One part of keeping lots of balls in the air is that sometimes you drop one, and at times the dropped ball doesn’t just affect you but it affects someone else personally or professionally. And when you screw up, you need to apologize and try to make amends. Best is face to face so they can see you’re sincere and willing to make this contact and try to mend any damage done when you screwed up. If you can’t meet face to face, then do it over the phone. And if you can’t do it over the phone, do it by way of a well thought out and expressive email.
“Be nice to Bernice!”
That was written on a sticky note next to the phone when I worked at the college radio station, WREK. Her story changed depending on who was telling it to you, but the consensus was that she was an older woman who lived alone and spent her time in front of the tv. One day she misdialed a number and got the WREK call-in line, discovering a phone number which almost always had someone there to answer she saved the number and began calling it frequently.
I remember clearly the first time I had a call from Bernice. I was playing some beautiful classical music and the phone rang, the latter being quite unusual during my show because I did the morning shift, 6am to 9am. It was quiet and let me play classical music, low stress, nothing big. So when the phone rang, I answered it.
“Can rats climb up your drain pipes?”
That’s how the conversation opened. She had an odd question and called WREK for some reason. I realized it was Bernice and so I let the conversation go on, I had another 10 minutes before the music ended.
“I think so… why?”
And off we went through her babbling story telling about finding a rat in her house and how it must of come through the drain pipes, the evils of rats and such. It was an unusual question and I genuinely tried to be helpful in answering it, I did think rats could climb up drain pipes. That story came back to me this morning after sleeping very deeply.
Yesterday K and I were in transit for approximately 13 hours, from Atlanta down I-75 to US-82, which crossed Georgia to drop grand mom off before getting on I-95 and taking it down to Titusville to pick up Mattie from K’s mom, then heading into town to try and pick up a CD for next week’s episode before finally heading home.
K and I had been getting ready for bed, both in the bathroom (which I had used previously when we first arrived home.) I lift the toilet lid to throw away a tissue, and both K and I jump back in surprise as a frog stares up at us from the bowl. I drop the toilet lid again and K and I just stare at each other in surprise.
I don’t know how he got into the toilet. There are a few possibilities:
- He hopped into the apartment when we were unloading the car and the door was open for periods of time, made his way to the bathroom and leapt into the toilet.
- He has been in the apartment and found his way to the toilet over the past few days.
- He came up the pipes somehow.
In any case, the frog was quickly removed from the toilet via a plastic bag and a hand. To be released outside, leaving K and I to laugh about it as we finally called it a night and fell into a deep sleep.
I stand by my answer to Bernice: animals can come up drains.
Having played Dungeons and Dragons for a while now, a new character is refreshing especially when he’s not like anything you’ve played before. I find myself all too often falling into a mercenary fighter role, sometimes a valiant hero but that’s much less common. So when I knew I needed a character, Oaen (pronounced Owen) was about as different as I could get.
See, Oaen is 3’4″ tall and about as smart as a rutabaga. As a player, I go into every gaming session looking for stunts to pull which should, in all honesty, end up in the death of poor Oaen. The problem is that Oaen is built, in terms of the game, to be damn hard to kill. Let’s give you a rundown of the latest gaming session.
You know what? Screw that, here’s the story from Oaen himself.
So the house is finally empty, my sister and her family took to the road this morning. As such I got back to my desk and got to my small stack of mail. In which I found a letter from Wachovia notifying me that I currently owed them $35.92. Well to be perfectly honest I thought I had closed this account but what happened was that it was still open and my iTunes account was drawing off of it. My last transaction took me over the zero mark from +$0.07 to -$0.92. The bank, as I’ve railed against previously, slapped me with a $35 fine for the evils I dared commit by spending $0.92 that I did not have.
At this point, I just want to close the account so I dial the easy to remember 1-800-WACHOVIA, enter my customer ID and pin number, then press 0. I’m not angry, I’m not irate. I realize this is part of the Wachovia bank system and I’ve fought them long and hard on this. When Shirley with what sounds like a Texan accent answers I was quite polite as I explained my intent: to pay the outstanding balance and close the account.
Shirley: “Oh, I see the problem here sir. You made a purchase for ninety-nine cents through paypal and it overdrew you by ninety-two cents.”
Me: “Yes, I fully understand what has occurred. I’m just trying to pay my outstanding balance and close the account.”
Shirley: “Well we’re sorry to hear that sir. Unfortunately you have to get the balance back to the positive before you can close your account.”
Me: “No problem, I’ve got a check card here from the local credit union, I’m more than happy to pay with it.”
Shirley: “I’m sorry you’re going to end your business with us. I’ve gone ahead and taken care of the $35 as a courtesy but unfortunately you will have to go into a branch to pay the remaining… ninety-two cents.”
Me: “Well that’s very kind of you, but you mean you don’t have any way to accept payment of ninety-two cents?”
At this point I’m just enjoying repeating the ludicrously low outstanding balance, I can tell she’s uncomfortable with it and while I realize none of this is her fault, the sheer stupidity of it was making me smile.
Shirley: “Yes sir, I’m so sorry.”
Me: “Oh it’s alright, it’s just another example of why I’m switching to this credit union.”
Shirley: “Well, is there anything else I can do for you today?”
Shirley: “You have a good day sir.”
Me: “You too.”
The sheer craziness of this makes me wish to write Michael Moore a letter, begging him to turn his sights for his next project on the piracy that is modern banking. It just blows my mind. Ninety-two cents.
From this all, an idea has hatched. I’m going to go into the bank with only three quarters, a dime, a nickel and a penny. Yes, $0.91 and I’m going to deposit it, leaving my account overdrawn by $0.01. Then I’m going to draw perverse satisfaction by waiting for the letter which they will send me demanding the full outstanding payment. That letter will cost them more than the outstanding balance.
No, it will not accomplish anything, but what is there but for me to be bitter and pithy.