I did call Expedia yesterday to see if I could use the credit. I had a direct flight to London Heathrow picked out for late April on Lufthansa that was well under my original ticket price, so I called up the special hotline for wieners with travel credit and tried to set everything in motion.
I failed, though. Apparently Expedia DOES check with the airline to see if the credit is valid, and Lufthansa came back saying I had already been issued a refund. There was something fucky going on with the site too, as my faux-credit showed a “must use” date of November 2020 when it had been showing as end of August 2021 up until the day I made the phone call. Alas, someone on Lufthansa’s end is maintaining that database of flight credits REALLY well, and as it turns out, I don’t actually have the credit that appears on my Expedia account.
No free trip for me. I think I confused the hell out of the poor woman at Expedia, because when she said I had been issued a refund, she swore up and down I would get it in the mail soon. I thanked her for her time and for checking for me, but I think she was waiting for me to flip out on her. I can’t imagine most people, when seeing they have a credit on their account, would just go away after being told it was in error, but .. well, I already received the refund (twice). I knew she was right, and I wasn’t going to try and push the issue any more than I already had. I mean, I picked up a PHONE and DIALLED a NUMBER and frankly that was enough social interaction for at least a week.
Definitely not the end of the world. I saw it through to a resolution, and while it wasn’t the ideal outcome*, I can’t be sad about it.
*: I’m pretending that the “ideal outcome” would have been a free trip, but let’s face it: had the credit actually worked, I’d just get shiny new anxiety about a thousand other things, up to and including imagining some sort of Final Destination scenario had I actually gotten on the plane. Frankly, this is for the best. I can book my own damn trip, with blackjack, and hookers. In fact, forget the trip.
Fingers crossed the world gets unfucked between now and September, because I really really REALLY want to go to New York.
My anxiety is really superstitious. If I don’t complete the rituals involved in dozens of insignificant acts, the world will end and it will all be my fault. I don’t have time for that kind of existential crisis, so I cross my fingers and throw salt over my shoulder and never give my bad thoughts voice or they’ll come true and that would really suck. No ladders or broken mirrors or umbrellas opened indoors. Can’t hang a new calendar early, or even change the page – mostly because that would be really confusing, but also bad things will happen apparently so I just avoid it altogether. No need to invite the bad times, right? And there’s lots of wood around to knock on, so we should be okay.
My superstitions go hand in hand with the idea of karma. It’s generally pretty easy to avoid being a bad person, but somewhere in the back of my mind I worry that the point system is real and any time I’ve accidentally littered I get negative points and that’s why I don’t know math. It’s stressful and it makes me have internal debates about doing things that are beyond inconsequential, but WHAT IF. I swear I’m not indecisive, I’m just weighing the contents of my soul so if you could just give me a minute here, everything will be fine.
All of this is to say that I have an ethical problem of my own making, and I’m not sure what to do about it: Is it “bad” if I take an opportunity I did not earn?
Before I explain fully, here are some pertinent facts:
This is not a tangible object
If I don’t follow through, it ceases to exist
No one will miss out on anything if I take it OR if I don’t
No one will lose any money if I take it OR if I don’t
The odds of getting “caught” are almost non-existent
Taking the opportunity (or not taking it) will affect zero people other than myself
.. but I didn’t earn the opportunity, nor did I pay for it. It’s not mine, but it could be if I took it. So, do I take it?
I was supposed to go to Prague in April of 2020. That didn’t happen for obvious reasons, and I was given a flight credit from the airline. To use the credit, I have to book a flight before the end of this month for travel before the end of July 2022. If I don’t use the credit, it simply disappears. I can’t transfer it to anyone, or use it for anyone other than myself.
No brainer, right? Use the credit, book a flight, maybe go somewhere next year.
This is me, and nothing is ever that simple. The problem? I received a refund for that flight.
Prior to my flight, all airlines and agencies were telling customers to “go through your bank” to deal with pandemic-cancelled trips in the hopes your credit card company could come through for you. It took several hours on hold with a bunch of different companies, but eventually my bank did reverse the charge for the flight. The money came with a warning: the airline is given an opportunity to fight the charge reversal, and if that happens, the bank would claw that money back until a resolution is worked out. I left the money where it was, but no one ever came for it and whatever statute of limitations the bank put on that refund has long since passed.
I didn’t know that would happen, though, so I also submitted a claim against my travel insurance. I didn’t think anything would happen there, because in the ten years since I became an International Kimli of Mystery, not once has travel insurance ever worked out in my favour. Not even for our Super Typhoon’d trip to Japan that we didn’t take in 2019, for loophole reasons. I guess “global pandemic” isn’t something the insurance companies wanted to deal with, so they processed my claim and cut me a cheque.
Because of my aforementioned anxiety around karma, I actually tried to return the funds. I called the bank multiple times, but could never get through to anyone to explain the situation and eventually I stopped trying. I think I reasoned with myself that by waiting on hold for longer than I waited to get the charge reversal the first time around, I had done my due diligence in trying to do the “right” thing. I forgot about the duelling refunds after that, because I had so much going on in my life at the time. So busy. Jam-packed life of action.
