Saturday, October 25, 2008

"If it sounds too awful to be true, it had Better be!" (Personal Entry)

(This draft was originally made sometime on the 2nd or 3rd week of August. I think it was on August 13th, but I'm unsure now. It was merely a draft for a few months until I managed to finish this.)

You have heard or read of the phrase, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

That's why I verify it sometimes.

On the other hand, "If it sounds too awful to be true, it had Better be!"

That's why I verify that often.

If someone tells me something I don't like and/or that I wish wasn't the case, I will often times check with a source or someone else to see if they'll tell me different!

Situation 1: Finding a Laptop Recharge Port on Air China

My laptop needed a recharge, and only Business and First Class had plug outlets. I asked the flight attendant if I could recharge my laptop on an empty First Class seat (having observed a few empty ones when I toured the 747 while still at the gate.)

At that point, the flight attendant said all the first-class seats were full. I couldn't quite buy it yet because I thought the door to the gate was closed by that point. (We did have a 2 1/2-hour flight delay thanks to a mere thunderstorm; only hurricanes should stop a takeoff IMHO.)

As soon as no flight attendants were looking, I went up to 1st Class with my laptop and charger and saw that they were now indeed full, so I decided to examine Business class. I proceeded to plug in my laptop on an empty seat and another flight attendant asked, "What are you doing?"

I told them I needed to recharge the laptop and asked if anyone was going to sit at this empty seat. They said it was going to remain vacant, so thankfully, they let me charge it there.

Sometimes, verifying anything I'm skeptical of will provide benefits! :)

Situation 2: Finding a Bus or Train to San Diego After Arriving Back in the US

After going through a Customs check, some representatives from Air China said the last connecting flight already left for San Diego (thanks to some 2 1/2-hour flight delay due to some rain in Beijing) and that I had to stay at a hotel and get on the first flight out at (a horrendously early) 6:28 in the morning!

I asked them if I could just take a bus to San Diego instead, or a train. They said there were no bus or train services available to San Diego.

I was in such utter, UTTER disbelief! Nagasaki wasn't even a TENTH the size of Los Angeles and it had regular and frequent train & bus service to Fukuoka, about the same distance between Los Angeles and San Diego.

I knew there HAD to be a Greyhound & Amtrak connection between the two, and some other LA-SD bus service other than Greyhound. The metro area had what, maybe 8-9 million people? Why can't they have any kind of public trans-city transit service even HALF as decent as the one in Nagasaki if they're so large?

Then I had to bring my assumptions back to America: We are expected to travel independently. This needs to change because not only is it wasteful on fuel & ca$h, this is a no-go for non-drivers-license holders if they can't find someone to take them. At least kids could board trains & buses if they had the money in Japan.

I Skyped Uncle Steve to tell him this situation, and heard that United Airlines charged $100 for two checked bags, and asked whether it's cheaper just to get a rental car and get down there myself. He said I didn't need to; he could bring his Prius up to LA, give me a tour, then take me down.

I was enchanted by that proposition, so I didn't need to double-check with someone else about finding buses or trains after all. I got to a real fancy hotel and the front desk man gave me a "tower room" that would've gone for $329/night (my monthly rent back in Manhattan, KS is only $16 higher) but the hotel voucher from Air China made it all free. Even the Wireless Internet was free, as well as the Breakfast Buffet, which started two minutes after my flight would've left.

At the hotel that night, I called United (who worked with Air China in providing me a connection, etc.) to cancel my flight but said I had to call Air China for a refund. I thought it may become too much of a hassle after attempting to call them (which turned out to be after business hours.) After a night in a lavish hotel room (minus the spray-toilet-seat that I grew fond of in Japan,) fine wi-fi, a generous breakfast buffet, and a free tour around LA, Beverly Hills, and other surrounding areas of LA in Uncle Steve's new Prius, the compensation seemed enough that I didn't need a refund after all =)

If a change to an original plan sounds too awful to be true, and gets replaced by something else that satisfies me better than my original plan, then that's even better than merely double-checking with someone else and hoping that they tell me anything different.


The immediately aforementioned pleasant change in things took out quite a lot of tension, but the usual mode of reaction for me is to see if two people say the same thing about something I don't like. I wonder if you know anyone else who does this, and how you feel about it. Should I change that particular habit? If so, then what should I change it to?

I submitted this in August, but saved it as a draft for a long time because I wasn't finished. Now I am, as far as I can tell.

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