Got Speed? : Letters From the Pedestrian

10 04 2014

Dear Reckless SUV Driver who thinks my neighborhood is really a drag strip shortcut to avoid a little bit of traffic and one stoplight,

website-speed

I wanted to let you know that everything is going to be okay. After seeing your ancient P.O.S. Ford Explorer/Nissan Pathfinder-type vehicle with a faded paint job and giant rust spots blur by me as I walked my dog down my sidewalk-free residential neighborhood street, I understand why you felt the need to drive at speeds over 50mph. I would be embarrassed too if I had to drive around an eye-sore like that, always worrying whether or not it was going to break down before reaching my destination. Or maybe some psychopathic disgruntled retired bomb squad technician rigged a bomb to your car which will detonate if you drive under 50mph. Where is Keanu when you need him, right?

I’m sure you have a really good reason for drag racing down a neighborhood street at 7:30 am, the time when some of our children are heading to the bus stop and other people are out walking their dogs. I mean, I couldn’t expect you to slow down at all once you saw me and my 85lb Pit Bull attempting to cross the street. Everything around you must have been blurry and hard to decipher. It may have been a little easier for you if your crappy tint job wasn’t bubbled up and peeling off but that’s just a suggestion.

I know it’s not your fault you were running late to your Douche Bag Anonymous meeting and I’d like to commend your quick-thinking skills with taking that shortcut. You actually made it to your destination 45 seconds earlier than if you would have gone the normal, legal way. I’m pretty sure you got in front of that other car who had been leading the way previously. Way to go! Your 45-second speed savings scared a bunch of kids and squirrels, alarmed some neighbors and almost killed me and my dog, but you beat your record time and that’s all that matters. After all, there’s nobody else as important on this earth as you.

I appreciate you honking at me after almost killing me to let me know you do care about what I have to say. It was coming from the bottom of my pounding heart when I hollered, “Slow the f— down.” It makes me happy to know you heard me since you certainly didn’t see me when you blasted by. And you have no idea how much it meant to me when you honked again after I gave you an honorary middle finger salute to congratulate you on putting an entire neighborhood at risk because of your selfish needs and behavior. And all along I didn’t think you noticed me.

Finally, I really hope your lazy ass oversleeps or something causes you to run late so you can swing by the neighborhood again and maybe this time get a 46-second lead on everybody else. You see, Ace Hardware makes these really sharp pointy metal things that I’m going to place in certain areas of that street you enjoy racing down. Sure a few neighbors may have to replace a tire or two and be out a couple of bucks, but I’m sure they would rather fork over the money for new tires than a new coffin. Those things are expensive!

Hope to see you soon!

Sincerely,

A concerned citizen with a lot of time on her hands to plot





So wont the real Mrs. Claus please stand up, please stand up, please stand up?

19 12 2013
Waiting for Santa.

Waiting for Santa.

All of the Christmas lights I spent hours hanging up outside of the house just stopped working tonight. Not really feeling like investigating the reason, I instead, decide to embark on a certain mission that has been presented to me and maybe fuel up with some good ole holiday spirits.

It has come to my attention that I have no idea what Mrs. Claus’s name first name is. Christmas is almost here and I feel obligated to discover the answer before the white bearded man comes down my chimney.

My first instinct is to Google it of course. The first link is wikipedia, which I don’t normally rely on for factual information, but we are searching for Mrs. Claus’s first name. Mrs. Claus, as in the wife of Santa Claus. You know?

So I click on the link and read something about her first name being a mystery but then they list about nine different names that she’s been referred to as. That’s like saying she was born in Kentucky, Alabama, Massachusetts, Wyoming, Nevada, Oregon, Louisiana and the North Pole. Unless she’s got multiple personalities or is very indecisive of what she wants to be called, this just can’t be. I’m not satisfied at all with this answer.

