#FastestDeliveryEver #ComputersAndConsumers

OMG! In keeping with my promise to report on Consumer Advocate Affairs, I am here to tell you about the FASTEST DELIVERY SERVICE EVER.  Today, I decided my dad needed a break from his frozen dinners that he finally learned how to heat up in the microwave. (For a former engineer, microwaves, cell phones and iPads are still challenging. My brother says give the man gears and he’s fine, but anything digital is beyond him).

Anyway, dad had already eaten all the dinners that his gal Friday cooks and leaves for him a few times a week. So, I decided to send him Chinese food from Golden Hunan in Northridge. I thought he’d enjoy the change of pace.  A few days ago, I ordered a salmon dinner for his birthday from Outback Steakhouse. He is an enthusiastic salmon eater, but unfortunately cooking is also not his forte. Thank God for Outback. It was a good week for my dad gastronomically speaking.

Wowsa! I tried ordering the Golden Hunan eggrolls and chicken with vegetables online at first, but it looked like there might be a problem explaining to the computer app that the delivery address was different from the billing address/ zip code. I called the restaurant to ask if that was okay to type in both, before I entered the website of no return, since Door Dash had just deactivated my account for the same issue. (Now I am skittish).  Stephanie, of Golden Hunan, told me she would just take the order since I was already on the phone and that she could deliver it within 15 minutes. I was stunned. She took my payment and seriously about 8 minutes later, I got a call from her. She was watching from her car to ensure my dad picked up his food off the porch and brought it in. What a doll! He doesn’t hear so well so I don’t give out his cell number to restaurants.  I want them to check in with me if there’s a problem anyway.


 After Door Dash infuriated me two days ago regarding another order and I battled them for over an hour, I suddenly remembered what attentive Customer Service actually meant thanks to Stephanie!!! So, Door Dash was on my naughty list, but Hunan was as great as Outback had been earlier in the week. When I ordered his meal from Outback’s curbside delivery, I mentioned that he was celebrating a milestone birthday. When I went inside dad’s house and plated his dinner, I saw that Outback had added a complimentary piece of cheesecake with a birthday greeting. That was so sweet!!!! Northridge has got it going on with Outback Steakhouse and Golden Hunan! Good work guys!!!

Now Door Dash…Ahem. On the same day that I picked up dinner for my dad’s birthday, I tried to send a nice lunch to my daughter to celebrate her birthday too. (Yes, it’s the same day ). Door Dash got confused apparently because I had been sending out food and groceries to a few different relatives and friends at about four different locations and my daughter had just moved within the same zip code. Then I had the “audacity” to use different credit cards albeit they are all in my name. I guess the Door Dash computer app didn’t understand that I sent hearing aid batteries to my dad one night at one address with one credit card, and that I tried to send a fancy birthday lunch to my daughter at a new address. I blew up the app!! The computer decided I was engaging in fraud and then my account was terminated. I called the bank who said my credit card account was fine and there was nothing wrong with the charge…. except it turned out that it didn’t go through on Door Dash’s end.

When I called Door Dash I got a couple of really rude “customer reps” one after another, who basically told me that I was being fraudulent and that the “computer made the decision to delete me.” That’s just great. As if 2020 wasn’t bad enough, 2021 was off to an ominous start as I was now determined to be disposable by a computer. The implications were freaking me out. What if this computer had other computer friends at an ambulance dispatch company or the bank that gets the mortgage payment or worse- with one of the vitals monitoring machines at the hospital? (We’re in a pandemic after all). I mean they could all talk to each other. It wasn’t entirely implausible.

I tried one more rep and he also said I was engaging in fraudulent activity although he stressed that he didn’t call me a liar, when basically he was calling me a liar.  I kind of wondered if my laptop was in on it all because I admitted before in a previous essay that I do yell at it a lot-especially after I watch the news. (I don’t take out my fury on people. I just yell at inanimate objects).

Well, the short version of this is that I gave the customer service guy a soliloquy on the merits of real customer service which fell on deaf computer parts, whatever they are these day- not vacuum tubes or integrated circuits-whatever their guts are. And then I wrote three emails to Door Dash customer service about how they better be careful who they call a liar and a fraud because some people sue over that. I was mad. In the meantime, I found other services that could deliver from the stores near my dad because I figured that I was not using Door Dash again even if they made up with me.

This morning I awoke to an email from a Door Dash supervisor who apologized for the error. He didn’t explain it, but he said I could use my account again. Ha! It’ll be a cold day in Outback country before I use Door Dash again.

