Driving Like They’re High(way)

, , , , , | Legal | April 11, 2019

Other Car: *driving at 30 in right lane*

Me: *slows down, prepares to pass on left*

Other Car: *drifts into shoulder then overcorrects hard into my lane*

Me: *slam on brakes, thinking I’m going to hit them*

Other Car: *front bumper flies off into the shoulder, with obvious damage from before*

Me: *thinking* “This guy has no business out here.”

(I contact the Highway Patrol number listed on the signs for emergencies on the highway and stay on the car, trying to get the plate number. I am placed on hold. Stunned, I wait, forgetting the plate number as I realize the police have put me on hold. After waiting five minutes, I finally get a dispatcher.)

Dispatcher: “Highway Patrol.”

Me: “Yeah, hi, I’m driving on [Highway], passing mile marker [number]—“

Operator: “So, you’re on [Highway in this part of the state]? Stand by, we will transfer you to that troop.”

Me: “Hey, this is urge—“

Hold Music: *plays*

Me: “What the f***?”

Hold Music: *continues to play*

Other Car: *continues driving erratic and slow*

(We’ve passed a pair of mile markers now, with me still on this car’s tail.)

Me: “Hello? What is this?”

(By this point, we had approached a part of the highway where three lanes feed into one, and since I was trying to tail them from a non-obvious distance, this allowed other cars to merge in and prevent me from getting their plate. I pulled over and waited for a response from the state troopers. After another ten minutes of hold music, I gave up.)

Climbing Over Your Misogyny

, , , , , , | Working | April 11, 2019

(My mom told me this story about her experience while trying to buy my Christmas present. She goes to a popular chain sporting goods store ready to buy an expensive pair of rock climbing shoes based on an employee’s recommendation, not knowing much about them herself. She can’t see any employees on the floor, so she walks back to the front desk of the store and asks them to send someone to help her in the rock climbing section. The employee at the front tells her to go back to that section and someone will be there shortly. My mom goes back and, while she is waiting, a man around her age comes to the same area and starts looking at displays. A few minutes later, a male employee comes out of the back room, makes eye contact with my mom, and then immediately turns to the male customer and asks if he needs any assistance. Fuming, my mom returns to the front desk.)

Mom: “Did you call someone to come help me with rock climbing shoes?”

Employee: “Yes, I did.”

Mom: “And did you tell him I was a woman?”

Employee: “Yes, I did.”

Mom: “Well, he looked straight at me and turned to help a man, instead.”

Employee: “Oh, I’m so sorry. I’ll call him again.”

(My mom returns to the rock climbing section and sees the male employee on the store phone. He finishes his conversation — presumably with the front desk — hangs up, and, without acknowledging my mom standing just a few feet away, continues talking to the male customer. My mom waits several minutes for them to finish without any acknowledgement from the employee. Eventually, she gives up and returns to the front desk for the last time.)

Mom: “Just so you know, I’m going to [Competitor]. The reason is that your employee is still helping a man who came in after me and he didn’t even acknowledge me.”

(The front desk employee was silent, so my mom just left. Hopefully, that employee was reprimanded or at least spoken to about his prejudice losing them a customer. It’s unlikely, but a girl can dream!)

This Situation Is Un-Tenant-able

, , , , , | Working | April 10, 2019

(I’m applying for council housing. I have waited three months for a reference number to sign into the account they’ve made for me. I call the office.)

Me: “Hi. I’m calling regarding my application on the [Local Area] website? I haven’t received my reference number; it’s been about three months.”

Employee #1: “Okay. What’s your name?”

Me: “[My Name].”

Employee #1: “And your address?”

Me: “[Address].”

Employee #1: “Are you currently a tenant with us?”

Me: “No, but I signed up and selected you on the drop-down list for who I’d like to deal with my application.”

Employee #1: “Sorry, you’ll have to go to your local council housing office.”

(I go there and explain all this to the employee.)

Employee #2: “Sorry, as you selected them to deal with your application, only they can handle it.”

(I go home and call back. The first two times, I am told they can’t help as I’m not a tenant, but on my third call, they agree to send me out a letter with the reference number. Lo and behold, when I get it, it doesn’t work. I call back several times and I’m told that I can’t speak to them unless I already live in one of their properties. In the time it’s taken to get to this point, I’ve had a baby. I go back to the local council office.)

Me: “Hi. I’m sorry to bother you, but—“ *explains the whole situation*

Employee #3: “I’m sorry, we can’t change your details here, but I can do a search and find your reference number. It’s [completely different, longer number].”

Me: “Thanks so much!”

(I go on the website. I now need a two-bedroom property because of the aforementioned baby. I can’t apply for one as I’m down as a single adult, so I need to get my details changed. I call the people dealing with my application again; it takes another three calls, spread over a week, before someone can update my details. During this week, I find that my current landlord has decided to evict me, probably to avoid doing necessary work — there’s black mould and I have had to stay with my mum to avoid potential risks to my baby for the past three months.)

