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All Aboard the Inept Express

I’ve been having a sort of writer’s block lately. Not sure if it’s the heat getting to me or if I am just really lacking inspiration. I guess I can say I haven’t had a rant post (and I mean truly a rant post) in quite some time and something happened recently that certainly deserves a rant post (and a few expletives that will remain untyped).

As you may know from previous posts, if I’ve even mentioned it before, I take public transportation. It’s reliable, for the most part, and it does save me money. That is of course, if the people selling you tickets can do the most basic math equation (adding) and if the people you talk to can socialize with humans. Knowing my luck, I get just the opposite.

I used to buy these monthly passes for the line I ride, but for some reason (increase in fares) they don’t sell them anymore. I, unaware of this as a lowly passenger who knows nothing, set off to the station to buy my July monthly pass. My boyfriend was with me for moral support.

At the ticket booth, I had my boyfriend ask for the pass I normally get. The woman (who I will name Moonpie, which is a name as ridiculous as the person who sold me the tickets) seemed completely complexed. She might have suspected we were asking for a trip to Timbuktu.

“Well you see, we don’t have those.”

Oh, well, why not? I might question. Do you just not sell those in this city? Can I buy them somewhere else? Do I have to keep asking you questions? Do you even work here?

With a series of those questions, she finally got to the point that they have “abolished” (using some big words there, Moonpie!) those monthly passes. Well shoot, what am I supposed to buy now? I explained to her that I used to buy these tickets that were cheaper than paying for a one-way ride on the train. She had to discuss this with another employee, and by discuss, I mean shout to the person in the opposite end of the ticket booth.

I’m just going to interput and say that I normally do not complain about anyone working in establishments/companies. People work hard in jobs no one else really wants and unless you are in someone else’s shoes, you can’t really critique the job they are doing. That being said, if you are expecting a service, or product, and it isn’t even close to your satisfaction, or if you are dealing with someone who is either rude or just completely inept, I think it’s your constitutional right to complain until your lungs hurt.

Now, back to the obnoxious screaming.

“HEY JULIE (her name was not Julie and I could care less because she couldn’t help at all) IF SHE WANTS TO GET TICKETS THAT ARE ONE WAY DKFJDKAIEKAKDKAHAHA AHAHEIWWW OOO OOO AHH AHH”

That’s what it sounded like to me at least.

She told me what type of tickets were my option. Then she showed me two different versions and asked me which one did I think I should have. Moonpie, I don’t know which ticket I used before, you should know! She had no idea. I told her again where I was going (point a to b) and she said “Okay, it’s this ticket.”

I then explained to her (using big hand gestures) that “I go from blank to blank and I ride blank days a week, round trip. How many tickets should I buy?”

The math was just way too complex so she needed to take out her handy dandy calculator, much like I did in my basic trigonometry course in college. After doing some complex algebraic equations, graphing parabolas, figuring out limits and imaginary numbers, she concluded that I should get 12 tickets, round trip. Well thank you Moonpie, you just saved me money!

She lined up my tickets, one by one, and told me my total of $78. Hot dog! What a bargain. I then asked (and then asked twice more) “These are round trip, right?” And she said, “Yes.” She also reminded me (three times) that these tickets were being issued to me given the information I had told her. Well, nothing wrong with that, I gave you correct information and you gave me correct tickets! I thanked Moonpie and went on my merry way.

Long story short, I got on the train for work the next day, and handed the conductor/ticket guy my ticket. He punched it

AND THEN WALKED AWAY. Literally, walked right out of the car I was in and into the next one. He took my ticket. Meaning, my tickets were not round trip, like I had needed and requested and “purchased.” Holding back tears and vomit, I asked the train conductor, “Aren’t these tickets round trip?” And he said, “Oh no, these are only one way.” I then explained my situation, that Moonpie had completely effed up, to say it nicely, and he told me, “Oh yeah, you were WAY overcharged.”

Thanks.

You know when you watch those court shows, and you see how people are always screwed over hardcore, and yet it’s their own fault? Well, that’s sort of me in this predicament and I’ll tell you why. First, I paid with cash (which I never do) so I didn’t get a receipt, and of course forgot to ask for a handwritten one. Second, I trusted that someone working for this public transportation company had any brains at all to help me figure out what tickets I need. Everyone with this company either has attitude, or expects you, the patron/rider/customer to know what buy. I’m sorry, but I’m only 19. I have no clue what every ticket costs/looks like, nor do I know what every zone is, every line is, etc. That is your job. You are supposed to help me, and if you can’t, please find another profession so you don’t continue to screw people out of money.

