Monday, September 29, 2008

"Getting There"

There is a heavy price to pay for leaving the house! By noon on Sun. the weather looks like it might have cleared up enough to go to Book festival. Although I tried to arrange for a ride in advance it didn't look like that was going to pan out.

I called Jack's cab service and surmised that they'd give me a hard time since I didn't have an exact address. I told the dispatcher that I wanted to go anywhere in Mt. Vernon.

Dispatch- "You don't have an address?"

E-"No. Just take me anywhere in Mt. Vernon, it' doesn't matter where."

Dispatcher-"Well, I don't know what to do for you if you have no address, so hold on"

SHe puts me on hold for about 10 minutes and I overhear her telling another employee that I haven't given her an exact address. (But wouldn't a company that's been around for decades know how to get a customer to Mt. Vernon? I guess not)

E-"O.k." "Chase and Cathedral, just get me to the corner of Chase and Cathedral"

(Maybe I should have taken a bus after all)

Dispatcher-"If no cab comes in 20 minutes then call us back"

About 15 minutes passes and my neighbor tells me that there is a cab out in the park. lot. (They are supposed to pull up under the pedestrian bridge, if they don't then we have no way of seeing them, as we wait inside the lobby for our cabs) I go out and the cabbie is about to leave. I tell him that he is supposed to pull up under the bridge. He doesn't understand English.

E-"Do you know how to get to Mt. Vernon?"


E-"Do you know how to get to my destination?"

Driver-"I don't understand"

E-"I assume you're new. " (I think about getting out of the cab right then and there, but foolishly don't) "Please go to I-83"

Driver-"What's I-83, is that 695?"

E-Oh God, I have to tell him how to get to 83 also. I see he has a gps but isn't using it.

Every 5 minutes his cell phone rings. He starts talking in a middle eastern language to his friends and each time he answers the phone he swerves the cab. I think, maybe I should just have him take me to Mt. Wash light rail, so as not to prolong this miserable experience.even though I don't feel safe at light rail either. (I put up a piece on my blog in the beginning of Aug. about my day on the light rail) I try to guide him but I don't know which exit to take off of 83. He drives me around the city for at least 45 minutes in circles lost.

I feel very scared and consider just getting out of the cab in a section of Baltimore that I don't even know, and just hope for the best. He finally calls Jacks and asks them to help him but he still doesn't know where he's going and despite my having given him a map, he types in the wrong spelling of "Cathedral" into his gps.

Everytime I roll down the window for air he rolls it back up again with his electric controls. I keep asking peds on the road if they know where book fest is. I wonder if Ill get there alive. Finally, when I think were near it, I get out of the cab at a red light. The fare is 30 dollars and there is no way in hell I'm paying it, even if I did have it. (Normally the fare would be about 15)

He starts yelling at me about where is his money? I said, I'm not going to pay you, I"ll pay Jack." I wonder if he will shoot me, or start following me. He refuses to drive away, and watches to see where I'll walk. Luckily I lost him.

A little before 4 p.m. I run into A. and L. They parked their car all the way in Hunt Valley which is 10 miles North of where I live. Around 5:30 they begin to worry that they'll get stuck at the festival because they heard that light rail stops running at 7. (Why would a major city stop their trains so early on a Sun. night?) I don't even know how to walk to light rail from that festival, but we just follow the signs. I either go with them to H.V. , take 2 buses home, or hop in another cab, which I don't think I can handle after what I just went thru.

It takes about 20 minutes or so to walk to the light rail. I don't feel safe during the walk or at the stop where a couple of guys are looking us over and making some comments. L. doesn't feel safe either. "Luckily" it was only about a 10 to 15 minute wait for a train, but we aren't sure if we got on the right train or not. I asked one of the riders just to be sure, but he gave us the wrong information. So it looks like we'll have to transfer to another train.

I see a man with open wounds all over his arms and legs try to get on the train. He looks like he's drunk, high and maybe with some disease like ms or cerebral palsy. He has so much trouble with walking and balance that I fully expected him to fall on the tracks and get run over before successfully boarding the train.

He barely makes it onto our car. He falls into his seat, his head is bobbing. His eyes are almost all the way closed. After about 2 stops, he heads for the steps supposedly to exit the car. I fear what will happen next. He falls head first into the stairwell and just lays there in the stairwell. The latino woman on the car with us seems panicked. She has a cell but doesn't know what to do. "She yells to him "are you o.k.?" Obviously not, I think to myself.

