Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here:

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<

Trillian McMillian
Trillian McMillian
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Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites
Part I, Your Profile and Email

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?

"50 First Dates"

Don't just sit there angry and ranting, do something constructive.
In the words of Patti Smith (all hail Sister Patti): People have the power.
Contact your elected officials.

Don't be passive = get involved = make a difference.
Find Federal Officials
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State

Find State Officials
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or Search by State

Contact The Media
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or Search by State

Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)



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11/17/13 12/1/13 - 12/8/13 12/15/13 - 12/22/13 12/29/13 - 1/5/14 6/29/14 - 7/6/14 9/14/14 - 9/21/14 9/21/14 - 9/28/14 10/12/14 - 10/19/14 11/23/14 - 11/30/14 12/7/14 - 12/14/14 12/28/14 - 1/4/15 1/25/15 - 2/1/15 2/8/15 - 2/15/15 2/22/15 - 3/1/15 3/8/15 - 3/15/15 3/15/15 - 3/22/15 3/22/15 - 3/29/15 4/12/15 - 4/19/15 4/19/15 - 4/26/15 5/3/15 - 5/10/15 5/17/15 - 5/24/15 5/24/15 - 5/31/15 6/14/15 - 6/21/15 6/28/15 - 7/5/15 7/5/15 - 7/12/15 7/19/15 - 7/26/15 8/16/15 - 8/23/15 11/6/16 - 11/13/16 6/24/18 - 7/1/18

Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

Void, Of Course: Eliminating Expectations and Emotions for a Better Way of Life

200i: iPodyssey

Macs Are from Venus, Windows is from Mars Can a relationship survive across platform barriers?
Jerking Off

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away, There Was a Really Bad Movie

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

Good Thing She's Not in a Good Mood Very Often (We Knew it Wouldn't Last)

What Do I Have to Do to Put You in this Car Today?

Of Mice and Me (Killer Cat Strikes in Local Woman's Apartment)

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

It is my Cultureth
...and it would suit-eth me kindly to speak-eth in such mannered tongue


It's a Little Bit Me, It's a Little Bit You
Blogging a Legacy for Future Generations

Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

Come on Out of that Doghouse! It's a Sunshine Day!

"...I had no idea our CEO is actually Paula Abdul in disguise."

Lap Dance of the Cripple

Of Muppets and American Idols
"I said happier place, not crappier place!"

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

Trillian Visits the Village of the Damned, Takes Drugs, Becomes Delusional and Blogs Her Brains Out

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

Striptease for Spiders: A PETA Charity Event (People for the Ethical Treatment of Arachnids)

What's Up with Trillian and the Richard Branson Worship?

"Screw the French and their politics, give me their cheese!"

Mail Trillian here

Trillian's Guide to the Galaxy gives 5 stars to these places in the Universe:
So much more than fun with fonts, this is a daily dose of visual poetry set against a backdrop of historical trivia. (C'mon, how can you not love a site that notes Wolfman Jack's birthday?!)


Alliance for the Great Lakes

Hot, so cool, so cool we're hot.

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

Coolest Jewelry in the Universe here (trust Trillian, she knows)

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras

The Beachwood Reporter is better than not all, but most sex.

Hey! Why not check out some great art and illustration while you're here? Please? It won't hurt and it's free.


Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto


Get Fuzzy Now!
If you're not getting fuzzy, you should be. All hail Darby Conley. Yes, he's part of the Syndicate. But he's cool.

Who or what is HWNMNBS: (He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken) Trillian's ex-fiancé. "Issues? What issues?"

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Life(?) of Trillian

Wednesday, January 09, 2008  
Oh yeah. My dad. Sorry to leave those of you playing along at home hanging.

He spent Christmas, and rang in ’08, in a hospital room. It sucked. I think you can paint the picture yourself. I’m going to presume you’ve been in a hospital. I’m going to presume you’ve been in an intensive care ward.

Hopefully you haven’t had to be in a critical care ward on Christmas morning.

I thought I learned a lot from my mother’s extended stays in critical care wards. I did learn a lot. I know what Code Blue means. I know which rooms are strategically placed for the most serious and critical care patients. And I know that more often than not patients do not leave those rooms breathing.

