“Mark!” you ask. “What is like being you on a day-to-day basis? I’m just dying to know!”
Well, Random Citizen, I’ll tell you. It depends on the day of the week. Normally, on Sundays, I go to Mass (9 or noon, depending on which Sunday it is since Mass is carefully portioned out during pandemic). Then, we come home, have lunch and do such things as nap, take walks or watch an old movie, a process that includes squeezing Jan’s feet, because that’s wonderful.
Mondays I normally have a post up from Saturday and spend the day posting more stuff for the week. This past Saturday, I failed to post anything for Monday–a huge mistake–and when Monday came around I spent the entire day trying desperately to get money to my friend in the Gambia so that this kid could get heart surgery:
We had put together a GoFundMe on Twitter last Friday and I was astonished at the generosity of my readers. It was all done by Sunday, so I was eager to get the money out the door so this kidlet and his folks could be on their way to Spain for the surgery. Having $3000 of other people’s money is a lot of pressure on the conscience, so I was in a hurry to kick the money forward to the kid’s family.
It was an utter failure, made worse by the fact that when I hit send on Western Union, I then went joyfully to Twitter to tell everybody the money was sent, only to be notified shortly thereafter that WU declined the transaction, apparently because they decided they were smarter than me about where I should send my money.
So the whole day yesterday was spent in an endless round of phone calls, requests to speak to managers (in the worst Karen style) and insanity-making frustration with a series of English as a Second Language functionaries who sent me to phones that rang eternally with no one to answer, hold music that eventually hung up on me, or incompetents who took hours to process my requests, only to inform me again that they declined my request. I was promised return calls that never came (twice). I was told I needed to talk to my credit card company to release the funds… then declined again. I was told I had no right of appeal. And no matter how much I begged and pleaded, explaining that this is matter of life and death, a company which literally only exists to move money around the planet swiftly could not be persuaded to do so.
It was, surely, one of the circles of hell.
What I found out about myself was that existing in a state of frustrated fury for 10 solid hours is not 100% fun for me. I hated that I felt that way. I hated that I took it out on sub-minimum wage functionaries. I hated the company for treating me so consistently like a piece of crap all day long. I hated them. I hated me. I was angry at God for not making some miraculous way to Part the Red Tape so I could walk through and get this stupid, simple task done. I hated the enemies out there who watch my every move in cyberspace, and who I imagined I could feel breathing down my neck, eager to accuse me of somehow running some vague scam involving Africa, as so many scams seem to be. I hated all the other companies I tried (APS, WorldRemit, Moneygram, etc.) to get the money through and who all denied me too. By the end of the day, utterly defeated and discouraged, I gave up somewhere around 7 or 8 PM and just hated everything. It was a soul-crushing day.
So I went out to tell my woes to the fam and was given wulla wullas by Jan and a hug by Peter. Then, too exhausted to make something, I just opted for Mickey Ds, then came back and watched some TV while squeezing Jan’s toes (a very soothing thing).
Eventually, my eyes got heavy and I sagged into bed, where just the feel of the woman I love most in all the world next to me was healing and consolation and I fell asleep till morning.
This AM I got up and tried again. This time going straight to the bank to wire the money.
Again, I failed, but not completely. The guy laid down certain conditions for information he wanted to see before he wired the money. So I have gone back to my contact to get that info. He is eight hours ahead, so it is nearly midnight there right now. Tomorrow he will go get the info so as to provide irrefutable proof that this is not a scam, I am not a complete idiot, and I have the right to send this money where it needs to go.
And that is some of what it is like to be me.