Archive for July, 2008

19
Jul
08

Public Transportation, Private Problems

I’m a broke person. A broke person who can not afford tickets. I’m a busy person. A busy person who can not spend time writing and proving appeals. But the one day I drive my car to a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station to park, I received two tickets. The problem was that both were unfounded. So I appealed them only to have them upheld with no explanation or justification. So as I pay the $200 worth of tickets and processing fees (icing on the cake) – I find myself furious. Mostly because that is how much I would spend on almost a month’s worth of groceries….

So I did what any pissed off and oppressed blogger would do. I sent them an e mail:

To the BART Citation and Customer Service Team,

I believe that your process for citation appeals and review is unfair and inconsiderate of your patrons. As a person who is forced to ride BART on a regular basis, I spend a great deal of my income on high priced tickets already. The one day I parked at BART and followed ill-posted signs about how to pay for parking, I received two tickets. One for expired registration (which was not actually expired – and doesn’t seem like BART’s place to assess) and one for failing to purchase a parking ticket – which I indeed did. I sent proof of both of these facts with a very considerate letter of appeal, only to receive an impersonal response stating that my citations were upheld – with no reasoning or explanation.

The fact that I must pay in order to request an appeal just points to BART’s acceptance of a policy that takes advantage of the situation and abuses its power. I do not have the time or resources to combat this, and can safely assume that is no matter for you – because BART’s monopoly ensures that I will have to continue riding BART to and from my workplace despite how negligent and unfairly I was treated.

There is no recourse for me to take, nothing to ease my mind, no customer service to value my expensive contributions to your system that took advantage of me. So I have to settle for sending an e mail that will probably be laughed at and ignored in your offices, and to pay your ridiculous fee (with additional processing charges) – in the hopes that karma gives you exactly what you deserve.

But for a young person working at a youth non profit agency surviving on crumbs, I do still cling to the fact that regardless of whether or not you want to hear my voice – it still exists.

Unwilingly yours,

Carnelius Quinn

17
Jul
08

I love you. Here’s a ring. And chlamydia

The ring in question...

The ring in question...

Apparently there is some gruesome test one has to take to prove himself capable (and crazy) enough to be my boyfriend. My new official “boyfriend” was put to that test in the last week – again.

I finally decided to meet my partner half way – and offer monogamy. Something I have a horrible track record with, but realize that if I want to build a stable foundation with him for once – I should try. So the current shift in my thinking is on how to transform monogamy in my mind from being a trap, into being a choice. Because I can list a hundred reasons why I want an open relationship. But I can also list a hundred things our relationship gives me that no other one does. The deciding factor is that there are two hearts on the line. One that is willing to love and accept, and one that wants to see what it feels like to reciprocate.

So to honor the fact that I wanted to explore new turf and dimensions of my relationship ability, I went ring shopping. For someone who is relatively new to internet purchases, this was a HUGE deal. Not only was I being all “mature” by letting my big brain win this time, I was going to get physical proof. So i checked out the sites, decided against the cliche of a ring with a “subtle” rainbow, and settled on a pretty classy titanium ring. I got the approval from his friends – and sealed the deal with engraved initials and everything.

The next week I fluttered about – blabbing to every friend who would hear me and simultaneously trying to keep it a secret from him, regardless of how intune his suspicions were from his friends getting ring measurements for me…

When I got to work Friday, it had arrived. Me not being one to wear “bling” or to have a “man”, I was doubly juiced about life. I debated for a while whether to give the ring with some elaborate gesture in a throwback to the great romances of yester-year…but settled on something more simple. I did, after all, fear commitment. And he does, after all, desire commitment. I wanted to make sure this gesture came across as a bold and loving move on my part to demonstrate my willingness to commit to him, but not as the gesture.

