November showed up at the front door this morning, and I had to let it in. This year it brought more crap than usual.
There’s the traditional baggage, of course — gray skies … more darkness … the furnace kicking on … post-marathon depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder … raw, rainy days and the promise of snow and slush and ice.
November 2014 not only checked those bags through, it brought a carry-on — an overstuffed box of frustration I want to return to sender. Here’s what’s in it:
Human error: I sent a 2-day priority box of birthday presents to my son on the West Coast. It was expected to arrive the day before his birthday Oct. 30. But a postal clerk here transposed the first two digits of the zip code (89 instead of 98). Somehow on Oct. 30 it was in a facility near him in Seattle, but on Oct. 31 it was at another facility in California. The bar code apparently is winning out over human eyesight. At least I can track its travels online.
Corporate bureaucracy: A national corporation — let’s call it Target — refuses to send me a letter verifying that on a certain date my girlfriend was added to my credit card. We need this as a proof to add her to my health insurance policy as my domestic partner. We have all the other proof we need that we live together, but Target’s refusal will delay this and cost her hundreds of dollars.
Technology: The company I bought virus protection software from in 2013, Avast, automatically renewed it and billed my credit card $53. I did not want this; my habit is to not do any automatic renewals. I tried to get a refund, but failed. Now I’m getting notices on my screen that my “free” protection is about to expire.
I know these are all first-world problems, and I am trying to reframe them to keep things in perspective. Stuff happens. I can forgive the postal clerk for typing too fast, and I’m confident the birthday presents will get there … eventually. The corporate intransigence and “technical difficulties,” however, are inexcusable. I will keep after them.
And now to reframe: Yesterday I had the privilege of taking part in a Halloween parade at a children’s hospital. A lot of very ill children who couldn’t go outdoors were able to go trick-or-treating inside the hospital.
I’m sure they, and their families, would love to have my “problems” instead.