So, lesson learned. Never pay with cash, or always ask for receipts. No matter where you go. Even if you get Chinese food, or buy a candy bar from a drugstore. Just get a flipping receipt. Then, if you do experience a problem, you just saved your butt because you now have proof of purchase. I, on the other hand, will probably not be seeing the money I was overcharged. And it’s my own fault, because I trusted the people who were supposed to being doing their job. Also, if you are looking for deals when using public transportation, know exactly what you are supposed to get. Don’t expect people working to know, they’re clearly not trained to do that. Who knows, I’ve heard the state I’m in has the worst public transportation services, so maybe it’s better somewhere else.

Thanks for listening to another rant about how I expect people to do the jobs they were trained to do, and experience their failure to do so.

 

Check out a funny Seinfeld video of Elaine freaking out on the subway.

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‘Leaving a Mark’ on This Blank Page

Although much of my complaints is work or school work, I have to say this semester is the best one yet. My Theory of Writing course is showing me how to become a more expressive writer, critical thinker, and excel at reading between the lines.

We finished Blankets, an illustrated novel by Craig Thompson. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who wants to read something with images, think deeply, cry a little, and feel every emotion in the book (a bit ironic, right?) Long story short (again), this book is Thompson’s narration of his life, his struggles with his art, and the story of first love and disconnected families.

One moment stood out to me the most in this book, and relates mostly to current situations in my life is the following, “Even a mistake is better than nothing.” The context is that one of the characters wanted Thompson to paint for her and he was afraid he would mess up.

What stands out the most in that quote is how bold it is. While it may be in a completely different context, I still took this moment to heart. Even a mistake is better than nothing, wow, is all I could think.

We have this idea that making mistakes is such a terrible thing. But, aren’t the mistakes we make a way to make ourselves better? There’s sayings like, “Have no regrets,” and “Everything happens for a reason,” because they are true. There have been so many mistakes and regrets I have, but I take them with me and make meaning from them, much like the novel Blankets discusses.

Throughout high school I had this idea that the people I was close friends with would stay true forever. At that moment where I graduated, the only true thing I was thinking about was how the sun was directly in my eyes; giving me a migraine, but I also was thinking about how this is it. That was the moment I never had to see the people who wronged me, the people who hated me, or the people who I loved.

It sounds like such a depressing way to look at graduation, but I disliked high school so strongly. I had always been a different kind of girl, someone who wanted to stand out rather than fit in, and we all know how disconcerned people are to differences. College is a growing experience for me, and I highly recommend everyone try it once in their life. In all seriousness, it has been a time where I realized who I want to be. All I do is try and reach that goal, and at the moment, I’m doing a pretty darn good job. But, the person who I am doesn’t start and stop with me, it’s the people I have encountered and spent my life with that have shaped me.

I have found, much like Craig Thompson, that even though friendships and relationships may not last forever, the mark they have on us never truly leaves. Thompson falls in love with a girl in the novel, and even though they are young and need to discover themselves, I can’t help but feel something for them. The fact that they both make such an impact on each other, even being a teenager, is astounding. The idea that someone can make such a powerful impact on your life is true to my life. Sometimes all you want is for them to stay and be with you, but eventually you come to a point when you realize they can’t.

There have been those friends who have come and gone and have meant nothing to me, and there have been those friends who have stayed but then drifted away (college does this, I have found). There have also been those friends who still remain, and always will.

It wasn’t until very recently, I discovered that finding yourself means making sacrifices with these relationships. It’s a sad realization, cruel and bitter, but it’s also something that I needed to bring to my attention. I start my real story here, and it’s much to my satisfaction rather than all of you reading.

The falling out I recently had with someone was certainly no easy one. This person has meant more to me than any other person on this planet. She had been there through every failure, every mistake, every heartbreak, every detail of my life; she knows it. Likewise, I have been there for her every step of the way.

We have watched people come and go, laughing, saying, “That’ll never be us.” But, if there is one thing I have learned from heartbreak it is you can never predict it. You want life to be perfect, candy-coated, but in reality no one plans out the bad things that may happen.

I never thought I would have a feeling where our friendship wasn’t worth it. I never thought I would think about her constantly, miss her, wish she would text or call, wish she would just reach out. I never thought I would stop trying to connect. I knew the conversation would be mundane, the same old, “What have you been up to?” The person she was becoming and the person I have become do not match anymore. I think as harsh as it may be, if she were reading, I have grown and learned and become who I want to be and I think she is still discovering that. I know there is someone who will change her, make her who she needs to be. Or maybe she won’t ever find out.

