Politricks

This election cycle has been more exhausting and traumatising than any that I can remember. Not even our most violent elections in Jamaica come close to how traumatised I am right now and we still have another 4 months to go before it’s over.

I feel beaten down and sore. There is so much violent rhetoric everywhere and nothing anyone says can be taken on face value. No one is trustworthy and everyone is corrupt and a liar. Some more so than others until you talk to someone who actually supports that one and then … not so corrupt. It’s exhausting. The number of media houses who are willing to examine this race from an objective perspective is slim and people stick to their preferred outlets even when they know how biased they are. I really wish that the public was more discerning than they are.

I don’t even know how I got so gung-ho about voting either. I haven’t been this interested in voting since I was first able to vote as a young adult in Jamaica. And that was a pretty disappointing experience. I voted for a woman I thought would have more interest in contributing to bettering the community than anything else. Boy was I disappointed. Whatever progress was made was invisible to me and it tainted my view of politics and government for years afterwards.

As I grew older, though, it became clearer to me that politics was less about me and more about community, the most needy, and optics. And it is that last bit that poses a conundrum for me because I am of the opinion that it really should not matter what people think of you, but at the same time I am very much in favour of not behaving like a complete numbskull in public either. Which isn’t necessarily contradicting stances, mind you. One can be one’s true self without being an ass so long as one is not actually an ass.

And this brings me to this whole 2016 election. We’ve got an ass and a hardass as choices. I dunno … it’s kind of shitty that the one year I decide to be good citizen, my choices are between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. And while I am of the firm opinion that one of these is worse than the other (and I am not here to say which that is), I really am tired of the way in which people have taken these elections and turned it into an excuse to belittle one another, alienate one another, and shut one another down.

As someone on a friend’s Facebook thread said, this election season is way too long. Most marriages can’t last with this level and duration of vitriol. Why are we doing this to ourselves?

/sigh

customs woes

No matter where I live, it seems I am to be plagued by Customs agents who have no common sense and no sense of respect for private property and no professionalism.

I asked my parents to send on some personal items to me and the best way we thought was to hold onto the items and once a complete box-full of stuff was ready to be shipped, to just send the box on via UPS.

Well

I was actually impressed that the box got here within 5 days – nevermind that the delivery guy took my outdoor mat (yes – THAT mat that we wipe our muddy, dirty feet on) and covered the box up outside the doorway. The first thing I noticed was that the box has been opened. Fine – I expected that considering it would have to come through customs to get to me… I expected them to open up to make sure my mother wasn’t sending me some drug or explosive or some other kind of contraband to sell or us … I get that.

So, I ignored that and opened up the box. Nothing was missing  – according to the inventory sheet Dad included, it was all there. Nice.

The ONE  item I REALLY wanted to get among them all was my old journal from Digicel – leather-bound and personalized with both my name and the company name. It had notes that I thought I’d want to have with me if I was going to continue in the Tech field. While flipping through, I noticed that the outside covers had 2 slits in identical locations – back and front. “Hmm”, I thought, “must have been packed badly and the hardcover books cos the old leather to crack and tear”.

IMG_5453

IMG_5456

I didn’t even think twice about it – I just went back to whatever it was I had been doing before. It wasn’t until hubby came home and I was showing it to him that I realized that the inside cover also had a slit in it … nay! a slit AND a TEAR!

theDamagedJournal

As in, they sliced it open with a sharp edge and tore it apart.

I was so mad, everything around me was literally tinged with red. Hubby said “calm down -we’ll call UPS. see what they tell us” and I dropped it. I left it alone because I know if I even approached the subject before I was able to let it go completely, I would be a bumbling idiot.

The danger of that course of action, however, is that you forget. Well, thank you UPS for reminding me because yesterday, here comes an envelope from UPS charging me brokerage for the package. And here I go getting incensed again … because not only did UPS allow customs to destroy my property, but now they are charging me for it too.

Oooo… I was mad. Luckily, I had a number to call them. The delivery man came again another day; he asked me about my international package and I told him about the damage. So he quickly wrote down a number for me to call to claim damages. Which is the number I called with bill in hand.

Well, they were polite and commiserating – I’ll give them that. However, while the first woman told me she was going to make a note that the brokerage charges were pending the damage case, the second dude told me I would be required to pay them anyway.

BULLSHIT! I ain’t paying them jack shit until they either reimburse me for my damaged goods or tell me “You know what – let’s just call it even”. Fuck them. Rude.

Grrr… just makes me mad all over again. What bothers me most about this scenario is that had the Customs inspectors used their brain instead of their mile-long rule books, they would have realized that this book is unlikely to have anything hidden in the cover – book is years old, as can be seen by the writing in the book itself; but if that is not enough considering writing can be faked, the wear and tear alone is another clue. Don’t think that can be faked as easily. And if that is STILL not enough, the binding is intact – clearly hasn’t been tampered with.  On top of everything else, have none of them ever SEEN a leather-bound book? What the hell are you going to conceal in the cover of a leather-bound book? Furthermore, who would send an Italian leather bound book to Jamaica and then to the US along with other technical books in a box that is likely to contain contraband?

Nevermind all that speculation … just one answer will do “what the HELL could they be looking for?” is what I want to know.