Archive | April, 2010

There Must Be Some Magic in That Old Trash Can They Found

30 Apr

April 30, 2010

So what could be so important that you’d go diving into a funky, rancid garbage can? Retrieve a lost mortgage payment? Rescue an abandoned baby? Japanese game show contest? Or maybe you’re just weird.

I was at the gas station today. Gas is back up to about $3 so I was wondering if I should fill it up or just stuff my wallet in the tank and see what happens. Well, I finally decided to gas up the car the traditional way, but I must be stupid because here I was, pumping gas like you regular schnooks, when I should have been rummaging around in the squalid garbage cans. (“Squalid.” Nice word, huh? I thank Douglas Adams for that word.)

There is a garbage can at either end of the gas island where I pulled up, and as I got out of the car I saw an old woman poking one of them with a long stick. (BTW- I once saw an old man poking an umbrella into a sewer during a flood, and I never found out why, though he eventually walked away and left the umbrella sticking out of the grate. ah, childhood memories. I was a strange kid.)

This woman was Chinese, anywhere from 65 to 165 years old and well dressed, with a fancy purple and gold sweater with some sort of lilies and chickens pattern, gold earrings, and think black motorcycle gloves like The Undertaker used to wear. Really, she over-accessorized. The gloves were just gauche. She was hunched over a short, thin garbage can and was furiously poking a tree branch up and down in the can, like she was trying to kill a possum.

I didn’t know what was going on. She was too well dressed to be looking for deposit cans, I thought, and anyway, these garbage cans are usually just full of empty bottles of STP or motor oil, maybe some greasy rags. (They are a fire waiting to spontaneously happen, just inches from the gas pumps. Feel safe now? Think about that when you gas up in the summer heat.) She was also carrying some plastic bags which seemed to hold nothing but square sheets of wax paper.

Eventually she gave up on the left-side can and went to the right-side can.

She hunched down over it.

I watched in extreme anticipation.

She peeked in.

Poke poke poke poke poke poke poke with the stick.


Poke poke poke.


I was still fueling up but I couldn’t stop watching. What was this mental case doing?

Ever ride on the highway and see a car accident on the other side? If you ride the Belt Parkway you see it every ten minutes. And what is with all the construction from Marine Park to Starrett anyway? Ugh. But as I was saying, there is an accident on the other side of the road and everyone slows down and rubbernecks (Frank Rizzo!) and soon the traffic is backed up on the SI Expressway and you’re late for an appointment and your boss is going to ream you out and you just know that – but I digress. Anyway, watching that crazy old trash-diving woman was like that. I had to watch. I was entranced. (I had time on my hands.)

 Good thing too, as soon she reached inside her sweater, around the breastical area, rummaged around, (it was oddly disgusting) and pulled out……

-just what you’d think; a large, glistening, stainless steel two-pronged steak fork, like from a barbeque set. It was about 18 inches long and beautifully clean. To see it you’d never know it spent all its life inside garbage cans and between the woman’s floppy bazooms.

She started using the fork to pierce various things out of the can (this can held more coffee cups than I would have guessed) and put them back in the can. Whatever she was on the hunt for, she was very specific about it. For example, she’d pick up and put back a sheet of snotty newspaper, yet put a seemingly identical piece of snotty newspaper between two pieces of wax paper in one of her plastic bags. It seemed to be one trash treasure per plastic bag.

By now my tank was full and I was just standing there, blatantly staring at her with an expression equal parts disgust and wonderment.

Eventually she straightened up, wiped the fork clean with a wet-nap she took out of her, er, let me just describe it and leave it to you: She reached inside her pants and pulled it out of her crotch.

Then she left the station, crossed against the light, and almost got hit by a bread truck.

I tossed some trash from my backseat (including, but not limited to, a Snapple bottle and an old Marketeer) and drove off.

What the Hell was she doing????

I love You Verizon, You Stupid A**hats. (UPDATED!)

