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Economies of Scale

I'm told that more is better, that repetition brings familiarity and comfort. At work, this philosophy dictates behavior that used to puzzle, then annoyed, and now appalls and traps me in others' passive aggressive control cycles. Okay, we understand, you only want to travel minimally since you have young children and are covering the majority of the requirements around here. Um, how about a week-long trip every three weeks for five months when others are staying home all summer? That sounds minimal, right? And it'll be more *efficient* that way, what with the way we depend solely on 10% of our department to do 90% of the work. Well, that's work; I should be used to it already. Hypocrisy, exploitation, capitalism, rah rah.*

But it's not just work: in other aspects of life, "doubling up" doesn't seem to work well for me either. In some crazy scheme we dreamed up within hours of reading up on Consumer Reports' latest opinions, we ended up buying TWO brand new cars yesterday with the justification of --wait for it -- SAVING money. Oh, it made perfect sense, and I can still show on paper how it all works out beautifully. Simply trade in an SUV with poor gas mileage for two cheap, compact, high gas mileage vehicles. Plan to sell additional 10-year-old Honda with 150,000 miles for an extra boost on already legitimately small car loans and be proud to pay off said loan or loans early between old car cash and new-found monthly cash resulting from extra miles per gallon on now doubled up efficient cars; save environment, save money, be happy. But the phone call to the insurance company revealed the nasty truths about all these lovely efficiencies: 1.) brand new cars, no matter how inexpensive and unexciting, are damned expensive to insure, 2.) any attempt at fiscal responsibility involving debt movement from high interest credit cards to no or low interest cards results in doubled car insurance rates within a year (consider yourself warned), 3.) door ding claims, initiated by self-centered leaches or not, are just as bad as running a light and slamming into someone else's car, and said door ding claim will be paid for 20 times over, by YOU, while you wail and gnash your teeth over the fact that you didn't screech away from the leaches with your offending door-slinging four-year-old in tow one fateful day last October.

And let's talk about the philosophy of more kids in a room entertaining each other and thus taking pressure and demands off of whatever responsible adult happens to be in charge. There are no efficiencies here, either -- at least not in this barely functional house. John took Bryce's cue today and invited the neighbor kids over to watch Star Wars and spread tiny Legos through the carpet upstairs while he worked to keep his head from exploding while spending untold hours on the phone with various Specialists, Agents, and Representatives discussing the number of different ways we were being royally screwed by no matter which insurance company we may end up begrudgingly choosing (I'm talking to YOU, Geico, O Creator of Nonexistent At Fault Claims and Yet The Cheapest (Relative to Ripoffs) Option). He e-mailed me (since he couldn't call me, as I was in my boss' office being told about the additional responsibilities that had been chosen for me this year, including an extra week-long trip to yet another middle-of-nowhere, vegetarians-not-welcome town) and said the kids all seemed to be getting along until he heard squealing and, while on the phone with one of the Agents or Specialists, walked to the stairs and saw Quinn naked, and the neighbor kid halfway there. Quinn, of course, was sent to his room, and the neighbors went home. I brought it up a few times tonight (after I arrived home two hours late thanks to my own attempt --stupidly begun in my office as opposed to on my cell phone in my car -- to get a straight answer from an insurance company, any insurance company for the LOVE OF GOD), and Quinn wouldn't address it. At bedtime, when no one else was around, I mentioned informatively to Quinn (since I was just positive he only needed a reminder about this very simple thing) that we need to keep our clothes on in public or when friends are over, and he said, "well, they weren't playing with me. They were only playing with Bryce. I was trying to make them laugh." I told him Bryce said they all played together, and he broke into genuine, awful, real tears of remorse and embarrassment and pain, and covered his face with his recently named blanket, Nixie: "They're [sob] LYING. They didn't [sob] play with me. They chased me. And not for [sob] fun. They were TRICKING me. That's why I don't want to be their friends!!!" I barely made it out of his room before I broke down. I don't know what to do for this kid, this hilarious, sensitive, crazy kid with obviously low self esteem at age five. I can't type any more about this. It's too much to think about, too much to handle, with too many implications for me to address without my innards pushing violently outside my skin.

Economies of scale, not so much. Economies of hell, more like.

*Credit to John: Statement made during our conjecture about how the car dealership would screw us (prior to our anticipation of how the insurance companies would screw us).