Archive for May, 2010

I don’t want whatever you’re trying to sell me

Earlier this week, I had to activate two credit cards that had expired. I thought this would be easy and pain-free, but boy was I wrong.

With the first one, I dial the 800 number and go through a mostly automated system. At the end, it tells me to “wait on the line for confirmation that your new card has been confirmed.” Okay, I think. It’ll only be like 30 seconds before the automated voice comes back and says everything’s good.

Oh, Anger Ball, such wishful thinking.

I’m on the line, and suddenly it starts ringing. Then some dude picks up who works for the credit card company. He asks me for information to verify my account, and then he says “What can I help you with today?”

Why don’t you tell me, asshole? Don’t worry, that’s not what I said. I know it wasn’t his fault. I told him that I was asked to stay on the line to receive confirmation that my card was activated. He pauses for a second and then says “Oh. It’s active.”

Okay, then.

So…why did it go from an automated system to a customer service rep? There was no need. You can’t tell me that they can’t program the system to verify my card. What was the fucking point of bouncing me to that guy who had no idea what I’d been bounced to him for? Shouldn’t he be handling more important things, like fraud or identity theft? And he didn’t even try to sell me anything, which makes it even MORE baffling. I just want to activate my card. The only thing that should happen is an automated voice saying “You’re card’s active. Now go spend some money!”

Then I go to activate my other card. THIS was even more of a disaster. I punch in the card number via an automated system, and then it bounces me to a real person. This woman was so hard to understand, and I’m not sure why. She didn’t have a very heavy accent of any kind. I thought maybe my reception was bad, so I danced a jig around my apartment trying to find the best place to stand in order to be able to answer her questions with anything other than “What?” It was fruitless. No matter where I stood, it was impossible to understand this woman, almost like there was static on the line. I conclude it is part of their plan to try and get me to agree to anything just to get off the fucking phone.

So while I’m trying to hold my breath to see if that helps me understand what this woman is asking me, she takes a laundry list of my information to verify my account. THEN SHE PUTS ME ON HOLD. WHAT THE HELL? You had the time to take information from me for 15 minutes, but now suddenly you have a more urgent task? I JUST WANT TO ACTIVATE MY CARD. Why is this such a time-consuming task?

She finally comes back, and of course apologizes for the unexplained delay. Then she starts asking me if I want to buy fraud protection and credit assurance and blahblahblah I couldn’t hear half of it anyway. I say “No. I don’t want anything added to my card.” She goes on to tell me that it wouldn’t cost me anything if my balance is $0! Guess what, lady? I don’t have a credit card so it can sit around unused. I have it because I need it. So when would my balance ever be $0? I DON’T WANT TO ADD THIS SHIT TO MY CARD. IT WILL COST MONEY (THAT I DON’T HAVE, WHICH IS WHY I HAVE YOUR CARD IN THE FIRST PLACE).

I have to tell her that like a million more times in thousands of different ways. It starts to feel like I’m talking to a Sphinx or something, but a dumb one that keeps asking me the same riddle over and over again. After five minutes of this, she finally thanks me for calling and says my card is activated and releases me from my personal hell.

At least for the second one, I understand it. They put you through to a real person to try and get you to buy shit. But if I wanted those services, I would call them about that. So I wish they would just let you go through an automated system to activate your card, and then at the end say “Press 1 to talk to a representative and learn about the features you can add to your card.” Sure, probably very few people would choose that option, but it would sure as hell save the rest of us a lot of frustration.


It’s called a sideWALK, people


The problem with living in a city, especially a city with a truly absurd number of people per square mile, is that it’s impossible to get anywhere by foot no matter how small the distance might be in reality. It will take you a million years, because of all the other people.

The sidewalks here were constructed wide enough to allow people to pass around others–if there were a normal number of people. But there isn’t, and if you get a group of 8+ people who suddenly feel the need to stop in the middle of the sidewalk, it’s effectively a road block. No one can get around or through, and the people who live in this hellhole of a city and are just trying to get to the public transportation in order to get home are now stuck behind these assholes who can’t do two things at once. Breaking news: You can walk and look at the same time. In fact, it’s encouraged.

Otherwise, step the hell to the side if you want to stand still and stare. The fucking world does not revolve around you; everyone else has places they need to be or are trying to get to. And some of us live here and don’t think the homeless person with the funny sign or the street performers are unique and interesting. Some of us see that shit all the time and would like to get back to our apartment before we punch people in the kidneys. It’s as much for your safety as it is for my sanity that I’m telling you to GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE WAY.