The next link I click on is www.santaclaus.com. Cool! I never knew Santa had his own website. This should be good, I think to myself. I read the website and find the same question that I was asked the other night. What is Mrs. Claus’s first name?

The answer is right there. Her name is Jessica Mary Claus.

I thought, at first, that my search was over and couldn’t believe how easy it was to figure the answer out. Then I read more on the site to learn that you can become an elf by doing well in school, Santa and Mrs. Claus like to vacation in the Florida Keys after the holidays, and Santa gets the flu shot each year. I’m losing faith with this site’s credibility and confirm my doubts with the disclaimer at the bottom of the web page.

It reads,”All warranties express(ed) or implied are hereby disclaimed. Every effort is made to ensure that information is correct, but is not guaranteed.”

My mission is not over yet. I’m not 100% convinced that Mrs. Claus’s name is Jessica Mary Claus. The next few links I clicked onto gave me Jessica’s name again, as well as some new ones, but none could back up their answers with any credible source. Not to mention each answer has a different story about Mrs. Claus in general.

Seems like I may have my work cut out for me here. Oh wow! My Christmas lights just came back on. And all I had to do was press the reset button on the light socket panel.





I Quit Smoking Today

13 09 2013

Yes, I have officially declared out loud with my dog as my witness under the starry designs in the darkened sky, that I am going to no longer smoke cigarettes.

My aunt passed away this evening. She was my crazy aunt who I could always count on for honest, unedited advice; she was the one that would always make me laugh with her silly faces and her silly words; she understood things yet she still took chances and made changes and knew not to take life too seriously.

I was named after her. My middle name spelled just the same as her first name. Her daughter, only a few years older while her son a couple years younger spent summers and reunions together. I feel closer to them than I do my own brother, although there are days when I feel like he’s trying to maintain a sibling relationship.

I hate cancer. It killed my grandfather, it killed my grandmother just a month ago, it attacked my mom who is thankfully heading toward remission as I type this, and today it took my aunt away forever.

I know I’m going to research the hell out of cancer to see if I can get one up on it. I know there has been a lot of research done with this nasty disease so I shouldn’t have any problem finding information out about it. There needs to be some drastic changes for me. Starting with the cigarettes. Next, I’m going to be more conscious about my diet and I’m going to exercise twice as much as the minimal daily effort I normally put forth. I’m going to get in shape and beat this depression creeping up on me. There is too much that needs to be done.

When I went through my darker times with the person I no longer mention, I got to see firsthand what rock bottom really looked like. As I made what I hoped to be my final exit to that relationship (and later turned out that it was indeed the end) I fell in the arms of my parents of course, my biological mother, my aunt and my grandmother, all of whom took me in and got me back on my feet. I was stripped to the core and they mended me back together.

While I was staying with my grandmother, trying to find a job while saving some money from my unemployment checks, my aunt happened to be staying in town for a good chunk of time with my grandmother to do some mother-daughter bonding. They were taking a road trip for about a week and revisiting childhood places, old schools and neighborhoods along the way back home. I stayed by myself at my grandmother’s house, grieving over a failed abusive relationship, feeling completely vulnerable yet safe that I could sleep without worrying what was going to happen to me or what was going to set the bomb off today.

When they came back, we had several heart to heart talks about life and love and making the right decisions and having confidence in myself. There was this one particular day that my aunt and I spent the day running errands. She drove me around to get some errands run and then we made a few other stops during our outing.

We drove to the church that my grandmother attends and volunteers one day a week answering phones and doing office work. It’s the same church where my mom and my aunt were married at. It was in the afternoon in the middle of the week and nobody was in the sanctuary. They leave it open though for people to come inside to pray when they need to.

