Category Archives: Rants

So be it.

We have reached a new low. Or high. Depending on how you look at it. I was reading the newspaper this morning when a particular article caught my eye. It was titled: Pray-in at S.F. gas station asks God to lower gas prices. It’s not every day we get prayer meetings in San Francisco. Well, at least not for things like this. We’ve had our fair share of people who have made the trek to the City by the Bay to pray for the worst of all lost souls, the gays. But, this is a new one. I guess if you’re going to pray for gas prices to come down, you might as well come to the place with the highest prices in the nation, right?

I find it very interesting that an east-coast based activist/community organizer/church choir director, who also started a petition to get Oprah nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize (which failed), would come to SF for a pray-in. I mean, seriously, Washington D.C. is a lot closer than San Francisco. And, really that’s where he should have gone. I realize that as a “public relations consultant” (he has like 4 jobs) this is his way of petitioning Washington and God at the same time. It’s a publicity move. I get it. Send a message to Washington by praying over the costliest fuel, literally. It’s just funny to me. Someone probably spent hundreds of dollars to fly him all the way across the country to say a prayer that he could have said from D.C., whose prices aren’t cheap either, by any means.

I suppose that I should be glad he is supporting the airline industry by flying. But, let’s cut the crap, I’ll just be honest. I have issues with this kind of prayer. I think the real power in what Twyman did was in the underlying statement he was making: We don’t trust our government to do something about gas prices. If he did, he would have been in D.C. And, honestly, I think our government needs to hear that message: We don’t trust you.

Check out this approval ratings chart from PollingReport.com. (Just click on it for the link) It’s pretty sad, Bush’s approval rating has consistently hovered from 30-35% for over a year. Most people would be fired for that kind of performance. I’m getting sidetracked, aren’t I?

I should get back to my real issue, public prayer. I think personal and private prayer as a means of meditation–focusing one’s mind on something for relaxation or other purposes–can be helpful. If prayer for you is a personal conversation with God, great, that helps focus the mind as well. But, I don’t believe that publicly (i.e.-at a gas station) presenting a request to a higher power has much benefit beyond the obvious benefit of getting your message out to the masses.

This is something I know a thing or two about. I personally have been the subject of these types of prayers before. Prayers that are a means of gossip–getting the message out to the masses. I’ve been mortified more than once to find that a deeply personal experience of mine was shared in a prayer group or at a church. If someone wants to personally pray for me, I can certainly appreciate the heart in that. When someone publicly brings up my private stuff, on no level could I ever appreciate that.

Now, I have to admit that this is a very sensitive subject for me. I have rewritten this post about 10 times over the course of a week, trying to soften my tone. And, I’m glad that I took my time with it, because, it caused me to think about this in a rational way–to come to terms with my real issues. I detest preachy, public praying.

Ultimately, I think that Robert Twyman looked a little ridiculous standing, hands outstretched over the gas pump, praying. I can’t help but think that was part of the point. He got his message out there, though, even if the powers that be weren’t listening.

In the end writing this was therapeutic for me. And, there’s a part of me that feels bad for dragging you through my therapy. I guess that’s just the nature of blogging. Some days this is what you get.

Amen. So be it.

$3,500!!!

This is the amount that Verizon Wireless told me I was going to have to pay them in overage fees for my internet usage. Oh, crap. That was my first thought. Then I immediately moved into intense panic mode. You know the kind. I started pacing back and forth intensely, making wild gestures, as if that was going to fix the problem. I guess I should explain things.

So, up until recently, I used my Verizon Wireless USB card for all of my internet service. It’s a nifty little device that I plug into the USB port on the side of my laptop. Super cool. Super easy. I’m a flight attendant and the card works similar to a cell phone. It was/is extremely convenient for me to use anywhere in the country. Verizon used to advertise “unlimited” service, no roaming for a monthly fee. I visit their website frequently to check my bill, etc., and even within the last few months they still were advertising “unlimited” service. This morning when I went to the site I discovered it has totally changed. They now have made it clear. They have limits.

And, that is what Jennifer told me when I called to ask why my USB card wasn’t working. To make it worse, I had gone way over their usage limit. Approximately $3,500.00 worth. Jennifer told me that I would have to let her look more closely at my account to see why I was cut off, and she would call me back in a day or two. I guess I really freaked out when she said that, because she called me back in an hour. Evidently, I was “grandfathered” into their new plans and was exempt from the overage fees. Finally, I could take a deep sigh of relief. I apologized to Jennifer for my freak-out “episode.” Evidently, she has been getting this a lot since Verizon changed their usage plans. People are suddenly being told that they owe Verizon Wireless a crap-load of money. Hopefully, people protest a little bit so that they are told that they don’t actually have to pay the money. You will still be cut off for going over. But, at least, you won’t have to pay the fees. So, I called Comcast Cable back up and set up High Speed Internet.

I really detest this kind of stuff. If only a few people blindly pay the overage fees, Verizon will make a lot of money. I’ll be switching to AT&T soon. Not because I think that they won’t screw me over, but, because they have the iPhone. I pretty much have accepted the fact that most companies have equally poor and confusing service. So, you have to choose who you are going to patronize based on different criteria. Like who has the cooler phones. Or, who’s website is easier to use.

