Thursday, February 24, 2011

Online Dating Disasters 1

Online dating has become shockingly accepted as a method of meeting other people over the last decade. I recall, in 2002, doing some research about the behaviours of men and women in adult chat rooms, and I clearly remember that online dating was considered especially taboo...something that only losers and social outcasts did. But today, it seems like just about everyone has gone on dates with someone from the internet. I'm forever hearing stories about people who my friends have met from the world wide web. Sadly, the majority of those stories aren't positive experiences.
Recently, I thought it might be fun to invite friends to share some of their experiences in the online dating arena. Several of my female friends said they would be happy to provide me a blurb about something bad or hilarious that happened to them as a result of online dating. Sadly, after about a month of waiting on people to submit their stories, only three people have come through. Better three stories than no stories though. Without further adieu, I present three tales of online dating. These are not written by me, and were copied and pasted, so I apologize for any formatting errors. If a story feels too long, just scroll down to the next and don't complain to me about it! Enjoy!:

1.    I have so many stories I could tell about my worst or funniest experience in meeting men from the internet.  I have met my fair share, let me tell you.
I had talked to this one guy a month or so and we exchanged pictures and what not.  All his pics were of him outside in the sun and he was always wearing sunglasses. I didn’t think anything of it at the time.
We met up one night at a Tim Hortons for the first time.  I walked in, grabbed a coffee, and saw a few people sitting there alone.  I looked around and he stood up. I was a little taken back when he stood because he really didn’t look like his pictures. When I got to the table, I looked closer at him. It turned out the guy was cross-eyed. AWESOME!!!
I didn’t know where to look. I couldn’t look him in the eyes for the whole hour and a half that I was there with him. Maybe it makes me superficial, but I mean at least be honest about it instead of putting someone in that situation without letting them know.  That was the last time I saw the guy…one of the funniest experiences I’ve had in online dating.

2.     The second entry was from a woman with borderline personality disorder. We were online buddies for a while. However, she became furious with me because I did not wish to date her or have any romantic involvement with her (she lives in Jasper, AB, which is ridiculously far away from me and she is mentally unstable) and she completely LOST her mind. She flipped out, made threats that weren't threatening to me, and went off in some nutter rant before swearing to never talk to me again. All I was thinking was "good riddance."
Anyway, the freak filed a copyright complaint about this entry because she wanted her contribution removed (I suppose just asking politely was not something someone so unstable could do). She provided this information voluntarily and thus gave me permission to post it, and her intellectual property has no copyright, so I was not actually in breech of anything whatsoever. Too bad, so sad. I could fight this by filing a counter claim, and I'm pretty sure I'd win, but this chick is legitimately crazy and will certainly just keep filing new claims. She's mentally ill, childish, and craves the drama. Therefore I'd keep having to battle over something so thanks. Besides, her story was actually boring as balls, so I'm happy to see it go. But she "wins" and her "copyright" story is being taken down from Blogspot. She can now sleep at night.
For the sake of completion, the story revolved around a her meeting some dude who she, after having too much to drink with him, went back home with and completely led on. Then, after getting him all hot and bothered, she pulled a block move. She has the right to do that, but from the tone of the story it's almost as though that was her goal, which is a really cruel thing to do. At any rate, he became an unreasonable dick about it. She overreacted, he overreacted, and the story was just a dragging tale about her adventure in leaving this guy's house. Yay. Enjoy the other dating stories I posted. They're funny at least.