Inside the sanctuary, the sunlight shined through the stained glass windows that outlined the walls. The beautiful huge pipe organ that fills the air with music on Sundays. My aunt went up to the alter and began to pray. I remember this feeling I had while we were in there. It was like I was being hugged. I let my tears flow and got everything off my chest and out of my mind. At that time, my aunt had beat cancer and was on the road to healthiness and happiness. She knew how to prioritize and focus on the important elements of life. She had an awesome mission organization to help the orphaned children with HIV in Haiti. Together with her husband, they built hospitals, they taught, they nurtured, and they loved these kids as well as the many friends they encountered in Haiti.

When we were through saying everything we needed to say in the sanctuary, we then drove to the cemetery where my grandfather’s ashes were. My aunt lives on the west coast so it’s not like she gets to come visit every day. She loved and missed her father so much. She talked to his nameplate and told him about everything going on in her life with tears in her eyes. She talked about her grandchild and her kids and her daily endeavors. I thought that was so cool and it really touched my heart. We left some fresh flowers and headed back to my grandmother’s house.

My aunt told me how I looked better every new day. She told me that even though it was hard for me to get up out of bed in the mornings, and not because I was tired or hungover, but because I was depressed, still climbing up from rock bottom and I had a long way to go. But I was heading in the right direction. My aunt set some goals up with me and told me she was going to check in on me and see if I had made progress. We talked about me focusing on finding a job, my soccer coaching and my writing.

So, two months ago I watched my grandmother pass away on July 6th 2013, the day my grandfather was born and only a week shy from her 92nd birthday. My aunt was not able to come be by her mom’s side and with her brother and sisters due to her health. We Skyped with her so she could see her mom and tell her goodbye. There was about 15 minutes or so where it was just her in the room, on Skype, with the camera on the laptop facing my grandmother who’s breaths were already short with long intervals between them. We Skyped with her at the ash ceremony which she put together and carried out, the memorial service, and the reception that followed. We made sure she was there and as much a part of this celebration of her mother’s life as anybody else.

We just bought our first house and moved in the day before my grandmother’s service which was almost a month after she had passed. With siblings, family and friends coming from both the east coast and the west coast time was needed to make sure everyone could make it out. It was a beautiful celebration, just as my grandmother would want. We had so much family gathered in one place. We don’t get to see each other all together like that very often. So much has changed since the last reunion. My cousins all have children now for starters. It was a good time mixed in with the sadness.

Today is Thursday, September 12th, 2013. I was at work when I got the text from my mom that my aunt was in ICU going through her final stages. Having just watched my grandmother go through this I knew what that meant. At a little after 7pm eastern time, 4pm California time, my aunt passed away. She was surrounded by her daughter, her son, two of her sisters, one of which had just flown from Florida to spend her birthday with her, her devoted husband and his son from his previous marriage. His first wife died of cancer too. She was surrounded by love and for the ones like me that weren’t there physically, our thoughts were on her all day.

As I took a puff from my last cigarette before bed I knew that I needed to do something drastic. I’ve been in a funk lately and for good reason but I’ve got a lot of good going on in my life as well. I decided to quit smoking for my aunt. And my grandmother. And my mom, my dad, my girlfriend, my brother, my nephew, family, friends, people whose lives I’m going to touch in my lifetime, my dog, my bio-mom, and anybody who cares about me. It’s only dragging me down and I’ve been struggling with quitting. I’m ready to get out of my funk, start taking care of myself, finish editing my story which both my aunt and my grandmother loved, move toward my goals and just let myself be happy.

I declared this out loud. I made sure to get my dog’s attention and said it to her since she was the only one around. Today I quit smoking cigarettes.





Pit Bulls and my latest epiphany

21 11 2012

I don’t know about you but sometimes I can get really involved in my assumptions or perceptions of the way things are. Those who know me know that I’m a huge animal lover, always have been, always will be. I took on the Pit Bull mission four years ago when I purchased my first Pit Bull dog. I knew nothing about the breed, negative nor positive, but have since bought and read as many books as I could (and still do) regarding this specific breed as well as dogs in general. At first, I was an irresponsible owner. I’m not going to beat myself up over anything (although I do from time to time) because we live and we learn and we do this at our own individual pace. I didn’t have all of the knowledge back when I first adopted my Pit girl and I didn’t make all the right decisions. The fact that I wanted to learn and wanted to change and make a positive difference makes me proud of myself. I’m not going to pat myself on the back though, I’m going to continue to learn and try to do the right thing.