I explain to L and A how it can be dangerous to get involved at all with these people even though they need help. I think that telling the train operator would be a good bet, but I have no idea how to do that. Someone tells the man he is on the wrong side of the train to exit. Another rider says: (about the man on the floor) "he's drunk"

The man gets off at falls road but obviously has no idea where he is. He barely made it to the platform.

I tell L and A that this b.s. is a daily occurence with public transit. I explain that no matter how high gas gets people will keep paying it because no one would choose this kind of life over driving their private auto!

It's takes us an hour to get to Hunt Valley. We get something to eat at Cheeburger, Cheeburger and then A. goes to take me home. But she's lost her car keys! When she goes back to the restaurant to look for her car keys her friend tells me that A. loses her car keys all the time and that probably A. will have to call her parents to come to the mall with an extra key, and that her dad will yell at her and give her a lecture. Luckily her keys were at the restaurant and we don't have to wait for her parents to bail her out. L. and A. tell stories about they and their friends having to call back up for crisis alot.

I told them that "you space out because you can. But when you have no one to call in a crisis you learn that you can't afford to screw up!" L. disagrees with me.

I spent 2.5 hours commuting today!

Last year when I took the bus to book fest, the driver was going about 20 miles over the speed limit, ran a red light, nearly hitting a ped. in the walkway. We passengers flew out of our seats and erupted in shrill screams!

Putting a car on the road can't come soon enough.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"I love an academic environment"

And I love fall. I've got a ridiculous amount of time on my hands so I've been keeping my eyes open to the Towson University website and university newspaper for things to do on campus. I've got to try to stay out of my apt. as much as possible.

Along my website theme of "everything is broken" here is a synopsis of what I've done over the last week and what went wrong.

I attended the university's first meeting of their mental health association with my student friend Allison. The room was over 100 degrees so everyone had to sit on the floor in the hallway of the union. We could barely hear a word said because of competing noise by a large student event a few doors down. Other than that it's a good organization that supports students with depression, homesickness and educations on mental illness.

The next night I attended movie night. There was little sound because some student stole the very expensive audio system that was needed to make the event a success. The event coordinator said she didn't understand the logic of the theft since the sound system can't be converted for home use. But I understand the logic. Baltimoreans love to destroy, vandalize and wreck anything that is going to make someone's life better. (even their own)

Then CASA de Baltimore put on an event called: "The changing face of immigration" Although interesting the speaker was 40 minutes late! CASA helps Latinos with worker rights and helps day laborers to get the wages that they deserve. About 80 students in the audience had to leave before the event even started due to the late event start. I assume the kids had to go to class. The event coordinator said that "You understand that she's late because of traffic!" Well, like I always say, that's a very lousy excuse.

Tonight I heard Cedric Jennings speak about his life and biography entitled: "A Hope in the Unseen" He was a fabulous speaker. Has a masters in social worker from University of Michigan grew up in the projects of D.C. This was the best event I've been to in the last week, but he also was 40 minutes late for his own event! Again the event coordinator said that he was running "5 to 8 minutes late due to rain!"

This stuff is very frustrating to a person like me who is early for everything and doesn't even have a car. You aren't late because it's raining. You're late because you have no idea how to plan your time.

Tonight I'll go to the University's open mic night but I don't plan to sing since I haven't performed at an open mike in 3 years. I'll just sit back and listen.

"I received the car accident settlement"

Remember the doofus driving the dodge ram who lost her brakes? I finally received the accident settlement. But I still have that grueling decision to make. Move out of the state so i can buy more car for the money (having 2 addresses is against HUD rules) or stay in MD and reconcile myself to the fact that the state has wontheir case against me (essentially fining me for my 6/03 homeless episode) and go ahead and pay off the remainder of the fine.

One of my biggest frustrations is knowing that due to poor credit I can't afford a reliable car. I must go back to what I've always done. Drive a junker and pray that it runs long enough that I can make some money!

My 92 sable broke down permanently in 7/06 and I never in a million years thought It'd be more than 2 years before I could replace it.

If only I could stop thinking about the unfairness of life. Because even if there wasn't the fine, it certainly isn't fair that rents in Baltimore county on a 1 bedroom apt. are around 950 if you want to live in a safe neighborhood. That's not fair either. But I think it's a human beings tendency to obsess about the unfairness of life. Just watch the local news. It's always relatives crying that "their friend or relative didn't "deserve" to be murdered" No-one deserves to be murdered. What a ridiculous thing to say. A life cut short is never fair.