3.        I never really dated anyone I met online. Perhaps this incident turned me off of the whole idea. I was 18 at the time.  The first message I ever received from (name witheld) was one asking me for my bra size. I should have known right then to not bother replying, but I was still pretty new to the whole online chat thing and so I replied. Not with my bra size, but something like what? or why? I can't recall how the conversation went from there but it evolved into a pretty normal conversation. We talked about our likes/dislikes,  what we did for fun, etc. Eventually we did meet in real life, only briefly tho because I was on my way into Cowboys to see some naked dudes dance around. So we continued our friendship for a few more months only online until around my 19th birthday. I was having a pretty good sized party and figured I would invite him since I considered him a pretty good friend, with potential for more and we had never really hung out so far. So he comes to my party and brings a virgin friend of his. The point of him being a virgin will be told soon in my story. So we drink, we have fun, and do all the other fun party things. It's my party so I'm cruising around making sure I socialize with everyone. At one point, I notice he's not with his friend, so I go talk to him and ask where his friend is. "I think he's talking to your sister somewhere" Well, that's not good. So ok, whatever, by this time I'm pretty drunk and starting to get touchy feely with pretty much anyone. At the time I was off again with my now-husband, so whatever. He was at the party, sorta, if you call holing up in the basement playing computer games being at the party.  So he sees me being flirty with people and naturally wants to be on again. So ugh, not what I want to deal with at my party but I try to talk to him just enough to keep him happy til Im not drunk anymore. So, next day comes. It was a Saturday. When (name witheld) gets home, he calls (or maybe it was online) and asks if I wanna be more than just friends. I say, look, I gotta think this over, cuz my on-off bf wants me back and it's just all too much for now. I say, Im staying at my friend's tonight. I'll give all of this a lot of thought and call you tomorrow night from work.
So, I give it thought, decide why not give this a little go and see what happens. I didnt have a cell phone yet so all my phone numbers were in a book in my bedroom. I call home and ask my mom if I can talk to my sister. I wanted her to go in my room and get his number so I could call him. My mom tells me that my sister isn't home. (Name witheld) had picked her up about an hour before I called. Uh what? (Side note: His virgin friend wasn't a virgin anymore when he was done "talking" to my sister at my party) I get his number from my mom and leave him a nice message about how if they were up to what I think they were up to, I was gonna bust some heads. They ended up dating for about a week. And yes, they slept together. His reason for calling her? He found about my sister and his friend and figured why not try his luck with her too. He would come take her out every couple months I think just to make me jealous? Yes, so jealous. I'm jealous of the burning you feel when you pee.  Him and I are still friends, but only online, and I still remind him why I can never be with him. So I wouldn\t call this a bad online dating experience, but perhaps a near-miss. 

There you go! Three stories about the pains of online dating. As more stories are given to me, I will post them to share with everyone. Partially for the sake of entertainment and partially as a warning as to what you all can expect to happen when you take the online dating plunge. See you next time!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bad Drivers Crack Me Up(date)

