Eggs & Abstinence

brandishing absurdity

American Airlines Correspondence

AA 

We are writing to follow up with you about the situation you encountered as a passenger on our flight 2396 on January 20. While we are sure you can appreciate our decision to return to Lubbock was motivated by our commitment to your safety, we also can appreciate that many of our customers’ important plans were significantly affected, and for that, we apologize.

In appreciation for your patience, we have made arrangements for an eVoucher for you (via a separate email). The eVoucher may be used towards the purchase of a ticket for travel on American Airlines or American Eagle within 12 months from the date of issue. While the eVoucher itself is nontransferable and cannot be sold or bartered, you may use it to buy a ticket for a friend or relative if you prefer.

Your loyalty is important to us and we would like to assure you that we are committed to getting you to your destination as planned. We’ll do our best to provide a smooth trip the next time you fly with us. We will look forward to welcoming you aboard again soon.

Sincerely,

K. J. Russell

Customer Relations

American Airlines

AA Ref#1-1233086491

JD

Thank you for proactively reaching out and offering these tokens of your appreciation for our patience. Sadly, the amount of these vouchers has done more to aggravate the situation than alleviate it.

Due to the mechanical failure of one of your planes and the ensuing fiasco that followed, my wife and I both lost several hundred dollars worth of pay and were forced to miss some very important meetings, one of which took weeks to arrange.

To wit: 

After the initial shock of finding out that there is something wrong with our plane (disconcerting, to say the least) and that we have to turn around and land in Lubbock again, whereby we might miss our connection in Dallas, the crew then informs us that the only maintenance person at the airport is over thirty minutes away. Confirmation that my wife and I will indeed miss our connection.

So I pick up the phone to call customer service to see about getting another flight out and after waiting on hold for 40 minutes, am told that there are no other flights to Portland that night, nor are there any flights the following morning that will get us home before 9am.

Neither of us have eaten since earlier in the afternoon, expecting that we can find something in Dallas during our layover and because my wife has severe allergies to gluten and dairy and all but one of the restaurants in the Lubbock airport were closed, we are forced to eat beef jerky and corn nuts from the newsstand for dinner. Not ideal.

Eventually our flight from Lubbock is cleared and we make it to Dallas at 11:30p. The staff at the terminal desk are nice and provide us with meal and hotel vouchers, but confirmed that the earliest they can get us to Portland is 11:30a the following morning. Then begin the calls and emails to reschedule our respective work day, which keeps both of us up at the hotel until almost 2am. 

I am forced to miss two meetings and ultimately waste 6 hours of PTO. That translates to $250 lost. My wife has to reschedule a meeting that she had been organizing for over three weeks and also has to miss 6 hours of work (she doesn’t get PTO), so she loses over $150 of wages. I also have to book another day with the dog sitter, $30.

We then have to wake up at 6:30a to catch a shuttle to the airport (that’s four and a half hours of sleep). When going through security in Dallas and again when boarding the plane, two AA crew members harass us about the size of our carry on luggage, which I have taken onto more than 2 dozen flights with no issue and we are forced to check the bag. Fine. No charge. Just more icing on the cake.

When we arrive in Portland, we have to take a taxi home ($45) because the ride we had arranged for the previous evening is at work. Then when we get to our car, which was parked at our friend’s house, the battery is dead. While this is obviously no fault of AA, we spend the next hour trying to find someone who can boost our car because all of our friends are at their respective jobs. It is 1:30p before my wife an I are able to get back to our home and begin our belated work day.

Our plans were indeed “significantly affected” and yet American Airlines only saw fit to offer two $150 vouchers. Our flight home to New Mexico (via Lubbock) cost over $800. $300 is not enough for one of us to fly round trip to any place we frequently fly to. Also, you might want to rethink $12 meal vouchers when sending someone to a hotel with a restaurant where two meals with drinks and tip comes to $35. And those breakfast vouchers are pretty much only good for egg mcmuffins at the airport which, I don’t know if you’ve heard, aren’t very good for you.

I’m not going to ask for anything more, because I shouldn’t have to, but I hope you can see how $300 in flight vouchers for two people, only valid on an airline that we’ve just had a pretty awful experience with, just feels a little insulting.

