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.

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402: Official “You’re an Idiot” Pass from Delta Airlines

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I qualify. Believe me. I booked in March a flight on Delta from Panama City (Panama, not Florida) to Atlanta, Georgia to attend a conference for my school. Yesterday was our last day at school, and I might have been the last employee out of the building, I had so much to get done before I left. I had this much to do because the final three days were completely and totally taken up with fixing glitches with our end-of-year printed report cards, and I did not, therefore, get any of my closing-out-the-school-year chores accomplished. At least, not in a timely manner. I did finish in a sweat and lather that would make California Chrome proud.

Then, I came home and re-packed my bags. I pack exuberantly the first time, and I do this about a week in advance, usually. Then, I let it sit, and I repack again the night before I am to depart, and ruthlessly cull the initial selections down to a single backpack. I needed some recoup time before this three-week-long business trip, so that also took up part of the evening.

In all the rush and chores to mark off the list, I completely and totally forgot to CHECK IN ONLINE. I had printed my flight info back in March and knew my flight time, and I got up the morning of departure at 4 am and headed out to travel to the airport.

I don’t have a personal vehicle, and I rely on public transportation. This morning, it took an unusually long time to get to the airport, and I was starting to sweat when we got there at 7:15 for my 8:20 flight, but I was still an hour early – Oh, no, I wasn’t. The Delta rep informed me that Delta changed the flight times for those ONCE-a-day fights some months ago, and I was sent an e-mail informing me of this change – really???? The flight closed boarding a half hour earlier, now that it leaves at 7:50, not 8:20 anymore, like my flight information clearly showed.

She then informed me that she could re-book me on a flight the next morning, for this ONCE-a-day flight, for a penalty of 200 bucks and change. I don’t HAVE an extra 200 bucks, and I told her that. She sighed, and gave me a number for the Delta help desk people, and told me I could ask for a one-time (in my lifetime??) waiver of the penalty fee for being an idiot and not checking in online first. I called, and the Delta rep on the phone, obviously used to dealing with Southerners, was gracious enough to give me the “Idiot Pass,” and I am now booked in the morning. Still have to adjust the rental car reservation and the hotel reservation, and now I will be getting off the flight and going directly to the conference, instead of being able to settle into the hotel and figure my way around. Thanks, Delta.

It could be worse. It could ALWAYS be worse.

372: Malaysia Flight and Conspiracy Theory

There are some people now saying that the whole disappearance of that Malaysian airliner was part of a grand conspiracy because of the presence of four high technology engineers on board who together hold the majority stake in a new high-tech gadget worth billions.  The company who bought out the 17 billion patent is supposedly run by Bin Laden’s Saudi relatives – and we already know there were two fake, stolen passport passengers on the flight. It is creepy how it has been handled by the various governments, and nearly everybody does not believe the official reports coming out. So, what happened?

Conspiracy theory people. Meh. Generally, they connect entirely random dots and see a bigger, cohesive (to them) picture. They are fanatically convinced that the government people (pick any government you like) are out to get us.

You know the scariest part about those wacko conspiracy theory people?

Sometimes they are RIGHT.

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

312: Euthanasia

I am stranded in the Orlando airport, a full day after I was supposed to already be on the ground in Panama.  I was refused boarding by American Airlines because they decided I did not have sufficient documentation for my cats to fly: after telling me that they could not fly because their kennels were too big (not) and that they could not fly because the temperatures on this early morning flight would exceed 85 degrees F at their destination (Panama) where they will be living for the next two years.

See, you have to have a veterinarian health certificate (done), within ten days of the scheduled flight (done), authenticated by an office of the USDA (done), and then apostiled by EITHER the Panamanian Consulate/Embassy (in Washington, D. C.) OR the Foreign Office in your state, Georgia (done). Then, you have to e-mail these scanned documents to the Panama Embassy in Panama to let them know the cats are coming (done) three days in advance in order to request that they have home quarantine (done). Oh, heck, no. American Airlines said that I needed additional documentation from the Panamanian Consulate/Embassy that the cats were good to fly. One eensy-weensy little problem: the Panamanian Consulate/Embassy does not provide any such certification, which would essentially be clearing the cats through their customs even before we board a flight to get there to submit ourselves to their customs. Not happening – either on the Panama side or on the American side.

I looked into renting yet ANOTHER car to drive to Tallahassee, Florida’s capital city, so that I could have my existing paperwork apostiled in Florida, like I already had it apostiled in Georgia, but I don’t have enough room on my credit card, since another rental car company (rentalcars.com) refused to refund my pre-paid rental online when the pickup was refused in Orlando because I have a USA driver’s license, meaning I had to rent another car for 600 dollars cash (plus the 400 dollars they would not refund). Because of this, there is not room on my card to book another car, and they won’t book a one-day rental for cash, even though they were perfectly willing to book an eleven-day rental for cash. Obviously, if I can’t afford to rent a car, I also can’t just bypass American Airlines and book tickets on another carrier, either. I thought of that, too.

It does not matter anyway, because even if I went to Tallahassee to get this Florida apostile, since I am departing from a Florida airport instead of a Georgia airport, I would still only have a STATE apostiled health certificate for my cats (like I have now), not a PANAMANIAN apostiled document, which is what American Airlines is demanding.

I have one option left. I do have enough money to book a cab to the nearest veterinarian, and I can ask that my three beloved pets be euthanized. I cannot just turn them loose to scrounge a living on their own in Orlando, and I won’t take them to the animal shelter, because that is where adult cats are most often euthanized anyway: kittens get adopted, not adult cats. I am out of options, and I am already a day late getting to Panama for my new job – which I have to have. I’ve already notified them that I will be late reporting to work, and I can’t take much more time. I am not independently wealthy such that I don’t HAVE to work. I am already in tears as I write this, and I have been in tears on and off for the last thirty-six hours. I’m out of ideas. I did my best, and it was not good enough.

Meanwhile, I am here in the airport, sleeping on a bench with three cats in small crates who need to be walked and relieved every few hours, fed and watered. The wifi works here only on the third floor, and I have to go to the first floor (with them and all my luggage for two years’ stay) to take them outside to pee. And every few minutes, an announcement is made at this airport not to leave your luggage unattended. I am here alone – I have to pee sometimes, too. Oh, well.

And people wonder why I left America.

251: (*&^%^#$@@$%!!!!!!!!!!

I am applying for a visa to Panama. There are a ton of documents (OK, not a ton, but still…) that I have to secure to mail off with this application. I am stuck. In one place on the Embassy Web site it says don’t confirm your airplane tickets until you have the visa – until it has been granted. But on the list of documents you must have to mail off to GET the visa, it lists, I kid you not: YOUR FLIGHT RESERVATIONS.

If I get the tickets, and I DON’T get the visa – I am out not only the money it costs to apply for the visa, but ALSO the plane tickets. The telephone number at the Embassy? No answer, of course.  Sheesh.