I know, at my parents’ hospital, the local morticians make their pick-ups in the morning. I know they usually travel as a two man team, father and son, father and nephew, in the case of one local mortician. Undertaker. Funeral Director. Mortuary Specialist. Whatever it is they like to be called these days.

My parents live in a very, very, very small town. By a fluke of geography their town is home to the “new” regional hospital. It’s large, really large. The area had several very small and two very, very antiquated larger hospitals. Most people who had the luxury of time to plan surgery or hospital visits took the extra time to drive to mega gleaming hospitals in Ann Arbor or Detroit. The local hospitals were for delivering babies, setting bones broken on the football field and stitching up accident victims tight enough to get them ambulated to: Ann Arbor or Detroit.

A few years ago someone had the bright idea consolidate the small hospitals and phase out the antiquated hospitals into one large, gleaming regional hospital. (The school districts used the very same logic about 50 years ago to great success and above average SAT scores, so I’m not sure why the medical community took so long to grasp the concept.) My parents’ very small town just happens to be smack in the middle of a region of far flung small towns so they won the lottery with the gleeming new regional hospital.

Consequently, many of their friends and neighbors work or volunteer at the hospital.

I promise this is leading somewhere.

Christmas morning the family loaded up some presents, took a collective deep breath, squared our shoulders and headed off to cardiac intensive care.

Oh. Wait. I think I forgot to mention that somewhere during the process of several surgeries and treatments my dad had a “mild” heart attack. Oh yeah. That. Cancer. Heart attack. Neurotrauma. Whatever.

I explained what happened to my father to my parents’ pastor thusly, and verily I relay it unto you: Cancer surgery begot pathology which begot another surgery which begot a heart attack which begot a neuro episode which begot a lot of running around by hospital staff which begot some tests which begot another cancer surgery which begot a room filled with tubes and beeping monitors. And so it was that my father (lower case f) came upon the condition whence he now lays.

I was just trying to sayeth unto the pastor in the language from whence he speaketh from the pulpiteth. And verily, he was not amusedeth. He is generally not amused. God is serious business and there’s no room for levity. Especially levity which makes fun of that from whence one begets one’s salary.

Right. Christmas morning. We loaded up the presents and the family and headed up to a festive Christmas morning in ICU. At this point my dad was conscious but not eating solid food and not at all pleased about the begotten events which led up to this bizarre Christmas morning. We tried to get there as early as possible so it would “seem” like Christmas morning for him. He was, considering the begotten situation, in pretty good spirits. Well. You know. For a guy who hadn’t eaten in six days and in those same six days had: Cancer surgery, a heart attack, a neuro episode, and another cancer surgery. I don’t know it might be a lie, Marine Corp men are too stubborn to die…hhhleft, hhhleft, llleft right hhhleft.

Okay. So. Small town. Big regional hospital. Intensive cardiac care wing. Early Christmas morning.

There weren’t many visitors yet, in fact it was technically before official visiting hours. But there were a surprisingly large number of nurses and doctors on duty. I cynically wondered: Milking the system for triple time holiday pay?

And then came the morning death march. The parade of morticians. Undertakers. Funeral Directors. “Mortuary Specialists.”

The night before, Christmas Eve, must have been one crazy night in the cardiac unit. Gurney after body bagged gurney rolled by, steered by dark suited, brisk businessmen with clipboards and permanent slight head cock and patient look of somber understanding and sympathy.

Okay. So. Our Christmas could have been a lot worse. Okay. I get it, okay? I get it. My dad is alive and for that I am grateful. We all are. None of us needed a poignant reminder of how lucky we were to have my dad still breathing in that bed in front of us.

And then, as if on cue, one of the dark suited brisk businessmen walked by, did a double take, turned on his heel and peeked into the room.

“Well, merry Christmas!” he exclaimed, all jovial and friendly.

A bit too jovial and friendly if you know what I mean.

My mother and father’s eyes lit up and they happily greeted the moritician. Undertaker. Funderal director. “Mortuary Specialist.”

Small town. Very, very small town.