It probably is best to just buy some car then no car at all even if it means there are no guarantees as to how long it will run since I can probably make up the fine amt. by becoming more employable almost overnight.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My you tube video

Initially, I had planned to prepare a you tube video of me singing. Although that hasn't happened yet, Laurie and Diane were nice enough to save the video of me dancing to my musical 45th birthday card!

you can try this

or you can go to you tube and then put in:

disco diva elana in quotes

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"Golf Carts as mainstream form of transit"

There was a clip on some show such as Entertainment Tonight recently on this issue. A few months ago, I was on the hospital campus in Towson and needed a ride to the bus stop. I was dissapointed and surprised when I was picked up in a golf cart. There were no seat belts and given the way people drive on the hospital campus, I did not feel safe at all. I thought that I'll never ride in a golf cart on a main road again.

Then this clip shows up on e.t. "50 thousand people a year are injured in golf cart accidents." Of course part of the idea behind the golf carts is to save gas, help the environment etcetera but they just don't have any or many safety features at all. I'm definitely against golf carts for use around town and to transport people on main roads until safety belts and other safety features are included in all of them.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"How to take out the Trash/La Pew Apts"

Here is the signage provided us on "How to take out the trash"


Please do not leave any trash in the trash room that will not fit down the chute. It must be placed inside the dumpster, located in the circle.


Press down on latch to open door.

Do not leave any trash in the trash room that will not fit down the chute. If it does not fit down the chute you MUST bring it to the dumpster. located near the parking lot.

All trash must be in bags tied and placed in the "shoot" Don't put glass in the "shoot." If you have boxes please break them down, put them up against the wall and call the office so we can have them removed.



I think the signs piss people off to the point where most people intentionally break many of the rules.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Dealings with "Lemon Rent a Car" continued

So, Friday has arrived. I haven't been able to stop thinking about my bad experience with Nancy. That's me. My bad experiences with people stay like a bad taste in my mouth for hours even days.

8:45 a.m. phone rings


"Hi, Ms. Snyder it's Damon, we'll be there in 5 minutes, are you ready!?"

E-"Well, no I'm not ready, Nancy said you're coming at 9:15"

(Damon has always had diarrhea of the mouth and the more he talks the stupider he sounds. By the way, he's the manager)

D-"Well, you're in the system as a 9:00."

E-"I'm not ready, and that's not what N. put me down as"

D-"Well, we're all about customer service ms. s, we can come now, in 3 minutes in 7 minutes , whenever you want, but how do you get there?"

E-"You're kidding, I'm thinking, you've been here before.

D. typically takes no breaths, so it's like: Ms. S. "How do you get there do you go 3 blocks or 4, do you make a left at oak or at willow, don't you want me to pick you up a Bagelo? we're all about customer service as long as you're happy we're happy

E-(I'm definitely not happy) The reason I use Lemon is because I can pass they're credit check, they pick me up, and they're deposit is so small.

I go stand downstairs and worry they'll never find it

Damon sends Joe to pick me up, but doesn't tell me in advance. That's o.k. They all play buddy buddy with you. You know the sales types. Ms. S. Where will you be taking the car?!

In my opinion this is the epitome of unprofessionalism to ask the client what they'll be doing over the weekend.

Anyhow, I replied: " just the normal stuff that people who own cars do." I mentioned that Nancy had treated me horribly but that I was going to send a formal email complaint about it to the "Head of Lemon" ;) ;)

J. gives me that email address (implying that he knows that I'm capable of filing my own complaint) Apparently not.

He decides to jump the gun and file the complaint himself, without knowing the details, and he files it with the wrong person. He now is shedding his own "professional image" in a very unprofessional light. So the more these idiots speak, the deeper they dig their graves so to speak, i.e. lose me as a customer.

I could make a full time job hour after hour, day after day of sharing with you my customer service nightmare experiences, since I have so, so few positive ones!

I just wish you'd comment once in a while with customer service nightmares of your own! Say something! Are you out there?!

P.S. Great Show on channel 45


The chef goes into restaurants that are completely flopping and turns them around , making them succeed. Very dramatic, very fun.

Friday, September 12, 2008



"Hello, Lemon Rent a Car"

me-(thinking, uh-oh, i've had nothing but horrid experiences with nancy) "Nancy, do you have any cars available tomorrow morning?"

N-"Yes, what size do you need"

E" "The smallest"

N-"All we have are intermediate, so we'll have to charge you for intermediate"

E"In the past, when all you have is interemediate you normally only charge me for the smallest" (she's only been employed there for 3 months)

I can hear the anger rising in her voice.

