24 February 2009

Kim vs. The City of Chicago

So the City of Chicago's excellent customer service is of course world renowned. Once I called to try and pay the bill for our building's water service and they threatened to call the cops on me. But that's another story. This one also involves the police, but it has pictures!

A few days ago, I was driving under a bridge, as is my custom. I was peering through the darkness towards the light at the other side, but unbeknownst to me, directly in my path lay a Car-Devouring-Pothole-Of-Epic-Proportions. About 4 feet long, 1-2 feet wide, and 8 inches deep. Here is Mr. Pothole.

My car hit the edge and the two passenger side tires exploded. Here are the Ol' Exploded Tires.

About 30 seconds after my incident, a car behind me did the exact same thing, and in the next hour, a total of 4 cars are parked on the side of the road.

One of us wisely says that if we're going to get the city to help pay for the damage, we have to get a police report. So we call the police.
Police: "Oh. That's not an emergency. We don't come for that. Call 311."

So we call 311.
Us: "Hi. Our car was just damaged by a giant pothole, and there are at least 3 other people who've also hit it."
311: (pause) "So what do you want me to do about it?"
Us: "Well... we need to get a report so we can file a claim with the city, and you should probably send someone over to set up a barricade or something."
311: "We can't help you with claims. You need a police report. But here's a number to call."

So we call the number.
Number: "To find out more about exciting events in Chicago this summer, press 2!"

Finally a cop drives by and we flag him down. "It's not that bad. I've seen worse," he says, while tires explode in the background. He doesn't write reports for potholes, he says, but he gives us a number to call.

So we call this number.
Number: "To find out more about exciting events in Chicago this summer, press 2!"

We finally give up on this and get ourselves towed away and everything fixed up, for a grand total of $300. Here's a picture of that:

Now begins the real fun.

I go on the City website to get the claim form. This is what I discover:
1. The form must be typed and mailed in. Only, there isn't really a form. Just a poorly formatted online fill-in-the-blank that can neither be submitted online NOR printed out without erasing the answers. So I guess you have to print it out and feed it into an actual typewriter.

2. You must include with your claim two written estimates of the cost of repair as well as your paid bill. So... once you have made the repairs, it seems that you must drive around and ask people how much it costs to make the repairs.

3. You must include with your claim.... a police report.

So I call the police.
Police: "You don't need a police report."
Me: "Well, it seems there's some confusion about that."
Police: "We don't do potholes."
Me: "Well, what else should I use to prove this happened?"
Police: "You need a reference number from 311."

So I call 311:
Me: "I need to get a reference number for a pothole incident so I can make a claim."
311: "No you don't. You need a police report."

And that's when my head exploded, just like my tires. The end.

20 February 2009

Overheard at the Old Job (R.I.P.) - Part 2

Since you (yes, all 3 of you) seemed to enjoy the last installment, here are a few more "overheards." This time, we're moving on to employees. This woman is one of the most kindhearted, giving, impossibly cheerful, and puzzling people I've ever met.

Story #1:

Maria comes into work and announces that she lost $20.
Kim: Oh bummer! What happened?
Maria: I think I dropped it. But it's okay. Last time it was $600.
Kim: What?!
Maria: Well, I put it in my pants and it fell out.
Kim: You put it in your pocket?
Maria: No. In my pants.
kim: Like, IN your pants?
Maria: Yeah. I don't have pockets.
Kim: Uh... so you just shoved it in the waistband?
Maria: Well I put it in a napkin first!
And she continues, "So i decided to go to Walmart. And I was walking around... and I felt something fall, and I looked down. But it was a napkin, so i thought - oh it's just a napkin. And i didn't want to pick up a dirty napkin."

Let me recap. The woman has SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS in a napkin shoved in her pants. And she FEELS THE NAPKIN FALL. And she leaves it there. Because WHO WANTS TO PICK UP A DIRTY NAPKIN?

Story #2:
So Maria is at the computer typing and moaning.
Kim: Uh Maria, are you okay?
Maria: Nuuhhhoooohhh. (but still staring at the screen, not moving, continuing to type fervently)
Kim: Well you can go walk around if you want. Maybe get some pepto bismol?
Maria: Uuuuggghhhh.
Kim: Really, it's okay if you want to leave the office for a while.
Maria: Uuuugghhhh.
Kim: Wow. Really hurts huh?
Maria: Lifting up her shirt and rubbing her plump but completely normal mid-section, "Yes!! Just look at it!!"

(I later asked why she thought her stomach hurt, and she told me it was because she ate tomatoes on Tuesday.) (Three days ago.)

15 February 2009

Overheard at the Old Job (R.I.P.)

Hi folks. Kim here. So I was just cleaning out my old drafts folder and came across a message that I'd use to keep a running record of things I overheard at my old office - specifically comments from my boss, Barb. And I just need someone to share them with.

* * * *

(Friday morning, and Barb is preparing to use our weekly team meeting to show us how to make one of those paper finger games that you used to play in 4th grade.)
Barb: "We're going to use it to learn something."
Employee: "Like how to teach letters and numbers and colors!"
Barb: "No. Something better than that. That's boring."

* * * *

(Regarding mentoring and training employees.)
Thursday: "You can't teach anyone anything by just handing them the manual."
Friday, while distributing manuals: "You should all read this. I'll copy it. Just read this and then you'll understand."

* * * *

(After a particularly convoluted monologue by Barb to the employees.)
Employee: "I'm feeling confused."
Barb: "That's how it gets this time of year."

* * * *

(Regarding a job applicant who has her M.Ed. in English instruction)
"I was really impressed! She understood everything I was saying, even though she's from Poland!"

* * * *

(Regarding another African American job applicant.)
"Oh, she's quick. She's got street smarts. She's learned a lot from life out there on the streets."

* * * *

(Regarding a school principal named Mr. Kim who was not returning her calls.)
Barb: "It's because of his culture. They don't care about family over there."
Kim: "Where is he from?"
Barb: "Probably Asia."
(Turns out he was on vacation.)

* * * *

(Regarding an employee.)
"The thing is, she's from Michigan, and from a certain area, and I've learned - Michigan women have a certain way of doing things. And they want it done that way. They're very controlling."

* * * *

Under the category "Unprompted, Random and Abrupt":
1. Walks in the room and declares, "By the way, Willis is getting fur."
(Sorry, were we talking? And do I know this "Willis"?)

2. Phone rings, I answer, Barb - phoning from the room next door - says, "What video thing?!" (I don't KNOW "What video thing..." YOU'RE the one calling ME!)

3. Standing by the copier, exclaims to no one in particular, "Special ed. Those teachers make a lot more money than you or I. $80,000! Ha ha ha!"

* * * *

Oh, how I wish I had recorded the hundred bazillion more...