Czech me out

20 02 2010

If Canada can love Colbert

Then I can love the morning

For those who brave the northern air

Have ample and fair warning

No lazy elongated daybeginnings for me now

Just the restlessness that comes from pushing at the plow.

Everything is OK

27 12 2009

The other day was a good day

I didn’t even have to be there anyway

But my presence requested itself

And my lunchtime evaporated.

Remember the times we skipped out on class

Fancying ourselves immortal?

I can’t say I do, but

it’s not for lack of trying.

These days, trying comes easily

Consolation feasibly

Restoration only meagerly;

Then the wall shouted twenty-five,

And we walked down the street

Thinking about the moment and the moments

Always conscious of ourselves

Or was that just me?

Why Bother?

6 12 2009

Here are some current manifestations of my sloth:

-I need to wash my car, but everyone is saying that it is going to rain this weekend.  There is an inverse relationship between the amount of dirt on my car and the percentage that it will actually rain when predicted.

-I went “Christmas shopping” this afternoon, but really just talked to a couple of friends on the phone for an hour and a half.  I perused the standard places, but I just couldn’t bear to buy anything that a store told me would be “a perfect gift for Dad this Christmas!”  I mean, a scarf/remote holder combo?  Not so much.  This is lazy because I should really do my shopping online (enough time for delivery, less expensive, more selection) but I just wanted to feel productive by going to stores.  Delusional laziness!

-I bought “apple cider tea” instead of actual apple cider packets because I couldn’t find the latter.  I looked all over the store for them, but Bigelow Apple Cider Tea was the closest I could find.   It’s not that close at all, turns out.

-I changed my sheets but just tossed the dirty ones in my hamper for the time being.  Who has over an HOUR to do laundry on a Saturday, after all?

-We still have some extra lights to hang outside our house, but I have creatively found Perfectly Legitimate Reasons® not to do so.  They even blink, for crying out loud, but I haven’t forced myself to do them.  (Aside:  I hope Dad beat Brian in getting our lights up this year, despite my lack of help…)

-I am so lazy that I thought it would be easier to sit down and write about sloth than to actually climb into bed.

I guess I was wrong.  Good night.

Chaseing: My Tale

7 11 2009

I’m sitting on the floor on this gray Saturday morning and eating cereal.  This state of serenity is in direct contrast to the rest of my week, which has been hectically delicious.  Besides job stuff (good) and bank stuff (awful), I’ve had some satisfying moments.  Filling out application forms for a job after you’ve gotten it makes not a lot of sense to me, but it did feel like I was writing my future down.  Speaking of futures, I don’t think Chase has much of one with me.  Here are my adventures with the new and improved WaMu: (it rhymes if you say it rhythmically)

About a month ago, my Dad gave me a heads-up to change my account before Washing Mutual officially discarded the last remnants of its old glory and became Chase.  By “change my account,” this is what he meant.  Washington Mutual had two free checking accounts.  Their standard “Free Checking” account, which I had been using since 2005, and a more recent account that went by the name “WaMu Free Checking” on the register.  While I at first thought my Dad had been misinformed, a quick look and a phone call confirmed that these two accounts did indeed exist.  The important part of this distinction is that, after this banking empire effects its transition completely to Chase (as it has now done), those with a simple “Free Checking” account will no longer be able to order new checks free of charge.  Those with a special “WaMu Free Checking” account, however, will still receive that benefit when Chase establishes its first galactic empire.

So, all I need to do, Dad says, is call Washington Mutual and ask to get my account changed into a “WaMu Free Checking” account.  This seems simple enough, and multiple people have told me that I can do this.  So, I give them a call.

It becomes quickly apparent to me that I am not really talking to “Frank” from “Caleeforneeah.”  Nonetheless, the customer service rep seems to know what I am requesting to have done.  I prolong the conversation for a minute or two just to subtly reiterate what it is I want done, why I want it (Free Checks!), and that I really appreciate the fact that “Frank” is going to do this and that is very nice of him thank you sir yes it is no problem at all thank you for calling Washington Mutual goodbye.

