598: Failure

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Nobody likes to fail.

Nobody likes ADMITTING that they failed, much less the painful process of actually FAILING.

The constant mental re-plays…if only I had done THAT instead, it would have changed the outcome……why didn’t THAT occur to me at the time, so I could have done something differently……why did I not recognize that as a RED FLAG? Heck no, at the TIME, that red flag was a glowing, rosy PINK flag……..sheesh. Gotta get rid of these glasses.

And then comes the sneaking, stealthy, sly subconscious. The DREAMS about failing. Not necessarily the specific thing I failed at, oh, no! These are horrible, inventive fantasies; dark, macabre imaginings of all the OTHER ways I could possibly fail at something.

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Such as – dreaming of being a waitress (yes, I, too, did this in college) at a pizza-cum-sandwich shop – and getting ALL the orders wrong, having to apologize profusely to all the incensed customers, take all the blame, and give them their food for free – which I know is going to come out of my miniscule paycheck, of course. FABULOUS dream. Can’t WAIT to have it again. The groveling, you know, that’s what excites me the most.

EWR TERMINAL B CUSTOMS AND IMMIGRATION, CSR & AGENTS 7/6/07

Then there’s the nightmare about the trip – I get to the airport, after having meticulously packed (and pre-weighed) my bag for this international flight, and discover my purse (with the passport, of course), is missing. Instant panic. WHERE did I leave it on my journey to the airport? On the train? In the taxi? OMG! The flight departs in an hour! Or, (alternate variation on this theme), the bag I carefully packed and weighed to comply with all the myriad regulations for flying (which I looked up online prior to getting started packing, just to be sure), ISN’T in compliance, after all. And now I must choose, standing at the inspection table surrounded by harried passengers, which items to discard so they will actually let me get on the flight using the ticket I have paid for. Should I ditch the shampoo? The tampons? The evening gown? The sandals? The sunscreen? AAUUGGHHHhhhhhh…………! Meanwhile, the clock is ticking down to the time they will close the boarding gate, and I will be…..LEFT BEHIND. With no refund of monies paid.

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Or the teacher dream: supervising a field trip and having something go wrong when I am responsible for twenty something (or more) students and chaperones. I am scrambling to fix whatever thing has gone awry, and doing a perfectly miserable job of it, because, of course, this is a FAILURE dream, and nothing I do in one of those dreams works out to my advantage. Ever. And usually, it involves a copious amount of my favorite thing – groveling to all and sundry as I meekly confess my culpability.

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Or my personal favorite – I am fleeing a menacing, pursuing presence through all the halls and rooms of an infinite decaying, crumbling mansion….for hours and hours, all the while knowing that the terrible pursuing menace is going to corner and catch and murder horrifically. Yup. Personal favorite. I usually wake up trying to scream from that one, panting like I’ve just run the Boston Marathon.

Bad enough to fail in real life, when I am conscious. Failing in my dreams is infinitely worse – the dream failures seem every bit as real as the real-life failures, and I can have more than one of them per night. Subconscious self-torture. Whoopity doo.

346: Abused Again

In this present world in which we live, you buy an airline ticket, show up at the airport several hours early, clear inspection and fly, right?

Wrong.

You buy your ticket, show up at the airport several hours early, and the TICKET AGENT denies you boarding. On the plane that leaves in an hour. For which you hold a paid ticket. For which you are not getting a refund, thank you very much, freshly screwed person. For which you will also miss your connecting flight, for which you also hold a paid ticket. Thank you very much, and F@#% you again, because the connecting flight says it’s not their fault you missed their flight – and they are right – it is the TICKET AGENT’S fault you missed your flight.

It does not matter that you did your research prior to purchasing your flight tickets, to be sure that there were no pesky visas that you were supposed to obtain in advance. No, the TICKET AGENT says you need a transit visa the German Embassy Web site said you did not need, and because the TICKET AGENT says you need this visa which you don’t need, you are not getting on your flight. And when you call the Germany Foreign Relations Office, they tell you that they do not intervene with airlines – not even to tell them what their own German visa regulations are. Leaving the TICKET AGENT as the sole authority over your two thousand dollars worth of paid airfare. Which you just lost. Without even a blow job as compensation, thank you very much.

FML

301: Dealing With Government

People who take government jobs forfeit the appellation “people.” They cease to be human and morph into government drones. All humanity is forcibly removed, and what is left does not qualify as human anymore.