This particular mortician is the son of the elder mortician who has been a family friend, neighbor and co-parishoner for many years. I didn’t recognize him because the last time I saw him he was sporting a permed mullet, wearing acid wash jeans with an acid wash jean jacket and driving a ’78 Camaro with a feather roach clip hanging from the rear view mirror.

A few seconds later, the elder mortician, the father of “…and son, Mortuary Specialists” appeared, also convivial and jolly. All that was missing was his red suit with white trim, big white beard, a shaking jelly-esque belly and a bag of toys.

Him I recognized. The sponsor of one of a little league teams, the donator of many gallons of ice cream at the annual church ice cream social, the leader in the community and: Mortician everyone knows. The thing about this guy is that if you didn’t know he was a mortician you’d think he was the local hardware store owner. He reminds me of the guy who played the part of the father in the movie Breaking Away. But. It’s a small town. Everyone knows he’s the mortician. For years he and his father owned the only funeral home in town which also happened to be the largest and nicest funeral home for miles. Apart from the town’s above average SAT scores, for a long time it was known primarily for it’s lovely funeral home.

Anyway, this guy never creeped me out too badly, though I’ve always thought there’s something not quite normal about him, even factoring in his profession. But not creepy. After all, he’s the father of the town mullet-head doofus, how creepy could he be? His father, though, an elderly man when I came on the scene, always scared the bejeezus out of me. Part Lurch, part Vincent Price, part Ricardo Montalban, the guy would catch my eye at church on Sunday. “Just you wait, missy, just you wait. You’re young, but death knows no age. I’ve buried ‘em a lot younger than you. So just you sit there and behave, girly, and pay attention to the preacher, you listen up real good because I’m the one who deals with the dead. In the end you answer to me.” Okay, he never actually said that and he was really old and I was really young and had a very, very overactive imagination and watched a lot of B movies from the ‘50s with my brother. But still. It seemed like that’s what he was saying to me with those looks. I showed him, though, I’m still alive and he died a long time ago.

Right. So, there we were on Christmas morning in the cardiac intensive care wing with my dad in perilous health and the local mortician, and son, take a break from their work to stop and make a social call. Or was it social call? Were they trolling for info, scouting the situation, making an assessment, sizing up my dad’s health...and coffin size?

Christmas at your control freak sister- in-laws’ isn’t sounding so bad now, is it?

Mullet-head doofus apparently grew up, got a decent haircut, traded in the acid washed jean suit for a dark grey wool business suit and assumed the role of “and son” at the family’s funeral home. They have competition, now. One of those fancy schmancy national chain mortuary specialist places came on the scene a few years ago. He had to step up his game to keep up with the competition. He’s got the slight head cock, patient somber understanding and sympathetic gaze and: His grandfather’s creepiness. Oh, it’s not full blown, yet. But I can see it, I can tell he’s cut of that mold. It must skip a generation.

He was pleasant to everyone, but he caught my eye and flashed me the very same look his grandfather used to give me at church. Maybe he just knows I know he used to have a permed mullet and wear acid wash jeans with an acid wash jean jacket. Or maybe that's all the reason he needs to personally escort me to the gates of Hell.

Is it hot in here? What is it with these guys?

I never did anything to them. I didn't even laugh at the mullet-head doofus even though everyone else did. I'm younger than him, we weren't in school together, but...people, kids, used to laugh at him because he had a permed mullet and acid wash jeans with an acid wash jean jacket. But not me. I was indifferent at worst, polite at best. His parents and my parents were friends. But, like his grandfather before him, he's got it in for me.

I used to think they were the ones who escorted you to Heaven or Hell. My parents straightened out that misunderstanding when I was very young, but still, there’s always been a part of me that’s not quite sure I believe my parents. At the time I didn’t know about Charon, Hades or Styx (the river to death or the crappy band), my knowledge of What God Says Happens When We Die was sketchy and evolution was not a concept yet being taught in kindergarten. All I knew was that the creepy old guy ran, and lived in, a home where funerals happened. I did the pre-school math and came up with: Creepy and questionable. I did further calculations factoring in the looks he used to give me at church and came up with: Fate decider and escort to the gates of Hell. I'm older and wiser now. I studied mythology and know about and believe in evolution. But. Still. There's something really creepy about that old mortician and now the "...and son."