Look, I understand that many major U.S. cities are tourist attractions, so I know people will always be taking pictures or stopping to look at things, but the number of times I have almost walked right into someone because they’ve just stopped in their tracks in front of me on the sidewalk is truly absurd. If I get turned around or want to stop and look at something, I always step off to the side because I don’t want to be that prick who’s causing a people traffic jam. Is it really that hard to do? No. And there’s almost always a building you can stand in front of (NOT in front of a door, though, please, or I will come for you), and then VOILA! Like magic, you are no longer in everyone else’s way. SEE HOW FUCKING EASY THAT WAS?

I’ve often wished that people could be ticketed for how they walk on a sidewalk, because after seeing how most these people can’t even walk in a straight fucking line, I never want to see them behind the wheel of a car. But it’d be nice if that asshole who’s trying to walk while texting or the one who’s weaving all around the sidewalk with no rhyme or reason could get a ticket for reckless walking. Some of us are just trying to go from point A to point B. It’d be nice if I didn’t have to act like I was fucking slalom skiing to get around the people for whom walking in a straight line is an insurmountable task. Sure, weaving around the sidewalk might not kill someone (although who’s to say?), but it’s fucking annoying, and I think a $50 fine would make people wake the hell up and pay attention.

And don’t even get me started on the people who are always walking like they’re out for their Sunday constitutional. Get the fuck out of the way, assholes. This city isn’t exactly ripe with greenery, so I don’t know why you need to be going at a snail’s pace, as if there are interesting things to look at every two feet. There aren’t. Keep moving, or STEP TO THE SIDE. If you want to take a leisurely stroll, go to a park. Right now you’re essentially going country bumpkin speed on a pedestrian highway. People who live in this city are using these sidewalks to commute, not to enjoy their surroundings and take in the sights. So get the fuck out of my way or pick up the pace.

In addition to the slow walkers and the stoppers, we also have the groups of 2-4 people that somehow manage to take up THE ENTIRE WIDTH OF THE SIDEWALK. Often, these groups are also slow walkers OR stoppers (or, so help me, BOTH). The sidewalks here are hypothetically constructed to allow plenty of passing room on the busiest sidewalks. But even on sidewalks that don’t have street vendors and tourists, I will end up coming up on a group of 2-4 people who are somehow taking up the entire width. They have about a foot of space or more between each of them (depending on the size of the group), and they will certainly NOT move closer together in order to allow people moving in the opposite direction to pass them, so you can completely forget it when you’re moving in the same direction as them and coming up from behind. They will never get out of your way. Clearly they OWN THE FUCKING SIDEWALK and need to use ALL THE AVAILABLE SPACE. It’s just too bad for us plebeians who wish to use their sidewalk. We just have to get in step behind them.

How…how is it even fucking possible for 2-4 people to take up so much goddamned space? I mean, I understand if you’re having a conversation with your friends and you all want to be able to hear, but if you see people coming in the opposite direction who are going to need to get around you and your friends, you can pause your surely RIVETING story in order to move into a single-file line for half a second so people can get around you. I do it all the fucking time when I’m with my friends and GUESS WHAT? IT DOESN’T RUIN THE STORY. In fact, it makes it easier because people aren’t having to shove past us or jostle us, because we ARE MAKING SPACE FOR THEM. DO YOU SEE HOW THIS WORKS?

Because that has got to be my favorite part of all of this. I get stuck behind the stoppers and the slow walkers and the space takers and the weavers, and when I try to move past them (and trust me, I’ve become adept at contorting my body in such a way so as to move past people with minimum contact) and happen to brush their shoulder (or with the weavers, sometimes run into them because WHO CAN PREDICT WHICH DIRECTION THEY’LL MOVE IN NEXT?!), they give me the dirtiest looks you can imagine, as if I’M the asshole in this fucking situation. Breaking news: I’m just trying to get to my destination. You’re the one turning the sidewalk into a fucking obstacle course. You’re lucky I just moved past you instead of taking out your kneecaps. That would’ve taught you a lesson. But unfortunately, it also would have gotten me arrested.

I’ve managed to construct my commute to avoid the busiest sidewalks near my office, but at some times of day every sidewalk is busy and it’s just impossible to get anywhere in a timely manner.