If you've been keeping up with my blog, you will have recently read my entry Bad Drivers Crack Me Up, in which I shared the traffic accident in which I was a victim. Well, the plot has thickened since that day so I thought I'd take a moment to fill everyone in.
About two weeks after the accident occurred, I received a call from a strange number. Considering I was expecting calls from insurance adjusters and the body shop, I figured it was one of those culprits. Shockingly, the person on the other end of the line was none other than the doofus who drove out of the alley and thus caused the accident. He told me in broken English that he was sorry for causing the accident and that he should have been looking before he pulled out of the alley. He also apologized for not being responsive when I asked him if he was all right, because he was dazed and confused after the crash. I would really like to believe that this gentleman was sincere in his apology, but sadly the timing of the call is suspicious. The day before the call, I spoke to the insurance adjuster person and she said she was going to contact this man's insurance company in order to get his statement. It is my assumption that he gave his statement, was told that he was at 100% fault, and decided he had better apologize. Whether he apologized because he was sincerely sorry or because he wanted to butter me up so I don't sue for personal injury is debatable. I choose to believe that he just called because he wanted to own up and take responsibility for his actions. I need to put more faith in people.
Anyway, that was the last I heard of this man. Later in the day, I received a call from my adjuster. She said that he was found at fault and so she would send the go-ahead to the body shop so I could book my car in to be repaired. Sadly, this whole accident thing is anything but easy. I received a call from the adjuster a few days after and she told me that the insurance company wanted to view the damages. I guessed that the other driver's insurance company wasn't accepting the estimate I received and they wanted to send someone to view the vehicle. My adjuster said that the viewing was to determine if the vehicle was a write-off or not.
When I got off the phone, I remember thinking to myself "no fucking way." There was no chance that I was going to bend over and let them write off my car. The problem here is that I already had damage from a previous rear-end collision, so my back bumper was all gibbled. Also I was a victim of a hit-and-run in which some asshole tore up my front left side. These damages would be deducted from the wholesale value of the car and thus increase the likelihood of a write-off. Clearly that is not fair, since the rear of the vehicle was already set to be repaired and the front left of the vehicle was going to be repaired simply by luck (the bumper damage on the right side resulted in the entire bumper needing replacement, so that damage on the left side would have to be fixed as a result).
At any rate, we set up a time for me to drop off my vehicle at the body shop and take a rental car until the adjuster could finish taking a look at the car. My adjuster told me that the rental car company would contact me to schedule a time for me to pick up a rental car. I received no call and therefore did not go to drop off my car on the scheduled day.
Days past and I called my adjuster to ask her WTF was going on. She said that I never showed up for my appointment and I told her that the rental car company did not contact me. This bitch then proceeded to tell me all matter-of-fact that I should have called the company when I did not receive a call. Well, that's a nice idea, but I was specifically told that they would call me AND I had no idea what company it was that would be renting me a car. This cow was unapologetic and treated me like I was a moron. That frustrated me and I got angry. I told her that I would reschedule for the next day and I would call the company myself to avoid another problem. She told me that the man who went to inspect my car was "upset" that my vehicle had not been left at the body shop. I then went off on her. I told her that the damage estimate was from a reputable body shop and that this whole "viewing" was nonsense and an utter waste of my time. It was then that she told me that "we" (referring to MY insurance company) had a right to view the car. What the hell? Why would my insurance company need to view the damage? I was found not at fault, so it is the other party's insurance company that must pay out for the repairs, no? I asked her why my insurance company needed to see the car and she merely spouted the bureaucratic "it's policy." Whatever. I told her that this accident was not my fault and I should not be so inconvenienced. This stupid ho replied with "Well, accidents are never convenient." Argh! Thanks for respecting your clients.
The call ended with my adjuster and I then called the rental company. Sadly, they closed before I would be able to drop my car off in the evening. I called my adjuster back and she told me the car had to be present at the body shop by 8AM the next day. I said "I'll see what I can do" and hung up. It was then that I realized that I was working late and did not feel like driving my car across the city to the body shop in the middle of Calgary's morning rush hour just to appease some assholes who are trying to screw me. I called the adjuster back yet again, but she did not answer. I left a message saying that I would have to reschedule the appointment as I would be unable to get my car to the body shop on time. I asked her to call me back and she did not.
That was yesterday. Today, I received a call at around 11:00AM from the body shop. The gentleman asked me where my car was, as an insurance company agent was present to view it. I had the gentleman put the adjuster on the phone and I apologized for the misunderstandings. He told me he was unable to contact my adjuster either. I told the dude that I would bring my vehicle right over for him to look at it, and I did. My politeness to the man resulted in an added bonus. He said that he was supposed to report the previous unreported damage on my car (from the hit-and-run) so that the insurance company could reduce the amount they are to pay for the repairs and make me have to pay out of pocket, but he would not bother since the section would be repaired anyway. That was awesome of him and I really appreciate it. And for the record, I was nice to the man because it wasn't his fault that my adjuster is a tool...not because I needed him to cut me a break.
Okay, so he looked at my car for a few minutes and sent me on my way. Now I need only wait for the body shop to schedule a booking for my car to be repaired. And all this in only three and a half bloody weeks. That's unacceptable time to wait just to get CLEARED to get a car repaired. Who knows when I'll get the booking. Who knows when I'll actually have my car in for repairs. Ridiculous! What do people do whose cars are rendered undrivable? Ugh. I hate insurance companies and their bullshit.

The insurance company is an evil beast. It's a business that should be working for the client and not the other way around. The amount of money I sink into my insurance company should entitle me to some respect and should prevent the wasting of my time, money, and energy in the event of an incident that was not my fault. Sadly, the insurance company looks out only for itself and has no scruples about screwing over its clients in order to save a buck. If only insurance was a highly competitive field, where the different companies were cutthroat in their race to be on top of the pack. Rates would go down and/or perks would go up. Suddenly the client would be of importance and would likely be treated like a person instead of a number.
Of course, in this perfect world, I'd look like Tom Welling and be worth billions. Ah, what a wonderful world it would be!

But things aren't so terrible. I spoke with my adjuster again after the vehicle was viewed. She apologized for the delay in responding to my voicemail from yesterday, though it was the phoniest apology I've heard in quite some time. She was unaware that the man had viewed my car and she said we would reschedule again. However, she said that this would be third time she had to schedule an appointment and would like to avoid doing so again. I asked "oh, is this inconvenient for you?" to which she said "it is when I'm busy, yes." My reply?

