Month: December 2002 Page 2 of 3

DMV/IA. My experiences with the Iowa DMV, trying to clear an error off Lee’s driving record, were, to say the least, unpleasant.

Call one:

Me: The insurance co. would like a letter of clearance…

IA: We haven’t sent out letters of clearance for five years.

Me: Is there anything you can do to help me?

IA: If you send us a written request, we can send you a certified copy of Lee’s driving record.

Me: Will that give the insurance co. what they need? They specifically want a letter–

IA: We don’t do letters of clearance. We haven’t sent out letters of clearance for five years.

Me: Yet that’s what they say they want. They’re located in Iowa–

IA: We don’t do letters of clearance. They should be able to check the National Drivers Record.

Me: That’s the problem. They have. It says right here that I should be able to contact the Iowa DMV to correct any problems on the records. It says right here that I have the legal right to dispute problems with the people at this office, at this phone number. Is that not true? Can you help me?

IA: No.

[I hang up.]

Call two (different CSrep):

Me: I’m having problems with my husband’s driving record.

IA: Well, what seems to be the problem, m’am?

Me: There’s some information that needs to be cleared up on my husband’s IA driving record, […] and they want a letter–

IA: [Interrupting] We don’t do letters of clearance. We haven’t done letters of clearance for fourteen years.

Me: I just got off the phone with the insurance company. They say that they have a number of letters of clearance on their records from Iowa–

IA: [Interrupting, raising voice] We don’t do letters of clearance…

Me: [Interrupting] M’am, if you could just listen…

IA: [Interrupting] I don’t care what they say, we don’t do letters of clearance and we haven’t done letters of clearance for–

Me: [Interrupting, raising voice] And yet–

IA: [Interrupting, raising voice] Don’t you raise your voice at me, m’am. That’s something that we don’t tolerate here at this office–

Me: [Interrupting, raising voice] If you would just listen to me–

IA: [Interrupting, raising voice] Don’t you f——- yell at me. I don’t have to take this.

Me: [Raising voice] I don’t have to f——- take this s—.

[I hang up.]

Call three (different CSrep):

Me: I’ve been having problems with clearing something off my husband’s driving record. I’ve talked to several people at your office, and one of them has been very rude to me.

IA: What seems to be the problem, m’am?

Me: […] and the insurance co. tells me they want a letter of clear–

IA: [Interrupting, raising voice] We don’t do letters of clearance! We haven’t done them for fourteen years!

Me: Well, if that’s the case, they instructed me to ask to speak to a supervisor.

IA: [Raising voice] We don’t do letters of clearance–

Me: [Interrupting, raising voice] JUST TRANSFER ME TO YOUR SUPERVISOR.

IA: [Coninuing, still raising voice] and you’re not going to get a letter of clearance, I don’t care what the f——- insurance co. says–

Me: [Interrupting, raising voice] JUST TRANSFER ME TO YOUR F——- SUPERVISOR!

IA: [Raising voice] Just f——- hold, I’ll f——- transfer you!

[On hold.]

IA: [Static] In … eep voice … don’t…

Me: I can’t understand you. The phone keeps going out.

IA: First of all, we don’t tolerate …

Me: M’am, your customer service rep started yelling at me and interrupting me. If you want to keep things civil on your end, I can certainly keep up with you there.

IA: [Static] What … on? Wait, let me … phone.

[On hold.}

IA: What seems to be the problem?

Me: I’m talking to an insurance company that says in order to clear an error off my husband’s driving record, they want a letter of clearance.

IA: We don’t give out letters of clearance.

Me: The company is Geico, m’am, and it’s the office located in Coralville. You think they’d know.

IA: We don’t give out letters of clearance. [Raising voice] I don’t know who told you…

Me: All I want from you, lady, is your name and your phone number so the insurance co. can speak to you directly. That’s all I want.

IA: But I can send Mr. Canyon a certified copy of his driver’s record if he submits a written request–

Me: [Interrupting] M’am?

IA: And that contains more information than a letter of clearance anyway. I don’t understand why–

Me: [Interrupting] M’am?

IA: They want a letter of clearance when we haven’t done letter of clearance for five years now–

Me: [Interrupting, raising voice, speaking very slowly and clearly] M’am? All I need is your name and phone number. I will have the insurance co. call you personally. Can I have your name and a direct line number?

IA: All right. They can call me in the morning. [Gives info.] But I won’t give them a letter of clearance.

Me: Thank you. Goodbye.

[I hang up.]

I’ve removed a lot of the repetition. I was on the phone for two and a half hours. The CS Reps from the IA DMV really did initiate yelling and swearing at me. On the other hand, the reps from the insurance co. were consistently polite, prompt, and helpful.

I have never believed in capitalism more than I did yesterday.

So what do you believe in?

Depends on what frame of reference you’re using.

What do you call someone who believe that what she believes depends on the frame of reference used? I’m trying to think of a word, but…I can’t narrow it down to just one word. I’m a post-modern pluralistic magician (not pagan) pantheistic humanistic solipsistic surrestlistic non-linear agnostic chaotic neutral fool. And then some.

