One of the fucked-upest, worst things in this world is people who will yell at a cashier for something that is not in any way her fault. When I worked at a bookstore I got this crap every single day. I was repeatedly glared, sworn, and screamed at for things which were wholly out of my hands: the store's poor traffic flow, the inadequacies of a co-worker, the lack of a biography section, and - this one always kills me - the price of books.

Look, lady, I wanted to say (and did say, to the rare ones who paused to take a breath), let's think this through. The fact that this counter is between us should be enough to show you that I am only a humble subordinate who shuffles books. If I were in charge of pricing books, would I be the cash register monkey too? It doesn't make sense. That said, I agree with you. This place sucks. Here's the corporate 1-800 number, so you can go on record as officially hating this place. I'll call too and tell them you're right. But let's not confuse criticism of the corporation with abuse of an innocent individual. And don't you dare take it out on me if you don't think Pat the God Damned Bunny isn't worth six bucks.

This speech was internally honed to a science but rarely delivered. When it actually got airtime it never went over well, didn't persuade one person to change her asinine behavior, and helped convince my employers I was not worth employing (true). Still, it felt real good.

It was in this spirit that I snapped at a stranger today. There was one lady working at the post office, and she was doing her damndest to keep the line moving, but her computer was acting up and everything was taking three times as long as it should, so the line was backing up.

After a whole four minutes of waiting, the guy behind me let out this exasperated sigh and said, "They sure like to drag their feet in this place. I swear, anything they can do to make me wait in line." The three other people in line all agreed with him, with head-nods and emphatic "They sure do!"s.

Which just pissed me off because it was not at all her fault. I said, kind of loudly, because I wanted her to hear it, and kind of right in his face, because I spun around and didn't realize how close he was standing, "Her computer's broken. She's doing the best she can."

He said, "Well they should open another register. They shouldn't have just one person working anyway."

"Of course they should, but that's a managerial decision, so clearly it's not her fault."

"Well I just think this is really crappy customer service."

"You are bitching about the wrong person. That lady behind the counter is moving as quickly as she can, and you'll notice she's doing it with a smile on her face. What more could you possbily want?"

He said, "You know -" with the snotty intonation of, You know, people like you are what's wrong with this country, except, you know what he said? Nothing. I looked at him and I raised my eyebrows and I waited to see what he was going to tell me, and he just shut up, because I had defeated him with my supreme logic, and I didn't even have to call him a dickweed. But it was implied.

Also today: a stranger in Home Depot told me I was beautiful (Evidently the Home Depot is not just for random furtive homosexual bathroom sex anymore. What makes men ALWAYS flirt with me there? An extension of the construction worker's perceived historical right to catcalls?) and a stranger in the post office told me I was a nice person. And it was true.

< To March 21, 2004 | The Journal | To August 6, 2004 >

My Birthday.

Today I turn 19. I can remember back three or four years ago when I so wanted to be of legal age, to drive my car on my own terms, to go where I pleased, to work a full time job. Let me give you a little insight into the Life of scuzzy as reflected upon currently.

For thoese of you who kept up with my Why I want to move to alaska, dated March 2, 2004. You'll know that today is the day that I leave for Anchorage, Alaska to start life anew. Well, This day has come, and due to unforseen circumstances, I will not be going. Not now anyway.

It's been six months, I've given my permanent trip to Alaska alot of thought, rest assured, I still intend to go. Not this year, next year hopefully. Before I reach 20. There's been alot happen that's interfered with my activities this year. Here's the list:

Started School:
I started TTCJ or Tennessee Technology Center at Jackson, Tennessee. I'm specalising in Network Specialist, which will earn me my A+ and my Net+ Certifications. They're expensive pieces of paper, at least that's how I view it. The class is, so far, ignorantly simple. As soon as I complete it, I'm going to get my CCNA, then I'll move to Alaska. Mind you, over this period of time, I should have collected enough money from my leftover school funds to make the permanent trip and stay. No Gaurentees. The course is 15 months, after talking some more with the instructor, I suspect I'll be done in 8 to 10.