N-"I don't know about that"

E-"That is the way they've always done it before"

E-"I need to be picked up, can you pic me up at 9?"


E-"You really don't know what your talking about! They've been picking me up for months in my nieghborhood, what do you mean, I"m out of the zone (bitch! i'm thinking!)

N-"I can assure you I know exactly what I'm doing and you are not in the pickup area, plus 9 o' clock is too early!"


N_"How about I refer you to another branch?!"

E (I'm a regular customer, and I won't tolerate that, i think)

N-"Alright, we'll pick you up at 9:15 tomorrow" she says, resignedly.

(the rest of this story is unbelievable story is coming tomorrow)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"A Burning Desire to Tell More"

I still feel that you aren't going to believe what I go thru each day and what I've been thru in the last 15 years. So, 80% of what I've recorded in my journals no one has ever had an opportunity to hear or see. But I know that Kozol, Ehrenreich and the like would find it an absolute gem. So, I've set up a website under an alias name, where I get to tell all the dark, depressing, gory details. And I can speak even more from the heart without having to edit so much. You can tell that I'm very authentic here but I make a point to not be dark all the time. On my other site, if all that happens to me is shit, that that's exactly what I'll tell you.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

"The subject of memory is very interesting to me"

Have you heard about this woman Jill Price? She was featured on the Oprah show. She's known as A.J. and has put out a book entitled "The Woman who can't forget. She has a syndrome called hyperthymestic syndrome. Poor woman hasn't forgotten anything that has happened to her or in the world since she was 14 years old. she was born in 65, me in 63. I started reading the book last night. I don't own it, I sat in Greetings and REadings last night reading it.

Diane has always told me she is blown away by my memory. Memory is a fascinating subject. Diane remembers details of us in the 8th grade, I can't. But, here's how my memory works. Last week, I was in the Boston Market. A woman turned around and I knew her face instantly.(she is 47) She said: "can anyone use a coupon" I said "Yes, and you went to rand high"

She said "yes, who are you"

I told her.

I asked her her last name



What's your first name

"Ray ellen"

"What class are you"


But my sister was 82"

her name is wendy"

"mmm i said, wendy was friends with stacy needle, who's father was friend's with my father when i was in elementary school, that's why you look so familiar.........................."


Back to the book the woman who can't forget

Quote by Jill Price

"Imagine if someone had made videos of you from the time you were a child following you all around day by day and then combined them all onto one dvd and you sat in a room and watched that dvd on a machine set to shuffle randomly through all the tracks..........................."

Another excerpt from the book

"Why is it that solitary confinement without labor is regarded as the severest form of imprisonment? It is because the lonely victim can find nothing to do but remember. And this incessant remembering has often proved more than the mind could bear.

Reverand Coe

"The Memory of the Lost"

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"Heartbreaking News"

Well, remember how happy I was that the maintenance man had quit? Two of the maintenance men were brothers and were both burglars working together at stealing. I was pretty certain that the burglaries at my apt. would stop since H and L left, but sadly this has not turned out to be the case. I called Debbie up, (she has been storing stuff for me for 18 months due to my paralyzing fear of losing more belongings) and told her I need some of my clothes. I only wanted her to brings some jeans, but she brought back 5 boxes not really certain what was in each box. Turns out there was about 700 dollars worth of clothing in those boxes much of it irreplaceable. You'd be stunned at the first hand worth of clothing that I've bought secondhand. Well, in the last week about 500 dollars worth of that clothing has been stolen. I'm heartbroken. I had managed to hang on to some of it for 30 years. I have a "rag" t-shirt that is purple (you know, with the fringes? that has the iron on decal (in pink and green) that says "mtv" from the year mtv started on cable in like 1980) i picked it up in ocean city in 1982, and it's in pristine condition) I just realized its probably worth quite a bit on E Bay not to mention that it has alot of sentimental worth. Elise, a past housemate, gave me a hand me down t-shirt in 1987, she owned in the 70's, that said "MARYLAND FOOD COOP" It was the advertising slogan for the vegetarian sandwich shop run out of the university of maryland college in the 70's that had a cyclops sandwich on it. And a linen skirt that comes down to my ankles that is made of rainforest jungle fabric was stolen these are just a couple of depressing.

I'm so desperate to get out of La Pew, but obviously I've had no luck yet.

I've decided this time not to make a police report because they haven't helped me in the past and I am afraid to get involved with the city's broken judicial system, not to mention the fact that I don't want to put my life at more risk my pressing charges against the thief.