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As part of the transfer process from one college to the other I have to provide evidence that I have taken a certain number of college level mathematics courses. I was fortunate enough to have already done this level of coursework in high school, and merely need to provide adequate untampered evidence in a signed sealed envelope to the college.
The hitch: my coursework was completed in 1984.

Unlike my mother I have no difficulty swearing, and said a few choice words once I confirmed that the telephone receiver was pressed and the call to the college evaluations office securely ended. Christ, how was I going to get records from 1984 in time to get my diploma?

It took a few minutes but I found my old high school website and obtained the number for the college transcripts request desk. I’m sure the request desk was also the front desk receptionist, and probably in the school nurses/guidance counselors waiting room. It was a small school, and little changes in such places, even in almost 30 years.

Once I was assured that I had the proper party, I explained what I needed as politely as I could. I know that the end of the school year is in a two weeks, and if I was pushy they might just forget to send anything until next fall. I imagined calling months from now and hearing “Oops, damn darlin I guess we missed that. Hope you didn’t need it. ”

I didn’t need to worry. I didn’t have to beg or be overly polite. The woman at the transcripts desk was wonderful, sweet, kind, informed and accommodating. When I explained that I had probably graduated before she was born, she laughed and told me “no, ma’am, I was three in 1984.” She further explained that due to the length of time that had transpired since graduation they no longer held my records at the school. No surprise there. I was quickly given the correct number and contact information with instructions to ask for either of two women who would absolutely take care of me. I was also heartily congratulated on my upcoming transition to the big time university. This perfect stranger was genuinely happy for me, and she warmly encouraged me to pursue my dreams.

A special thank you to the polite young woman at Santa Fe High School in Alachua, Florida for being so helpful.

Inane drivel…..why am I telling you about this….right?

It’s the stark difference in customer service and a general lack of willingness to help each other on the West Coast that tweaks me.

Here’s a prime example.

In my first month in Seattle I had a problem with my relatively new car on the way to work. One of my spark plugs popped out of the engine block. I know. Weird shiznit. Shouldn’t happen, but it did. I’m standing on the side of the road, hood up, eyeballing the engine trying to figure out the the Pho happened and two of my co workers drive by. TWO! MEN! YOUNG OVER EDUCATED CAPABLE (I use this term loosely) MEN (also using this term loosely)!

How do I know this? That’s a fair question.

When I repaired my car and drove myself to work, they told me. “We saw you on the side of the road. But it looked like you had it under control.” Like they figured that out in the time it took them to fly by me at 60 mph while looking in the rear view mirror. Lying sack of cow dung! I’ve got some oceanfront property in Arizona for you too, buddy! Hope you like the heat!

I wanted to grab them by the ears and instruct them on how to treat a woman. They obviously didn’t know. Please tell me how you can raise children to adulthood and not teach them to take care of themselves and others in their community. Please explain it to me. How’s it OK to leave someone you know stranded on the highway?

I was so pissed I bypassed seeing red and went straight to black. I wanted to punch something, but refrained only because I thought I might hurt myself in the process, and its bad form in the first month of employment to deck your coworkers.

I sat next to one of the two men all day long that fine September day.

I asked him “what if your mother had been stranded? What then? How about your sister? Your wife? Your daughter? Or, heaven forbid, you. How would it feel to have me drive by you and wave and smile and snicker all the way to work?”

He looked at me dumbfounded and I realized that as educated as he apparently was, he wasn’t capable of understanding.

This little life lesson was too important to ignore. If you can’t educate them you can sure as hell embarrass them (if you can’t go deep, go long) and I did that ALL day long. I told the story in it’s entirely to anyone who would listen. Some people I told twice because I was pissed and couldn’t remember who I’d told already. As thick as he was, I think by the end of the day, he got the point.

West Coasters– When you find your self puffed up and bragging about how the west is best, and laughing at the South and rednecks because they’re just dumb trailer park alcoholics, you might just consider who you want driving by you as you sit in your broken car on a dark and lonely road.

As for me, I’ll choose Bubba every time. Besides he might have an extra cold beer for me too.

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