I like the new title better. Kinda catchy isn't it?
I don't go looking for stupid but sometimes it finds me anyway. Yesterday, was not my finest hour.
The story I'm about to tell you is true. Other than myself, I can't tell you the names of the people involved because (a) I didn't know them or (b) I forgot them. At any rate, I think you'll find this blog amusing. This story is about waiting in lines.
So first up- let me give you my all time, 53 year long, most epic human meltdown of all time. I thank God Almighty that I was in attendance when this happened.
Many years ago in Moonbat Valley- they built a brand new Albertson's grocery store. The store was very close to my home and I often shopped there. We had a tremendous shortage of qualified workers in our valley back then and a lot of the people that landed jobs at that store...well let's just say they weren't the best or the brightest.
So one evening around 7 PM- I ran down to the store for something. When I arrived at the check stands there were only two lanes open. I landed on the "express lane" which was reserved allegedly, for people purchasing eight items or less.
In line in front of me, was a young couple with two small kids. They had at least 80 items in their cart. Instead of simply taking the items out of the cart- this mom and dad decided instead to let their two children, maybe 4 and 5 years old, empty the cart. Item by painful item. It was agonizingly slow watching the kids climb up onto the cart, bend over, and pick one item up, and climb down again. During this process, a younger man arrived in line behind me- toting a half rack of Coors Light. As we watched the family of morons in front of us, I could tell this guy was getting pissed. He was muttering shit under his breath and making those guttural noises one makes when the blood just starts leaking out of your ears. I too was pissed, but everyone in the community was aware of who I was. It was my job to pretend to remain calm and patient- but I wasn't. I was just as pissed as the guy behind me.
Almost 20 minutes elapsed before this whole operation had arrived at that moment where money and receipts get exchanged. And then it happened- that thing we all fantasize about but never do. The cashier ran out of register tape and had to call for more. That was the ignition switch. The man behind me could not take it any longer. It was, without question, the finest public meltdown that I have ever witnessed. This guy blew like the Kilauea volcano. At 90 decibels...
"Do any of you fuckers read?" "When you see a sign that says 8 items or less, just what the fuck do you think that means?!!!" "Do any of the cashiers in this place pay attention to any of that shit or do you just ignore the sign?" "Can you fuckers count?!!"
He said more things which I can't remember now. In that instant- that man became my hero. He said everything that I have ever wanted to say and then some. The people in the line, the people who caused this, were speechless. They were like sheep frozen in the headlights of an oncoming truck. Had they said one thing, I'm not sure what might have happened. I honestly think they were so enamored with their cute kids that they were completely unconscious and unaware of the world around them.
Yesterday, I became that guy.
I have a part time job driving a truck and delivering heavy freight- things like gun safes, treadmills, giant televisions. Two or three times a month I am forced to deliver freight to the inhabitants of the nearby Mountain Home Air Force Base. I absolutely dread it.
For any of you that have ever stood in an airport's TSA line, TSA has nothing on the USAF. Don't ever think that a mind numbing experience cannot get worse because it can. That was my experience yesterday upon arrival at the base. There are two lanes that arriving trucks line up in. There are two traffic signals. You must wait until the AF personnel give you a green light. You then proceed to the guard shack. You park in front. Before you exit the vehicle, you must open every compartment within the vehicle. You must open all of your doors including your cargo door. Then you go inside. You hand them your ID, you fill out a paper asking you all of the same stuff which they already have on your driver's license, and then you give them the customer's name and phone number which is usually on our delivery receipts. You then sit on your ass for 15 minutes while they laugh and giggle inside their control booth, search your truck, try to call your customer, and they take their sweet time doing all of this. When they are done, they hand you back your documents, another document they generate with your picture on it which I have never found a discernible purpose for- and they give you a yellow, laminated card. You then go out and close all of your doors and proceed to a second guard shack, where you hand over the laminated card. Oddly, they do not ask you to utter a secret password which serves the same purpose as the laminated card. If all goes well, you can make it through this process in 15 minutes. It annoys the hell out of me because it could be easily streamlined- but I go through it because you have to. The people working the guard shack have zero people skills, They treat people like sheep.