My dad, in his heavily drugged state, seemed to forget, or not care, that a) these guys are morticians, b) they’re in their business attire and here on business, and c) he was in the critical cardiac care wing of a hospital. Those points seemed to escape my mother, too. And the rest of my family except for one of my nieces who noticed the same creepy, “Watch it, girly,” look the former mullet-head doofus and now “…and Son” gave me. He flashed it at her, too. My niece is not crazy. She is in fact very intelligent and very observant and perceptive. She noticed it. She saw it. Ergo, I’m not crazy. Someone else, someone sane, intelligent, observant and perceptive noticed it.

Yep, it was just one big Christmas morning party in ICU with the family and the local mortician and son. Life in a small town.

They made a nice visit and then had to be on their way. Business, you know. Death doesn’t take a holiday.

A few minutes later I saw them rolling out a new client.

My mother told me the former mullet-head doofus is recently divorced. She said this with an air of, “…and so he’s available…” I gave her that, “MOTH-ER! Are you kidding me?” look. She gave me the, "Fine, stay single, be a spinster, see if I care" look.

The elder mortician stopped in a few times after Christmas, too, to “check in and say hi” to my dad. Yeah. I’ll just bet he was “checking in.” More like wanting to see if my dad had checked out, I bet.

My mother said the former mullet-head "...and Son" stopped in one day and in the course of conversation asked about me. I screamed, "MOTH-ER!!! GROSSSSS! Are you KIDDING ME?! He lives in a FUNERAL HOME!!! He hangs out with DEAD people. He used to wear ACID WASH JEANS WITH AN ACID WASH JEAN JACKET!!!!" To which my mother replied, curtly, "Well. It is a very lovely funeral home." "and a girl could do a lot worse" strongly implied.

Things are looking up, though. Finally, after 18 days, 13 of them in various intensive and critical care units, my dad went home.

Oh sure, he’s tethered to a bunch of tubes and bags which handle some of his, um, bodily functions, and sure, he’s pretty much stuck in a recliner acting as a hospital bed, but he’s home.

Oh sure, the professional nurse only visits for about 15 – 20 minutes each day. And my mother, who is older than him and handicapped and generally not in great health,and isn’t really capable of acting as a nurse to care for him, is struggling to handle this latest chapter in their marriage and limitation testing, is but he’s home.

Oh sure, their kids and in particular their unmarried, childless daughter who chooses to live a five hour drive from them and has no vacation days left is racing through her work days trying to accomplish her job tasks early so she can sneak out a few hours early on Friday to catch the train to her parents for the weekend so she can relieve her mother and look after her recliner-bound father for the weekend and sneak in a few hours late on Monday so she can take the train back to work, but still she lays gripped with fear and anxiety, eyes wide and staring upward at the ceiling as the hours of the night drag into the early hours of the morning and wondering if it would really be so awful to move to a small town and take up with the recently divorced mortuary specialist.

Cancer sucks.

Oh yeah, I already made note of that.


8:13 PM

Tuesday, January 08, 2008  
Dear Ron (Huberman),
Hi! How’s it going?! I’m okay, getting better. Boy, the ol’ foot and ankle surgery sure has been a pain (literally!) but I’m on the mend. One step at a time! Har har!

I know how busy you and your staff have been since September, so no hard feelings about the lack of response to my calls and emails requesting information on the paratransit program. As it turns out taxis and friends were able to get me to and from work the past few months. Oh sure, they don’t have handicap vehicles and it cost me a lot of money in taxi fares, but hey, it’s temporary and what with everything going on at the CTA I understand the transportation needs of a handicapped commuter are low on the priority list. I was thinking maybe since you’re so short staffed that you can’t even return phone calls and emails requesting information about the paratransit program, perhaps you could just eliminate it altogether. That would probably save the CTA some money. Besides, if all the bus routes slated to be cut on January 20 are actually cut, a lot of handicapped bus riders are going to be SOL because most of the train stations are a) inconvenient, b) not handicap accessible or c) as is the case with the nearest "handicap accessible" train station to me, inoperative (the nearest handicap station to me is three stops away and the elevator has not been "in service" since the beginning of October. And yes, Ron, yes, I did as your website instructs and called to report the problem.) You and PACE should probably just go ahead and eliminate the paratransit program before they start squawking about ADA laws and compliance and generally tying up the apparently already overworked and understaffed CTA paratransit reps. You know, a little pre-emptive defense.