"Well, accidents are never convenient."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Flip Off

I don't like impatient drivers. They're such a detrimental part of any commute. That's not to say that it's acceptable to be driving well below the speed limit, but there's definitely no need to be speeding, weaving in and out of lanes, crawling at stop lights, or driving through road shoulders to get ahead.
When a driver is behind me and begins to ride my bumper or flash his lights to express his impatience and discontent with my driving the speed limit (or a reasonable speed for road conditions), I like to be a total asshole. I slow down or tap my brakes to trick the person behind me into thinking I'm actually fully braking so they brake hard. Once or twice I've been known to stop dead for several seconds just to teach the impatient person a lesson. The person generally becomes even more frustrated and angry, and that amuses me.
Good thing I don't live in Los Angeles. I'd be shot for sure.
Back in my pizza delivery days, I often had a copilot who would accompany me on my deliveries and keep me company. These copilots were just really cool friends who were either bored or wanted to spend some time out and about with me. On one night in question, my friend, who we’ll call Jenna for the sake of this blog entry, decided she would accompany me around town while I delivered orders. After picking up a delivery order from Boston Pizza at about 8PM (it was winter and thus dark out), I began driving through the parking lot to get back to the street. As I slowly maneuvered over speed bumps, a car popped up behind mine. After a few moments of speed bump trekking, the person behind me suddenly flashed their lights. I slowed down as I went over the first was my reason, of course. The person wasted little time before honking at me and flashing lights again. I rolled my eyes and commented on how much of an asshole the person behind me was. Without thinking, I defiantly raised my right hand so it was visible through my rear window and extended my middle finger straight up.
Oh yes, the middle finger. Such an offensive, crude symbol...a finger raised while the others are curled down. Oh the humanity of it all! You can ding my car and kill my dog, but please...PLEASE...don't flip me the bird!!!
Anyway, I pulled on to the road and drove away from the rude moron who was behind me. I laughed and discussed the jerk with Jenna for a few moments. At that time, Jenna's phone rang and she answered it. The person on the other end of the line was yelling so loudly that I could hear her through Jenna's phone. The person who called was Jenna's mother.
You see, as it turned out, the person who was behind my car a minute before was Jenna's mother. And she wasn't flashing her lights and honking her horn because she was impatient and angry at me. She did so to get Jenna's know, just for fun.
Well, after I threw my middle finger straight up at Jenna's mother, Jenna's mother became FURIOUS. Of all the people in Airdrie that I could have flipped off, I had to give the finger to the most histrionic personality in the entire city. She told Jenna that she was terribly offended that I gave such an offensive gesture and told Jenna that she never wanted Jenna to see me again. She said I was a total jerk.
Oh, and she also demanded...yes, DEMANDED...that I apologize to her.

Now let's get one thing straight. If I found out that I had accidentally flipped off Jenna's mother, I would have apologized. It was an accident. But after her mother completely lost all control and had a crazy dramatic spazfest over something so mundane, called me a total jerk, told Jenna not to see me anymore, and demanded an apology, well there was just no way I was going to oblige. It was no longer an apology because I made a mistake. It was now an apology to fuel a dramatic hissy-fit and so Jenna's mother would feel as though she "won." No fucking way.

I took Jenna back to her car after the delivery because Jenna's mother repeatedly called and told Jenna to come home. Jenna complied and I continued delivering pizzas and what-have-you solo.
As it turned out, Jenna's mother went on a tirade, stomping around the house and bitching and complaining about how she was so terribly wronged by me. And furthermore, the freaking out continued the next day, and the next day, and the next day. It was actually the better part of a week before I was no longer a major topic of conversation for this woman. She complained to her family, to her coffee pals, and to pretty much anyone who would listen. She even called my boss and complained about my behaviour. Jenna told me "you should just apologize," as did her father and brother. But I'm far too stubborn to give in and far too proud to go against what I felt was best.
Jenna complained from time to time for a YEAR after the incident that her mother still mentioned it from time to time. WTF? Who gets THIS upset about a middle finger? Who is so offended by something so lame that they don't let go after 12+ months? Well now I know. And to be honest, I don't think I've given any driver the finger ever since. It's just not worth the fallout. 

I leave it to my reader to decide whether I should have apologized or not. What do you think? Should I have sucked it up and apologized even if I didn't mean it? Or was I right to stand up for my principles? I personally think the best thing would have been to send her a picture of me...flipping her off.