Yesterday, I arrived at the lights at 1125 a.m. There were trucks everywhere, backed up to a chain link fence outside the base perimeter. Nothing was moving. About every 25 minutes, they let 4 trucks through. I was desperately trying to call my customer to arrange an off base pickup while trying not to get mired in the line without being able to get out. The customer failed to answer his phone although we had set up an at home delivery time between 11 and 1 PM and he should have been there answering his phone. I called 4 or 5 times. After about 45 minutes, I struck up a conversation with a fellow trucker next to me. He said the wait was ridiculous but he gets paid by the hour. Therein lies the dilemma. If people don't care, because they get theirs, why would they say anything? They don't. It's like a giant herd of sheep driving trucks- all afraid to say something perhaps even worried about heaven forbid- losing their crappy jobs driving trucks.
I waited 1 hour and 50 minutes. At a quarter after one, I finally made it to the guard shack. I have to be honest- my ass was on fire. The kid behind the desk asked me how I was doing. I had to bite my tongue. I did everything required of me and I sat down. There were three other truckers in the waiting area with me. One kid told me I needed a front plate on the truck as though that was somehow my fault and responsibility or that I needed a traffic law refresher from a kid whose responsibility does not have anything to do with enforcing state law. I managed to say, "ok." What I am trying to convey here is that I was doing everything humanly possible within myself to keep from exploding. Then it happened.
A stocky guy in a uniform emerged from the office and told me that they could not get a hold of my customer by phone. I said I understood that- I had been trying to get a hold of him for 2 hours while waiting in line. I explained that I just wanted to go to his house, see if he was home, and then depart. That's when this guy (Mr Tactful) said you are not getting on the base. This happened after 2 hours and 5 minutes of waiting.
I blew up. Blood began gushing from my ears in some primitive response to assholes who have made me wait 2 hours for nothing and who now intend on forcing me to continue the exercise. I told this guy that "I am not waiting one more fucking minute." "If you aren't going to let me on the base then just give me my fucking shit back right now!" "I am not waiting all day in this place." "I told them that a 2 hour wait was outrageous and unacceptable- and that I would be contacting their commanding officer." Mr. Tactful said "Go ahead- we want you to." I don't remember what else I may or may not have said. When I get angry- my memory shuts off as my brain shunts all blood flow from the important judgment and memory centers of my brain and sends it to that part of my brain that controls the, "beat the shit out of these smug assholes" part of my brain.
As I left- driving past all of the waiting truckers dying of old age in line- I flipped the place off. At least one trucker, outside his truck, cheered and clapped. My only hope is that I started a rebellion although I'm sure that is only a fantasy.
I spent the rest of the day and one cell phone battery trying to find phone numbers and call commanding officers. Oddly, no one wanted to cooperate with my efforts nor did the phone numbers I was given have anyone answering them. Last night, I filed an online complaint. Tomorrow sans an explanation or phone call today, I am going to jump on my motorcycle, drive 50 miles, and find someone to lay into. They motivate me.
I paid my dues. For 25 years, I pushed a patrol car around and wrestled drug crazed lunatics, delivered death messages, rounded up stolen property, and nearly got shot a few times. I understood the meaning of public service, of treating people decently, and I believe that the 4th amendment was never intended to be a suggestion. It prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and that includes detaining people well beyond what is necessary or morally right. Or reasonable.
How we let these people bastardize and treat our Constitution like it is some old, ancient, and worn out suggestion rather than the law of the land- beats the hell out of me. The people violating our rights are the same people who we charge to defend them. Maybe they need a refresher course in civics. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civics
I am not particularly proud of the way I acted yesterday. I prefer treating people decently although I gotta be honest here- I am not exactly brimming with guilt either.
If the USAF is so afraid of a retired 53 year old law enforcer smuggling bombs onto the AF base- then maybe they should just call every non essential delivery "off limits" and discontinue the practice altogether.
So that's how it is. In the spirit of fair play- I think it's only proper that I return the favor. I've tabbed Thursday for part deux, I'll let you know how that goes.
*Update. I received this reply to my email complaint yesterday. You can damn sure bet I'll be calling that phone number.
We sincerely apologize for the 2 hour and 5 min wait at Grandview gate. In
our opinion the best course of action for you is to contact the 366th
Fighter Wing commander's hotline at (208) 828- 1362 and relay the entire
situation. This hotline is your direct line to voice your concerns. It's
your opportunity to make Mountain Home Air Force Base a better place to live
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Comm: (208) 828-6800; DSN: 728-6800