We have a Moroccan friend who joined our family and that means dealing with government in order to arrange all the necessary paperwork for her to accompany us to Panama. She needs a visa from the Panamanian government allowing her to live there with us (expected), and another visa allowing her to change planes in the USA on the way to Central America (NOT expected). Our government makes people pay a fee and get a visa in order to change planes in the US. Legally passing through the USA – and have to pay a fee and get a visa.  

Our government sucks the a……kisses the butt of every illegal alien who manages to sneak across the border: free food, medical care, housing, cell phones, voting rights, and any-other-freaking-thing-you-want, but a foreigner who is solvent (has the funds for an airplane ticket) and who is PASSING THROUGH the US on their way somewhere else, has to pay a fee and obtain a visa. Is this freaking NUTS or what? Punish legitimate people, and embrace illegal people who did what they did, knowingly intending to commit a crime by coming to the US illegally.

Chaps my butt. Seriously. I am totally perturbed, annoyed, frustrated, angered, and just plain mad.

297: Getting Visas – Human and Animal

If I had known how much trouble it is to move country, I probably would have opted to stay several more years at my present school. A friend told me, but hearing about it and experiencing it all first-hand yourself is quite another matter. It is a sheer wonder there is a single hair left on my head, I have been pulling on it in frustration so often lately.

I THINK I have the cats booked. Had I known how much trouble and expense there would be associated with taking my beloved fur children with me…….I would probably have done it anyway. I love their furry faces. I tried Delta, Delta’s Pet first, Lufthansa, Ryan Air, Jet Blue, American Airlines AND their Cargo Department, Air France, Iberia and three international pet shipping companies before I figured out that I did NOT have enough money to hire someone professional to get my three cats from here to there. Bless Royal Air Maroc. They accepted the cats. Now, I just have to complete the paperwork necessary for them to clear customs, which is pretty much about as much paperwork as is required for a human – and about as expensive. They have to see the vet here in Morocco for a rabies booster shot 30 days or more before their flight, but their vet health certificate and certificate of origin (born in Morocco???) have to be issued not more than 10 days before their flight. Those papers have to be copied and certified. Their kennels (travel crates) have to have LIVE ANIMAL on two sides, and be large enough for them to stand up and turn around. I have to include food for them, and bowls for food and water that can be serviced from outside the crate without opening the crate door. There must be bedding to absorb the inevitable accidents that will occur on a long flight. I have booked an extra-long layover in NYC to be sure we have enough time to clear customs and change planes for the last leg of the flight, to Orlando.

Once in Orlando, I clear customs again, and pick up my rental car. Once in the US, I have to see another vet and re-do the health certificates, copies and certified by the USDA or the US or Panama Embassy, to be able to fly them to Panama City, Panama. I have 12 days to do this. Bonne chance to me. PLUS, for the last months, I have been practicing with the cats in the crates. The boys still fuss, but Fez, the elegant lady, just settles down and waits patiently……..

For the human, we have applied weeks and weeks ago to the nearest Panamanian Embassy, in Madrid, Spain for a tourist/temporary resident visa that they tell us by telephone there should be no problems with getting. But, the man helping us mentioned that we needed a C-class visa in order for our friend to travel THROUGH the US on the way to Panama – just to be in the airport in the US and change planes. I kid you not. Being US citizens ourselves, and not knowing any better, it did not OCCUR to us that our friend would need an “alien in transit” visa. There pretty much IS no other way to get to Central America from Casablanca, Morocco except to fly through the US. We did not think anything strange about this, or that any additional paperwork would be required. WRONG. Sheesh.

SO, I logged on to the Embassy Web site and filled out an online application, which conveniently dumped me out of the application over a dozen times before I could finish it, regardless of the number of times I pressed SAVE, and asked questions no person in their right mind would ever answer yes to: Have you participated in genocide, forcible sterilization or abortion against someone’s free will, drug trafficking, terrorism, etc. Do you know anyone who would answer yes, even if they HAD?? Me, neither. Problem is, once all these questions are answered, you must register for an appointment time online to come in for a personal, face-to-face interview, where apparently they ask you the same questions you already said “no” to, while they are looking at you, so they can “tell” whether or not you were lying. Yeah, right. Anyhoo – the appointment calendar with available days for appointments went through the first week in August only – and every single available day was filled. OMG. What now?

We called, and explained our ignorance/stupidity. They have graciously agreed to squeeze her in, and see if they can help us. Now, THAT’S America, and reflects everything I love about my country being willing to give people second chances. They could have said: tough titty.

SOOOOOOO – we are waiting again to see if all the pieces are going to fall into place, or if the chips are gonna fall where they may. AND I need to re-pack my suitcase – I am 10 pounds overweight, darn it. The suitcase AND me.