Organization. I had an aha! about organization today. The key to organization for people like me is the necessity to regularly reasses the actual facts against the intended/expected situation. This means, too, you have to think out what the intended situation will be, which is another weak point I have. Of course, this little realization of mine folds right back into my favorite koan. “First, clean your bowl.”

Eh. Thinking about it, enlightenment–even just your garden-variety aha!–is different than insight. Enlightenment occurs to you; insight occurs to you so you can share it with someone else.

Joe. I’ve been cooking a lot lately (I made a post-Thanksgiving Turkey Day dinner, with all the trimmings, I mean, we’re talking homemade stuffing, here), so Joe cooked tonight, steak, spicy tatoes, onions, and shrooms, corn on the cob, bread, cheese, cheesecake. It was good.

Fine. Up the ante, mofo.

Story. I have this face. It attracts stories.

I work with a woman who met Maya Angelou.

She was an English major in college, in North Carolina. She wrote a self-described “cheesy” novella about a girl with a fatal illness, a girl who’d been cooped up all her life and never really lived until she ran away, got herself a boyfriend, and stayed up to watch the dawn. She’d written the novella deliberately, in protest of an assignment she disagreed with. One day in class, she’s called to the library. The newspapers were there. The TV stations were there. Without her knowledge, her professor had submitted the story to a contest, and it’d won first place.

She still has pictures. She doesn’t look happy.

Later, Maya Angelou came to speak at their school. Again, this woman was called out of class–this time to the professor’s office. Sitting in one of the chairs was Maya Angelou. “This is the girl I told you about,” said the professor. Maya Angelou (“What do you call her?” this woman asked me. “Miz?”) looked this woman up and down, literally stared at her starting from her feet, to her head, to her feet again, and said, “I shall call you…Joy.”

This woman’s name isn’t Joy. “But if Maya Angelou decides to call you Joy….” she said.

So “Joy” spent the entire day with Maya Angelou. There was a receiving line at one point, and all the town and college notables filed past Maya Angelou, telling her what a wonderful influence she’d been on their lives, how they admired her…and then they’d pass “Joy.” She felt embarrassed and out of place, so she tried to edge her way out the door. Maya Angelou reached out, dropped her hand in “Joy’s” lap, and said, “You stay right there.” So she stayed.

At the end of the day, while she was about to get in a long, white limosine and be driven away, Maya Angelou said, “I want to see that story. We shall drive you to your room and you will get it for me.” “Joy” ran across the quad to her dorm (rather than force the limosine to try to park in the parking lot, which was under repair, grabbed her story, and ran back to the limosine. She delivered the story. Maya Angelou said, “We will return this story post-haste.”

This woman stopped to stress that Maya Angelou did, indeed speak like that.

Two months later, this woman was pulled out of her classes again, this time to the Dean’s office. “It’s here, it’s here!” he said. It was a manilla envelope from Maya Angelou, containing the manuscript–which was covered by a sea of red.

On top of the manuscript, also in red ink: “Joy. You need to stop working on this story. You have talent. You shouldn’t be wasting your time on this.” This woman said that every compromise she’d made, every time she’d let someone else tell her what to write or how to write it, Maya Angelou had pointed out.

But it made this woman stop writing for two years.

She’s halfway through her second novel now.

I asked her how she would have felt if Maya Angelou had gushed over her story. “Rotten,” she said.

Ray is patiently breaking pine needles (the long kind) into small pieces and lining them up on the chair cushion.

Godfadda. I feel like walking around and talking like the Godfather today. “You eat my tacos and den you decide to inconvenience me and my daughter after I’m in bed. Dis is the respect you give me.”

Car. Transportation problems with the pickup truck yet, and the financing hasn’t gone through the bank yet. No car yet.

Bebe Notes. This is kinda icky, but there you go.

Her bowels have made some kind of quantum jump in maturity. All of a sudden, she has poops that in no way resemble mustard. Ah, the holidays. My thoughts turn to gift-giving, good food, and TOILET TRAINING.

Grey Hill notes. I’m working on plotting. I outlined the novel; now I’m breaking it into chapters. Seems overly analytical, but it also seems to be working. And I think I’m going to send the first chapter to Banshee studios. It seems like kismet–karma–something. The story’s set on Imbolc; I guess you could call it an anti-Valentine’s Day story as I plan it. Next issue of Banshee comes out…what a coinkeydink.

Your trivia of the day, on a related note:

From what I understand (and correct me if I have this wrong), Imbolc is the celebration of the turn of the year, with Brigid (poet and blacksmith) the celebrated aspect of the Goddess. Creativity, renewal, conception, blessing of the tools of the year, and reawakening are some of the themes. Catholics may recognize Imbolc as Candlemas–you know, the time that the priest gets everyone to line up and holds a pair of white candles at your throat to bless you.

The part that cracks me up is that besides Valentines Day and Candlemas, the other holiday that Imbolc covers and embraces is…

Groundhog’s Day.

I tell you, Bill Murry is part of a conspiracy. I don’t know why. It just delights me every time I think about it. I guess it’s just that I’ve been reading these dead-serious rituals for Imbolc for weeks now, and…it’s groundhog’s day.

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