Pubic Transportation

I used public transportation all the time when I was in England. I had to, since I wasn't about to rent a car and drive on those ten-foot-tall-hedge-lined half-a-line-wide things they call "streets." It was cheap (although not as much as it used to be now that the pound is the highest its ever been against the dollar in my lifetime. Awesome), convenient, and reasonably easy to navigate as long as you can understand the thick Welsh accent of the old woman you have to ask for help. I came home to LA inspired. It, too, has a public transportation system. I would use it, and not only would I save money by not having to buy wicked expensive gas, but I'd also be helping to save the Earth.

I'm sad to report that this has been a disaster. While part of me enjoys the thrill I get from not paying for the subway (stations are unmanned, so you're pretty much on the honor system when it comes to buying a ticket. If you get caught without one, it's a $250 fine and 48 hours of community service. I am fully prepared to make a run for it if I get stopped by the Metro police. Even if they catch me, it promises to be exciting!) after Los Angeles has ripped me off so many times for so much money, the fact is that the subway comes every 12 minutes during the day and every 20 minutes at night. You miss the train and you're stuck waiting 20 minutes for the next one in the bowels of the faultline-ridden earth, surrounded by the colorful folks who either take the subway or just like to hang out in the station all day, and with no Metro authority around to protect you from them. Not only that, but the stations are so far apart that you'll probably end up walking another twenty minutes to your destination. And that's if the train goes to where you're going at all. If you're heading to somewhere that isn't the Valley, downtown, or Hollywood Blvd, then it isn't.

Today I tried the buses. They go everywhere and run all the time, based on their heavy presence on the streets. My trip to the gym began at 5:10 pm as I waited at the DASH stop. The DASH line only costs a quarter and it stops right in front of my building and pretty close to my gym. DASH likes to brag about how it comes every thirty minutes. A half an hour is a long time. They shouldn't be proud of that. They should be ashamed. If I have to wait thirty minutes for a bus to arrive, I might as well walk to the gym. The bus was ten minutes late arriving and it took almost an hour to get to the gym, a mere two miles away. During this hour, I came to a realization: I hate people. I hate being surrounded by them and I hate that there are like twenty open seats on the bus but they all have to sit next to me. Go away, people! I really took the ability to lock my car doors and keep people several feet away from me for granted. Not anymore. And, of course, on-board entertainment was provided by a screaming child whose parents must have been deaf because they didn't tell him to shut it once. Deaf, and fucking rude. Surrounded by screaming children and several examples of why Riding the Bus With My Sister could be a completely true story, I decided that whatever I have to pay to drive my own car is totally worth it and that I fucking hate the Planet Earth and want it to die, die, die. Which means that bus ride turned me into one of the Captain Planet villians. I hope I'm Dr. Blight and not the pig guy.

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Dr. Blight was a lot cooler before I found this picture of her on an erotic site for cameltoe fetishists.

Time Warner cable stopped by my apartment today for the service appointment that I could have sworn I cancelled yesterday. I told them to fuck themselves and their shitty service, ha ha! That felt good at the time, but now I have to rely on the coffee shop internet again, which means I have to listen to the weird bald guy tell anyone who will listen about how he's from England when I'm pretty sure he picked up a fake accent from watching A Hard Day's Night several times.

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I Am Sick Of Paying For Things That Suck

Who isn't?

But now that I'm back from England and have little money to spare (the trip was worth every penny ... but it was a lot of pennies), it's time to do something about it.

First off, Time Warner cable can kiss my ass. The internet is down yet again and they didn't have time to stop by my apartment for the third time in as many months to fix it until Tuesday, which was a good five days away from when I originally called. UNACCEPTABLE. I refuse to wait another day for the internet service I am paying for to actually work! I told them if they didn't come by on today then they shouldn't come at all. They did not come by today. I cancelled my internet and downgraded my cable service (see you later, "choice tier" that was costing me five dollars a month and included channels I did not and never will watch like American Country Classics Game Show Channel, whatever that is). I will, however, keep the variety tier because it has the Hallmark Channel on it. But the second Hallmark stops showing Walker, Texas Ranger, I am OUTTA THERE!