There are these moments in our life where we can’t breathe, and it feels like we can’t do anything but sit and stare at the wall. All the memories come swirling back to you in these moments, when you want to forget but you can’t. A break up, a falling out, a death; you won’t ever forget them. You can paint over the memories but there is still that tiny spot in your mind that reminds you it’s more than a memory, it existed.

I’ve always had a hard time saying I’m sorry, or admitting my mistakes. I know I’m stubborn and I hate to be told I am wrong. But, I refuse to sacrifice what I believe in for someone else and their satisfaction. I know I have said things in my past and present that I regret. I am so sorry to everyone. I am sorry that I never went to your graduation party. I am sorry I didn’t want to go on a date with you. I am sorry you didn’t love me. I am sorry you turned out you needed a therapist and I couldn’t help you. I am sorry that we couldn’t be what we dreamed of being. I am sorry I said those mean things to you. I am sorry we are over.

Life is meaningless without mistakes. I know she thinks I made a mistake. I know she thinks that I was the worst friend anyone can have, and I know for awhile, maybe forever, she will think that. I can only thank her for the memories. Thank you, for all that you have given me and all that you will continue to give me. I will miss and always love you, like the sister you were to me. You can’t ever understand what I went through, my inner-termoil, because you never listened. It is all my fault that I couldn’t try harder to reach out, that I gave up. I wish I hadn’t given up, but it’s what I needed to do. I hope that you can understand one day.

If I could speak to her, although I think I will never be given the chance, there are so many things I would say. I could lash out and yell at her for making me look like a villain, when I know who is at fault. I know that’s what I want to do, but I think now I would say to her, if you have to be mad, be mad not at me but at the fact that we need to change. We can’t be the same person we were at 14. We will never be the same. We thought that change was an okay thing to accept into our lives, but the truth is it’s a hard concept. You can’t stop it, and you can’t predict it. We can only live from it.

I want to continue to grow, to make meaning of this life I have been given. I can’t take everyone with me on this journey. I’m constantly on this journey to find myself, and even though I think I have reached a high point in my life, I know I will never end the journey. I know I will continue to make mistakes, but I have accepted it’s a natural part of life, of living.

 

“How satisfying is it to leave a mark on a blank surface. To make a map of my movement–no matter how temporary.” –Craig Thompson, Blankets 

The Paper Problem

I recently discovered how sacred printer paper is to college students.

If we held a modern gladiatorial combat with college students, it would be for printer paper.  College students would arm themselves and head into the arena to battle to the death.

I am not sure about other colleges or universities, but at my school printer paper does not come free. Most lounges are supply-your-own-paper printers. Only the commuter lounge, which is really supposed to be used by commuters-only, resources are free of charge. That is, they are free if you know where to look. You still have to walk to a different room to pick up printer paper, and even then it is hard to get. I have gotten many looks from whoever is working there, almost to say, “are you REALLY a commuter.” When you finally get a hold of some paper, you bring back the paper and quickly shove it into the printer.  As you quickly select print, you realize someone else is headed to the printer.  And shooting out of the device comes their notes.  Of course, the paper they just used up was not their own, but they don’t care.  They are in the same rush as you are.  It’s every man for himself!

I’ve never actually gotten mad at someone for using up the paper that I have brought back because I know I can get it for free.  I would be frustrated however, if I brought in stacks of my own paper, and then other students use it all up.  I have seen people literally argue with each other over printer paper.  It’s so ridiculous but at the same time, if people would just respect each others materials we wouldn’t have any issue.

Finals week makes kids go insane. I have seen people hurrying to print out their 50 pages of slides just so they can study.  So it is no wonder students get upset when some lazy student comes in and just prints their papers without bringing any paper.  Some students will have no problem voicing their opinions, and you really see how rude people are on your campus. I had a girl yell at me for using her paper, when I had counted out exactly how many pages I needed and placed them in the printer. She ran over to the printer and whipped out her paper so I wouldn’t use it.  She left some behind, and instead of keeping it, I gave it back to her (although I really think I should have kept it).

Which reminds me, whenever you see printing paper without an owner, snatch it up! I have found many piles of paper that have yet to be used, and hey, if you don’t protect it someone else will!  I have also found that printing your papers at the last minute are never a good idea.  This is just increasing your chances of things to go wrong, which will only leave you stressed and angry.  I also have decided to bring only the amount of paper that is necessary to print my document(s).  This way you aren’t putting extra paper in the printer for someone else to use.  Also, put the paper in the printer right before you go to print something.

I never would have suspected that college students would go so crazy over paper, but I am starting to see it makes sense.  We need so much paper every day, and when people try to take the little resources you have, it can be stressful. Sharpen your elbows students, you may need them!