26 Apr

April 26, 2010

I love Verizon, the giant corporate entity that consistently and completely fails to give me a strong cell signal, even when standing on one of the highest points in Staten Island with a direct line of sight to Manhattan. I’ve often thought that, with a good pair of binoculars, a partner, and some puppets, I could get better communication to lower Manhattan

I’ve avowed my love of Verizon before, notably here, but my love for them keeps growing, much like the fungus you find after a strong rain, so here is some more to keep you reading, or at least more to stare at while you more and more think about surfing for porn.

Last year I had to change my Verizon cell phone account. They had shut off my service for the indefensible reason that I had failed to pay my bill. Really, can you believe the nerve of them? Anyway, the phone was shut and to restore service I had to pay my bill in full, which I did. There was a reactivation fee but I managed to slip around it by opening a new account, which also made me eligible for some special offer of theirs. They would give me two lines, and I would give them more money. I thought it over and, tempting as it was, I declined. I kept my old phone number but got a new account number.

(I know what you are thinking. “Why,” you are thinking, “if he hates Verizon so much and gets such lousy service, does he continue using them as his cell phone provider?” The reason is that they give me a free phone every two years, and at the time of the cancellation I was only three months away from an upgrade. That’s why. And as for the other thing you are thinking, screw you too.)

Anyway, I paid them in full and they gave me my service back and everything was back to normal, meaning that I still get bad service but now I use that as an excuse as to why I don’t return anyone’s calls.

Then last month I got a bill to the old account, claiming that I owed them $20.41. How? I paid the account in full, and if I didn’t, they wouldn’t have let me open another account. The proof was in my hand. (My cellphone was in my hand. I don’t know what you were thinking, but it was my cellphone in my hand. Perverts.) Not that it worked very well. (STILL my cellphone. Get your mind out of the gutter.)

Since my online account and their automated phone help were linked to my new account, they were no help. And if you knew what I went through the last time I had to deal with a Verizon employee (did you click on the link above? I’ll wait. Here it is.) you’ll know why I didn’t even bother going down there and just cut them a check.

Fast forward to today, a month later, and I’m happy and about as well as can be until my two cell phone bills arrive.


Yes, two. My current bill (which is a full 20% taxes, thank you very much. 20%!) and a bill for my old account. Yes, the old which I had paid in full. Twice.

It was a bill for $0.01.

A penny.

They claim that I only paid $20.40, a penny less than they were owed. Do I have the stub to prove I paid the correct amount? A receipt? A cancelled check? A bank statement?

Of course not. So I sighed and wondered what to do. Send them a check for one cent? I’m pretty sure my bank will charge me some kind of fee. A money order? Pay 99 cents to send one cent? And waste a stamp? I couldn’t make an electronic payment as Verizon’s website links to my new account. This was a stupid as it gets.

Then it got stupider.

I looked a little more closely at the bill and, near the bottom, it said COURTESY BILL do not pay.

Rarely have I seen the words “courtesy” and “bill” together but there they were.

I think it would be more courteous to not send the bill and drop the whole matter, seeing as they do not want payment anyway.

They paid whatever printing and postage costs to send me a bill for one penny that they did not want paid in the first place. I’m sure Yogi Berra has a term for this.

So thank you Verizon, I love you. How can I ever think of leaving you? Where would my blog be without you?


April 29, 2010 

Just a few days later, those busy little angels at Verizon sent me this letter, with a bit of my editorializing added.

RE: Verizon Wireless Account Number ending with **** [my cancelled line]

Dear Customer.

Your Verizon Wireless statement is now available for viewing online.

Our records indicate that all wireless lines on your account have been disconnected. [Therefore my account is closed and there is nothing to see online.] While you can still view and pay your disconnected account online using My Verizon [There is no payment. The last bill was marked do not pay.] you will need to log in using your name rather than your former Verizon Wireless phone number. [I can’t. Everything is linked to my new account.]

Please note that any future bills will be sent to you in the mail. [So why the big push for me to view my bill online, which I can’t do in the first place, but even if I did, the account is closed and I owe nothing?]

We appreciate your business [I’m not so sure they do] and hope to be able to serve your wireless needs again in the future. [Future? They can barely get me connected across The Narrows now.]

eServices and Support
Verizon Wireless

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