A month ago if you asked me what I thought about breeding Pit Bulls, my blood pressure would rise along with my excessive heartbeats and I would confidently say I felt we should put a hold on breeding Pit Bulls. Why? Because there is an overpopulation of them, shelters consist of 80% or more of Pit Bull or Pit Bull type dogs, and thousands of them are dying each year because of this. Breeding them just didn’t make sense to me. I want the killing of Pit Bulls to end. Let’s just stop for a short time and regain control over this breed I would say. Since I’m a lover of Pits, and animals, it actually depresses me to see how many of them are “put down”. 

Thanks to Facebook, I’m able to connect and learn more from other Pit Bull owners and lovers all over the world. This one particular page seemed really cool, highlighting the breed and opening the doors to conversations between people in my town. The one thing that would bother me though was that so many people on this page were breeding their dogs (whether they had papers I don’t know, some I think did, some did not) and then trying to sell these pups and then later on some of the same people are sad and upset because they have to give up their beloved dog for one reason or another and seem desperate to find the dog a home or else… I don’t know where their dogs will end up. My guess is the local shelter. The same shelter that kills Pit Bulls within days of arriving without giving them the chance or exposure to find a “forever home” or being adopted or rescued.

After one Facebook argument I had on this page I was sick of these people on here and what I felt like was their ignorance. They were oblivious as to what was going on in the real world around them. I stuck with the page because of a couple reasons. One, was that I wanted to monitor and make sure nothing illegal was going on like dog fighting. I felt like I was this undercover spy. As long as I kept my opinions to myself, nobody would suspect what I was really doing on this page. Secondly, there were some people on here that really loved their Pit Bulls but had different lifestyles, which made me curious. They entered them into shows and competitions based on their physique, their agility, and their talents and skills. I’ve seen the dog shows on tv and I know there is a lifestyle such as this and it’s not wrong to society. So why should it be wrong to me?

I continued on with my opinions (keeping them to myself while on this page) but voicing them on my own Pit Bull page, blog, and to anybody wanting to listen. The other day I was reading another argument that somebody was having with the owner of that page expressing similar thoughts and emotions that I myself possess. As I continued to read I found myself learning something new. I’m not saying I’m in agreement at all with the page owner and his way of thinking. He made a clear point that I had never realized until now.

He bred Pit Bulls. He had papers and knew the bloodlines of both the mom and the dad. So he knew the mom and dad of the bitch and the mom and dad of the stud. It was like a family tree of Pit Bulls. This didn’t seem irresponsible to me. It sounded like he’s done some research and legwork into understanding his dogs. He bred healthy, championship dogs. He argued with the passionate shelter worker/dog rescue lady that his dogs were well taken care of and placed in good homes with other people like him who would pay a nice penny for his puppies and liked to show off their dog, compete them or just have expensive animals. At that moment I realized he wasn’t any different than the Yorkie breeder or the Golden Retriever breeder. Nobody is arguing with these people trying to get them to stop breeding their dogs.

Pit Bulls do have a negative reputation. Yes, some days it seems like it’s getting better but still there is so much going against them and even the people who own them. People that breed them don’t stand a chance to avoid scrutiny. This page owner stated the difference between himself and the people that breed mixed versions of Pit Bulls, also known as backyard breeders. He wouldn’t adopt from a shelter because he felt those dogs were improperly bred and sick with issues that cause problems. He wanted to know exactly where his dog came from and that’s when I also realized that there are people like that out there who want the same. The rescue lady tried to get the facts through to him, that she encounters hundreds of dogs that don’t make it out of the shelters, most of them Pits. Her heart is heavy with sadness because she loves the dogs, just like this other guy, but she has a heart for the underdog; the sad and depressed shelter dog just wanting to be loved. Her cause is different than this breeder’s cause.

