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10:20 AM - Thurs 8.13.20

Sometimes You Just Can't Win

Welcome to Day 2 of me trying to do daily entries...

Had two things happen recently that I'd put in the category of "Sometimes You Just Can't Win".

Thing #1:

When Unemployment presented me with the option to "go paperless" a while back and just have my stuff online, I was conflicted - While I'd started my claim with a physical application (For technical reasons), I took things online as soon as I had the chance and found it quite delightful.

And since I've recently been trying to address the clutter in my life, the idea of having less paper to deal with was not unappealing.

That said, I was nervous about not having a "physical record" of things (Even though I've been a pretty shitty record-keeper in the past anyway) and felt I might need the "nudge" of actual mail to "keep me on track" (In terms of doing the needed upkeep on my claim).

At that point, I chastised myself, "Jim! Don't be some old man afraid of this newfangled 'Interweb business'! You'll be okay - The information is all online. They're sending you regular emails when you have weeks available to certify. You can do it - Save the planet, save yourself some clutter, and just go 'paperless' already...!".

So I did.

And what happened?

Things went well for a time...then I stopped getting emails about my claim, there stopped being any notices in my "inbox", I didn't have any paper "backups" to work with and - initially, at least - there was no one to tell me what had gone awry.

So yesterday I got up and got on the phone with Unemployment early enough to actually speak to a human, and she's fixing my sending me a paper form to "recertify for benefits".

So there ya go...

Thing #2:

Since a number of people have suggested I need to lose some weight - Me My regular Doctor, My Cardiologist (Cause I have one of those now), Jane R., and Jane Z. (Who tells the world I "didn't always have that big belly" in the documentary) - I decided one thing I could do to up my exercise game would be going on regular walks.

So I went on a moderately long walk day-before-yesterday, which went fine.

Then yesterday I decided to up-the-ante - I needed to get some groceries, so I thought I'd accomplish that task by going "the long way around" (actually, an even "longer way around" than normal when I'm trying to make getting groceries do double-duty as real exercise).

So I headed out.

And it wasn't too long into my epic journey before I thought, "I may have overestimated my stamina here..." and started mentally battling with myself, desperately wanting to cut the walk short but, at the same time, really wanting to complete the task I'd set for myself (If I didn't, I knew I'd feel like I "hadn't done anything").

At one point, I thought, "Instead of going to Ralphs..." - which was further away - "...I'll just go to Jons and pick up some basics" (Jons is a "lesser" grocery store, in my mind - It's closer to me but has less of what I want. And the things it has tend to be more expensive. It's okay in a pinch...but it's not optimal).

Then I angrily thought, "No Jim! If you cut your walk short and don't go to Ralphs, you're going to be doubly-disappointed with yourself...!".

So I soldiered on, and eventually made it to Ralphs.

I shopped for my things, without much fuss-and-bother, and made my way to a register.

And my debit card wouldn't work.

The chip couldn't be read, and when I swiped the card, it would allow the transaction to continue, but not "authorize" it at the end.

I ran it through multiple times - No luck.

The clerk ran it through - Nothing.

I stepped aside, grocery-less, and called my credit union - Everything was fine on their end (They suggested I tell the clerk to "punch the numbers in" as I asked for a new card moving forward).

A woman, noting my distress, approached with a Ralphs gift card, saying "This has $60 on it...", which I found both very touching and deeply humiliating (I passed on her offer, saying, "Thank you - That's very sweet, but I actually have money".)

I went back and asked the Clerk, "Could you try punching the numbers in?".

He replied, "I can't do that..." (To which I wanted to scream, "Then why the fucking fuck does it have fucking numbers on it?!?!". But I didn't).

So he took me to a different register, with a different clerk, where all the same things happened - chip not read, transaction not authorized, etc - and the same conversation was had ("Can you try punching the numbers in?"/"I can't do that...") - and I left without my groceries.

And went to Jons.

Where the card was fine.

(Here's the kicker - When I walked out of Ralphs, defeated, I was about a block down the street when I realized, "Jim, you actually have cash...!". I've gotten so used to not having cash - and now that there's a "change shortage", stores are actively encouraging you not to pay with cash - that I'd never even thought about it.)

So, sometimes you just can't win.

Till next time...




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