Time rolled onwards, and it’s now the summer of 2021. Ed and I have both received all vaccines, and things are starting to look positive for the first time in almost two years. I logged into my favourite booking site to do some wishful thinking when I saw a button that said “Check your credits”. I did, and wtf: I have a credit with an airline. For a flight I’ve already been refunded for, twice.
I could book a flight, of course, but would it be “wrong” of me to do so? And if so, by who’s standards? If I had to choose an entity that would suffer from my deceit, I suppose it would be the airline – but at the end of the day, do I really care about an airline’s bottom line? No. Fuck ’em. If they didn’t screw me, they’d screw someone else.
So that’s what I’m wrestling with. What would you do if you were me? As I see it, my options are basically:
Try to book a flight. What’s the worst that could happen? By next summer, the Kappa Beta Phi variant will limit our freedom anyway, so I’ll probably just end up with another credit and have the same non-problem.
Ignore the credit. I’ve already been given my just desserts, and I had seconds. Taking more would just be greedy.
Each of the refunds I’ve been given for the cancelled Prague trip come from different corporations – the bank, the travel insurance company, and now the airline. No one is going to hold a meeting with the other companies to find out if anyone has been double or triple-dipping during the pandemic confusion, so if I DO try to use the credit – strictly for science, obviously – no one loses out, the airline would just re-sell the seat. If I don’t take it, the only person who loses out is me. I really do hate losing out, but .. karma.
What’s stronger: my need to see this through just to see if I can, or my anxiety?
I am jittery, and I don’t know why. Is it excitement? Anticipation? Caffeine overdose? Sentient worms from a truck stop vending machine egg salad sandwich? Yes to all of the above, plus a healthy amount of cabin fever and a large double double of anxiety. Huge tracts of anxiety. A vicious, never-ending story of sadness swamps and horses that simply can’t go on of anxiety. I am not so much wallowing in it as I am utterly mired and sticky.
I’ve had a surprisingly full social calendar since the end of May, and it extends (so far) into the first week of August. This is great, because I am often angrily bored during the summer months because it’s hot and I have nothing to do. The weather has been very moderate so far this summer (for all two days of it) – I know this won’t last, but I’m enjoying the hell out of being slightly chilly while I still can.
Basically, I’m trying. If I sit down and apply the dreaded logic to my situation, things are seriously fucking great. I feel like a giant asshole for not greeting each day with a smile and a boner. This stresses me out, which turns into anxiety, which makes me restless, which makes me sad, which turns into moping, which becomes a pep talk, and the whole goddamn thing starts. all over. again. If I were not myself, I would be very understanding about things. They’re kind of a mess! My hypertension is off the charts! My doctor keeps insisting my life will have value once I lose weight! I have a mammogrammo scheduled for today and I am vainly nervous that the procedure will artificially flatten my magnificent bosom! And – all of these things aside – WORK, you guys. It is a thing. A thing that is causing at least 75% of my not inconsiderable anxiety.
Long story slightly less long: I’m still dash trash. I hate it. I am the lowest of the low, doing menial tasks that no one else wants to deal with. I have been pleading with my handlers for more advanced work and responsibility, because I am frankly super bored, but my requests are ignored. It’s such a stupid situation: I get paid a ridiculous amount of money to work from home, doing relatively brainless work, with little to no supervision. I do my job, make the real employees meet their KPIs and look great to management, and have zero responsibility when I’m off the clock. No one cares what I do.
.. except me. *I* care about what I do. I care deeply. I am being massively wasted as dash trash. I am squandered potential. My current role would be perfect for someone who wants to succeed by basically being alive and upright, but I want to do so much more. I miss working miracles. I miss owning things. I miss feeling like an actual team member who contributes. Even with my towering imposter syndrome, I know that I am way too smart and talented to be doing what I’m doing. I am sad and disconnected, and the longer I stay here the more I fear that this is what the rest of my life will look like. It feels so stupid to complain about it, because this is the dream situation for so many people .. but it makes me so sad, and I feel so worthless. For the last two years, I’ve fought so fucking hard to prove my worth and make traction and land permanence, and where has it gotten me? Arguably worse off than before. Working as a temp. Literally where I started out, over 20 years ago. I feel like a huge failure, and I’m so ashamed.
Well, this turned dark. I should end it here. Off to rebuild Fantasia with this grain of sand and a whole lot of Oxford commas.
I like to say I got into the business of process improvement and tech writing so I can writes the rules (and know which ones to break), but the truth is far more alarming than any kind of need to thumb my nose at The Man: apparently, I’m a textbook Type A control freak.
Right now, I’m struggling with an overwhelming desire to CONTROL ALL THE THINGS. Stuff at work is a cluster fuck of New Coke proportions, and I want to roar and flip tables and TAKE OVER so I can fucking FIX IT ALREADY. It’s driving me crazy. I never thought I’d say this, but I miss structure. I miss rules and processes. I miss checklists and milestones and deliverables and deadlines and actually fucking MEETING those deadlines instead of floating along all willy nilly with my head stuffed up my ass. I am so much happier when everyone knows what to do and how to do it and we can all count on one another to do our jobs and do them well, and right now I am NOT HAPPY. I’m generally a happy person, and right now I am FULL OF RAGE AND CAPITAL LETTERS. ARGH!