I wish every day that they had express sidewalks for through traffic only. Like a highway. No stopping unless it’s an emergency; just efficient walking at breakneck speeds. Then maybe it wouldn’t take me two fucking hours to get home from work.

It’s hard working with idiots

There’s nothing better than coming home from a full day of work only to have to do more office work at home.

Oh wait, I can think of about a million better things. Such as being attacked by wild coyotes or a swarm of angry bees.

But such is the nature of the work I do, and I have to admit my work doesn’t follow me home very often, thankfully. But it does often enough that it’s an annoyance, that’s for sure. Especially since I have to deal with the same idiots I have to deal with in the office. So even though I’m at home, a place where I should be able to relax, I still have to talk on the phone with the people I work with and settle whatever the problem is, and of course that makes me rage.

This just happened to me the other day:

Me: So, is this going to be changed?
Space Cadet*: No, it’s good as it is.
Me: Okay, excellent. Thanks. ::Gets off the phone, e-mails the document to the people who need it, gets ready to relax::
Me: >:|

When I was on the phone with Space Cadet, they couldn’t just tell me they weren’t sure if there was going to be a change or not? Or to wait ten minutes to see? Shit like this happens with this person all the time, so I already am primed to be pissed off just knowing I have to deal with Space Cadet. I can’t tell you the number of times we’re on the phone or e-mailing about an issue and Space Cadet will tell me everything’s good to go, and then ten minutes or an hour or three hours later I get an e-mail asking if it’s too late to make changes to that thing that Space Cadet said wouldn’t need to be changed. MOST the time it isn’t too late. But the other issue is that Space Cadet doesn’t seem to know our deadlines very well, or doesn’t care about them, and sometimes the requests come in too late, and it makes me want to shrivel up and die, or stab something. Because if I knew that changes might be coming, I could have held off on sending the files, and then there would still be slight annoyance for me but not for anyone else and no actual major issues. The files are supposed to be DONE when I send them to the next person. I’m not supposed to be sending along 8,760,783,416 more changes (that’s a rough estimate).

On top of that, there are also times when I’ll be sitting around waiting for Space Cadet to get back to me on a question. And I sit. And I wait. And I sit and I wait some more. Last week, I waited four hours for the answer to one question, and when Space Cadet got back to me, their answer was “I don’t know.” THANKS FOR MAKING ME WAIT FOUR FUCKING HOURS FOR THAT INSIGHT, ASSHOLE. I was sitting around here waiting for your reply because you’re supposed to be the one who knows the answer to this type of question, or at least knows how to get the answer, and your fucking reply after FOUR HOURS of silence is I don’t know. Really? Why don’t we try that again, bucko. This time, remember to activate your brain first.

So really, the last thing I want to do after leaving the office for the day is come home and deal with these people again. But it happens, and they always find a way to make it adventurous. And I’m only talking about Space Cadet in this rant, but don’t worry, there are plenty other annoying co-workers on the Space Crew. I’ll have to start coming up with alias names for all of them, I guess. Back to Space Cadet, though, you would think that if I’m already working from home to accommodate their lackadaisical attitude, the least they (and other members of the Space Crew) could do is make sure that when I get the files, they are ready for me to do my job. BUT NO. Aside from cruising right past deadlines without a second glance, they also send me incomplete files, so I’m STILL WAITING for them to get their shit together while it’s taking more and more of my evening away from what I want to be doing. BECAUSE GUESS WHAT? I GET TO WAKE UP AND GO TO THE OFFICE AND DO THIS ALL AGAIN TOMORROW TOO! I need at least eight hours to myself before having to deal with the Space Crew again, thanks.

Let me clarify something: Not all of the people I work with drive me crazy. Awesomesauce Boss is great, and is always trying to make up for Space Cadet being, well, spacey (and kind of an asshole to boot). But poor Awesomesauce Boss can only do so much single-handedly, and unfortunately we are outnumbered by the Space Crew and are often helpless against their ability to have total disregard for everyone else’s schedules. Breaking news: There are only 24 hours in a day! I cannot magically make more time appear, so when things are sent to me hours past your deadline, that gives me less time to get them ready for my deadline. I don’t know if you realize, but that is how time works. Once an hour is gone, it is gone forever. You cannot get it back and you cannot create a new hour to replace the one you wasted with your thumb up your butt.

If I didn’t work with the Space Crew, I think my life would be 75% less stressful.