A couple of weeks later, I make a deposit in person at Chase.  Lately, I have noticed online that my account is now a “Free Classic Checking” account.  As I have no idea how this relates to the former two Washington Mutual accounts, I ask the teller if my requested change had taken place.  (When I talked to the rep on the phone, he told me the switch might take a week or so.)  She said, “I don’t think it did…mine says something different, and I made sure my account changed like that too.”

So, I asked, how can I go about getting “Frank” fired from his job in “Caleeforneeah” and my account made free as the days are short these days?  She suggested I go take a seat in their “lobby” (see: Chairs by those desks) and wait for someone more knowledgeable to help me.  I do so, and the next employee quickly informs me that, if the account has not been changed by now, there is no possible way to do so.  I believe her, but also mentioned my grievance with a certain rep (name of Frank) and his assurance that my account would be changed.  She suggests that I (surprise!) call their corporate phone number and ask for a supervisor and see if they have a record/recording of the call itself.  Since I happen to remember the date of the call, she seems hopeful that I might be able to get something done.

So I call the same number as I did a couple of weeks ago, and immediately ask for a supervisor.  After a minute or so of hold time (which was profusely apologized for by the new rep), I get a supervisor who clearly has no time for me.  Granted, I am asking for a likely-overworked telephone customer service supervisor to tell me why I can’t get free pieces of paper anymore, but I’m far beyond the actual purpose of the whole thing by now.  It’s the principle of the thing.  And speaking of principles, one of mine is that customer service people ought to treat their callers as civilly as possible, even if they are tired and busy and not in the mood to talk to Robert about his dumb little problem that is really insignificant.  It’s their job.

Of course, the supervisor says her hands are tied.  WaMu is dead, the phone recordings have all been purged (her word), and she has absolutely nothing to offer me.  I try to throw out an awkward sentence or two to the effect of “Oh, so I guess, even though the error was made on your end, you can’t really do anything” and “Yeah, I guess that you really only have my word that this conversation actually took place,” but it’s useless.  She is all but huffing and puffing me off the phone, and I have clearly reached the end of what I can accomplish through polite inquiry.  Having no desire to fly into a perhaps-justified indignant rage over free checks, I awkwardly thank her for her time, and hang up.

My day would have continued as normal, if not for the kicker:

Now that Chase is in charge of all my moneys and dollars, they have a new and improved rule on deposits:  Even if I go to the bank and make a deposit in person, those funds are not available until the next day. This is ridiculous.  I  understand their reasoning behind withholding part of a deposit made into an ATM, since they need to verify the amount, but what’s the point of keeping my money from me after I’ve gone to the trouble of depositing it?  In fact, do you know what this means?  It means, if I need to have that money on hand that same day, I have to cash the check for its full amount, then take the cash and deposit it into the account. Of course, they might hold that deposit too.  In fact, even if they don’t, it is clearly more advantageous for me to simply cash the check and walk out the door anyway.  Thus, Chase has clearly accomplished its goal.

Assuming, of course, that their goal is to make using their bank more cumbersome than just carrying around large sums of cash in the first place.

I’m gonna go buy a huge briefcase.

Living on Prayer

23 10 2009

I listened to Francis Chan this morning (after spilling coffee on my pants).

If he hadn’t been swarmed by adoring fans, I would have asked him if my Pike’s Place Roast-stained jeans were ironically indicative of my materialistic mindset.

Instead, I just thought about prayer.  I don’t really pray enough, and I don’t really immerse myself in the Word enough.  I think those two things should go together in my life, and I think Lewis’s emphasis on nonverbal prayer is perfectly paired with the Word Himself.  Mr. Chan always makes me think a lot, and he is, to reiterate, what sparked my interest in the conversation I had with Alex the other day.

