Education: It ain’t like it used to beBottom Highlights, Bill's Briefs Thursday, January 26th, 2012
Social Chaos: Bill's Briefs
My expectancy of a certain level of general knowledge is too often sadly unmet as happened this morning with a call to an un-named international airline to change the layover time on a United flight from Tokyo to San Diego via San Francisco. There was only a one and a half hour layover before departure to San Diego.
I told the staffer that was not enough time, but she replied her book says a one hour interval is enough. After I mentioned immigration, customs, baggage and walking to the other end of the airport, she graciously conceded. She clicked away for a few minutes and then cheerfully suggested a flight with a three hour layover. “Great,” I said. Fine, she would book the flight to San Diego via Newark.
Newark? Yes, Newark as in New Jersey. Again I apologized (don’t want to upset them) and explained my silly reason for objecting. Finally with politeness and no drama (my tongue was ablaze with incandescent flames of sarcasm), I got a flight with a four hour layover.
My point being the staffer was not even in this hemisphere and so could be excused for not understanding the finer points of geography – if you consider a 6,000 mile detour a finer point.
Next I called my un-named cell phone company asking about Verizon’s policy on blocking unknown callers and annoying text ads, called third party contacts. Easily done it seems, but you have to ask and give careful instructions for each type of blockage so there are no “misunderstandings” (which are invariably to their advantage).
I was told I first had to choose a PIN number and the answer to a secret question. I rejected the deviously clever suggestion of my mother’s maiden name in favor of my favorite vacation spot. I said, “Japan.” “Fine,” she said, “How do you spell that?”
I quietly and politely told her (don’t want to upset them) and got the blocks. Here’s the point; I was talking to someone not in Mumbai, but in Georgia – not of the former USSR, but as in peaches.
Shaking my head I took myself downtown to a popular music store. My Japanese partner is fond of the music of Stephen Foster whose songs like “Beautiful Dreamer” are widely known and sung in the schools. I approached the charming tattooed and ear-plugged salesperson and asked if they had any Stephen Foster albums. He replied, “What does he play?”
I smiled (don’t want to upset them) and explained he was a composer and lyricist and if he looked him up on the machine, he’d be surprised at his output. He did and he was. We had a nice chat and he said he’d listen to a track or two. I had no idea what track he was talking about, but learned there was nothing in the store (Imagine!), so I ended up ordering an album, I mean disc by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, another new name for him. He mentioned a blue tube something, but I said I wanted a real disc. He seemed to find me as amusing as I did him, so all was well.
The day’s lesson was well-learned; keeping calm, staying polite and smiling will successfully get you through most situations.
A day in Old Town
Recently my Japanese partner of 37 years and I joined some friends and enjoyed the wide variety of gift shops, colorful displays, music and food of Old Town and its adjoining streets.
We strolled through the preserved buildings imagining life 150 years ago. Many places were the focus of our attention with those of particular interest being the restaurant, jail, barber shop and huge stable with its interesting second floor.
The recently re-opened hotel welcomed us for lunch and anyone who just wanted to come in and admire the beautifully renovated bar, saloon and dining areas.
We took a long time strolling through the restored Casa de Estudillo.
The Wells Fargo building has an authentic stagecoach as a marvelous exhibit showing how people were crammed into tiny spaces.
As for gay or lesbian activity, I don’t think there was much going on back then, at least none that anyone would talk or write about and it looked like that was true today.
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