Monday, April 12, 2010

Seeing red

I continue to be amazed by the ignorance of people. This past weekend, I entered my nearby BART station using a red ticket—designated for riders who are elderly or who have a disability—and was immediately approached by a station agent who said that I had to exit and buy a regular blue ticket because I wasn't eligible to use the red one.

First of all, I happen to have a transit ID card that signifies I am qualified to use red tickets. I am legally blind—even though it might not be obvious because my eyes look normal and I don't use a white cane. Many people don't realize it, but there is a whole spectrum of visual impairment and blindness. Regardless, the whole point of having the ID is to serve as proof of one's eligibility to pay a reduced fare. End of story. Furthermore, when you browse the overall list of medical conditions that qualify individuals to obtain a transit ID, many of them won't be discernable to the casual observer. Do you think you can tell at a glance that someone has a heart condition? How about a hearing disability? Epilepsy? Or symptomatic HIV infection?

That's exactly why it is not supposed to be up to some improperly trained yahoo to make such judgments based solely on appearances—nor is it acceptable for said yahoo to throw out misaligned accusations at members of the general public. I told this guy I had an ID, and he said something lame about how I'm supposed to show it when I come through. If that really is the case, they've sure been doing a rotten job of enforcing this policy in the two years or so that I've been riding BART because I've never before been asked to do so. Had this station agent nicely requested to see my ID instead of confronting me in such a wildly inappropriate manner, I wouldn't have had to submit a complaint letter to BART. I don't know if anything will come of it, but I can only hope that someone gets the message and takes a good look at BART's flawed customer service procedures and lack of sensitivity to riders with disabilities.

Honestly, I think the more serious problem on their end is the fact that you don't need to provide an ID to buy red tickets. BART should revise this process if they want to reduce the chance of random losers fraudulently purchasing and using reduced fare tickets. And if the imposed penalty really is going to involve what only amounts to a stern order to go out and buy a full-priced ticket, it's hardly a deterrent to those intent on cheating their way out of paying full price.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A letter to Eddie

Dear Eddie Izzard,

Your show last weekend was excellent! We bought our tickets back in September of 2009, so there was a sufficient amount of anticipation leading up to the performance. We were a little concerned about going to Oracle Arena to see you; Oakland, as you may know, doesn't have the greatest reputation. Lucky for us, you have a ton of fans who joined us on the train ride in. It's a good thing, too, that public transit worked out because special event parking is apparently $30. I know you probably don't have any control over that sort of thing, but maybe the next time you go on tour you can pick a venue in our area that doesn't gouge its visitors quite as much. We even abstained from buying refreshments and made do with the water fountain because Oracle charges $4.50 for a mere soft drink. That's highway robbery.

Despite our thirst, we enjoyed seeing you live and in person. The blue lights, big screens and energy of the audience were cool. We wondered why you weren't wearing as much makeup as in the past, but we know you're not on stage to do a drag show. We understand that you are a comedian who happens to be a transvestite—of the "action" and "executive" variety, of course—and we appreciate your abundant intellectual funniness far too much to linger on such superficial details. And, yes, we know you fancy women. Besides, we deduced that makeup probably doesn't go very well with facial hair, which you now have in good quantity.

Thank you for sharing your impressions of a raptor and a jazz chicken. Thanks for revealing more astute observations and commentary about history, religion and life. (We especially like it when you question and poke fun at religion.) Most of all, thank you for giving us a heaping dose of entertainment. We hope to see you again soon.

Two friendly fans in Northern CA,
Cherie and Serafin