...nothing here is promised, not one day... Lin-Manuel Miranda

Things That Should Work Better
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Most of the time, when stuff doesn’t work that you hope would work, that’s life. Right? So you toss the bread and think about replacing the toaster – again. So you get a divorce…no wait, sorry that’s a little bigger deal. But you know what I mean, lots of things go wrong and you deal. That’s life.

But once in a while when something doesn’t work it’s a bigger screw-up than it should be and it’s not just a shrug. Although the folks who actually offer the screw-up really think it’s no big deal.

A few recent examples:

First one – really Is no big deal but….I have been getting solicitations from an organization. I HATE getting solicitations. Hate hate hate. I write them and say “stop” EVEN though I do support the goals of the organization. I hate the waste of money (I know it’s bulk mail but I still hate it) but more to the point, I should be listened to; when you are a “friend” and you say “stop sending me stuff” you should be heard. Otherwise, as in my case, you might decide “these people suck” and you’ll never support them because they don’t listen.

This got so bad that I was sending their crap back with notes that said “tell me when it’s convenient and I’ll FLY to New York and take my name off your bloody mailing list myself.” Me, a drama queen? Aw, shucks.

Today was the fourth time; I emailed them. Again. With a return receipt. Which showed that someone had opened the email. I wrote her – very very politely apologizing for screaming but did she understand PLEASE that I wanted it to stop.

She did indeed, and wrote back nicely and thanked me for letting her know. I wrote back immediately to praise her and called her something like a princess among women. Okay, a bit over the top but I was just SO FRIGGIN happy to hear back.

Today’s mail also brought a notice from the post office. This one really rocks. Back in May , that’s May, mind you, they lost a book I was mailing. LOST it. As in I got the packaging back with a note inside saying that the contents had been lost.

It was a book I was selling; I had to email the buyer and apologize and refund his money. He was exceptionally nice about it when I explained that the post office had eaten the book. There was a form with the notice asking if I wanted them to search for it. DUH? Yes. And could I describe it – DUH yes, I printed out the description from the net of the damn book.

Did you note I said that this happened in May? The notice I got was dated 5/25/05; I returned it on 5/31/05 with supporting paperwork. It’s now like 3 and a HALF months later. 9/19/05. Guess what, they didn’t find the book. Can you imagine my surprise???? Ya THINK?

There’s GOT to be something wrong here; it took them over THREE months to deal with this? The thing fell off a conveyor belt or something. But it’s obviously so unimportant, so low priority that it took all of June, July and August and half of September to get around to telling me the book was not found. Dear gods. Since May 31.

And then, there’s the paratransit folks of Chicago. I haven’t heard back in answer to my recent letter wherein I tell them they owe me an apology and $45 because they SO screwed up when Cornelia and I were trying to get to the airport. (And no, I’m not holding my breath, thank you for asking. Snort) Let me tell ya folks, paratransit is a wonderful thing. When it works. I can go to Albuquerque, Berkeley, Chicago, I can go anywhere in the US that has a paratransit system and get from the airport to the hotel. This is good since a) not all hotels have shuttle vans (but if they do? They must provide lift-equipped service, somehow, for folks like me) and not al cities have lift- equipped taxis (my home base of Seattle does not) so when I am traveling alone, I need to get from here to there. See when I’m with Stu, sometimes he and a cab driver can get the scooter into the trunk and the back seat; or, if the cab company has a van, it will fit. But I need someone else of course to do that. And I go to conventions alone sometimes. And yes, I’ve had images of sleeping at the airport. Terrified horrified images.

Chicago’s paratransit system fucked up big time; when I called on Saturday to confirm, they said my ride did not exist. They scheduled anew. Turns out the next day, yeah, it had existed and I missed it because I had rescheduled for a later time. And they showed up at 11 and “no-showed” me. And they hadn’t found the second ride on the schedule, apparently, until I called and then they found BOTH of them and it was getting so late that we no longer could use paratransit. Part of the public transit system. Cost? Like under $3.00 per person. Instead we grabbed a taxi and prayed. And yeah we made it (and yeah the iPod is GONE, forgotten, I messed up because I was distracted and really TIRED and I HATE that) but the transit people Owe me. At least an explanation. The cab fare? Yeah, right, good luck with that huh?

My experience with Seattle’s paratransit people is that explanations are almost non-existent. When they screw up, they screw up BIG and can never explain. I GET them being 10 minutes late. I do NOT get them being 45 minutes late; which apparently happens in Chicago too – as my ride from the airport was 45 minutes late getting to someone ELSE’s house. I don’t GET that on Wednesday when I arrived, I gave them my ID number and they found me and yet, three days later, I wasn’t. And the ride that the person had booked for me when we spoke on the phone was gone. Except it wasn’t. I don’t GET that they did not show up on time. And that the burden of dealing with it fell on me and my friends and they of course, get off scott free and don’t have to deal with the stress, the cost, or the consequences of almost missing a flight.

But not showing up to give a ride to a disabled person who relies on you SUCKS. Making that person sit on the van for an hour while you drive around LOST (yes, it has happened) SUCKS. Having drivers who can’t find addresses sucks too – and that’s happened here, it happened in Chicago, it’s happened so often. Being 45 minutes LATE sucks. Taking 2 people home first who live in the opposite direction when your passenger is in serious pain and you are already late SUCKS. It’s not a minor oops. And acting as if I should be grateful they showed up at all? Yeah, you got it. Ya know what I mean??

And finally add to the list – I post something on Dl. Someone responds, but he’s got a filter from earthlink or whatever. So in order to reply to HIM, which I only half-heartedly wanted to ANYWAY, I have to go to some stupid ass link, retype or cut/past my email AND copy the little code letters. Screw that.

If you want people to be able to reply to your emails, either pick a company that has a smarter system, or don’t block their emails. SHEESH. What brains were behind THAT one?

Shouldn’t some of this stuff work better? Isn’t this like a whole new century and stuff. AND WHERE’S MY ROCKET PACK?

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