Monday, May 07, 2007

Is something burning? part deux...

Someone's pants are on fire, and I think it's really funny.

Yeah, I'm a civilian, but I work on a base, and the base provides me housing. They have to. It's in something called a "transportation agreement", that says "We moved you out here, and we must provide you housing." It's pretty nice, except when you start running into bureaucrats who think they can pull a fast one on you or strong arm folks into doing what they want you to do. Anytime you deal with people like that, they forget that people like me are the customer and they are responsible for serving me, not the other way around. I don't exist to provide a body to fill in their housing unit, no no. They exist to provide me with "adequate" housing. Notice the TUOQ there to emphasise the subjectivity of "adequate".

Don't Strong Arm me, Mmkay?

I don't like it when people put the proverbial screws on me, especially when it's an organization like the aforementioned housing department. Just the notion that they would put the screws on me for whatever reason is pretty offensive, and I will do everything within reason not to bend. Unfortunately for them, I married someone born and raised in Japan, who likes being strong armed even less, and who has higher standards for quality of living than I do. The result? Let's find out.

"We're doing you a favor"

On Friday the housing department extended an olive branch. "Here's an apartment," they said. "Do you want it or not?" "Well," I answered, "I'm not going to say yay or nay until my wife sees it." This should be obvious to anyone who's married. They seemed a little confused, so I innocently asked them, "Don't you think it's important to involve your spouse in the decision making process?" to which they were like "OH YES of course it is," at which point they started to apply the screws.

My wife's apartment lease ended last Saturday, so we had to move her whole life down here then. I was faced with a dilemma -- where to put it? It won't fit in my place now, so I headed to the housing department and asked if there was somewhere to put it. "No problem," said the lady. "We should be able to find somewhere."

So fast forward to when they're offering the new apartment. I say, "I don't want to say yes or no until my wife sees it," and the lady responds with, "Well, if you accept it, you can put her stuff in there and wait until you move in. If you don't accept it, well, we don't have anywhere to put her things. Not only that," she continued, "but if you decline it, you'll be put to the bottom of the housing list." "Are there a lot of people on the list now?" I asked, "Oh yeah," she chortled, making it clear that it would be a very long wait (she did the "laugh while saying 'oh yeah' for emphasis" thing). In other words, I don't have to accept what they offer, that is, if I don't mind living with all my wife's stuff and being moved to the bottom of the housing priority list.

I was in the Marines for 5 years. I know when I'm gettin' strong armed.

So on Saturday, the wife and I move all her stuff down, and we go check out the housing unit. She didn't like it (I knew she wouldn't), and I encouraged her to turn it down if she didn't like it. I want her to be happy with the place, and I didn't like the feeling of being railroaded into accepting it. Hated it, in fact. So when she said "No," I skipped down to housing and reported it.

Since it was Saturday, the normal lady wasn't there. The guy who was there (we'll call him "M") was super cool and had no vested interest in the married housing thing. When he heard about my situation, he made a phone call (on a Saturday, remember), and within 5 minutes we had a place to put her stuff. M told me to stop by on Monday and we'd talk some more. So much for the "no where to put your stuff thing" eh?

So today I went to housing with the new guy in my office, and I found out that there is no one after me on the housing list. The lady had some wiggle room on the "there's no where to put your stuff" thing, because maybe there wasn't anywhere to put it here (we had to drive it to a different housing area), so she could maybe claim that's what she meant. But the other one is pretty cut and dry.

Me: Are there other people on the list?
Her: Oh yeah.

I asked a question, she answered in the affirmative, when the answer was actually the negative.

I think she grossly underestimated my Strongarmdar (that's a radar for being strongarmed), my aversion to it, and my insatiable hunger to find out everything I can about whatever situation I am in. She also should have, I dunno, either let everyone in on her lie, or maybe lied to everyone in the office, just in case I wasn't as stupid as she thought I was. Part of me gets a kick out of this, because in a way I think I called her bluff. Had I accepted the unit, I wouldn't have found out that there were areas to put my wife's stuff, and I wouldn't have found out about no one else being on the list. The dynamic has changed, and if I feel the screws being applied once more, well, I have a blatant lie in my back pocket, ready for use. Hopefully I don't have to bust it out.



Blogger A Unique Alias said...

Isn't it great to beat the man? Particularly when "the man" is a dispassionate middle-aged attitudinal housefrau bureaucrat who thinks that doing her job "adequately" is the same as doing a personal favor for you, and that intentionally doing her job poorly is what you should expect.

10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is completely unrelated, but why is there a disabled's sign beside the word verification box?

4:14 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

the handicap'd sign is so that u can listen to the letters and numbers to type them in, apparently.

i was unaware that deaf folks neede wheelchairs.

8:08 AM  
Blogger BlogHammer said...

If this person had any brains, they would have tried to convince you that there was indeed a long wait but that as a BIG favor to you, they would move you to the top based on your situation/whatever/blah blah. That way they still get to appear to be a person of influence, and they make you think you owe them one.

(Sorta like how Scotty used to inflate the hell out of his repair estimates to look like hot shit. I tell you, that guy must have been in some kind of intergalactic underground union or something.)

1:57 AM  
Anonymous Tony said...

Uhm...Paul.... wouldn't it be blind people that need to have the letters read aloud? I don't think deaf people could hear them so that would just kind of be a slap in the face really.

Did you find a place that the wife likes?

8:48 AM  

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