The only part that frustrated me is how distracted I always am by contemporary worship times.  I am wholly in favor of praising our God, but I’m seriously wondering if putting a bunch of people on a stage to lead repetitive ballads is the best way to do that.  Maybe it would be better if we mixed in more A cappella Psalms?  How about some group Scripture reading?

I just don’t like the idea of singing a set of widely-known (or recently-written by the song leader) praise songs as the sole method of “worship.”  It seems vainglorious to me, although not all the time.  Maybe this just means they are doing of a good production job for me to be distracted by the glamorous nature of it…?

We at the apartment were talking about how some famous “worship music artists” do concerts, and are paid for them.  I can understand that people need to make a living in their ministry, but I can’t help but think that St. Paul would be tearing his robes if he heard that a small church couldn’t afford to have _____ play worship at their church.  How screwed up is that?

I Could Be Someone

5 10 2009

I like to think of myself more highly than I ought.  I like to think I am more put-together than most, and more worthy of attention than any others.

I like liking myself more than I actually like my self, one might say.

When explaining the word “vanity” a few weeks ago, I was amused to be reminded that vanity is not just an old word for “pride,” but also an actual room furnishing.  I suppose it is appropriate that a mirror on steroids would be so named.

We spend so much time trying to see ourselves as others see us, all so that we can then present that “self” to those “others” without fearing that they might see something we are unaware of, and be judged or perceived in an unfavorable manner.  When I roll down the window in the car, I always check my reflection before getting out of the car to make sure my hair and clothes are just the way I want them.  Part of this is probably my obsessive side, but vanity is surely the impetus of this action.  I want to know how I am seen, so that I can place myself properly in the ladder of esteem that we all find ourselves placed on by some nebulous group of people.  It’s more than popularity or status; it’s something about our insecure natures wrestling with their desire to be individuals but to conform to the accepted pattern of individuality.  Paradoxical as this is, I’m sure I’ve been perverted by this mindset for years now.  I scoff at the people who buy expensive brands because I judge them as wanting to promote some image of affluence or aloofness while I try to pick out my clothes based on what I want other people to think of how I pick out my outfits.  We all had parents that were too smart to let us dress ourselves (except for this guy), but now we find ourselves on the opposite end of the spectrum.  We wear nothing that has not been approved for us by someone else.  I try to project my “I look like I am fashionable by accident because I don’t really care that much about fashion” look because (I think) I am scared that people might think I am either trying too hard to look like people are supposed to look, or that people will think I am trying too hard not to look like people are supposed to. (Rephrase:  I am trying to something in between hipster and preppy.  Please tell me what this category is, since I’m sure there is one.)

Innocence, once lost, is gone.  We can’t pretend people aren’t watching us anymore, because we know they are — because we are watching them too.  We are so used to finding our self worth by comparing ourselves with those around us that the only way we can convince ourselves to forgo this conformity is to try as hard as possible not to act/dress/scuba like most people.  Either way, we are reacting to others instead of doing what we want to do.

We don’t know what we want anymore because we want to be what we are supposed to be by the majority (or enlightened minority).

So, what do you want?


23 09 2009

If lunacy be lunar then Apollo is my name

I ride upon the wings of night without regard for shame.

I cannot reach my love with smiles or Turkish delight,

But impart secondhand sunshine to those that weep at night

Ever-present through the day but superseded I

Await my brief but potent hour to radiate the sky

While darkness seems to mock my worth I cannot help but gaze

Upon the ground that tingles, full of luminescent haze

And wonder what the world would wish upon if not for me

For stars are only tears astride Sulva’s tranquility.

It’s true what critics said about inherent complications

In giving birth to happiness instead of lamentations;

The sorrowful are plentifully soothed before my stare

But seldom is the man who seeks the joy within my air.

So if you wish to bask within the coolness of my sphere

You’ll have to prove your sanity by jumping off the weir.