Regards,

John Dictson

AA

Dear Mr. Dictson:

Thank you for contacting Customer Relations. We always appreciate hearing from our customers — even if the feedback is critical. I’m glad you took the time to share your experience with the difficulties surrounding your trip. Your contacting us not only gives us the chance to extend an additional apology for what happened, but your comments will assist us in the future in keeping the kind of frustration you experienced to an absolute minimum.

In addition, we are sorry that you were disappointed in the amount of the meal voucher we offered to you when your travel plans were affected by operational difficulties. When we extend meal vouchers, we do so as a gesture of goodwill. The amount given is not intended to cover the entire cost of the meals purchased but rather to help offset the cost of this unexpected expense.

While I acknowledge your request for additional compensation considering the disruption of your travel plans, the goodwill we previously extended to you and your wife was a simple gesture and a genuine demonstration of our concern for your inconvenience. We must respectfully decline to offer more. We simply aren’t in a position to assume financial responsibility for our customers’ personal time lost or for out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of operational difficulties.

Once again, we apologize that we didn’t get you to your destination as planned. If given the chance to welcome you aboard again, we will do our best not to disappoint you. We would consider it a privilege to have your continued business.

Sincerely,

Jane A. Knight

Customer Relations

American Airlines

AA Ref#1-1239421240

JD

I’m not asking you to assume financial responsibility for my “personal time lost or for out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of operational difficulties”. I’m just looking for an acknowledgement that your “mechanical difficulties” really screwed my day up and that a $150 voucher only valid on the airline that screwed my day up is hardly sufficient “goodwill”. 

If you want my wife or I to ever give American Airlines another chance, I expect at least enough for a single round trip that doesn’t require me to shell out more money to a company that I am already upset with. I’m not asking for a trip to France or a briefcase full of cash. I just want to know that you care enough to try to keep me as a customer. 

Your $150 voucher from my perspective says, “Hey, we’re sorry you had a crappy experience, but here’s $150 towards another crappy experience! But you’ll still owe us another $100+ on top of that.” What makes you think that just because you’re giving me a small discount on another flight on your airline that I’m just going to pony up more money for the chance that you’ll ruin my next vacation? 

My wife and I make around 10 round trip domestic flights per year and at least one international flight per year. So you can stick to your guns with these $150 vouchers and never see another dime from us, or you can try again, impress us with our next flight, and make us lifelong customers. Simple math. There are plenty of other airlines for me to choose from, but you just posted a 2 billion dollar loss, so you need us a lot more than we need you. Your move.

John Dictson

Somewhere Out There

There was a time, before the explosion, when I would lie out on the roof at night and stare up at the stars for hours. I would find my favorite constellations—Ursa Minor and Virgo, Hercules and Ara—and trace them with my index finger, painting pictures on the night sky. I watched in reverent silence as the gods gathered before Ara to swear allegiance to Jupiter and cheered each time Hercules removed the immortal head of the hydra.

It’s been almost three years since I last saw even a single star winking at me from space. I know they must still be out there, beyond the thick, murky clouds covering the sky, but I often wonder if the baby bear has wandered off after a shiny comet or if the virgin finally decided to find out what lay below Orion’s belt now that no one is looking. Just the thought of them keeps me from feeling so alone when the dull glow of the sun fades and everything goes black.

"Just a few more miles and we’ll stop and eat, Lex."

Lex is my closest friend and travel companion, a ragged Beanie Baby octopus I found in an empty office while scavenging for supplies just after the bomb went off.

"I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what I’ve got in store. I know how you like surprises."

Lex has lost most of his beanie stuffing and hangs rather limply from the chest pocket of my oversized parka, his blank, plastic eyes staring up at me as I trudge across the frozen earth. I’m not crazy, yet. I know full well that Lex doesn’t have a digestive system or possess the cognitive ability to give a shit about surprises, but it helps to talk to someone.

Before I found Lex, I had only myself to talk to and very nearly talked myself right off the edge of a twenty story building when I came to terms with the fact that I’d been left behind. I managed to convince myself that there must be others that didn’t make it on a transport before the explosion, but determined very quickly that I needed to get out of my own head before I lost it.

So, on my way back through the building while digging through desk drawers and cabinets for anything useful, I spotted Lex’s fuzzy, purple, eight armed form lying alone on the bare surface of a black metal desk that appeared to have been stripped clean by it’s last occupant. “Left behind just like me,” I told him with a sad smile as I held him up and examined him. “You’re probably a collector’s item. Well, don’t worry, I’ll protect you from poachers,” I said as I draped his leggy form over my right shoulder.