Here’s what I learned:

1) When it comes to customer service, never take a company at its word. Always get it in writing.

2) When you get it in writing, always read all the writing. Very important details are usually buried deep within the seemingly meaningless text.

3) When you call to get help from customer service, never hesitate to ask to talk to a supervisor.

4) Always keep confirmation numbers and names of customer service personnel. Never throw away service agreements.

5) Always look at your bill. Never just accept and pay unknown or unusual charges. Always protest a little bit.

Enough Already with the F$%#@! "Path to’s!"

I’ve mentioned before that I love self-help books. Oh yes, there isn’t a self-help book out there that I haven’t longingly flipped through hoping to find all the answers to all my questions. I should also mention that I am quite far along in my recovery… from self-help books. I no longer have a tall stack of these marvelous literary works sitting next to my couch just waiting for my perusal.

That’s not to say that I no longer read self-help books. I just am controlling my impulse to buy every fucking book that has “…the Path to…” in the title. “The Path to Enlightenment,” “The Path to a Healthy Back,” “The Path to a Great Self-Esteem,” “The Real Path to the Right Path…” AGGGGHHHHHH!!!!! Sorry, I think I just had an enlightened moment.

Unfortunately, recently I had a relapse. I gave in to the temptation and bought several self-help books. But, before I get to those books I need to say something. Hang on just a second while I compose myself…

Ok, everyone take a deep breath now. And exhale. I am about to say something that is probably going to get me banned from blogger.com. Wait for it… Wait for it… I’m ready. I am sick of Oprah. I am sick of all the “big gives.” I am sick of her “favorite things.” I am sick of the trips to Africa. And, most of all I am sick of “The Oprah Book Club.” Fuck. I feel better, but now I have to explain. First of all, she’s the self-appointed Mayor of Narcissist Village. That’s enough to drive anyone crazy. I think it’s swell that she wants to make the world a better place. Lovely. But, the Oprah franchise is getting just a little out of hand, don’t ya think? The show. The magazine. The schools. The online courses. It’s pretty sad that her stamp of approval is like winning the world series for a writer. It guarantees an immediate trip to the top of the best seller’s list.

I have to come clean, though. I am guilty of buying books because I saw them on her show. And, I am also guilty of enjoying some of them. For instance, I loved “Eat, Pray, Love.” But, after recently buying “The Secret,” “The Power of Now” and “A New Earth,” I am over it. First off, let me tell you just how much I hated “The Secret.” It’s Awful. Horrendous. I was so offended by that book that I got rid of it after reading just about 4 chapters. I gave it all the chance it deserved to prove to me it was good. And, it failed. I love the concept that there is power in positive thinking and even in negative thinking. But, to take it to the level of blaming the Holocaust on the Jews and cancer on one’s own negative thoughts, well now, that’s just fucked up. Sometimes bad things just happen. Or, sometimes they happen because an evil, inhumane ruler decides to try and wipe out an entire group of people.

Oh, crap. I’m really on my soapbox today. I had better watch my “stinkin’ thinkin’.” All I will say about the other two Eckhart Tolle books I purchased is that I about choked on the amount of conceited, self-congratulatory back-patting that I found in the introductions alone. According to the books, I guess I’m just not “enlightened” enough to be ready for them. In the words of Chelsea Handler, one of my favorite comedians, Mr. Tolle can “suck it, suck it real hard.” There.

I guess I’m not as evolved as I thought I was.

That Ain’t Right – #2

I was just about to give up on this series this week. As soon as I came up with the idea, nothing happened. Literally. No one misbehaved. It truly rocked my world. I thought, “What is wrong with humanity? Come on people, give me the good stuff!” And then, I had one the worst trips that I’ve had in a long time. The trip started out bad enough. We had seriously delayed and canceled flights, but the passengers were totally understanding and actually…nice. There was a major snow storm in Chicago and it completely shut the airport down. Damn those Midwesterners, they can be nice even while sleeping on the airport floor. Nothing to write about.

Then, day 2 arrived. The gray skies cleared up and we were off to Long Island. I was exhausted from the first day, though, and my defenses were down. About halfway through our day, the shit hit the fan. We were in Tampa with a broken plane full mostly of retired Floridians. Nice. Those flights are fun on a normal day. No one can complain like a retired Floridian. And, when I say Floridian, I actually mean New Yorker. We were supposed to be going to West Palm Beach, which is about a 25 minute flight away from Tampa. We were delayed over 3 hours for a 25 minute flight. Nice.

Anyway, people (especially New Yorkers) are inherently mistrusting of airlines. Even if there is a hurricane bearing down on you, they think that you are canceling the flight for some other reason that you aren’t sharing. So, it should have come as no surprise when this little beefy red-faced New Yorker came huffing up the aisle only about 30 minutes into the delay.

“Can’t you put us on a different plane?”