I took the CTA website’s advice and tried to plan my route based on handicap accessible buses and trains. Whoooo boy! That was quite a challenge! Gotta hand it to you, using the CTA while handicapped is more fun than watching The Amazing Race! Which made me wonder, have you thought about generating some extra revenue by having a network reality show where handicapped contestants try to navigate their way around Chicago using CTA?! That would be great television. Even better than American Idol. What’s funnier than watching handicapped people struggle to manage in a city full of barriers?! OMG, soooo funny. Simon Cowell making fun of fat and ugly people is nowhere near as funny as watching handicapped people and laughing at them from the cozy privacy and comfort of the living room couch. It would be like America’s Funniest Videos. Based on that show's longevity and popularity, people love watching other people get hurt!

Boy am I glad my handicap was only temporary! Guess what?! The doctor told me I can try walking with a cane! OMG! I’m so excited! Just in time, too! After January 20 all the buses which travel from my neighborhood to anywhere near my office are going to be cut. Whew! That was close! Oh sure, hobbling up and down two wet and slippery steep flights of stairs with an ankle brace and a cane to get to the train platforms won’t be a lot of fun, but hey, it beats the $30 (one way) cab fare to get to work! And now that I’m out of the full leg cast and off the wheels, I love to test my physical limits! Oh sure, the surgery isn’t quite healed yet, and those huge and deep puddles in the station and on the stairs are a bit problematic, but no pain, no gain, right?!

But this isn’t just a social call! I’m writing to let you know how I would like the CTA to spend the $163 they got from me the past few months. Yep, I donated $163 (so far) to the CTA. I love you all that much. Big hug.

I take advantage of the CTA Chicago Plus card. I pay for it via pretax! payroll deduction at work. This costs me $75/month. A real bargain considering I get unlimited rides on the buses and trains! Okay, sure, I only use the CTA for commuting to work and I’m only saving about $5/month, but hey, still a bargain! Okay. So. I didn’t ride for a week in October, and I only rode two buses in November and four buses in December.

I planned on riding buses more during my handicap adventure, but a) nobody returned my calls or emails with information about paratransit programs and more to the pertinent point, b) the handicap accessibility on my bus routes was marred by the overcrowding on the buses. I would have loved to have taken advantage of the handicap accessible buses, but they’re so crowded that my handicap scooter and prone leg in cast couldn’t get on the buses. Even when I tried playing the “oh, poor handicapped girl” shtick, and even when other passengers were nice and tried to help me, there was simply not enough room due to overcrowded buses. On several occasions I waited for, and tried to get on, five different consecutive buses to no avail due to already overstuffed aisles and seats. Because I have a job and I am expected to be at that job at a certain time every day, waiting more than an hour for a bus which might possibly not be so crowded that me and my leg caddy could fit on it isn't an option. I learned to leave early, extra early, but even so, typically after 45 minutes of waiting for a bus I could squeeze onto I gave up and got a cab or made a panicked call pleading to a friend's mercy to help me. Funny that the CTA is planning on cutting these packed bus routes since they seem to be so popular…kind of weird they’re eliminating routes which are cash cows…but hey, I’m not the president or treasurer of public transportation in Chicago so what would I know?!

Right. So. Because I rode at least once in October, November and December, my Chicago Plus fare card was activated. My $75/month was deducted from my paycheck. Now, as you know, with the Chicago Plus fare cards the fee is $75/month, no matter how often or infrequently you ride the CTA and there is no “balance.” No excess or "balance" to carry over into the next month or accrue on the card. It’s $75/month, period. If you don’t ride $75 worth, well, you’ve just donated the excess to the city of Chicago. (Thank you from the bottom of Mayor Daley’s coffers, tourists and infrequent riders who pay for more than they ride! Mayor Daley welcomes you! And your unused CTA fares!) Since I was only able to ride six rides in November and December, the CTA netted a profit of $138 from me. Add the $20 excess from October and you get a $158 donation to the city of Chicago.