Monday, February 14, 2011

All About Abbie

Blah. I wrote this entry when I really wasn't feeling it. Sorry if it's not up to my usual standards of awesomeness. 

Yep, I've had some bad experiences with women. Take a gander through my blog and you'll read the Stalker saga, The Girl With the Growth Balloon, and The Ginger Set-Up for some of the worst examples. However, these are stories in which I am a reluctant victim. Sadly, my dating life doesn't fare much better. In the last year and a half, I've dated several women that have run the spectrum from messed up to shockingly selfish and unstable to apeshit fucking nuts. Welcome, dear readers, to a nice example of the latter. 

In late 2009 (late October to be exact), I met a girl through a friend. Let's call her Abbie for the sake of this entry as I don't want to smear her by putting her real name. Abbie was quite pretty, well fit, and a good conversationalist. She also loved Big Bang Theory which garnished her a lot of points. I liked her. We got along well enough. We seemed to be compatible and had several interests in common, notably our love for psychology. Things were progressing fairly well. 

Then, about late November 2009, Abbie called me at around one in the morning. The conversation started out mundane enough...she was telling me about her day. But, after about fifteen minutes, something happened. It was like the moon came out and she transformed into some sore of werebitch. She began to argue against EVERYTHING I said. I mentioned that I wasn't looking forward to digging my car out of the snow the next day and she began to berate me for complaining about the snow too much (I think I mentioned my discontent for snow once since I had met her). She complained about how her ancient computer was not functioning properly and I suggested she invest in a new one...she, of course, flipped out because I didn't respect that she was on a budget and that "we're not all nerds, Dave." At one point in the conversation I innocently said that she was getting riled up over nothing and maybe if she relaxed we could have a better conversation, and she totally spazzed out on me and told me that I don't have the right to tell her what to do...yeah.
As the "conversation" progressed, Abbie broke down and began to sob a bit. She revealed to me that she suffered from a rich tapestry of mental disorders, most notably a severe panic disorder. She told me that she was being so antagonistic because she was afraid of getting serious with me due to her issues. Mission accomplished. I decided it was best that we just be friends. We'd been dating a month and I had little invested. I didn't want to have a messed up girl on my arm. Judge me as you will. 

So we were just friends. It was working well. We went out for coffee a few times and I helped her to buy a new computer (lawl). Then one night in the middle of December, she called and asked if she could come to my apartment to work on a final essay, as there was renovations occurring in her home (she lived with her mum and her mum's boyfriend) and could not concentrate. I was just doing some cleaning so I figured it would be all right. She came over and worked on her essay. For three hours she sat on my loveseat and worked on her essay while I cleaned and milled around the house for a variety of reasons. Then, at around 8PM while I was using the computer, she looked over at me and said:
"Wanna have sex?" 
I turned to her and said "pardon?" because I couldn't have heard her correctly. She repeated herself and as it turns out I did hear correctly. I laughed, thinking it a joke, and she then said she was serious. She said she was bored and horny and wanted to have sex with me. 
Oh, dear reader, I fought her off. I stood my ground and said no. I said that we were just friends so it would be weird. She persisted and after about the third time she asked, I was like "ah, what the hell." Shut up...she was hot. We ended up fooling around, but never went awl-da-way because of a lack of available protection. 
I understand. Too much information.
Anyway, once the fooling around had ceased, she decided she wanted to leave. She was acting really weird and I knew why. We breached the friend code and she was now weirded out. I helped her dust off her car of snow and sent her on her way home. All was well...until about an hour later when I received a barrage of text messages accusing me of taking advantage of her in her delicate state. What in the shit??? What delicate state? She seemed perfectly fine and then got all randy. But apparently I'm an evil guy who took advantage. 

I had really had enough of Abbie by this point. But I didn't tell her to go fuck herself. Why, you ask? Why wouldn't I get rid of her since she was clearly insane and had no value to me as a friend? Well, to be blunt, she had ordered me a cool Christmas present and I wanted it. Judge me as you wish...but you all know you would have done the same if the present was super cool! Now get bent. 