I carried him like that for a while, turning my head to the side to talk to him throughout the day, but decided I needed to find a better riding place for him when my neck started cramping up. I wanted to be able to see him and the coat I was wearing at the time didn’t have chest pockets, so I found a safety pin in my first aid kit and pinned him to my sleeve, just below the crook of my elbow. After a few months, the safety pin wore through Lex’s soft, cloth tentacle and he fell off while I was walking. I didn’t notice for a good hundred yards as I was so involved in recounting the time my friend Tim and I had gotten caught taking pictures of naked barbie dolls in lewd positions in the high school photo lab.

"When they drug us to the office, I tried to explain to the principal that it was an artistic expression of a perfectly natural and beautiful human function, but Tim just sat in the corner doing a miserable job of stifling the giggles and as soon as we made eye contact I burst out laughing and we both ended up in in-school suspension for two weeks. You’d think— shit!" I exclaimed as I looked down at my sleeve to find a safety pin but no purple octopus hanging from it.

"Dammit, dammit dammit!" My heart began trying to beat it’s way out of my chest as I anxiously scanned the ground behind me. "It’s just a stuffed animal, Danny," I tried telling myself, but knew it for a lie.

I began retracing my steps, combing every inch of the ground I had just covered. Fortunately, the thick layer of frost on the ground left a clear set of footprints to follow, but I had no idea when he had fallen off so this didn’t do much for my state of panic. After a few tense, silent minutes I spotted Lex lying on the frozen ground a few feet from my path, a scattering of tiny white beads around him.

"Oh, thank God, there you are. You very nearly gave me a heart attack. Don’t ever, ever do that again.” As soon as I knelt down and saw his tiny face smiling up at me, my eyes welled up and a lump formed painfully in my throat. In that moment, my vision blurry and my hands trembling, I thought maybe I had finally lost it. Then I remembered standing on the edge of that building so many months before, alone and afraid and ready to jump and I knew I wasn’t crazy, just human.

When I picked Lex up, a thin stream of beads came pouring from one tentacle. I quickly turned him over and very deliberately tucked him into my coat pocket, then got down on my knees to gather up his insides. Once I was satisfied that I had found every last bead, I proceeded to stuff them back into his damaged tentacle one at a time, then I used the safety pin to close it up.

For the next few days, I carried him securely in my right hand where he couldn’t unexpectedly work himself free. Since then, he’s hung from my hat, ridden in a fanny pack and even dangled from a contraption that suspended him right in front of my face. Over the last two years he’s lost a lot of weight and faded to a pale lavender color, but his bright, plastic eyes and goofy perma-smile are as good as new.

When I’m not conversing with Lex, I’m usually praying. You might think I’d have given up on God by now, but I figure he’s the only reason I’m still alive. Yeah, I’m cold and alone, but I always seem to stumble on a food store when I need it and the bomb sterilized everything, so I haven’t been sick since I came out of stasis. For all I know, everyone else died in an asteroid storm or got attacked by some angry, territorial alien race as soon as they left the solar system.

"Can you imagine being cooped up in a space transport for three years with twenty million people, Lex? All that recycled air and astronaut food. It looked awfully cramped in the vids. If the aliens don’t get ‘em, they’ll probably end up killing each other.”

I often wonder how my family’s doing out there. I try to picture what my baby sister Sara looks like. I never got to see her after she was born. I just hope growing up on a spaceship doesn’t make her retarded or something. It can’t be good to spend the first years of your life without sunlight and birds and rainstorms. I’m sure they planned for that sort of thing, though.

"God, please watch over mom and Robby and little Sara. Let them make it to New Earth safely and let everything work out like the government promised. And please let them postpone the final phase of the cleansing until they’ve sent a probe back to find me. Thanks for providing food and water and warmth for me all this time. Also, please let that house up ahead be full of sex starved supermodels. And ripe grapefruit. Amen."

===

"Everything is going according to schedule, President Liston. The last transport is docking at Bravo Station as we speak and everyone is accounted for."

"Were there any survivors back on the planet?"

"I’m still awaiting the final report, but the first sweep showed no signs, sir."

"Alright, Colonel, as soon as you’ve confirmed, you can begin the procedures for the final stage. We can’t afford to wait any longer. "

"Aye, sir."