But then I wouldn’t have anything to rant about.

Okay, that’s a lie. I’d find plenty of other things to rant about. But it’d be nice to reduce my work-related stress.

*Names have been changed so the guilty don’t figure out who I am.

The Anger Ball vs. Wednesday

Every week I am in an epic battle with Wednesday. Not Wednesday Addams, because that would be awesome. No, just regular Wednesday. I’m ashamed to admit that it’s been winning lately.

BUT TODAY I AM VICTORIOUS. You tried to defeat me, and you failed. Despite your best efforts to make my day terrible, I was able to overcome the obstacles. It was hairy there for a while, I have to admit. You certainly know how to play this game, Wednesday, throwing that one major stumble in right near the end. But I persevered this time!

In the end, no deadlines were missed, no tears were shed and nobody had to die.

I call that a victory.

The Anger Ball: 1
Wednesday: 0

*Starting from today, because otherwise this would just be embarrassing for me.

This wouldn’t be a problem if I had a tank

Whenever I have to take a road trip of any kind, I am usually the copilot. I’m good at helping navigate, and I have enough road rage for an SUV full of people. My significant other just told me recently that she likes when I’m in the car with her because then she doesn’t have to get angry at other drivers, because I’m already angry on her behalf.

This past weekend, I went on a road trip that involved being in the car for 5 hours there and 5 hours back. As you can imagine, that is a lot of rage. And on the way back, I was driving. Funnily enough, when I’m driving, my rage is more subdued, expressed in snarky comments said at normal volume rather than with yelling and gesticulating (most the time, anyway, although I did roll my window down and give someone the finger at one point while I was driving. But I assure you they deserved it). But I get no joy out of driving because I am constantly worrying about the other drivers. The amount of crazy shit people do when we’re all going 65+ mph on a highway is absurd, I’m sure we all can agree, and enough to give anyone a conniption.

This weekend of driving led me to reach an important decision: If I were ever given an indestructible car for one day, I would use it to crash into people who don’t use their turn signals and people who don’t know how to yield.

Breaking news: Cars come with the turn signals built in. They serve a purpose. They make everyone’s lives easier and less stressful. They are not optional. If you are in the right lane on a highway, and you want to move to the left lane, use your damn turn signal so the people around you know what you’re going to do! This way it is less likely you will be in/cause an accident. CRAZY, I KNOW. I mean, when I’m driving, it doesn’t seem that cumbersome to push that little lever up or down in order to let people know “Hey, I’m turning here” or “Excuse me, I’d really like to get into that lane.” Yeah, you might look a little silly if you are accidentally driving with your blinker on after merging (although I also don’t find it that hard to remember that my blinker is on, but maybe that’s just me), but I find that far less enraging than having a car dart in front of my car without warning. Gee, I wonder why.

Speaking of darting cars, after people get their licenses, do they forget about safe following distance? I don’t think you need to be 5 miles behind the car in front of you, but tailgating isn’t cute, people. If I had that indestructible car, I would brake check every tailgating asshole. Tailgating is not necessary. I’m not going to speed so you can get to your destination 5 minutes earlier than if you went the speed limit,* so back off. And to you crazy non-signaling mergers, if there is a car-sized space between my car and the one in front of me, that is not a space for you. It is there because if there is a sudden stop, I don’t want to rear-end the car in front of me. So if you aren’t going to bother to signal when you take that safe distance away, don’t give me dirty looks when I give you the middle finger.

Moving on, can someone explain to me what is so hard about yielding? I never considered yield signs, or the concept of yielding to oncoming traffic, to be that difficult. If there is oncoming traffic and you have a yield sign, you have to slow and possibly stop until there is a space for you to merge. If there is no traffic, you can just keep going, and that is the only time they are “optional,” if you want to call it that. That’s how yield signs work, right? Or have I been mistaken my entire life? Because the last leg of my 5-hour journey was on a one-lane highway with on ramps that have yield signs because the on ramps are very short. And the number of people who just blew through the yield as my car was coming up, and then had the nerve to honk at me as if I had done something wrong, was unbelievable. Traffic on the highway has the right of way! LEARN TO YIELD BEFORE YOU CAUSE AN ACCIDENT. And this was at like 11 p.m., so there wasn’t even massive traffic. If they had just slowed down a smidge, there would be no reason for rage. But at least three cars blew their yield sign and then honked at me. What the hell? YOU HAVE THE YIELD. I wasn’t even driving at the time; I was just sitting shotgun. And boy, did I wish I really had a shotgun at that point. If you’re the one breaking traffic rules, don’t go honking at me. If I had my indestructible car, you would have been so sorry, assholes.