This evening, I’ve been walking around with dread about how easy it was for a computer to just decide on its own that I wasn’t a good “community member” and then it terminated my account and PEOPLE defended the computer. Jeez!! All those creepy sci fi stories are going to come true because people are just passive followers. Only now they’re following a computer.

I fear what could happen next. I tried to talk myself into calming down as my pulse increased remembering the ramifications of Asimov’s I,Robot. Come on, I thought, dad got a couple of nice dinners, Hunan was great, and Outback understands customer service too. So, two out of three companies understand customer service. Right?

And then just before I went to bed tonight, I turned out the lights and I could swear I heard my laptop laughing at me. If I see in the morning that it left me a fortune, I’m donating it to Goodwill…



Yes, democracy is fragile. So are people. But we’re still here.

We have a raging pandemic and a would-be authoritarian. But we’re still here.

 We have half the country furious with the other half. But we’re still here.

 We think democracy is dead but it’s still here.

It didn’t have the **** kicked out of it because some asshats stormed the Capitol. It went down for the count and then it got up. And democracy logged one against the authoritarian today because he’s the obvious target and the instigator. BUT he did not rush the Capitol or steal a lectern or carry zip ties to intimidate a member of Congress or worse. He may have fueled that anger and used it, but he didn’t totally create it.

Where did it come from?

Where is it going?

Did we, the other side have a part in culling that fury too?

Do we feel like pulling out a few guns and zip ties of our own? Do we just not give into that baseness because we have higher standards?


 Why does some cop take selfies with the guys who broke into the Congress?


Why does a rioter beat a cop with a flag on a pole in the name of liberty no less?


How do we deal with the fury on both sides and purge it without escalating a terrible situation? Yeah, I’d love “to break a chair” over one of those Trumpster’s heads, especially the anti-Semites with the stupid shirts. But that’s not going to make me feel safer the next time I’m in Orange County or Simi Valley. And- that’s not really my M.O. (I just talk tough).  I scream at the computer or the TV when I am upset about politics. Everyone on the block knows that. Too bad. (My therapist said it’s healthy). I don’t wear buffalo horns, paint my face and break through windows in government buildings. I scream. At inanimate objects that do not scream back. I do not beat policemen or threaten to hang the VP.

Where in the hell did that come from???

The way I see it, we either have to split up the country literally and take different states OR we have to take a deep breath and come to the table to figure out what is really breaking up our family.  Do any of the Trump supporters have legitimate gripes, albeit they need to learn to express their anger like dignified adults and not mad hoodlums if they expect anyone to hear them. I don’t know what they want or what they are afraid of because all I’ve heard for the last four years is Trump’s voice, not theirs.

They want less taxes? I want less taxes too. Great we are in agreement about something? Is all of this fighting about taxes? And abortion? Because that’s no one’s business but the woman who’s pregnant and I don’t think there were any of those ladies climbing through the windows on Capitol Hill the other day.

So, what else? The Trump followers don’t want their jobs shipped off due to globalism? They need to get with the program and update their skill set then. That’s a good use of government money- retraining citizens to be current on marketable skills. I’d like that too. But I’m not going to tie up poor Nancy to get a word with her about that.

They’re not crazy about the economy being shut down. No one is but we are in the midst of a public emergency and we are figuring it out as we go.  If a lot of people die that will only help the funerary and the refrigerator truck industries. We kind of have to wait this one out until the cavalry comes in and it’s on the horizon.

They have a beef with “Fake News?” I think they’ve been lied to for four years and fed a steady diet of you know what BUT surely we can objectively review newscasts side by side and all study how propaganda has been used to bring us to exactly this point. Who does this schism benefit? That’s also something to review.

Ok so there are some concerns. But killing people because you want less taxes, you don’t agree with the anchorman or you don’t condone abortion is a little twisted. No. It’s a lot twisted.

Is this anger for anger’s sake or is there something else here?

“It’s the People’s House and that means it’s my house” yelled one of the fury-ridden, bile- spewing rioters yesterday. Really Dude? Is that how you treat your house? You get mad and throw trash on the floor and rip up papers and break windows? You threaten people’s lives? Nice. Remind me not to go to your house.


 Maybe that’s exactly what’s wrong. I haven’t been to your house and you haven’t been to mine.

You probably have some family pictures up on the wall just like mine.

Your kids are probably doing their homework, just like mine.

You’re probably steamed about the price of groceries just like me.

You probably think that Congress gets paid too much just like me.

Whoa…. we might actually have something in common if we could just sit down and discuss it.

