After two hours of sleep, I get up again. My printer's not working, so I have to walk to a computer lab on campus to print stuff out for the Landscape Architecture
project that's due today. Before I leave, I notice the guy on the couch, and vaguely remember my roommate coming into my room at 1 or 2 to let me know his friend would be crashing here. The guy wakes up as a result of my getting ready to leave, so I ask him what time it is (conversation always relieves these tiny bits of social tension) and he doesn't know.
Tool tickets for the Phoenix show go on sale today at noon. I won't have the opportunity to get to a computer again until then, so I check out the ticketmaster website to see what I'll have to do, to help speed the process, since every millisecond wasted will be one more pair of seats sold to someone else. I create an account with ticketmaster so I won't have to enter all my billing information when buying the tickets later. Then I finish putting together my class project and go home to get ready for the rest of the day.
It's 11:55, and I'm back at the computer lab, not sure if Arizona is on Pacific time or Mountain Time (we don't have Daylight Savings Time here, so those two zones fluctuate in and out of our time). The plan is to keep trying to order tickets, and if the site is still locked after 12:10, I'll leave and go to my class. The second time I click on Search for Tickets (10 seconds after the first time I clicked, and was told it wasn't time yet), I get through. Two seats are reserved for me in Section 202, row AA for the next five minutes, and I must complete my order before then, or they'll be released back into the pool. I try opening a seating chart in a new window, but it refuses to load. Oh well, it's not like I'll be able to get better seats. I confirm my order, and am taken to a screen with a Go Back button and a sentence declaring that Express Ordering (using a member name with billing info already associated with it) did not work, please try again or enter billing info manually. I try again (press Back and confirming the order) some dozen times, to no avail. Entering billing information manually means backing out, losing the tickets, then logging out, requesting tickets again and then rushing to enter all the info in under 5 minutes. But I'm out of options, so I do this. Section 201, row TT. Shit. A minute later, I'm told my credit card number is invalid. Double shit. I can't count the number of times I've used this card to buy (worthless) stuff online. Why does it fail now, when I'm trying to buy something I've been waiting for for 3+ years? I try to solve the problem for a couple minutes, double-checking the number, using IE, trying Express Ordering again, but none of this works. The most easily eliminated problem now being the credit card number, I run for the nearest pay phone (luckily, I got change for a dollar yesterday and still have two quarters) to call my mother and ask for hers. The pay phone doesn't accept my quarter. I ask bystanders if they have a quarter they'd be willing to trade for mine, but they don't. I haul ass to the nearest change machine, but I don't have any singles or fives on me. I haul ass to the Student Union Food Stop branch in this building, and exchange the quarter. I run back to the phone and dial, and the woman at front desk at my mom's work says she can barely hear me. I repeat the extension number twice before realizing I have to shout into the phone, and finally I get through. I talk loudly to my mom but she can still barely hear me. Can I hear her alright? I resort to shouting again. It takes 15 seconds for me to convey what I need and why I need it, and then another 15 seconds for her to dig the credit card out of her wallet out of her purse, and then another five seconds for her to ask if I'm sure I can hear her clearly, and then as she gets halfway through the credit card number, I begin reciting it along with her. I committed this number to memory (unintentionally) four years ago when the only way I could get home access to the internet was to create a new free AOL account every month, using their credit card. Thanksgottagobye, and I run back to the lab and enter all the billing info manually and find myself in section 305, row something or other. On a whim, I hit the back button and try again, and end up with section 201, row TT (anything in the 200's is much better than anything in the 300's), and I enter my parents' billing information and finally get a confirmation number. I write it down about 10 times in my little notepad, then run off to class. For the first two minutes of walking, I'm incredibly pissed about this whole debacle (I had seats at the front of the second fucking section! fucking computers!) but then I remember that since there's nothing I can do about it, I need to stop wasting my energy thinking negatively.
I get to class, with 10 minutes left before it ends, turn in my project and leave. On the stairs leaving the building I run into a friend from high school. It is the fourth time in as many days that I've run into him by accident (before that, I hadn't seen him for about 4 months), and it occurs to me now that on three of these times, the run-in resulted from my leaving class or work early. The second of these times, I mentioned I was on the clock at work, and getting paid for not being there (I'd be getting paid for basically doing nothing if I was there anyway), and in the discussion that ensued (most people in America get paid for not producing anything tangible...) we realized that we'd independently discovered and subscribed to almost identical political standpoints. He mentioned Noam Chomsky, Adbusters and zmag.org, and I referred him to projectcensored.org, Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, and gave him one of the burned copies of Rant in E Minor I always carry with me now.
But that was September 19th. On September 21, I saw him on the stairway, exchanged greetings, and then said I had to get going, since I was on my way to Phoenix. I walked downtown, got to the Greyhound station, bought a ticket, gave some woman $2 towards the ticket she needed to get to California, then started reading The Umbrella of US Power by Noam Chomsky while I waiting to board the bus. After arriving in Mesa (having finished the pamphlet), I was feeling nauseous at the number of US flags I'd seen on houses, businesses and vehicles throughout the city, being flown by people who had little to no idea (I still have but a fairly small awareness) what US foreign policy involved, what kinds of abominations that patriotic symbol actually stands for. I'm forced to leave the bus depot after each of the other four people in the waiting room pay their homages to the pair of Pepsi-owned vending machines and blissfully place over-priced garbage into their bodies. The second or third thing I say to Jeeves after he picks me up is I'm ready to get the revoke my citizenship and get the hell out of this wretched consumer plantation as soon as he is. He sympathizes with most of my sentiments, but thinks I take some things too seriously. There's nothing inherently evil about Pepsi, it's a legitimate business that provides a product that lots of people want. Sure, the US has some bad policies, but at least people like me with anti-government sentiments aren't disappeared. He also thinks I shouldn't harbor such strong opinions towards anti-globalization without being able to defend them properly. Belief without rationalization is religion, and religion has no place (shouldn't have a place) in politics. My only defense is that I don't have the time or the memory capacity to file away proofs that completely justify every opinion I hold... sometimes the moral conclusion of a line of reasoning is all I can retain from the information I collect. My opinions generally exist for good reasons, I just can't always remember what they are. I may have tried to convey this, but if so, it came out somewhat garbled (I'm even worse at real-time verbal debate than I am at trying to hold normal conversations), so I changed the subject.