So I stayed her "friend" but carefully avoided interactions as much as possible. I did not see her in person again until we were to exchange gifts. This was in early July because my gift for her was late arriving. It was a vintage Strawberry Shortcake doll. I got it for her because when I first met her she had told me about how she was once in the hospital and the girl in the bed next to hers received a Strawberry Shortcake doll for a gift. Abbie wanted the doll too but she never ever got one. Abbie cried when I gave it to her, which was a bit of a scene since we were in a busy Subway restaurant. I got my present and was pleased. I then had to head out to work. She asked if we would hang out again soon and I said sure. 
I lied. 

I dodged her calls for about a week, but the call frequency began to increase. I was having terrible flashbacks to my stalker, so I decided to nip this one in the bud. I answered the phone one day and suffered through a conversation. In this conversation, I told Abbie that I believed that men and women should be prepared for the consequences of having sex...basically, no matter how safe they are and what they are using as protection, there's still a risk of pregnancy, and so before sleeping together, people should accept the responsibility of what could happen. The reason I said this was because Abbie was talking about her single mother friend who was bitching and moaning about how hard her life was and how her ex fucked off and left her with the kids. Sure, the guy is a total dick and should have stayed and been responsible. But my point was that she should have considered the possibility that she would be left alone to raise children before she decided have them. Abbie told me that her friend was knocked up on accident, and then I went on my rant about how adults should take responsibility for the possible outcomes. 
At any rate, Abbie flipped out. She first accused me of being unfair and saying that women should be responsible but men can be as flaky as they want (which was not even remotely true...I told her that both parties should accept responsibility). She refused to listen when I was correcting her. And then...oh, and then...
Abbie blurted out "so then you must believe that all the people who died in Haiti deserved to die because they should have accepted the consequences of living there." This was, of course, in reference to the January 12, 2010 earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince. 
Oh. My. God. I was seeing red. Not only was her argument illogical, but it essentially accused me of thinking it's fine that thousands of people died because they "deserved it." I was in a store and I still raised my voice on the phone. I told her off firmly and rudely. I explained that she was a fucking idiot because it wasn't the same type of thing at all...the people who live there were born there and many too poor or unable to leave even if they wanted to, the children who died didn't get to make the decision to live there or not, AND the occurrence of an earthquake in that part of the world was quite unlikely. It was not at all like a man and a woman consensually deciding to have intercourse without considering the possible consequence of a child.

Abbie was speechless. I blew her right out of the proverbial water and she had no counter argument. After a few moments of awkward silence, I told her that I was disgusted that she had the audacity to suggest I would think such a thing (about the Haiti disaster) and I told her that I wanted nothing to do with her ever again. I hung up and did not answer when she called back. 

I don't know why it is I attract the who's who of human crap. Perhaps it's because I'm a good listener and a safe target. Perhaps it's because I give off some sort of nuts-as-hell pheromone. Perhaps it's because I'm hot. But whatever the reason, I don't deserve it. Therefore, I must develop some sort of crazyspray that I can spray on people I meet. If the person on whom I spray the crazyspray starts to sing showtunes, I'll know they're crazy and get the eff out of there. So if there are any backwards-as-fuck chemists out there who are just mad enough to help me out, send me an email and we'll get this crazyspray invented and marketed. We'll be rich. 
Until then, I'll just have to assume crazy until proven normal. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Bad Drivers Crack Me Up

This one didn't bother to signal before pulling in front of me. That one stopped at the end of a merge lane. The other one is driving forty kilometers an hour below the speed limit. He's texting and not looking at the road. She's waiting until the last second to stop and breaking really hard. They're not leaving proper following distance, overestimating the amount of time they have to turn in front of oncoming traffic, and slipping through icy intersections because they aren't driving according to road conditions.

Every day it's something. Hell, it's everything. There are so many ignorant, thoughtless, and inattentive drivers, all with a sense of entitlement, with whom I have to share the roads. As a New Year's resolution, I decided I was going to try and calm down when other words, when someone fucks up or does something disrespectful, I was going to just let it go instead of getting mad. I was going to try and stop complaining so much, particularly about other drivers. I have noticed a marked decrease in the amount of complaining I do, and for the most part I don't miss it. However, when it comes to motorists, it's the hardest habit I think I've ever attempted to break. I think that is because these are heavy, serious complaints.Bad driving behaviours can lead to serious consequences.

