Tuesday, August 31, 2010
For months now, I have been in an uncomfortable limbo because virtually everything in my life is in a state of chaos. Chaos and I, we go way back. In fact, our first introduction happened when I was but a young girl. Since then, my world has been catapulted by the reappearance of chaos into a state of absolute uncertainty countless times.
I sometimes picture myself not moving through life so frenetically. Instead surrounded by simplicity and beauty and joy. I imagine what it might be like to find a home and stay there for more than a handful of years. I wonder how it feels to grow roots and branches. I've never stopped turning, turning, turning to the music of change.
I suppose none of us do.
Still, the illusions of security, comfort, home and stability captivate my imagination.
Here I stand, once again, on the precipice of change with chaos holding its hands on my shoulder blades. I am taking the time to be sure that this free fall is what I truly want. That this change comes on my terms and not someone else's. That this choice will feed my family as well as my spirit. I spent too many years of my life doing things that did not feed my spirit and I have, I believe, earned the right to choose joy. After all, none of what feels so incredibly important at the moment is even remotely consequential to the grand design.
I wish I could say it feels good to be here, but with every expansion and contraction come growing pains. It's an uneasy and unsettling place to be. I am, as ever, attempting to approach it all with whatever grace, dignity and creativity I can muster.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
My daughter and I were away at a photo shoot for my new book in Cincinnati last week. I'm pretty much burnt out on living out of hotel rooms, this has been a hectic summer. We had a long week, the shoot was tough and I was stressed out at the end of each day. By the time we left, all I wanted was to be back home in my own bed and asleep.
On the way to the airport, we got a phone call that our flight was going to be delayed. By the time we got to the airport, we were informed it would be two hours delayed and perhaps more. I checked my daughter in and changed her seats so we could sit together. My husband has Silver Status with this airline because of his frequent flier miles. He flies often and having Silver Status makes it a little less stressful. He boards earlier, gets his luggage checked for free and gets an occasional upgrade. My flight was booked by my publisher, my husband booked my daughter's flight through his account. When we checked her in in Philly, her bag was checked for free by the airline computer. She was flying as herself, not as my husband. We had not pretended she was him. I assumed that she was flying under Silver Status since the bag was free and she was boarding in Zone 2. What we didn't realize was that by not paying for the bag for which we were not charged, we were flagged by the airline for fraud.
What has happened to customer service?
Had I known, I would have gladly paid for the bag. I wasn't trying to get something for nothing. In fact, I am so painfully honest it drives my husband insane. If I'm overcharged, I inform the cashier. If someone accidentally ships something to me twice, I return the second item. If I find money on the floor, I take it to customer service to make sure the person who lost it can get it back. I never, ever expect something for nothing and I surely wouldn't willingly perpetrate fraud over a 25 dollar baggage charge.
So fast forward to last night. I'm tired. I'm stressed. I'm having trouble breathing because there were smog alerts in Cincinnati. I'm frustrated that we're now several hours away from departure. Still I'm marching forward with my sense of humor mostly in tact. We check the bag on the electronic kiosk, I pay the fee musing out loud to my daughter that I thought her bag was free since it had been on the first half of our trip and the customer service woman informs me very loudly (as a favor, mind you) that the account has been flagged for fraud. She's grinning from ear to ear and I'm just shocked beyond belief. I would never willingly commit fraud. I explain this to her, calmly. She continues to repeat over and over again so that everyone in line can hear, that she can do nothing about it and she didn't commit fraud and I did.
I have, never, in my 47 years on the planet lost it in public. I'm friendly, I'm affable, I treat customer service people with kindness and respect because I spent 12 years waiting tables. I say please and thank you and I'm sorry and if I get great service, I always make a point of acknowledging it. This woman, with her evil grin spreading wider, kept repeating the word fraud until something inside of me snapped. While she laughed and again announced to all who could hear that SHE didn't perpetrate fraud and that I did, small cartoon smoke puffs began coming out of my ears.
I told this woman that I'd had enough of this airline. She just kept laughing, calling me a fraud. People were shuffling uncomfortably as I became more and more upset. I told her I was happy to pay for the bag, offered her my credit card and she refused to take it. I explained that I'm an honest person, I'm generally a very nice person and that I wanted to rectify the situation. She just kept laughing and saying fraud. I have never, ever, in my entire life been treated so rudely. Shouldn't there be an assumption on her part, as a customer service person, that this was simply a misunderstanding and not an intentional attempt to commit fraud for a 25 dollar baggage fee?
What has happened to customer service?