I’m sorry I called you “bile-spewing rioters”. See how that works. I lost it and then I apologized. BUT I didn’t shoot anyone or threaten to hang them. Got it?

I think the people who trashed Congress need to go back supervised and clean it all up…. again….and again….and again….and again until they understand that you treat the “People’s House” with respect. Then they should pay for all the reparations and donate to the families of the people they killed. Donate until it hurts like “sign over their damn house” donations.

Then serve time.

BUT while they’re there in the clinker, they need to literally come to the table. We need to hash out what we need to fix. But we need to talk to each other and not through a middle party. I don’t want to talk through a Congressional Representative or Trump. I want whoever broke into that complex first to sit down at a table with the other side, calm and collected and lay out his grievances one by one. Then I want the other side to lay out theirs. Then we get to see if there’s a Venn diagram in there somewhere with an intersection of any of these things that we are all angry about; that maybe we can fix together.

I’d like to say to those people who broke into the Congress, that Trump doesn’t care about them or empathize with them or understand them. Whatever made them angry wasn’t worth killing someone over. But something is clearly terrifying the people who acted out last week.

What is it? Evidently, they hate Jews and Blacks and accomplished Women and well they are going to need some intensive therapy to get on track about that. (Do they know any Jews, Blacks or accomplished women?). I hear that people hate what they don’t understand and people they don’t know. Do you think that could be fixed?

They think the election was stolen? There were over seven million votes for the other guy dudes. Your buddy lost. The reason the voting process is split between the states is to protect voters from widespread manipulation. But if you need to go through the details again, then let’s go through the details about how this works.

I am very angry at the people who descended on the Capitol and terrorized our country. I can’t believe that baseless rhetoric led to people being killed. I am furious at Trump. I’ve been furious at him for four years. I don’t want to see the country blow up this week literally because of all of this collective misplaced fury and anger. But if this were my family and we were all so angry at each other, we would go to a psychologist, an objective third party to help us work through it.

And much as I am embarrassed by and furious at the people who did this, they are Americans. They are my family. And I am theirs. We share a profound history and a country that we truly love, even with its problems. I can only hope that we as a country can learn from this. I pray the families of those who died have our support and condolences. And I expect that we will somehow go forward together because we can’t ever let this happen again. It didn’t just happen to supporters of this side or that side. It didn’t just happen to families who lost loved ones. It happened to all of us…. together. We need to fix it together. Without our family, we are just states. Together we can be a crowning jewel of freedom and democracy and a beacon of hope for the world. Our tiara was just kicked across the floor.  It’s going to take a while to get that back.



It is poor timing to have the audacity to stoke a personal crisis in the middle of a pandemic. Is it still the middle of the pandemic? I guess we won’t know that until the end. And what exactly is the end of the pandemic? Does that mean no more people are dying from Covid or just fewer people are dying? If so, what exactly is the acceptable number of people dying from Covid? I guess the president thinks it is around four hundred thousand, but we clearly disagree.

Does it mean that hospital beds will be available for other problems too? How have we collectively asked our bodies to stop having strokes and heart attacks because it just isn’t a convenient time to mosey into the ER? Did I miss something? I wouldn’t be surprised.

 I can only handle Wolf so much now. And although he and Anderson have actually made my “coveted” fantasy dinner party team, I’m just a wee bit sick of seeing both of them rattle off numbers that are just getting worse. And if fantasy jail “teams” are a thing, then Trump, Pence, 11 Senate Republicans and Kirk Cameron belong in mine. I would love to see, well not actually, just know, that they are cuffed in a cell battling each other over one open latrine. (From my thoughts to God’s ears).

You know I’ve heard ambulances all day, but no one on social media has mentioned fires which we are unfortunately prone to in this area. I don’t think those are sirens for fires. I think those are different sirens now.

Today I faxed my hard-of-hearing dad a news article about how bad it is in California right now and how paramedics are not going to transport patients to hospitals if they don’t reach a certain percentage in the survivability matrix. Actually, I marked the fax in big letters and told him to “Stay the f**k inside” because “this isn’t a game.” I have a VERY stubborn almost 90- year- old father who thinks that since he survived the three notorious childhood diseases, that he has superman genes although the rest of us might be doomed. He has a big ego and doesn’t listen to reason, so I go for the shock effect to make a point. (The obscenity is usually an ice breaker. He calls back to say that isn’t appropriate language and then I try to educate him (again) on the perils of the plague). He is incredibly stubborn and “omnipotent”. I am but a lowly mortal who also has the audacity to be female. None of that ranks high in his world. Hell, here’s hoping he does have the last laugh. As I write this, though, he might be walking up to the corner with a crooked, used mask to get more fax paper because he can’t stand waiting for anything not even a delivery, once he has his OCD sights set.