Rewind to yesterday afternoon. I was on my way along 6th Avenue NE. I had just turned left on to the road, and so I was driving at about 30km/h (working my way to the 50km/h limit). Roads were wet from all the melting and it was about 9 degrees Celsius. I was about one hundred feet from the intersection when suddenly a silver Mazda 3 bolted out of the alleyway to my right. I yanked my wheel left to try and avoid a collision, but he was coming out too fast and his car ended up blocking essentially the entire road. I closed my eyes and BAM!

My front right smashed into his front left. It was over as quickly as it began. My car was still movable, so I pulled it forward and parked it. His vehicle was no longer mobile so it ended up sitting across the intersection. I got out of the vehicle and there were several routes I could have taken to approach him. I could have yelled and screamed, I could have threaten him, or I could have attacked him. But that's not the kind of person I am. The first thing I did was ask him if he was okay. All he did was rub his neck and moan. Was he serious? Was he playing the injury card? It was his fucking fault and he was trying to set up his injury story? Fuck off, you stupid prick.

I then saw the back door of his vehicle open and a woman exited the car...WITH an infant carrier. Just great. I picked up my phone and I called 911. I didn't have any local police numbers and there was a chance that there was an injured baby. The driver asked me who I was calling and I told him. He seemed shocked. I told him that the baby might be hurt and I had to call. The police were quickly dispatched and arrived within about ten minutes. I told the cop what happened and filled out my report. However, the other driver began to piss and moan about how it wasn't his fault. Fortunately for me, the points of impact and the location of his vehicle pretty much told the story of what happened.

My front bumper is now torn and useless. Headlight cracked and broken. Hood and fender dented and scraped. Thus, a bad driver cracked me up...har har har.
My arm is strained and my neck and part of my back sore. I cannot drive my car and it's going to take my valuable time and effort to take it in for estimates and get it fixed. And I deserve none of it. I'm being punished because some stupid asshole couldn't be bothered to look both ways before exiting an alley, nor drive out of it at a slow reasonable pace. It's jackoffs like him that make me so angry when I see people engage in bad driving behaviours. Because once in a while, those behaviours cause problems, often more serious than what happened to me.

So next time you're driving and you don't use your turn signal when  you should, or you're driving even a bit too fast for the road conditions, or you can't see who's coming, take a deep break and ask yourself what would Dave do? Perhaps if more people ask WWDD, there will be far fewer drivers on the road for me to complain about.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Education Brouhaha Explained

Over the last several years, I have been in a battle of sorts with my ex-post secondary institution (which, for the time, shall remain nameless). I have explained the situation to many friends and colleagues but I always seem to leave a piece of the puzzle out. Therefore, I thought I’d take a few moments and tell the entire tale to friends and random strangers alike so everyone can understand my frustration.

I obtained a Ba in Psychology a few years back from the school in question (which from this point forward will be called school Alpha). I will first admit that I regret taking this route. Originally I planned to transfer from school Alpha to another school (we’ll call school Beta) and get a Ba that way (as school B was a bit better recognized). However, my school introduced a new joint degree program with a third institution (which we’ll call school Gamma). I was hesitant to join the Alpha/Gamma degree as school Gamma was not as well known as schools Alpha and Beta. But peers and counselors at school Alpha all convinced me that it was a really good idea. I did like the idea of being able to finish my degree at school Alpha instead of having to transfer, as school Alpha was more relaxed and low-key than school Beta. As the program commenced, I learned that it wasn’t nearly as wonderful as I was led to believe.

All courses were taught at school A, but there were a handful of required courses that were offered only by school Gamma. So what happened was school Gamma provided the course curriculum AND the instructors. That doesn’t sound so bad…until you learn that the instructors provided, for the most part, had NO teaching experience! It was a travesty. There was one instructor who graded our first papers of the year and no one got above 80%. When we questioned why no one did well, she said that she did not give a grade higher than 80% on the first paper in order to motivate students to try harder for the final paper. Awww, how sweet. However, what the idiot instructor neglected to realize is that no matter how well we did on the final paper, we still could not ace the course. And to many of us, an “A” average was very important. Another instructor had her head so far up her ass that she absolutely refused to accept that her students may follow a different theoretical approach than her own, leading to her and me butting heads on a few occasions. A third instructor gave us a notes package and then basically read the notes day after day…why I bothered going to that class is beyond me. The list goes on, but you get the point. And to make matters worse, the school Gamma credits were not valid as school Alpha credits, even though the courses were taught in school Alpha! Ugh!

