The Rich Keep Geeting Richer…

Car being towed

Car being towed

This morning I woke up and they were towing cars on my street, again. In Providence, parking on city streets overnight is illegal. We are the only municipality nationwide with such a ban, and it is a major issue for many (most!) residents. Now, I am fortunate enough to have a parking spot but a very large number of my neighbors simply have nowhere to park. The (ridiculous, unnecessary, cruel) on-street parking ban forces many residents with nowhere else to park to just risk it. Usually, cops are understanding and give people parking on a Providence street in front of their own house about four tickets a month max.

Now, lately, National Grid has been doing construction on our street at about 7am on some mornings. This construction is an awfully sore point with me: National Grid just passed a huge rate increase, they will be charging Rhode Islanders about 21% more monthly for electric now. Poor senior citizens will inevitably freeze to death and die in Winter, as utility prices average easily 30 dollars more a month. The day after their big windfall, they started ruining my mornings. They are putting in more power lines or something, merely to taunt me.

The construction workers leave large, loud, bulldozer type things running idly outside my window around 7am for an hour, while they sit and smoke cigarettes and try to see my boobs as I get out of bed, laughing about how it is “only going to get worse.” (They really said that!) A cop is there to protect them as they try to see my boobs, and to tow all of the cars of my hardworking and unfortunate neighbors. The real problem with this situation is we get absolutely no notice. We park our cars on the streets at night, and then in the morning they put out NO PARKING TOW ZONE signs on our street about 20 minutes before they tow our cars away. Sometimes they knock on doors, sometimes they don’t. The signs have no dates or times on them in the spaces clearly intended for such things. So this morning I decided I would do something about it. First I went outside and asked the construction workers to please not leave their large trucks running loudly and empty outside my window. I am paying for that wasted gas, I should not also have to be woken up by them, flaunting their wastefulness. Next, I approached the tow cop. I explained to him my roommate had been towed after parking outside her own house. I explained we were given no notice at all before the towing began. We were parked on our own street, and they took our cars away with no notice or explanation. He said “well aren’t these signs notice” and I replied “Sir these signs went up this morning, and there is no date or time frame on them… what do you expect us to do, guess?” The cop, I could tell, felt bad. He is a working man too, and he said “well, that is a valid argument, if they can take the time to put up these signs, they can certainly take an extra minute to fill them out properly” and proceeded to tow my neighbors cars. Regardless of whether they start doing things the right way, I felt vindicated that I at least got the cop to admit wrong doing. I got on my bike, glaring at the wasteful construction men, and rode downtown to catch the bus, which was overfull with similarly frustrated citizens.

The gap between the rich and the poor is the largest it has been since the Gilded Age. My neighbors are not wealthy people, and the million dollars, and wasted emotional energy it takes to get your car out of hock I can see as being the breaking point for some of them. I was trying, in my little rant to my buddy, the copper, to simply bring a little fairness to a system that seems to be working against other West Enders at every stop. The rate increase happened, we can’t change that. They will soon be reducing bus service on RIPTA, truly forcing many of us who work or go to school past seven P.M. to drive. That is if we still have jobs, considering the R.I. state budget cut millions and millions of dollars from the student budget at URI (where I work, and I am writing this from a selfish perspective). And the rich keep getting richer. The same fell swoop that took away URI art galleries, student budgets, and library services, gave a tax cut to people making over a quarter million dollars a year. Why has there not been more backlash? What twisted, corrupt, evil logic, was Carcieri employing there? How much more can they squeeze us before we just pop like sad little worker balloons?

July 16, 2008 Posted by | by jennatalia, news, seriously? | , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

So what you’re saying is…

Discussion based coursework is always a bit touchy-feely, i.e. English majors often relate stories to their personal experiences. However, professional degrees (like, say, librarianship) should not have the same outcome. One can expect people in psychology programs to have anecdotal evidence to add to discussions about their families, their hometown, the fights they have with their grandma– sometimes, but I feel like those sorts of personal bits of information just don’t seem to apply to my class on University Library Services, or Management of Library Services unless, of course, your grandmother fights with you about collection development or funding.

There is one particularly egregious offender in my class this semester. Now, I am one of the youngest people in my program but this girl makes me look downright worldly. She thinks the discussion is one between her and the professor, and the rest of us are just a willing audience. At one point she got up and actually took the chalk and started to try to illustrate the teacher’s point on the board for us. She has a real penchant for reiterating peoples points, “So what you’re saying is this…” and often doing it incorrectly. The other day, she called on someone.

Since the beginning of the semester she has taught us:
-The school where she got her undergraduate degree does not have a disability clause. (this is simply not true)
– She went there and also one other local school so she knows. She took five years to finish. For more information on why she is wrong please go here:
-Everyone in her small town in Virginia is afraid of black people. Mostly just the big manly ones, though. She doesn’t apologize for this. (In fact she actually said “I will not apologize for being afraid of black people)
-Her favorite book is He’s Just Not That Into You, it really helped get her through that “dark time.” And now she’s engaged! She brought this particular book up during a discussion of business texts, specifically, Who Moved My Cheese
-Her mother’s side of the family has conversations by interrupting each other. We also now know her mother’s maiden name and a bit about where she is from.
-The word “bitch” actually means female dog. None of us actually knew that because unlike her, the rest of us didn’t go to elementary school.
-Everyone from New York (besides NYC) is a rural white person.
-She works at a video game store
-She based her “Philosophy of Management” paper on World of Warcraft

Now I seem like I am ranting, and you know, I guess I am ranting, but the older I get the more I learn the value of both the dollar and my education, and as this young (and racist) girl goes on and on about her mom’s side of the family I think about the things I could buy with the 40 or 50 bucks this class is costing me. Like a nice pair of shoes. Or 300 pairs of earplugs.

What I really do not understand is, is she really so bad at reading peoples facial expressions that she doesn’t see that there are 35 restless frustrated and bored people hoping to possibly move the discussion back to some sort of learning? Is she so starved for attention and an outlet that she simply doesn’t care? I had really hoped that by grad school, this genre of student would have been weeded out, that they would be too busy making babies to relay their life stories to, or pan-handling on the street, talking about those good old day back in Virginia to an imaginary audience, but the more time I spend in this program the more I realize that admissions criteria must just not be that stringent, and that this strange strain of storytelling-know-it-alls ALL want to be librarians. Aren’t librarians supposed to be quiet!? If they are the future shhhshers, who will be shhhhshing them!?

I expected a few quirks to be common among library students: we all like to read, we all like our cats, I even predicted the really quiet girl who doesn’t like people to sit near her. But chatty, racist, video-game loving ignoramus?, that stereotype has just thrown me completely off guard. Where did you come from, and why librarianship? This will be a cold unfriendly world for you!

Of course, she’ll probably never notice.

April 29, 2008 Posted by | by jennatalia, oh my | Leave a comment