Thursday, March 28, 2013

There's Always A 'Good' Reason For A Bad Policy

We make you wait.™
My days (and to a lesser extent my nights) revolve around METROLift now. I'm always scheduling tomorrow's trips (always tomorrow's; that's the only choice because that's as far ahead as they let you schedule), waiting for a lift (they claim they aim for 90% on-time service; in my experience it's more like 90% late) or checking the increasing lateness of the trip I'm waiting for using their telephone service (lots of fun, as I dial endless digits on the microscopic buttons on my old cell phone to operate their MACS system to find out how much later they will be than they advertised when I first scheduled a trip). METROLift absorbs my life.

Bag it and go?
NO! Hell no!
Today I shall make my first attempt to go to my Post Office box. It isn't far, but it wasn't on the MACS web site's dropdown list, so I had to phone a human at Metro, always a chancy business. I managed to add the PO's location to the list just fine, then asked if there was a provision (as I had been told by one of the drivers) for an errand that was just a five-minute dash: go to the PO, dash in, dump mail from the box into my sack, dash out and get back on the lift. NO, said the very young man on the phone... the minimum time between trips is 45 minutes, and would you like to schedule your return trip?

This will not be easy. This Post Office (like most of them, come to think of it) has no seats in the lobby. So I shall stand with my walker for a minimum of 45 minutes... probably a half hour beyond that, considering METROLift's record of lateness. I don't mean to complain, but that is flat-out unreasonable to expect of a disabled person. I said as much to the very young man on the phone; he launched into a rambling explanation of why it had to be that way... all bullshit, of course. So I shall spend much of the rest of the day nursing my sore foot and stump, all to satisfy a bureaucratic mandate. Welcome to 21st-century America; enjoy your (far too long) stay!

UPDATE: ah, what an optimist I am. The ride home, scheduled for 45 minutes after my (theoretical) arrival time, was actually 1:30 afterward. Yes, an hour and a half. I did not have to stand up that entire time: the cookie shop next door to the PO allowed me to sit at one of their outdoor tables unmolested, and didn't even pressure me to buy a cookie. There are still some decent people in the world.


  1. Ah yes, life in Dog-eat-Dog-land. If you're not young, healthy, and productively employed you should just be grateful for what dregs get tossed down to you by your betters. At least, that seems to be the mentality at work here. I can't tell you how many times I came across people in so-called "helping" professions who viewed their clients as just a bunch of useless trash who should just be grateful for the pitifully few resources that the charity or state allotted them, nevermind if said allotments cause horrific inconveniences and outright suffering. We all get there eventually where we're in your shoe(s?), and I'm not looking forward to it :(.

    1. BadTux, the thing that astonishes me is how few young, healthy and productively employed people realize just what a hair's breadth separates them from a life like mine. I was successful in a well-paid profession until five years ago. The economy and my age combined to render me unemployable even as a contractor, and the road downhill has been a steep one, traversed quickly. And when I finally met the dysfunction that finished me off, I was very fortunate to be on my lady love's insurance policy, fortunate also that she changed from government employment to a private company that will insure domestic partners. This could all have been much worse.

      Even so, it's as if someone punched a large hole in the bottom of my financial bucket. I had a great life as a working contractor, earning plenty to party as desired AND put some away for later. But "later" came sooner, and there isn't much of a safety net. If I had truly scrimped and saved as much as I could, I'm not sure I could have put away enough to live a long life at a decent standard of living: the system just doesn't support such a thing.

    2. Oh yeah... I do have two shoes. They're even a matched pair, and if I wanted different shoes, I could buy them off the shelf. And my right "foot" is a mirror image of my natural left foot, because it was done from a cast of the natural foot, reflected (how? I don't know) left-to-right.

    3. Welcome to the world of Social Services. Try applying for food stamps in CA. They do FBI, fingerprints invasive interviews to make the most needy and desperate feel like criminals. The long endless lines of single exhausted mothers and unruly children children remind one of Russian novels.

    4. karmanot, this year is my year to apply for Social Security. Actually it's a year early, but all things considered, I'd better do it. I do not look forward to the process. At least I don't have to worry about the FBI: with my political background, I have a feeling they've long since investigated me already.

    5. Steve, I had to apply early too. But, I swear I did it on line.

  2. Makes me want to pitch in to buy you a tank .. with a handicap sticker, of course, so you can do your errands in style, and get immediate service while you're at it. Hope all goes well.

    1. ellroon, make it a compact tank that gets good gas mileage... I'd only take such a thing if I could avoid serious environmental damage! :-)

      METROLift is not intrinsically flawed, and my sense is that everyone working for them is trying their best to do what must be done. The problem may be budget, but BadTux is probably also right that the people in charge don't comprehend how their house servants get to work, let alone what a cripple's life is like.

      Even I didn't fully understand that until my first experience with disability a few years ago. And there's still some hope that I may drive again, possibly not all that long from now. But with Stella disabled as well, it's pretty rough getting around... even simple things like grocery shopping become serious obstacles to an even minimally decent life and living. And neither of us is overwhelmingly crippled. I'm always astonished how often I encounter the "git along, little dogies" attitude: "It's your misfortune, and none of my own." I can only shake my head; I was never like that when I was healthy. That attitude is not "conservative": it's cruel.

    2. This stuff drives me crazy. I can't stand for very long these days, even with a cane. Places like stores get me panicking trying to find seating. I finally located the patio furniture in Costco----and found there a clot of white hairs. We all agreed that it was nice of Costco to give us a senior center.

    3. karmanot - :-) My impressions of Costco compared to, say, Mall-wart, are mostly positive. They have Costco stores in Houston, but not close to me, so I seldom shop there. Maybe I'll have to make a point of going to one now.

    4. Costco also has numerous taste stations, so that folks on SS can get a free brunch with some ingenuity. These bites give one enough energy to make to one end of the big box to the other.

    5. karmanot, for a vegetarian like me, TANSTAAFL... there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. :-) But I do appreciate Costco's good attitude, to the extent any big box has a good attitude.



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