Engine Failure:
My faithful 95 Ford Escort LX Hatchback is not so faithful. Unbeknownst to me, the engine has a common failure which involves the valveseats. I'm considering giving a detailed writeup as to the failure, how to catch it in time, and solutions once it has failed. If you want me to do this writeup, I'll be glad to do so, just send me a message and I'll get to it during class tommrow (I have spare time, trust me).
The abridged version is this: I had a valve seat drop out of chamber 4 while stopped for a left turn. The piston smashed it to pieces, In the process, it bent a valve, ruined the piston head, wrecked the crankshaft and rod bearings on chamber 4, screwed the cylinder head, and scored the cylinder wall. Chances are i've got some metal fragments that will be picked up by the oil pump and it'll become ruined as well. The car has been sitting up on ramps for the past two weeks. During this time, I forgot to seal the moonroof, and water has managed to get inside. With the windows rolled up, you can just imagine the funk. Hopefully if I keep it locked up tight, and in direct sunlight, the heat will bake the mold right out of the car. Not to mention I have peices of my engine in the hatchback, which is probably where some of the rest of the funk is coming from.
I'm going to try and get the time and my hands on a 2.0L SOHC SPI engine from a 97 Escort LX. I know the engine mounts right in to the bay, and mounts directly to the transmission. The problem? My uncle, since (currently) it's still his car, is a lazy fucker who doesn't like to work period, he's telling me what "we're" going to do, and how "I'm" going to pay for it. I've told him he's got another thing coming. Two nights ago we got in a nasty argument, and I told him the car will fucking sit there before I do what he wants to do. So my plan is to pay him the last $360 that I owe him, have him sign a formal notarised contract that states I own the car. and his hands are clean, he doesn't have to worry about crap. Then I'm going to head up to Bowling-Green Kentucky, pick up a 2.0L SPI motor for $275 (yep, got one scouted out) drop it in, wire it up (little more to it than that) and have my car back on the road before the months out. Total expected cost: $650. Inclues a new clutch kit, turning the flywheel, new front rotors and pads, and a slew of gaskets and hoses that I need to replace. The engine in it now? a 1.9L. It failed at 120,206.3 miles with better than 3/4th's a tank of fuel. I am PISSED. The 2.0L's have a similar valveseat problem, but theirs occurs more around 170 thousand miles, not 100 thousand miles like the 1.9L (and the engine I've scouted has only 80 thousand on the ticker). If I wanted to go to north carolina (about 500 miles away) I could pick one up for $300 with 24 thousand on the ticker, but It's more expensive to make that trip, and too expensive to have it shipped.

Lack of work:
Well, Since Feburary 4th, 2004, I've worked enough at my job to earn exactly $1022.37. Pathetic, huh? Now I can't even work at all (no way to get there, and the hours that she wants me to work, I can't. No way to get there) I applied for Delta Faucet recently, working a 23 hour weekend shift making $14.75/hr. Well, me and a million others in Jackson applied. I DOUBT I'll get the job, but I overheard they prefer to hire students. who knows. Perhaps I'll get lucky. That's $300 a week I could definitely use.

So I'm going to get my car fixed, Save up every dime I've got. Complete school (which i'm getting a free ride on, btw) and move to alaska.

I'll update you some more later.

I am exhausted after running. It feels good but is strange.

This feeling of accomplishment is trivalized by my having to do this every night. Yet, it is this very repetition, this state of being on the road to something better, that defines my emotion. Being exhausted is not progress itself, but it is symptomatic of it, and without this promise for the future, I'd be too focused on the tragic decline of a moment to be happy.

When running, it is easy to, at most given points, keep running. I only hurt after stopping. Sometimes I overdo it and feel so sick. A fear of this makes me stop running to begin with. I can't ever measure how I'll feel in the future from present circumstances. Thus, I need for my own pretection experience that I never ever want again, like running so hot I have a fever. Or, more preferably, I need infinite circumstances.

During summer vacation, I am satisfied. It seems to be forever. Yet, I know it will end and when. Approaching this date, I wish it won't, but without these undesirable states surrounding it, summer would lose any meaning. It would be an undistinguished expanse of days. Is this what I want, literal freedom? Or just the way it feels?

Do I ever really want to marry, or do I just get off on the romanticism of the idea of new relationships? I cannot imagine dedicating myself to anything. Maybe I'll just do something big and then explode.

Singapore is Doomed - A Brief yet Frank Discussion

It really sucks when you think about something for long enough and suddenly realized that your opinion on a topic was completely wrong all along. Yesterday I finished writing a node that was quite close to my heart - a long, general critique of Singaporean society. I started it with a very light-hearted tone, I mean, when the topics of discussion include aquatic mammals and enlarging mammaries, how could I have talked about it in a very serious manner? This node is kind of an originally unintended conclusion to that write up, you do not need to read it in order to understand this.

I was happy with the first two sections of that writeup, I felt that they were a good, interesting representation of certain aspects the society in question. It was the last section that I felt didn't have the same feel as the first two, I simply got political. Years of discussing politics with taxi drivers has finally gone to my head, and all that criticism that the taxi drivers and I had made suddenly came to the surface and poured out onto my keyboard. Suddenly I stopped criticizing the society, but blaming the government (and that was probably not a wise thing for me to do). The problems with the people are a result of the government - there is no-one else you could blame it on. It's been the same man and his friends and family at the top of the chain for 40 years.

That entire node was the culmination of an entire day's worth of typing and editing and retyping, and over the course of that day my true feelings about the future of this nation came to light. I didn't even discuss the meritocracy aspect as it applies to race - that topic is far too shady and way too political. Now I am just throwing out some more opinion, to shed some more light on the things which I don't want to talk about in enough detail or to put it in a node by itself.