Second, Progressive Insurance continues its reign of suck that began when a tow truck broke my car and they made me do all the work to get compensated for the repairs. Now, okay, yes, this accident was my fault. I was at a cheap gas station waiting for a pump to open up. When it finally did, I went to back into the pump, only to see a white Volvo out of the corner of my eye also making its way for the pump I was in line for. In my zeal to get to the pump first, I may have backed into another car and sort of ripped its bumper off. I swear, I looked behind me before I backed up. But I was looking at the Volvo while I backed up instead of behind me and a car appeared out of nowhere and I hit it. I thought I hit it pretty lightly, since I heard the accident before I felt it and my car's damage consisted of a scratch, but there was the other car's bumper lying on the ground with a big red streak on it that matched my car's paint exactly. I don't know how to explain the disproportionate level of damage between the two cars, especially when my car is a Ford Focus and thus I would expect it to crush like a soda can under the slightest of pressure. So you can imagine what a pleasant surprise it was that it held strong like a champ! That, of course, was followed by the rather unpleasant surprise that Nissan apparently makes their cars' bumpers out of styrofoam and thread. Thin thread. By the way, that white Volvo sped away without getting any gas after the accident. I hope it ran out of gas in a desolate area. Stupid Volvo.

Anyway, this is the first car accident I've ever been in and only the second time I've had to use the insurance I pay out my ass for. I was rather underwhelmed to find that Progressive's investigation into the accident consisted of getting a vague idea of the driver's first name ("Claudia" apparently doesn't have a last name. Like Cher, except that Claudia is uninsured, possibly unlicensed, and probably illegally in this country), a vague idea of how many people were in the car (I saw two people in Claudia's car. Claudia's husband, who apparently speaks for Claudia when it comes to insurance matters, told the adjuster there were four people in the car. Hmm. I assume Progressive has reported this two invisible people phenomena to the proper scientific authorities), and a vague idea of who was actually driving in the first place. Claudia's husband told them that he was driving. He wasn't even there when it happened, let alone driving -- Claudia called him on her cell phone and he came over to assess the damage and get my insurance info. I then drove over to the nearby gas pump that I was trying to get to when the accident happened in the first place and filled my tank while Claudia, her husband, their daughter, and those two invisible people stood around the Nissan and its now indepedant bumper. That was kind of awkward. When I told Progessive that Claudia's husband wasn't even there when the accident occured, the adjuster said that Claudia was an "excluded driver."

Then my insurance adjuster called. Kiant told me that he was having trouble determining what the damage to Claudia's car was, as her husband's knowledge of English did not seem to include "the bumper fell off." He was also having trouble figuring out what Claudia's last name was. This does not seem like a very difficult detail to determine, but maybe it is. I'm not an insurance adjuster.

So then I guess Claudia's husband called Kiant and said that he wanted to un-involve the insurance companies that he called in the first place and just have me pay out of pocket for the damage. Kiant called to relay this information to me. Unfortunately, he failed to get any additional information from Claudia's husband, such as: what Claudia's last name is, if she's insured, if she's a licensed driver, how many people were in the car, how much the damage they want me to pay for out of pocket will cost, why I would pay out of pocket when my insurance will cover the entire expense with no deductible, or why I even have insurance in the first place if the only time I need its services, they're recommending I pay out of pocket instead. I told Kiant to please call back with the answers to these questions. Instead, he has, without my knowledge or agreement, paid out $700 to Claudia for the damage. Thanks for that, Kiant. It's not like I don't want to pay Claudia -- the accident was my fault, I screwed up, I should pay. I just don't understand why Kiant can't do what has to be his job and get some necessary details and my consent before making decisions like that. Because you know who's going to pay for it in the end? Me, when my rates go up.

OR WILL THEY?! Because as soon as I get a chance to chat with Kiant and wrap the matter up, I'll be giving one of those insurance companies that always leave fliers in Spanish on my windshield. My five years of shitty high school Spanish taught by shitty teachers, approximately four years of which I slept through, taught me enough to read that they are offering car insurance for only $20 a month! I doubt they'll be very helpful if I ever have a claim, but Progressive is just as sucky and I'm paying a lot more for that. Adios, Progressive! Hola, seguro de autos! I'd give you upside exclamation points, but I don't know how to do them in blogger.

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