Boy, am I feeling like a good citizen right about now!

But wait, there’s more! So, so much more.

Along came January, and the new year. And a new me! I can now hobble up and down wet and slippery L station stairs and even crowd onto packed buses and stand leaning on my cane on the packed buses! Woo hoo! ’08 is great! So I started using my fare card again! Woo hoo! But then, darn it, last night my fare card wouldn’t give me access to the train station. The nice and oh so helpful station agent looked at the card, tried it several times, said a bunch of stuff at me that I didn't understand in what I believe was Puerto Rican Spanglish and finally thrust the card in my face and said, punctuated with jabbing the card at my nose, “No WORK!!! NO WORK!!!” Whoooo boy was she mad! She must really sympathize with my situation! Such sincere empathy! Such compassion! Such passion for my "no work" card. Other commuters passing by thought she was mad at me, and I can see where it could have appeared that way, what with her jabbing my card in my face and yelling in my direction and all, but I smiled apologetically, because of course this is all my fault, and explained to the other commuters, "no work" with a meek and apologetic shrug. I mean, after all, the station agent has so many more pressing and urgent duties, I know helping a customer is a low priority and not something station agents are accustomed to doing. It's a big interruption to their demanding schedule. And clearly she was channeling my frustration and confusion and letting it out, letting it all out, for both of us, with her Spanglish yelling at me. The end result: Apparently my fully charged and loaded Chicago Plus fare card, in pristine condition thanks to a fancy holder they gave us at work, has a problem. It "no work."

But! Lucky us! There’s a phone number right on the back of the card! Such amazing service. Really, you guys think of everything.

Oh sure, I had to wait on hold for 75 minutes, but it was sooooooo worth it to talk to a CTA Chicago Card Plus rep! OMG! Seriously, it was the most amazing customer service experience of my life. Waaaaay better than the Big Blue Colored Health Insurance reps. Until now, my all time favorite customer service experience was the fraud department of my local bank by way of Bombay. But you guys, the CTA, found a way to top even that incredible customer service phone line. Big hug.

Since it was ascertained that my card was not working, "no work," a replacement card will be issued. At a cost of $5. In five to ten business days. Since I already “activated” the fare card this month, and because it’s a Chicago PLUS fare card, not only do I have to pay a $5 replacement fee, I have to pay for all the CTA rides I need before the new card arrives. So far I’ve paid $6, and I assume the new card won’t arrive until next week, so let’s just go ahead and call it an even $24. In addition to the $75 monthly fee on the card.

So, actually, now that I think about it, it’s not $163. It’s more like a donation of $187.

Here’s how I’d like you to spend the money. Take yourself to lunch! Figure a nice meal, with a good tip, what, $50? $75? Oh, and take someone with you, of course, I mean, it’s just lonely to eat lunch alone. So let’s say $100 for lunch for you and a guest. Might I suggest Dick Daley as a dining companion? Boy would I love to see the look on his face when you reach for the check for a change! Ha!

Now, as for the remaining $87, I’ve given this a lot of thought.

English as a second language classes for my local station agent? Bucket of molten tar and a ladder to help patch a few of the leaks in my local station roof so the stairs aren’t wet, puddled and slippery? Safety flares for the #147 buses which habitually break down on Lake Shore Drive? Business Communication Etiquette training (or maybe a relaxation spa day) for the Chicago Card Plus phone rep?

So many choices, so little money. What to do, what to do…

You know what? How about donuts for the next budget meeting? You all work so hard to make public transportation and commuting in Chicago such an easy and pleasant experience for us citizens, go on, go ahead, splurge, get the bear claws and jelly filleds. They’re on me. Big hug.

Sincerely, and I mean that, sincerely,

cc: Carole L. Brown, CTA Chairman, Dennis Anosike, CTA Treasurer
bcc: Dick the 'Tater Daley, Mayor

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4:06 PM

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