Singapore seems to be doomed, the society has built itself up atop a flawed foundation. If you came here, talked to some of the locals, and took a good look around the spots the tourists don't go then you might see what I am talking about. All of the builders and the cleaners and the people who do all the things that nobody really wants to do are immigrants. Immigrants from Bangladesh generally, and they aint paid jack. That entire tier of the workforce has the option of getting up and going somewhere else the instant things start going to go downhill.

In so many countries I have been, the people you find behind the counter at McDonalds and Burger King and all the fast-food joints are usually very young. A lot of them are high-school kids who want to earn some money by working part time or during the holiday, not all of them - but in general they are still young even if they aren't studying. The opposite applies to Singapore, here those tasks are done by the elderly - the ones who would have retired if they had been able to earn any decent amount of money in their life. These 'aunties' and 'uncles' as we locals call them (okay, so I am not strictly a local) are found everywhere here - doing the jobs that would normally be done by the young, not the old! If it isn't the aunties then it is more immigrants.

Filial piety is a great thing, what makes more sense than taking care of your elderly parents after they had taken care of you for so long. Singapore isn't like that, Singapore can't have that. In Singapore there is no real pension, everyone is ruthlessly out for themselves, and taking care their parents take a back seat to their own success. It isn't like the propaganda that comes out of the local television productions, the families here aren't extended and happy - they are quick to forget about their roots. How could the average Singaporean afford to take care of them anyway? That's why the senior citizens have to get jobs working in fast food restaurants. Work, work, work until you die.

Singapore has been called a 'nanny state,' and there is no better example of than can be found by looking at the jobs that the immigrants are taking. They cook our food, they clean up after us, they even flush our toilets after us (Singaporeans are notorious for not flushing.) What would happen if they left Singapore? The entire society and it's economy and everything it has, would simply collapse. The majority of Chinese Singaporeans (who are the population majority), after years of being cleaned up after by the Malays and Bangladeshis, would never lower themselves to those menial tasks. They would have to though, it isn't like Singapore has got unemployment benefits.

Why then, aside from all this is it doomed? Singapore, after many years of being at the forefront of development and technology in Asia, as well as having the best port in the region, is going to get worse. Malaysia is building a port nearby that will take away a big portion of the naval traffic that comes to Singapore. Malaysia itself is becoming more powerful and developed, as is Bangladesh and most areas in the region. Singapore can't compete with China for low-wages so a lot of the big businesses have started to go to new, emerging markets instead of Singapore.

Why is this so hard for me? I guess because I always thought that Singapore would remain the land of milk and honey for all time. It was stupid of me to think that anything could possibly last like that. I have lived here all my life and I really don't want to have to leave. Unfortunately for me, at the end of this year, I have to. I'm going to Australia to do my tertiary studies in Brisbane. While I had always entertained ideas of coming back and working here, I am just starting to wonder if I ever should want to.

If you are going to press that downvote button, could you send me a /msg and let me know why?

(update: Put a lot of thought and effort into this. However, this is considered by some "noding for numbers" Thanks to those who let me know.)

I’m not sure why I’m writing. Maybe I wanted someone to listen. Don't despair, she said.

So I came here. To speak. To practice that-for-which-we-kill-but-give-up-so-easily.

Listening again to Cursive again. No reason. More habit than purposeful engagement between us. The songs sing to me, and I respond with thoughts of depression and bereavement.

I don’t want to be a pretty thing, ‘cause it’s the pretty things, that we’re always breaking

It’s late. I should sleep. But I can’t, not with this flowing through my mind. I go back to school in less than three weeks. Back to the eternal respiratory illness that is the great city of Los Angeles. Back to superficiality and meaninglessness and hate and bitterness and lies and life. What happened to love and laughter?

All these verses share a theme, we don’t amount to anything

Maybe over the hill. Around the next bend there will be hope. For all of us? For any of us? Maybe there will be an answer. To. The. Question. That. Plagues. Us. All. Or really just some of us. The ones who think. Who question… society? Morality? Normalcy?

The drive to be better. Not better than. Only better. To better ourselves. To be better.

Day after bloodsucking day

But, to be better… is to be sick. Here, in this place. “You read?” “You read the news?” “Did you catch FOX News?” “You’re what?” “Liberal?”

To be sick. Educated. Intelligent. Literate. You know what WMD stands for. And IMF. NATO. NAFTA. WTO. Not just WTF and BRB.

I’m so transparent I disappear

Who do I kid? I am so little. Meaningless in the universe of this planet. But what are we? There are no compromises. No exceptions. There can be only one conclusion. nothing.
But we...we are something.

Early morning sucks. I hate waking up. I can't do things right away. I like to take my time in the morning and do things like shower as I feel necessary. If I want to smoke 7 cigarettes while staring at the wall before my shower, so be it. Sometimes after my shower I like to sit naked and wet and smoke another cigarette. 8:30 comes all too early, as that means it's time for me to go to work. Not that I hate work or anything, I mean I hate the idea of work, but not my job at the moment. I like my job. They treat me like a person, and I'm free to do what I want when I want.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.