Animal ID A228074_Room#:WD33 – 3 year old white male Pit Bull located in Orange Country Animal Services in Orlando, Florida. Available for adoption!

There are many people out there that want to adopt a dog and don’t care where they came from. Most behavioral issues can be easily fixed and help is out there more than ever. They want to bring this furry dog into their home and make them part of their family. That’s extremely noble and kind-hearted. That’s where I would put myself if I were to categorize. Maybe it’s because I was adopted as a baby and my parents had no idea what to expect from me. They had no idea what issues lurked inside me but they brought me home and into their family and never made me feel different or unwanted.

Then there are people who want to pay big bucks to buy a dog from a reputable breeder (hopefully). I could never see myself spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a dog, but that’s me. Just because I wouldn’t, doesn’t mean it’s wrong for others to do so. It’s not my place to judge.

The only problem I have now with this page owner is that although he is kind of contributing to the problem, indirectly, he seems oblivious to other important issues regarding this breed. He’s in the position where he could help out a lot with educating people and helping the cause but what he’s concerned with more is breeding awesome dogs and making some money off them (through selling the pups or showing his dogs in competitions). We can’t force anybody to do what we feel is the right thing. Our hearts break every time a dog is euthanized but this page owner isn’t concerned with what he feels are weak mixes of the breed. He wouldn’t even compare his dog to one from a shelter. I want to explain my comment that this guy indirectly contributes to the problem. The people that are interested in his puppies would never rescue a dog from a shelter. They want the same thing this guy wants, a good, solid bloodline. There is less chance of medical and behavior issues if you know your dog like they know theirs.

So I wouldn’t approach the argument by telling him to stop breeding as long as he’s doing it appropriately but rather ask for his help to stop other types of improper breeding rather than ignoring the problem. Some people just don’t care about what goes on in the world as long as it isn’t happening to them or involving them in any way. Personally, I don’t feel this is the right way to roam the earth. I enjoy helping people and animals. I love seeing dogs finding loving homes just like I love seeing children finding loving homes.

I know that we don’t always learn about things until they directly affect us. Why would you care about BSL if you own a Poodle, Beagle or Labrador Retriever? Why would you care at all about the agony and struggle Pit Bull owners go through on a day to day? Maybe you don’t have to if you own a Border Collie, Maltese or a Chihuahua. But this page owner owns and breeds Pit Bulls. BSL and breed discrimination can and will affect him. When he moves to a new place or his town decides that they want to ban all Pit Bulls maybe then he’ll take a stand and fight for what we are all fighting against; Irresponsible breeders, irresponsible owners and breed discrimination.

What I discovered with reading this argument was that both sides love Pit Bulls. Both sides want to enjoy life with their dogs without worrying about discriminating laws, negative attitudes, and false myths hyped by social media. We all want to be happy. There is no reason to stop breeding Pit Bulls in the proper way. After all, we don’t want them to become extinct. But we do want to put an end to irresponsible owners and irresponsible breeding. There are plenty of dogs in the shelters looking for good homes and have good bloodlines. Bloodlines as good as any backyard breeder can provide. The fight needs to focus on eliminating these types of breeders and we can do this by creating harsher laws and consequences that will prevent this from happening again.

Fighting for this cause will not hurt the page owner if he is following the laws of breeding which I will give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he is. There needs to be a common ground of understanding and respect for this to play out right. Joining forces, both sides (pro-breeder and anti-breeders) can work together to eliminate the “real” problem and come to a happy compromise. The anti-breeder lady is not in the right by trying to convince this guy to change his ways and place the guilt of thousands of killed Pit Bulls on his conscious. Nor is the pro-breeding page owner right for ignoring the truth as to what’s going on and not offering any assistance with fixing the problem when he benefits greatly from indirectly helping it.

