses and will continue to be such. Our leader is compassion-less.

You can bet your last quarter (if, after trying to pay for your fuel, you *have* a quarter——and don't think it's misunderstand why he took so long to do anything about *that* little problem——lining the pockets, especially so late in term, is common) ——you can bet your last quarter that if the storm had hit the grand State of Texas or *any*place heavily populated with the rich and famous, there would have been a much different, much more hasty and effective reaction.

And (forgive me if I chuckle a bit here) the general everyday Bush-supporting conservative is freaking out. His behavior is that overt. Our leader and his cronies got so cocky they figured they could do anything——after all, up till now, they have.

This administration is rapidly becoming an embarrassment to those holding the strings. It'll soon be ok to disagree. In fact, it'll be the new vogue. You watch.

Just keep in mind as things develop that those in charge will always do what it takes to keep the population in line, be it religion, ignoring a crisis, ignoring the laws—you can figure it out from here . . .