I need to step away from the internet so I don’t go into further detail. I really want to. So badly. I’ve already sent many sternly worded emails outlining all the things that are going wrong that I can easily fix if you’d just let me oh I don’t know DO MY JOB. We’ll see if those help.
Next step: distributing yellow flags to the team to be raised every time someone interrupts you mid-sentence; red flags for being steamrolled.
So frustrated. So unhappy. This is not what I was expecting with my promotion.
At what point in a person’s life do they stop being senselessly pleased at accomplishing small, run-of-the-mill tasks? Last night I successfully navigated my way home from the bowels of South Vancouver at 2 in the morning, by alien bus and a cab – and I am pleased as punch at myself for doing so. It’s pretty stupid (not to mention fairly insulting), as people complete amazing journeys and overcome insurmountable odds every day, yet I am patting myself on the back for basically crossing the street without a grown-up. How I am able to navigate the world without a helmet and a chaperone, I’ll never know.
My ride home fell through last night when the beer bong (did you know that is a thing? I did not know that was an actual thing; I thought it was something invented by Hollywood for the frat bro movie genre) came out, so I caught the last bus out of Marpole and found myself wandering the fragrant streets of Main and Hastings at 1:30 in the morning. I fully intended to hop the 135 bus home from there, but my stop was overflowing with humanity in varying states of inebriation. I was more than a little tired of being the only sober face in the crowd by then, so I opted to hail a cab instead and made it home safely in 15 minutes or so. I’m a little gun shy when it comes to taking taxis – for starters, I really do hate to be an inconvenience to people (even if their job is to be inconvenienced by me), and also ever since I had a cab driver try to invite himself up to my hotel room the first time I was in Toronto (doing many things for the first time: travelling, business tripping, taking a cab by myself, etc). Still, I was inordinately pleased with myself for successfully hailing a cab and getting home in one piece. I’m such an adorable little broken and socially inept simpleton!
I don’t know if it was because this is Pride weekend or if it is the normal state of Hastings and Main at 1:30 in the morning, but there were so many cross-dressed prostitutes out! They all had better legs than me. In fact, that was the easiest way to spot them: see some excellent legs strutting about on a pair of terrifying shoes, realize it’s a man, still be jealous of the excellent legs.
Speaking of Pride, I am my annual depressed self that I am not downtown, revelling in the festivities. I desperately want to Pride it up with the rest of the city, but I am so bad in crowds (and triple that when I’m by myself). Most of the people I know either don’t do Pride, or they’ve got group plans that I don’t want to intrude upon .. so I stay home and alternate between feeling sorry for myself and angry at my inability to handle seething throngs of thongs. If only there was some kind of substance I could take that would ease my overwhelming anxiety – some sort of medicinal herb or distilled fermented liquid or even an assortment of chemicals designed to bind to specific sites on my gamma-amino-butyric acid receptor – but I can’t for the life of me think of anything like that, so here I am; alone and not covered in rainbows.
I’m starting to think it’s isn’t much fun to be as broken as I am, no matter how I try to convince myself and the internet otherwise.
Adventures in Babysitting aside, I did have fun last night. I met some very cool people I hope to see again for additional awesome conversations and spent some Quality Time with some of my favourite people. My 3pm nudity does belie the plans I have to get out of the house today for fresh air and picture taking, but this was all a part of my Sunday strategy: sleep, laundry, and too much time spent inside my head. Nothing is all bad by any stretch of the imagination; it’s just a little lonely sometimes (and subsequently gets Ace of Base stuck in my head for hours thanks to some amazing logic gymnastics and the 90s fused to my bones like a kitschy and less lethal form of Wolverine’s adamantium).
Not long after I started my job, I was moved to the Worst Desk in the Office (they assured me it was nothing personal, but I still have my suspicions). Stuck, I tried to make my workspace feel like home by stealing furniture and creating some walls, then covering those walls in video game posters and toys. None of this could really disguise the fact that the desk was still terrible, but at least I had some semblance of privacy. I truly hated it, though – since the day I moved, I’ve been trying to get a different desk anywhere else. I volunteered to sit in the kitchen, or the bathroom, or in the middle of the floor, all to no avail: I had to stay put, and it sucked.
Fortunately but unfortunately, a mass exodus at work has freed up some space and more than a year later, I finally have a new desk. It is an excellent desk; one that people don’t walk behind a million times a day. It’s bigger than my old one, and has fewer splinters that ruin my clothes when I sit down. I even have a tall cabinet with shelves for all my toys and Diet Coke cups (I have 9 mugs at work for some reason) and the collective Nerf arsenal of the Graphics Department. I am pleased with my new home.
Being pleased as punch will only get you so far when you are VERY SAD, though: another person from my fledgling Product Design team has given notice. My future is up in the air, and that is my least favourite place for it to be: I am a sad, worried Kimli.
These are dark times, even with all the light streaming through my new windows. One small plus, though – a gratifying number of people who walk past my old desk are shocked/upset/confused/worried when they see that I am no longer there.