Me: “Look. I know it’s not your fault, but this situation is absolutely untenable, and I’m being passed from pillar to post. If you can’t help me, can you transfer me to someone who can?”

Employee #4: “I can transfer you to lettings, but I doubt they can help.”

(I am transferred.)

Lettings Employee: “Sure, I can update those details!”

(It took three minutes. All in all, I had been running around trying to sort this out for six months when this could have been done in a matter of minutes!)

Recycling Is Not For Lazy People

, , , , | Friendly | April 10, 2019

I come to a recycling center and park my car on one of several smallish areas they have that can fit about three cars side by side. All the other spaces are empty. I have multiple paper bags as well as a large trash bag full of recycling filling up my back seat. A helpful employee brings over one of their large plastic bins to empty my recyclables into.

Meanwhile, a fancy convertible with its top down pulls in right next to me. It has one single trash bag with recycling sitting in the back seat. Just as I open my back door on the side that’s next to the convertible, the driver gets out of his car. He’s a healthy-looking guy in his 30s, and taller than me. Not thinking anything of it, I start emptying my many paper bags into the bin.

The guy is standing right behind my back, on the other side of my open back door. And standing. And standing. I slowly realize he’s staring at me. It seems creepy, but I just continue emptying my recycling into the bin.

Finally, after a couple of minutes of silent glaring at the back of my head, in a grating, annoyed voice, he goes, “Excuse me.”

I turn toward him, confused. “Um… yes?”

He goes, again, in an even more pissed-off tone, “Can I pass?” turning his gaze pointedly at the trash bag in his back seat and then glaring back at me.

Bewildered, I look at the fully open top of his car, at the trash bag in it which is at most two feet away from the other door of his car’s back seat, at the obvious fact that all three other sides of his car are completely unimpeded to access by anything whatsoever for at least a dozen feet around, that this man definitely looks stronger and more able-bodied than me, and that I’m certain he pulled in several minutes after me and deliberately parked very close to my car.

I look back at him incredulously. He’s still glaring at me expectantly, with an aggressive posture, getting more and more annoyed. He’s clearly indicating that I’m blocking his access out, against all reason and physical evidence to the contrary.

In this area of the city, I think better of risking getting into an altercation with a man, so — still in sheer disbelief — I go through pushing away the awkwardly heavy plastic bin, closing my back door, and moving out of his way. He impatiently and quite pointedly walks through the narrow space between our cars where I’m standing warily pressed against mine, then very easily grabs his trash bag out of his back seat and finally walks off.

I just stare after him, blinking slowly. Did that really just happen? Just how lazy and entitled can a person be?

Then, I open my door again, bend over, and reach all the way into my — non-convertible — car to haul out my full, large recycling bag from all the way over on the other side of the back seat, without any difficulty or complaining.

We’re Not Really “Feeling” You, Either

, , , , , | Working | April 10, 2019

I am serving my notice period for a job. On a Monday, the guy hired to replace me starts. He’s apparently been out of work for a few months, due to some chronic medical issues. He does complain of feeling feverish and run down, and is wearing a wrist brace for an apparently long-standing strain injury. Overall, though, he seems keen to be back in a job.

On Tuesday, he isn’t in when I arrive. Our manager advises me that he’s called in sick, citing the fever he mentioned the previous day. We agree it’s not a great start to a new job, but one can’t plan for sickness, so we shrug it off.

I work from home on Wednesday, as the trains aren’t working. The new guy doesn’t answer any emails in the morning, and at lunch, my manager tells me that he hasn’t been in again due to something medical, but is due to be in for the afternoon.

On Thursday, I get in late — train issues again — and New Guy is, once again, not there. My manager fills me in on the details:

Wednesday morning, he had to make an urgent doctor’s appointment to get his inhaler refilled, as it had run out, and it’s something he really shouldn’t spend a whole day without. Once more, it’s something that doesn’t reflect hugely well, but it does seem reasonable enough.

While he was at the GP, however, he decided it was also worth the doctor taking a look at his wrist — yes, the one that had been injured for a least a month prior to starting this job. The result of this investigation necessitated a trip to the hospital for x-rays and other stuff, which my manager was promised would only delay his arrival until just before lunch.

Two hours after lunch, New Guy calls to say he’s gone home and won’t be in — all the excitement of the day has left him “not really feeling it” — but he swears up and down he’ll be in on Thursday.

When he does arrive Thursday morning, after consulting with the department head and HR, my manager politely tells him that it’s not working out.

It’s hard to feel too sorry for him, though; our contracts enforce a one-month paid notice period during the first six months of employment, which applies no matter who makes the decision to terminate your employment.

So, for a day’s training, a sick day, and a couple of medical appointments, the guy got about five weeks of pay.

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