I finally stepped away and my daughter and I went to get some dinner before the airport closed. Yes, the airport stores and shops closed at 7:30 and our plane did not leave until 10:30. I woke up this morning still upset. Is it so much to ask to be treated with respect? Is it so wrong to want to be heard? They made the mistake of not charging us, so perhaps an apology, an explanation and we would have gladly paid for the bag. We tried to pay for the bag. Is publicly humiliating customers who spent 800 dollars to fly on your airline over a 25 dollar misunderstanding appropriate? Is it really on us to deduce that they made a mistake and if we don't, are we at fault? Really?!
I think the loss of basic civility and common courtesy is destroying the fabric of our society. If we don't start working on getting that back, I'm afraid this great nation is heading right down the toilet.
Oh and if this isn't rectified and we are not given an apology, I'm never, ever flying on the airline with the same initials as an acronym for our country again. Just for the record.
Friday, August 06, 2010
Hello Love Muffins
I like to peruse my blog stats now and again just to see who is dropping by for a peek. I've noticed a fair amount of my professional craft industry connections recently and I wanted to post today an explanation of this blog and why it's here and why I have a second craft dedicated blog.
For the first four years, this was a crazy mash up of professional and personal posts. Since I work in a fairly conservative industry and since my unfiltered personal posts, rants and essays aren't relevant to my professional career, I decided to separate the topics into two different blogs.
Mostly, I don't promote this blog unless I want to share information I think will help other people. This is a place for me to say what's on my mind without having to filter myself. I don't write about politics or personal matters or spout expletives on my other blog, but I do here. I don't link to this blog in my email signature or from my website. You have to go into my Blogger profile to find it.
Writing is my guilty pleasure and I am a woman with strong opinions. I took down four years of posts last year because I was worried about my professional contacts being offended.
I am 46 years old and I'm simply not going to hide or pretend to be someone else. Love it or leave it...this is who I am. I don't expect other people to think like I do or to agree with me. I am always willing to listen to divergent points of view with an open mind and an open heart.
If you're here looking for crafts, please visit my blog next door. If you want to read the mostly uncensored writings of a woman of substance who is a liberal independent feminist smarty panties with Zen master wishes and Taoist dreams...you've come to the right place.
Proceed with caution. We now return you to our regularly scheduled program...
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Baking Your Pie-an Allegory
Copyright 2010 Margot Potter
A Liberal Independent Political Rant brought to you by Self Righteous Indignation Flakes-the cereal for people with something to get off of their chest.
There is a pie you make. The pie is reflective of the level of your prosperity. You work, you make a lot of money, you buy the ingredients, you bake the pie.
It's your pie, right?
Well, yes...but here's the other side of the coin. A lot of people had to work for not a lot of money to make the ingredients and get them to a store so you could buy them and make that pie.
Someone grew and harvested the wheat. Someone made it into flour.
Someone tended and milked the cows that made the butter. Someone processed the milk and made the butter.
Someone stood in the hot sun and picked the fruit.
Someone stood in a sugar cane field and chopped down the canes. Someone processed that into sugar.
Someone drove the truck to the grocery store. Someone stocked the shelves. Someone rung you out on the register and bagged your ingredients.
Someone clung to the back of a stench filled garbage truck and took away the detritus of your pie baking.
And on and on and on, every ingredient in that pie was available to you because someone else worked hard and got paid very little. Not everyone has the opportunity, faculties or ability to make lots of money to buy lots of ingredients to make a big pie. That's because someone has to do the dirty work so someone else can drive to the happy grocery store, buy their tasty ingredients, head back to their state of the art kitchen and bake their fabulous pie. Not everyone gets to go to college or have a stable family life or grow up in suburbia or make the right connections or advance into big money jobs, because if we all did that...who would do the dirty work and who would we blame for taking all of our pie? Because we certainly can't blame the giant corporations and their CEOs that make the majority of money on the ingredients, lobby and fund politicians to ensure their interests are protected and move their business offices to offshore accounts so they don't have to pay any taxes. No, we can't blame them.
So...if you're not going to get angry at the corporate pie pillaging and are instead going to blame the pie ingredient makers for your woes, then it's time to think about this pie of yours. Is it really completely your pie or do you, perhaps, owe just a little slice to help the people who made the ingredients have access to basic things like school, health care, police protection... I'm not saying you need to give your entire pie away, just a slice, mind you.
A society is measured by the way it treats the least among us. I don't advocate giving all of your pie money to people who don't want to work, that's just silly. I think we should all get to have a nice juicy pie of our own making when we want one. I work for myself, so I give a lot of my pie money, much more than most people. I advocate that the corporations and the big wigs and the folks who make a huge amount of the pie money at the very least pay the same percentage of their income that the folks who make the pie ingredients have to pay. It's only fair.
I think if you want to bake pies and not worry about giving any crumbs to the people who make the ingredients for you, perhaps you can get together with the other 1% of fancy pie bakers and purchase a country where you can all live together. Then those pesky pie ingredients people will stop taking all of your pie money.
Madge (a registered Independent, for the record.)