Anyway, once I had boarded the ship, it became harder and harder for me to bail. Fortunately, I completed the joint degree with something like a 3.8 or 3.9 GPA. It’ll do, piggy. It’ll do. I was satisfied for a time.

About two years after I completed my Alpha/Gamma degree, school Alpha began to offer its own degrees in psychology. More importantly, Alpha was offering an HONOURS degree in psychology. Since completing my degree, I had decided that I wanted to do more than counseling…I wanted to be a clinical psychologist and research cures for mental disorders instead of helping people one at a time. To enter the clinical stream of graduate studies (at least at school Beta), one must have an honours degree in psychology. Well, this was all like a wonderful dream. I already had most of the credits I needed for the honours degree through the same school, so I would save time and money. I figured I could get things back on track quickly and I’d be on my way to fulfilling my dream.

Things are never that easy though, are they? I went to school Alpha and applied, and was quickly accepted due to my GPA and my alumnus status. But when I went to register, school Alpha dropped the bomb on me. “You cannot have two of the same degree. You can’t enter the BaH program. Sorry, kthxbai.”

What? That didn’t make any sense. First of all, it’s not technically the same degree. One is a Ba and the other a BaH. Different. Second of all, what fucking difference does it make? Seriously, who cares if I have a Ba and a BaH both in psychology? It’s not like I could somehow commit career fraud or something. I was confused as to why I was being road blocked by something so nonsensical it bordered on ludicrous. When I asked for an explanation, the advisor told me she did not know. She recommended a person in the school with whom I could speak about the matter. Sadly, this person was also clueless as to why the rule was in place. I was passed on from person to person and to this day I’ve spoken to about a dozen different individuals at school Alpha and NO ONE has been able to explain why I cannot have a BaH in addition to a Ba. Also, all of these people were very “busy,” as it was often a couple of weeks before I could speak to the next person. Several said they would “look into” the matter before telling me they had no answers, and of course proved themselves unreliable as I had to initiate multiple callbacks just to get them to do as they promised. Nice.

Frustrated with the bureaucratic bullshit, I went over the proverbial head of school Alpha and I contacted the Minister of Education in my province. I received a reply not two weeks later that basically told me that the government had absolutely no authority over post secondary institutions because they are technically businesses and are free to set their own rules. The Minister of Education failed to provide any insight as to why I could not hold two psychology degrees though, which perplexed me. Surely the government would have knowledge of such rules?

I’ve kept on with the fight for so long, but it wears on me. I’m stuck with a dilemma. Three choices, all equal in their negative consequences (potential or actual).

1. Stick with fighting school Alpha. There’s no guarantee I’ll get my answers or get in. But if I am successful, it will be much less expensive than going to school Beta, as school Beta is more expensive per course and I can only take 20 credits when I transfer, whereas I have almost all the credits if I remain in school Alpha.

2. Go to school Beta via transfer and obtain my BaH there. More expensive, but that’s not really a big deal if it means I can get where I want to be. The major problem is I will likely run into the same roadblock as with school Alpha…”can’t have two of the same degree and we don’t know why kthxbai.” I plan to look into this issue early next week. If school Beta does not have such an asinine rule, I’ll probably just transfer and get on with my life the way I want.

3. Go to school Beta via psychology degree and enter the standard graduate studies program. It’s not exactly what I want to do, but at least I’d be moving forward and would still have the prestige of being a doctor of psychology. I’ve been told by a few people that if a student can get in good with a professor in graduate school, the student may be able to jump from the standard stream to the clinical stream. That’s a pretty big gamble though, especially since I’m not a butt-kisser.

I am so torn between these choices. I like the idea of #1 because it would be less expensive, expedient, and I HATE to lose. Idea #2 has merit because it technically could be worth the extra cost to not have to deal with the crap. Idea #3 kind of sucks, but if the schools won’t let me have two degrees in psychology, what else can I possibly do? I will also look into the possibility of rescinding my current degree so that I technically do not have two…but that’s iffy and it does make me uncomfortable (what if I eliminate my Ba and then I can’t get into a BaH program for other reasons?).

If anyone has any experience with this sort of situation and can offer some sort of insight, or if you have an opinion of which option I should stick with, please let me know. Any constructive input would help me worth through this extremely frustrating aspect of my life.