Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Transit and transiting across open spaces

During the Olympics in Vancouver this last February, the city came alive with a spirit of joy and fellowship, the likes of which I had never seen before. The streets in the center of the city were barricaded and pedestrians were free to mill about as they wished. I only managed to get right downtown once during the games, I like many, had no tickets to the venues but went down to just soak up the ambiance and a few suds. I went on the SkyTrain, the local rapid transit, with my brother-in-law. Once downtown we wandered a bit, stopped for a bite to eat and then headed over to the "Zip Line".

The Zip Line is a pair of cables stretched across an open park area, attached to a very high scaffolding on one side and a lower one on the the other side about 300 meters away. The objective is to hook yourself to one or the other of the cables with pulley and assume your mass, the pulley, the cable, gravity and the lower scaffold all align perfectly and you don't become a splatter at the base of the higher scaffold for jumping off it.

It is quite safe, and in spite of spending hours at altitude and even having taken a rock climbing course at the University, it was a little difficult to just walk off the edge of the tower.
Of course the other aspect was that there was normally about a 3-4 hour line up for this free activity, I wouldn't have waited and in fact due to the Bro-in-law having been High School buddies with the fellow managing the event, we got the "Rock Star" treatment: In the back door, waiver signed as two assistants help select and install the harness and helmut on each of us and then subtly insert us in the line at the base of the tower.

It was a gaaaaassssssss,

The other aspect of the Olympics was that they instituted a surcharge at the airport for the SkyTrain, a $5 surcharge, only if you boarded the transit at the first 3 stops nearest the Terminal building.
My company office is at the second stop and I had discovered it you purchased a book of tickets you didn't incur the surcharge, in fact the books give a discount over the regular fair.
The surcharge annoyed me and I made a point of telling everyone about the ticket books.
One evening, having been in the office to check for mail on a return trip from visiting Balloon Girl, I watched a fellow wearing the Olympic garb, vest, bandanna and hat approach the automated ticket kiosk for the SkyTrain. He looked at it and looked at it again. I asked "Are you buying ticket?" He kind of ignored me but not quite and I asked again. His reply was "Yes?" as if to ask why I was asking. I went into my spiel about how I thought it was a terrible idea to impose a surcharge and that it was going to cost him an extra $5 just to use the transit from the airport. He nodded and I then drug out my book of tickets and showed the price to him and said if he wished he could have one for what it cost me. He reached into his pocket and handed me 2 twonies ($4, the about the price of the tickets). We chatted a bit then he noticed my crew bag and asked what I did, I replied I was a pilot for XXX XXXXXXX and he nodded. I asked if he was a colleague, (seems that is the code around here to see if you also work for XXX XXXXXXXX). He replied in the affirmative and we chatted a bit more. After we were on the transit a while I asked where he was going and he said "for dinner with the boss, and and the money guys". I said "Huh?" and he smiled and said "YYY YYYYY (The president of the company) and the folks from ZZZZZZZZZZ ( a multinational finance and leasing corporation with large manufacturing interests), He re-introduced himself as HHHHHHHH ( a name I immediately recognized) the Executive VP of Human Resources.
I told him to give my regards to the gentlemen but due to my less than natty attire I would have to decline any invitations for dinner that night, he chuckled.

As we further chatted it was determined we would both be going to Sydney Australia on the same flight later in the month, he riding and me flying. So we agreed to meet and chat some more on the flight.

Unfortunately, that was the first flight I was scheduled for after my concussion, so I was unable to attend. We had exchanged business cards so as a courtesy and not really expecting a reply from an Executive VP on a social matter of this sort, I emailed him that I would be unable to work that flight due to the concussion suffered when playing hockey. His reply was long and sincere, I was pleased.

Now as I write, I have spent most of the day the last three days on the phone to Employee services trying to get out of the mess my file appears to be in. Long story short, no longer being paid as my extended sick pay is paid not by the company but by the insurance company and they don't seem to be able or willing to talk to each other and I apparently still need more forms filled out to get paid.

I thought I had gotten them all filled in weeks ago, but apparently not and instead of asking me for them the policy is to wait until I raise a fuss then tell me it's my fault for not completing the "Easter egg hunt, but we're not going to tell how many eggs there are or which park we hid them in" task.

I think I will be sending one more email today.

Take Care


Kass said...

It's so maddening when it seems to be written right in the policy that you won't get service until you make a stink. Bureaucracy schmocracy! Hope you wade through it all.

AJ said...

Thanks Kass, they say it will get sorted, just not when.

Kass said...

Where did you go, AJ?