Day 2 and 3: Stop Spending So Much Time on Bridges

The last couple of days have been a swirl of emotion and anxiety. Primarily, what should I do for money? I did not expect my arthritis to be what it is at this point. I expected my situation to be different.

 

My dad called six times between the hours of 6 and 7 in the morning. I ignored the calls because I know better. I had an interview that morning. I also struggle with how to gauge how an interview went. Anyway, I returned my dad’s call coming back. I didn’t have time to mention I was coming from an interview before he went on about how, “we are a family of deadbeats.”

 

I should not listen to his assessment, but the suffocating feeling of failure always lingers around me, like it is a thing, a thing that knows how right my dad is. And I start to review and analyze my choices and decisions, trying to pinpoint the moment where my downfall began. Was it at birth? Just a bad deck of cards? Was it the moment my white blood cells turned against the rest of my body? Or was it my choice that got me here? And I don’t see where I did anything truly awful. Where I was like, yeah, I think heroin is a good idea. That never happened. I did things, like take out student loans for grad school, and they’re shitty loans because I didn’t have a cosigner. I struggled with saving money because, unlike many of my peers, I have rather large medical costs each month. I worked part time jobs while in graduate school fulltime, until I couldn’t mentally handle it. It was the best decision for me and my mental health, but now I’m here, a dead beat.

 

But, that is what I need to work on. Being in the present moment. Not treading backwards, but existing, in the right here, right now. I frequently have to remind myself “Let’s cross that bridge when we get there.” I spend too much time on bridges from the past or bridges from the future. I admire people who have a balance. A balance where they are able to manage and predict future issues without living in fear of them, a balance where they enjoy the day. I am always planning, for the loss of my health insurance, looking at what feels like a huge looming disaster. I can never get out from under their shadow.

 

So, that is the goal for today. Be in the present moment.

 

I’ve been listening to this song a lot. Way Out by Forty Winks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDCZWXHtwjc

It is my goal to make everyone uncomfortable…

It is my goal to make everyone uncomfortable

I found this article on Jezebel.

http://jezebel.com/5992256/in-a-room-full-of-naked-koreans-margaret-chos-body-is-an-unwelcome-sight

Margaret Cho, a tattooed individual was asked to cover up in a Korean spa by the management. The management was awkward and upset, but explained Cho’s heavily tattooed body was offending other customers. Cho attempted to continue her experience in a robe, while getting severe judgmental looks from other women. Eventually, she decided she could not enjoy the experience, paid, overtipped and left.

Woah, woah, Margaret Cho, a stronger woman that I am. I would have tipped, but I don’t know if I would have paid. If I’m paying money, dollar bills, to enjoy a relaxing experience, and the management, per pressure of other consumers, explains to me I cannot participate the same way, well don’t expect the same payment. I’ll tip the staff, sure.

But, then I start thinking, is this why Margaret Cho is a successful adult and I am not?

It is partly anger, but when I see injustice, or experience it, I don’t think it’s my fucking job to keep it on the down low. Sorry, those ladies decided to complain and make this uncomfortable, but why should I continue to sacrifice? Why should I quietly leave? Nope. You opened this can of worms and now the discomfort is gonna roll, all the way from the front desk, to the back sauna in the sound of my voice.

It’s true I need to learn to control myself better, as they say pick my battles.

I’m not sure why people and management are always surprised when I ask for stuff or a lower cost. Honestly, the time I spend on the phone with customer service about my cell phone, I think I should get those 45 or 52 minutes comped back.

The Oatmeal sums it up pretty well: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/customer_service

Dealing with corporate nonsense fills me with a rage comparable to that of an evil villain, not where I want others to die, but where I want to block out the sun, wrench loved ones from their arms and lock them underground.

But, back to this idea of money and service, one time struggling with Verizon internet, a woman asked if I had a home phone to plug into the jack to confirm there was a dial tone. Nope. I don’t have one. She suggested I pick one up. I said I’d have to pay for it. (Let’s not even mention I’m suppose to get to a store using my time, gas, and money.) She said, well they’re cheap and you can always return it. No. I’m paying for internet, for Verizon to provide a service. It didn’t come with a stipulation that I would also have to go out and buy a home phone to confirm dial tones for them. I’m sorry, but that is a company issue. I also wasn’t mean about it, but I’m not doing it. I get the feeling I was perceived as unhelpful and unwilling, maybe unwilling to help myself. The thing is, my time and money are valuable and I’m not going to invest them in this when I have already paid for it. This incident was a little out of control. At one point, the serviceman came to my house and had his manager on speaker phone talking to a customer service rep on speaker phone on my phone. Pretty ridiculous. You bet I asked for free service. I handled this incident pretty well. I was courteous. I did inform people I was upset and this was pretty ridiculous, but in a reasonable manner.

But, I’m not always like that. Sometimes I’m not good a picking my battles. Like bringing my laptop into Best Buy for the second time in two weeks. For lots of people, their laptop and information is their life, as is the case with graduate students- more so a couple of weeks from the end of the semester. I had dropped my laptop off, it was sent out. I was already without it for a week and a half. Getting your laptop back is an amazing feeling. I went back to work and all was well until the same issue happened. I didn’t back up documents from the past two weeks, because as you’d expect, after being sent out and worked on, I thought my computer was fixed. I get it. I get, “Well ma’am you should always back up your files.” But it comes down to service. Is that what you’re selling? That my expectation should be my computer might break again, in the matter of a couple weeks? And I realize there are freak accidents, I should have my information backed up, but this wasn’t that. This was the same issue. I asked Best Buy to give me a flash drive to back up my documents. They were appalled and told me they weren’t in the business of giving away free things. I said it looked like they were in the business of not fixing items, which I paid for. That this was the service I should come to expect? I was an irate customer, causing a scene. It made everyone uncomfortable, employees, customers. I just waited, letting my anger and frustration take up the entire counter at the Geek Squad. Eventually, they said they could put my newest documents on a blank CD for me. Fine, that was all I wanted. Really, that was it. I just want it to be acknowledged that this probably should not have happened. That I probably shouldn’t be back here for the same reason right now.

So, I struggle with this. I get a lot of mixed feedback from friends and family. Sometimes, after the fact I’m kind of embarrassed. I try not to swear, but sometimes I’ll say something like “This is a truly a bureaucratic mind fuck.” And sometimes my voice gets a little loud or I obnoxiously tap my fingers on the desk.

And here is the problem that a friend raised for me “you’re talking to the wrong people.” I’m sorry to the employees that I put through this, because at the end of the day I know it isn’t your fault, but the system. I just don’t know how to stand up to the system, to voice my rage and indignation.

And maybe that is why Margaret Cho did such an awesome thing in how she responded, that frustration would have been at the wrong people, and that there really isn’t a right person to voice it to, because it wraps up all kinds of complicated issues of culture, body, and agency.

So, what are we left with? Who do you talk to? I feel like there must be a happy medium that I am attempting to reach between pushover and irate crazy. Sometimes, I hit it, but other times I don’t. How do other people manage?