04 November 2009

It was a rainy day in Oxford...

So, I had heard that the weather could be a real downer here, and I was starting to believe that people had exaggerated or perhaps were just weenies. I mean, I had heard everything from "you will be wet to your bones and cold all the time" to "the lack of sunlight will send you into a severe depression". In response, I had thought, "It surely can't be that bad." Well, if yesterday was any indication, it could be that bad. And, you should know that yesterday wasn't even that bad. It rained twice and was otherwise sunny. However, it is important to note that it was raining during both of my long bike rides, so those sunny patches almost served to be more irritating than if it had just rained all day. It was like a big joke at my expense.

Well, the weather just sets the stage for my "Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" (just like Alexander). Ok, it wasn't that bad, but the title is for dramatic effect.

So, after getting rained on and being wet and a bit cranky, I headed to my pidge to check to see if my package had arrived. I forgot my graphing calculator, and after spending about an hour trying to do statistics on a cheap calculator with no squared function and no order of operations, I decided it would be worth waiting for my used graphing calculator to arrive (and it would be cheaper than buying one here. Furthermore, I don't even know where I would buy one here. I haven't seen any Best Buy's.) So, I gave my mom (who was very helpful in finding, cleaning, and shipping my calculator--along with some hosiery because all tights are essentially disposable for me, I manage to violently rip a hole in each pair on my first use) detailed instructions about marking the package as a gift and that wrapping things is often a useful trick for really "selling it". Based on tales and rumors (which is all I really have in terms of information here), I had heard that customs likes to make a habit of charging you for your own stuff and I wanted to avoid that outcome.

Well, when I arrive at my pidge, I don't have a package. Instead, I have a letter from the British Parcel Regulators or something like that which explains that they are holding my package hostage until I pay them over 33 GBP. Around 20 GBP is the VAT (Value-added tax) and then there is a fee, which as best as I can tell is basically a service charge for this whole process. Essentially, I am paying them a fee thanking them for this service. Let's just say that "thank you" is the furthest thing from my mind. Furthermore, if I refuse to pay the fee, they will send it back where it came from in 20 days (at their own expense), and I am sure that the bureacracy of tracking my package for 20 days will be much more expensive than me paying the fee. So, I think they should be paying me for saving the hassle of sending it back. This is about to turn into a rant, so I will wrap up this detail with this: when I tried to find out who was charging me and why, all I heard the porter say was that "Her majesty's" something-or-other was causing me to pay this. I have never been more angry with the queen or irritated with the system of monarchy. Love him or hate him, I can't see Barack charging anybody for a graphing calculator. (Especially if it meant that everybody got to go to college.)

After this event, I was headed to my statistics lecture. On the way, the cyclist in front of me decided to just slow down. As my frustration mounted, my jeans got caught in my bike chain, which was bound to happen at some point, but ironically had to happen when I was near my breaking point. I kept it cool, and at the stop light decided that I should roll up my right pant leg (very British). As I was doing this, apparently the light turned yellow (which happens before it turns green--think Mario Kart and Vrroom, vroom). I say apparently, because I didn't see it, I just felt the cyclist behind me bump my tire with his. That's right, he tapped my bike.

At this point, I threw down my bike, turned around, and said, "You want a piece of me?"...KIDDING. Instead I thought frustrated and culturally-judgemental thoughts the rest of the way to the Psychology building (the ironic location of my statistics lecture). Yes, I tut-tutted to myself which is SO British.

In other news: When I turn on my heater, my room smells like McDonald's. Ba-da-BA-ba-BAAA. I'm not really lovin it.

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