Things that make you crazy; or how why it is better to crack up than crack down

Life's  conundrums.

So many little questions that arise day in and out. Questions of why, how come and what the hell was that for?

Take calling Customer Service of Fill-in-the-blank company.

I dial. The disembodied voice answers with the usual BS including my personal favorite, "We at Fill-in-the-blank company value your call. Please enter your account number now, followed by the pound sign."

I carefully---number dyslexia you know---input the account number, even remembering the dictate for the pound sign. Doodling about the house I always thank the Ma Bell Gods that someone (a busy woman on hold I'm sure) invented or got invented the speakerphone. Time passes; lousy music is playing over the telephone.

Click. "Hello," says a bored voice, "This is John, can I have your account number?"

Hey--wait a bloody minute. I already inputted that. Why the hell do they always ask for it again?


Then there was the New York Times story on the New York State Government drowning in paper. What ever happened to paperless offices? When I worked at Save the Children in the 1990s, it was paper and computer. One to back up the other I guess, though no one at my pay grade could say. Nowadays it seems almost everything is online, leaving those without the will or means to learn computer 101 out of modern life. Nevertheless, with all of those bills on auto pay, the very backward City of Chicago still spits out physical paper water bills. Though the periodic bills may be paid in a variety of ways--none is by auto pay. I guess when you're busy saving money cutting education budgets while using TIF money to pay for connected citizenry from DePaul to build their private school a stadium, new payment systems aren't likely to happen.


Unless you are the CTA who bought VENTRA, a solution in search of a problem. The new and IMPROVED system (according to the blather on the buses), appears to be the same old with add-on fees for CTA riders in addition to the CTA fare. But it will ease access, it is said. Really? Ease? Clearly the people who decide these things only ride the CTA for PR shots. The slow up on the bus is from (a) cash payments (b) the multi-day cards and (c) wheelchair access that takes time. The six-year-old last night on the King Bus could have told CTA leader Forrest Claypool that.


As for the DIVVY bicycles, I was in favor of them when I first saw their presentation last year to Friends of Downtown. I still am in favor, except for those cyclists who are lunatics in search of murdering pedestrians. There are wrong way speedsters on North Michigan Avenue as innocent, legally crossing pedestrians are barely missed by these blithering idiots and cyclists on the sidewalk in the Loop trying to plow down Grant Park Music Festival attendees. If only. If only the city would crack down on these bozos before someone is killed as happened in San Francisco, a someone who is going to JAIL for murder.


And speaking of death, when will our society find a way to let people die at home. In our own comfy bed, with the family dog or other homey comforts at hand. As Frank Bruni detailed in his poignant Fatal Mercies, there has to be a better way to leave life than this.


As to how I stay sane in a crazy world, with a large dose of Monty Python. And a small dose of Lindt EXCELLENCE 70% Dark Chocolate and red wine.

My thanks Eric Idle!


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    Candace Drimmer

    I was an accidental expatriate; love and marriage led me to it. One day I was a bandy-legged kid sitting atop my dogwood tree looking out of my small backyard world in 1950s New Jersey, wanting to move somewhere--anywhere, different. Next thing I knew my father had accepted a job in Houston TX. I was ecstatic, it was a foreign land in 1961 America. After high school graduation, my parents’ gave me a matched set of fawn-colored hardsided American Tourister luggage. Taking the hint, I went to college; well four colleges in five years--it was the 60s after all. Meeting a young hirsute anti-war, soon-to-be-Peace Corps volunteer, I fell in love. After finishing up college coursework for my degree, but before I even walking a graduation stage, I grabbed the paper airline ticket my boyfriend had sent me, my brand-new passport, and was off to the airport and Lima, Peru.

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