Over an awesome meal of Salmon and accessories (which proves how he deserves the ring yet again, since I was too tired and pissed from work to cook), prior to our gym run – I asked how he felt about monogamy. I knew full well that he was in tune with how I felt about monogamy, but wanted to have a little fun. I told him what I had been thinking; that though I wanted an open relationship, I was considering how a couple had to build trust and respect before they felt safe enough to venture…and that was a nice side effect of monogamy. And I asked how he would feel if I chose to become monogamous until we both felt comfortable enough to try otherwise? Then I popped out the rings and let him know that was what I was choosing to do.

Dear Lord it had never been so quiet. But he stared at it and smiled and slid the ring…as far down his finger as it would go. I hadn’t planned on this glitch, since I got measurements from a friend (who I will kill coincidentally, in the near future). But there it was – my stunted gesture. I was proud at my ability to calm the panic rising inside me: was it a sign?

But then Monday came, and I got a call from a number I didn’t recognize. A number from a trick who would prove my boyfriend right about his open relationship fears. A sex partner had contracted chlamydia, and thought me and my other partners should get tested. Fuck.

Mortified that this would be our first discussion as gaylyweds, I rode the BART home in silence. I had spent the rest of my workday planning a doctor’s visit for the following morning, so I could at least look proactive and semi-responsible when I got dumped.

But he handled it extremely well. Besides a few minutes worth of “I knew it would happen”, and “that’s to be expected in an open relationship”, he hugged me and thanked me for being honest and responsible about it. I waited for more to come, but it didn’t. Really? Had we come this far as a couple? Were we finally at that plateau where we could have something like this enter our realm, and decompose it and keep on moving? Apparently.

But little did I know this first triumph would be followed by my first slap in the face that love means embracing the other person as a whole…flaws and all. What flaws? He didn’t like the ring I gave him, and told me so.

Seems random, I know. But this came up the same night as the chlamydia scandal. Before we even got to the gym. I have a habit of reading random articles online. He saw me online and was curious about the re-make policy for the ring (which can be considered great…he was eager to wear it, right?) After we had checked the policies…he asked what other rings they had. “What’s the matter?”, I asked jokingly. “You don’t like the one I got?”

Pause. Pause. Pause. “It’s not that, it’s just I don’t want to mess it up or scratch it.”

Sure.

“You can’t change your design – I got us matching ones. It was symbolic. I went through hell to choose a design.” At least I was being honest. He didn’t know how much giving him this ring had meant to me…and what it’s wrong size and ugliness to him was ding to my neurosis.

It could have stopped there, but I made a total “chick” move. And I don’t mean chick in a sexist way. I mean chick in the chick-en, just say what you mean and don’t be passive aggressive way.

(As I’m finishing on the laptop) “So, do you want to pick out another ring before I send the order?”

I wasn’t aware that you should never ask questions for which there is only one right answer. Because people won’t get it right.

Pause. Pause. Pause. “No, I -”

“It’s too late to say no.”, I interrupt. That silence was answer enough.

“I’ll keep the ring I have, because you gave it to me, and it’s special.” , he says. He apparently didn’t realize that all this sounded like to me was bullshit.

What to do? I couldn’t possibly blow up in his face about a ring when he had handled the chlamydia thing so well. I was stuck. I wanted to be mad, but this was too many events in one sitting. We had gone from newlyweds to silver anniversary in one foul swoop.

So I said nothing. And got ready for the gym (perhaps a little loudly). And worked out extra hard on different machines than he did to prove how much better I was, and sat in the sauna and sweat it out. The whole while realizing that the bigger picture was more important. He wanted a ring from me. But he was an honest person, and wanted to take advantage of the remake opportunity to get something more his style. Had I relied too much on the friends? Was I being a diva? Of course. But didn’t he know me by now?

In either case, my ring looks and fits fabulous – and I love wearing it. The Chlamydia results came back negative, and though we had to scarf down horse pill antibiotics just in case (along with full blood work for the complete STI/HIV package) – at least we’re on the same testing cycle now. I suppose I’ll order his new ring soon – and eat a slice of humble pie. At least that way when I blow up at him over the next random thing…I can feel a little bit better about it.