Weirdness (aka, “Monday”)

It’s been a while since I last wrote. Almost two months, to be exact. The cold and work both managed to overwhelm me, I guess.  Truthfully, I did start three posts, but other than a line or two, there just wasn’t much worth posting.

I’ve been dealing with a strange phenomenon:  When I awake, if only for a minute, it’s as if my physical pain, horrid tboughts, and everything else in between, does not exist. For a split second I feel fantastic! I can take on anything and win. There’s nothing holding me back. It’s like all of the negativity was a part of a long, tragic nightmare that ceases now that the Sun has arrived.

And then that second passes. Suddenly, reality returns with a vengeance.  The pain and discomfort, along with self-doubt and fear, come rushing back at me – taking no quarter and sparing me nothing.  It’s like Prometheus and his eagle, and a part of me wonders if this momentary feeling of security, and its rapid removal, are in some way a sort of punishment for my wrongs.

So, what have I been doing in the nearly eight weeks since my last post?

Not much.  I did, however, manage to get banned by Amazon, of all places.

From leaving reviews, that is.

Bear in mind, that in nearly twenty years of being on the site, I have probably left fewer than eight reviews – this despite having purchased a few hundred different articles from the company.  I’ve left starred reviews (no text), but few text reviews, namely because there’s not much to say – either a product has met my needs or it hasn’t.  Pretty cut and dry there, if you ask me.

What gets me though is being accused of having “abused” the system; that’s what I don’t get.  How did I do that?  By not using the reviewing system?  By not leaving a message?

Granted, I’ve had a good laugh at many of the existing reviews because some are just funny, although I doubt that their authors intended as much:

  • The college student who trashed Edward Gibbon’s Fall of the Roman Empire because it wasn’t well-written or pro-Christian, in her view – and she “took AP History,” so she should know the story of Rome better than some eighteenth-century hack;
  • The “historian” who attacked another reviewer who criticized the length of a book, only to belatedly acknowledge that they were talking about two different books (on the same topic); and,
  • The myriad of people who buy “model kits” that are clearly marked as “model kits,” but then later report that they’re offended that the box arrived “in pieces, without glue or paint,” and the end product was “so small that my five-year old couldn’t play with it.”

But I didn’t think I’d abused anything.  (Although, honestly – who buys a 1:35 scale model and not realize that it’s an unassembled kit?  Worse, that the contents of the box don’t resemble the finished product as shown on the box?)

Amazon never informed me of my transgressions, then or now.  I only found out about it by accident, and a query never garnered a definite response.  I was told that my issue was “under review,” and a few days later, I was informed that my privileges had been restored – a great bit of news for a guy who doesn’t leave reviews.  The whole thing smacks of a digital Dostoyevsky novella – something he’d write today, were he alive – about being banned without warning or explanation from the online community.  Actually, that sounds like a great plot for a novella – our here being barred from communicating in the only medium that seems to matter.  Granted, I doubt it’d be on the same level as Crime and Punishment, but it’s close.

I mean, I’d review it for Amazon.

I’ve also managed to survive scores of people who seem hell-bent on running into my car.  Since the first of the year, I’ve probably emerged from nearly three dozen near-accidents, none of which were of my doing.

Now, you might be calling BS on my claims of innocence, but I just bought my car.  I will be sending a hefty chunk of my paycheck to a finance company for a very long time.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I put someone’s kit through college.  So I like to treat my baby with kindness, and that includes paying serious attention when I’m out and about.

My last car was within six months of a final payment – I was so happy!  But there was a problem with the transmission – from what I understand, a known problem – and with winters being what they are in the Upper Midwest, I certainly wasn’t going to risk being an hour away from home in freezing weather when the transmission decided to go on strike.  When I went to the dealer about my concerns, the lead in their service department looked at me and smirked.  He gave me a prepared speech as to why this wasn’t a big deal and how I shouldn’t worry.  I listened, or at least tried to look as though I was doing so, but I was done when he smirked.  That one action told me all I needed to know.  When I walked out of that garage and jumped back into my car, I’d already made up my mind to find new wheels, and three weeks later, that’s exactly what happened.

I’m a poor negotiator on a good day, and the day I got my new car was not a good day.  I’ll spare you the details and say that what I thought would take 90 minutes took me the better part of the day.  A whole day to buy a car!  And I was trapped – I had to get them to take my existing car as a trade-in.  I could pout, scream, and glare all I wanted, but I could not move that car because I honestly feared that it’d crap out on me once I left the lot.  The Blue Book value of my car was between three and five thousand, so I was counting on at least $4,000 for a trade in; they offered $1,500, claiming that the engine light was on.  I showed them that the light was not on, it was the damaged tire pressure sensor (which I’d been upfront about from the start).  I got them to go up to $2,500, and I decided to cut my losses.  So I put forth an Oscar® winning performance of a man who had “some” power, and nine hours (yes, nine!), I was handed my new set of keys and a bill of sale that had more digits in it than I cared to see.

Why didn’t I fight for more on the trade-in?  Simple – they thought they were screwing me over by offering me so little.  But I knew that the transmission was a breath away from having its Last Rites performed.  If they want to resell the car – and my guess is that’s exactly what happened – they’ll have to address the issue with the transmission.  They money they saved by shorting me will come out of the transmission work, I figure, and it’ll all balance out.  So I’m not interested in either hitting someone, or else getting hit by them.

That doesn’t stop them from trying to get me, though.  Four times this weekend alone, with two of the near-accidents coming from the same driver!

2018 was the Year of Health Issues, so I’m hoping that 2019 will be something more positive.  Still don’t know what’s causing my painful headaches, abdominal tensions, or back pains.  Still don’t know why I suffer chest pain (despite having a “great” looking heart).  Still don’t have any answers to any of 2018’s questions, but I’m determined to make this year somehow better for me and the Little Woman.

Of course, that’d be easier if I hadn’t contracted food poisoning this morning . . .


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