Even though I have no control over anything, I responded, “Well, the only option would be the next flight which is in about 4 hours, you could take that one.” (I said it in a positive tone and with a smile, New Yorkers evidently don’t care for sarcasm.)

“I see a plane sitting over there at that gate, why can’t we take that one?”

With less of a smile, I said, “That plane is already in use. Maintenance is trying to fix this one.”

“I know you have planes sitting around for this type of thing, why aren’t you using them? If I would have known that this was going to happen I would have taken my men and found another flight!”

This guy was being a prick, so, too quickly I answered, “Ok, well if you go, be sure to take all your things.” I was testing the theory that New Yorkers like honesty. They want you to give it them straight. Today was not the day to test out theories.

“Nice attitude.”

Now, I had unleashed a monster. I knew that nothing I said would make him or his “men” happy. So, I just continued with the truth, “I have no control over what planes we use or where they go. This plane is being fixed and for now, we are still going to take this one. That may change, but, for the time being that’s what’s going on.”

“Well, you need to figure out what’s going on and get this thing going.”

I love this type of guy. It’s a lost cause. People treat me like I don’t know anything, but, ask me questions like I know everything.

Well, fast forward about 4 hours. We are finally in West Palm Beach and everyone is finally getting off the plane. This guy has been such a jackass that other New Yorkers are actually apologizing for him. I gave up on even trying to please him. He had yelled at me, at the captain, and at our customer service agents. He was just trying to cause a scene. I may not have had the best attitude, but for that day, it was all I could do. This jerk just needed to get off the plane. Upon leaving the plane his wife approaches me and asks for my name and badge number. I give her my name and inform her that we do not give out any other personal informational.

I say, “You only need my first name and the flight number for your letter.”

She snaps back, “Why are you assuming that I am going to write a negative letter?”

“Well typically if someone who is clearly upset asks me for that information it isn’t for writing a good letter.”

“How do you know I am upset?”

“Are you serious? Everyone on the plane knows that you are upset.”

She snaps back again, “You’re a negative person and shouldn’t be doing this job.”

With all the restraint I could muster I say, “Thank you so much for your support. Have a great day!”

Momma said there’d be days like this.

Amongst the Masses–part two

Alright, so I have to be fair. Several weeks ago, I wrote part one of the article Amongst the Masses. Actually, I never intended for there to be a part two. But, I wrote it before the holiday rush. And, as usual, the holiday rush kicked my ass. I truly believe that people are at their truest and worst behavior during the holidays.

You see, I still think that the airport is a real hassle for everyone. And, I understand why it is frustrating. The whole experience is a royal pain in the derrière. I get it. But, one can only observe so much bad behavior before you start to think that some of these people just need to get over it. There are much more horrendous atrocities in the world than your flight being delayed 30 minutes. The interesting thing to me is that the worst behavior doesn’t usually come from the business traveler. They fly enough to understand how the system works. So they tend to have more reasonable expectations. It comes from the family of 10 who never travels.

They are the ones who blame me personally for not having a place to change their baby’s diaper–as if I have anything to do with airplane design. They are the ones who leave that poop-filled diaper in the seat back pocket. (Not to mention the crushed cheerios, gummy worms, chips, skittles, and ripped-up magazines on the floor.) They are the same ones who get upset when their 18 month old–whom they purposefully chose not to buy a seat for–has to actually sit in their lap. Oh boy, could I go on. But, I tend not to enjoy blog rants. So, I better move on quickly.

I can handle children. I don’t have any of my own, which is wonderful; but, I can handle them. It’s their parents that are the real problem. When I look at the rotten behavior of the parents, I can’t help but wonder how these kids are going to be when they are adults. Probably, worse.

As much as I want to provide good service, it is really difficult when people’s expectations are so completely out of whack. Seriously. So, this is my own counterpoint to the first article. All you have to do is go to one of the many airline discussion boards online. I read them from time to time just for kicks. People really have no idea. They are paying less for their tickets than ever in airline history and are expecting more than ever. But, I guess that really is the American way. Get more, pay less. What exactly did you expect when you bought your tickets for $150 each way to go coast to coast. The person next to you probably paid $600 for the same flight.

Personally, my favorite complaint is when someone shakes their itinerary at me and says, “We were supposed to go from Norfolk, Virginia to El Paso, Texas, NON-STOP. We just found out that we have to stop 3 times before we get to El Paso.”

So I say, “May I see your itinerary, please? Thanks…oh, I’m sorry, do you see here were it says ‘stops’?”

“Yes.”

“And, under that it says ‘3’?”

“Oh.”

“And, it says ‘total travel time=13 hours 41 minutes’? That means that today you fly from Norfolk to El Paso, you have 4 flights/3 stops, and it will take you 13 hours and 41 minutes.”

“Oh.”(followed by silence and a seriously nasty look)

Really? People do not read. From Norfolk, Virginia, they could have flown all the way to Hawaii in that amount of time on a NONSTOP. Sorry, I said that I wasn’t going to rant. Well, I promise my next post will not be a rant. I just had to get it out of my system. Happy travels! ;-p