People always talk about how dangerous going too far over the speed limit is, but you know what else is dangerous? Going too far under the speed limit. When you are in the farthest right lane on any given highway, you should be doing at least the speed limit. I don’t believe that in the slow lane you have to be “keeping up with traffic.” I believe you should be doing the speed limit. It’s enraging to be in the slow lane, sometimes stuck there due to traffic, and have the person in front of you doing 60 in a 65, and not because of the traffic–just because they fucking feel like it. Look, the speed limit is what you should be doing. If you aren’t or can’t for some reason, put your goddamn hazard lights on so people can see you from a distance and pass you. I-95 in some parts of Connecticut, I think, even has a minimum and a maximum speed limit posted. I am a proponent of this, although the minimum is 40 and the max 65. Frankly, there shouldn’t be more than a 15-mph difference in those numbers, but I would rather have a posted minimum than none at all, because I’m sure some of you right now are thinking “But Anger Ball, the speed limit is the maximum you should do, not the speed you have to do!” Are you really going to try and tell me that if you’re stuck behind someone going under the speed limit for no observable reason, you don’t get pissed? Don’t even try it, because I won’t believe you. It pisses everyone off. It’s fine if someone doesn’t feel safe going 65, but then put the hazard lights on. Again, cars come with them for a reason! I don’t think it’s too much to ask to use something that comes standard on all cars.

The passing lane is another story. You need to keep with traffic when you are in the passing lane. You do not get into the passing lane to pass a car going 60 by doing 65. If all the cars in the passing lane are going 80, you have to go 80 at least until you can get back into the slow lane. The passing lane is there for passing. If you are in that lane and are pacing the slow traffic, you need to get back into the slow lane. I do not advocate speeding, but I do think that you need to keep with traffic in the fast lane. If you aren’t comfortable going 80 even for 10 seconds to get around one car, then it looks like you’re stuck behind Mr./Mrs./Ms. 60-in-a-65 for your whole trip, buddy, because otherwise you are now causing traffic by being that slow asshole in the fast lane.

I think it’s pretty clear now why, when given the choice, I like to be a copilot instead of the driver. I have too many pet peeves related to driving, and one of them usually comes up pretty quickly at the start of any road trip, so being behind the wheel of a car just isn’t good for my blood pressure.

But if I ever got that indestructible car, I would have a field day.

*Seriously, I took a class in college where we calculated how much time you actually save by speeding, and you have to go at least 20 miles over the speed limit to make any significant difference in arrival time.

The inner workings of The Anger Ball

Hyperbole and a Half explained my inner workings far better than I ever could. For clarification on the reasons this blog exists, click here.

Your regularly scheduled rants will return once I get over the weekend of endless road rage I experienced.

Oh good, this song again

I’m doing a friend a favor right now and trying to vote her to #1 in a music competition. The way the judging works is the website gives you two songs at a time, you listen to at least 15 seconds of each, and then you pick which one you like better. Repeat forever.

I’ve been doing this for like three days, and my friend’s song hasn’t come up yet. She’s already in the top 10, so my guess is the lower ranked a song is, the more often it comes up. But at this point, it’s starting to look like a conspiracy. I’ve heard every other song in the top 10 at least once. My friend’s song? Zero times. And let me tell you, listening to even 15 seconds of a crappy song is torture. And many of the crappiest I’ve had to listen to multiple times at this point. That song about vampires? Yeah, it doesn’t get better no matter how many times it comes up. The song about taking my clothes off? No thanks, I’ll pass. Some of these songs are ranked low for a reason.

And if I have to listen to one more girl with a wispy voice who’s soulfully strumming her guitar, I just might garrote myself with one of her guitar strings. That would get her to stop playing for a few minutes, right?

I try to do other things while the crappy music plays in the background, but then I get distracted and end up listening to two minutes of a terrible song and I think I might be blacking out, because I can’t remember what I did for those two minutes. Is it possible for bad music to kill brain cells? I can feel myself getting dumber. I guess I should say goodbye to those I love now, as I clearly won’t survive this.

Great. I think my ears have started bleeding.

Monthly Raging

May 2010
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