Colonel Brixton turned from the vidcom screen as soon as the president’s face winked out and reached for a bottle of bourbon. He filled a highball glass to the rim and picked it up, spilling some on the table. In his other hand he picked up a sheaf of papers labeled “Final Probe Results”. It had been delivered to him several minutes before the president’s call and he hadn’t had time to digest the contents.

"One survivor, human, located thirty four degrees North, a hundred and four degrees West," Brixton read aloud for the third time. "Sonuvabitch. Thirteen more months at least before we can extract him. By then the whole place will be crawling with bugs. He probably won’t survive the first wave anyway.” The colonel stared at the page for several minutes before downing the rest of his whisky. “I need another drink.”

===

"Mommy, mommy! Look, look! A flawa!" exclaimed a little girl carrying a small, purple flower, running barefoot across the grass toward a woman and a young man sitting on a blanket. She stopped in front of the woman. "Look, it has one, two, fwee, fo, five, six, seven, eight—eight popple petals," she said with a huge smile.

"It’s beautiful, Sara. Here, let me put it in your hair," the mother said quietly, taking the flower from the girl and weaving it into her braids. "Perfect," she smiled, sitting back to admire her work. Behind her smile, a glint of sadness entered her eyes. "Your brother Danny would love it. Purple is his favorite color."

"When is Danny going to come, mom?" asked the boy sitting next to her on the blanket.

"Soon, Robby. The last transport just docked this morning."

"Can we throw him a welcome home party? We could have a cake and balloons and everything!"

"We’ll see. Why don’t you take your sister back to the house and wash up for dinner."

As the children ran toward the house, the woman took her phone from her purse and replayed a news vid she had received less than an hour before.

"Breaking news. Colonel Allen Brixton announced at a press conference just minutes ago that the final probe revealed no survivors on Earth. Proceedings have officially begun to initialize the final phase that will…" She let the phone fall onto the blanket, burying her head in her hands as tears streamed down her face.

===

Today was my eighteenth birthday. I treated myself to a cigarette and some tequila. I’ve been saving both for a few weeks. I figure you can smoke in the states at eighteen and you can drink in Europe at eighteen and since there aren’t really any boundaries any more, I might as well combine the two. I’ve never smoked or drank before, but I figure today’s as good an occasion as any to start. Lex and I dined on Hormel chili, creamed corn and Moon Pies for dinner. I’ve been saving those for a while, too. I miss my family something awful. My mom used to make a themed cake for my birthday every year. The last one looked like a soccer field, with nets and players and crowded stands, even. That was my fifteenth birthday, three months before I went into stasis to prepare for the trip to New Earth. I can still taste that cake.

he puts the pen to the paper 
and he scribbles a line
wondering what it would be like
if he weren't still doin' time

up in the penitentiary
with all the thugs and the freaks
and people put away for slingin'
dope and guns on the streets

Tommy only pulled the trigger
in an act of defense
the simple fact that he's still locked up
doesn't make any sense

he was a model citizen,
he always kept to himself
he never bothered anybody,
operated in stealth

he had a couple hundred dollars
in the bank but his wealth
wasn't contained inside a vault,
no it was in how he felt

about the only person he could ever
claimed to have loved
her name was Kat and she was sent to him
from God up above

he paid a visit to her condo
on a cold day in march
never suspecting that the weather
was about to turn harsh

he knocked a couple times before
he put his hand on the knob
thats when he heard from deep inside
the house the sound of a sob

he kicked the door off of it's hinges
without giving a thought
and like a bolt of lightning
vaulted up the stairs to the loft

what he found there haunts him to
this very day makes him cold
drives all the warmth out of his body,
knocks the wind from his soul

but though he knows there wasn't anything
that he could have done
he lays the blame upon himself
thinking that if he had run

instead of strolling through the park
and flippin' shit with his boys
he might have made it there in time
to save his Helen of Troy

reality’s troops have invaded my dreams

taking fantasy captive and damming up streams

of consciousness flowing with water of life

bringing famine and war to a land free of strife

he sits on a branch in a tree way up high
looking out at the birds as they play in the sky
and he’s hoping that someday he’ll learn how to fly

twenty years later he sits on a plane
looking out at the birds as they play in the rain
realizing with sadness, it’s just not the same

libere:

La Révolution Surréaliste (by Lukas Renlund)

libere:

La Révolution Surréaliste (by Lukas Renlund)

(via princessbindi-deactivated201308)