 I do a lot of that lately.

So why am I having an existential crisis? I mean I’ve got a book to finish, that would be writing not reading, accounts to reconcile, P and Ls to complete and 1099s to mail. I am busy. So why am I letting this get to me? Human, I guess. That’s part of it.

My youngest daughter is moving home this week because school is remote anyways and the roomies are getting on each other’s nerves. She’ll be here and we can get on each other’s nerves which I guess is an improvement. Well, it is in the wallet department. And maybe I can coax her into some fun activities like hiking with the dog or remote tap dance lessons.  She’d like to be going out to parties and bars. We’d all like that but at least we got to do that in our twenties. It must be very hard to be a college kid right now.

Anyway, yesterday she asked me why she was knocking herself out to battle senioritis to graduate in the arts when she knows she’s going to have to fight for a career doing what she wants to anyway. She really wants to know if we’re going to drop dead from Covid and if so, why is this how we are spending our last days. My husband and I are trying to be optimistic, but the vaccine roll out is a definite ____________. Fill in the blank yourself. The audacity factor of congressional disbelievers who partied hardy and rolled up their sleeves first is, well my blood pressure is increasing thinking about that, so I’ll cool my jets. She’s right.

I am applying for jobs because our company is at a standstill. We have bought talent and produced concerts and live events for many years. There just isn’t a lot to do right now, so I dusted off my resume and started applying for jobs. Thus, the reason for my existential crisis. I do not like accounting, and it feels like the universe is blackmailing me, because that is what I am most qualified to do. I look at creative writing jobs and financial writer positions and I send in my CV but I’m not getting many bites.

Then I look at the political jobs. They don’t pay as well, but they look a lot more interesting. While I see job skills that translate to these positions, I’m not so sure this will be the view of the potential employers. After submitting ten resumes tonight, I saw a particularly interesting activist position for families with children.  They asked why I was interested and in lieu of writing a five-paragraph paper like Miss Hayley taught me to in A.P. English, I simply said I wanted “meaningful work.” Ha! I must be losing it.

So anyway, I reviewed the old grad school websites again. I’d love an MFA or a Masters of Professional Writing or perhaps a degree in Humanities. I long to study astronomy, photography, the classics, Latin or Comparative Literature.  But these don’t necessarily pay, albeit the programs cost mucho buckaroos. And I need to eat.

I wondered too, like my daughter mentioned, what if these were our last days?  I mean objectively. Not emotionally. How would I spend my last days if I knew that was my future?  I asked my husband if he thought that terminal kids should go to school like normal kids. What was the point?

The degree programs that I am most interested in are terminal programs.  You don’t necessarily get an MFA because you’re going on to a doctorate program.  I would personally like to tie up the rest of my days in a doctoral program. I would be thrilled to be a student. It is a lot less scary than out here in the real world. So maybe, I should find a doctoral program where I could spend the remaining years of my life expectancy. That sounds good to me. My daughter is rushing to leave school and I am dreaming about getting back in.

So that’s where I am right now.  I’m applying for jobs when I want a career. My daughter is afraid she won’t find a job in her career. And the ambulances just keep driving up and down Kanan Road next to our house. It is the main thoroughfare in our suburb. We are actually in Ventura County, so I guess a lot of the virus kind of ends two streets down where it’s officially Los Angeles County. Who knew it was so disciplined?

I think those traitors in my fantasy jail should be tried for treason. I hope we have enough collective strength left to do that when this ends, if we can figure out what that ending is. I hope that I am more optimistic tomorrow morning and that my daughter is looking forward to cleaner, more considerate roomies and help with groceries, meals and walking her dog. We will lighten her load a little so she can concentrate on the mental strength she will need to draw on to finish her senior year and maybe even have a little fun. 

I will figure it out this week. I will figure out if I am going for a terminal degree. And maybe someone will call me back about my resume.

In the meantime, I am going to get a glass of chardonnay and sit down and watch the Georgia races and hope to God that the Senate turns blue, because I don’t think our beloved country can handle four more years of division. I want America to go back to school too. Meaningful. That’s a good word. I want Americans to have a meaningful relationship with politics, social issues, history and our national identity. Oh, and the truth. I want us to have a meaningful relationship with the truth.

You know. I was wrong. I don’t think I’m the one having a crisis.