Both sides are passionate, good and right. What it comes down to is money, ignorance, how blind to the world you want to be, and how close-minded you’re going to remain when in fact these same problems that rescue groups and individual animal lovers are fighting for do indeed affect you. I’m not saying the pro-breeder should to take up a new cause, (even though he will be thankful when he doesn’t have to worry about laws interfering with his business; i.e. banning Pit Bulls means no more breeding Pit Bulls) but as the dedicated rescuers know, all it takes is a little bit of effort from everybody to eradicate the problem.

Backyard breeders and irresponsible owners lead the way to an overpopulation of unwanted Pit Bulls, some of which have medical and behavior issues due to their unknown, cross-bred heritage due to improper breeding. Behavior issues and irresponsible ownership of Pit Bulls leads to human and animal injuries/fatalities. Human and animal injuries and fatalities, mixed with skewed media coverage and false myths, leads to the banning of the breed or BSL. Therefore backyard breeders and irresponsible Pit Bull owners lead to the deaths of thousands of dogs, excessive government and taxpayer expenses, and the discrimination and legalized banning of Pit Bulls. 

Seems pretty clear to me. We need more education, training, awareness, and some positive reinforcement. Let the pro-breeder’s champion dog be a mascot for eliminating backyard breeders. Maybe he can even make some money off endorsements. I say, whatever it takes, because we all want the same thing. It’s not about who has the bigger, badass dog or about who is right and wrong with how they choose to live their life. It’s about doingwhat’s right and not discriminating any person or any breed of dog. Punish the ones responsible for causing the problem and leave the others alone. Let’s focus on eliminating the source of the problem while we work on educating the world about the truths of the Pit Bull.





Five reasons being a Vampire would be pretty cool

3 10 2012

1) The Travel Experience

As a vampire, since you have unlimited days on earth (unless you get staked of course), you have all the time in the world to travel and see everything the world has to offer; From the street canals of Venice, Italy and the Himalayas in India to the volcanoes in Iceland and Indonesia and the rainforests in South America. Every city in every country, every desert, every lake, every canal or stream, every mountain, every cliff, every cornfield, every pasture… every thing! Along with your travels you will get to meet all kinds of different people from different cultures. Just be on your best behavior and make friends rather than eat them all and you’ll be able to enjoy more without worrying that somebody is out to get you for revenge or because they want all blood sucking vampires dead, again.

2) Breaking the Language Barrier

If you had all the time in the world and didn’t want to get bored, pick up a book or Mavis Beacon CD and learn a language. Spend some quality time learning to speak Spanish in all its dialects and regions, French, Russian, Chinese, Greek, Latin, Arabic, you name it. You can learn by submerging yourself in that region or country for a year or two, until you speak it fluently. After a hundred years or so of walking around the earth, you’ll be able to speak to anybody and everybody! Even the tough French-Creole dialects found in certain Parishes of New Orleans (reference Waterboy with Adam Sandler). Nobody would ever be able to talk smack about you without you knowing. There won’t be any secrets kept from you either. Once you learn all the languages, if you get bored you can always create a new one of your own. Let a hundred years go by and see how many people picked it up.

3) Adrenaline Junkie Is An Understatement

Could you imagine the stunts you would be able to pull off if death wasn’t an issue and life was everlasting? Bungee jumping is so outdated but you would still have to do it at least once. But why not climb higher for a longer drop? Longer bungee jumping rides equals more fun and enjoyment for that adrenaline addiction. Skydiving, paragliding, cliff jumping, scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, dirt bike stunts, four-wheeling ATVs, mountain climbing, cave diving, anything you can’t imagine anybody being able to do and survive, you can do! The impossible is now possible once you’re a vampire. And you’re not doing these stunts for bragging rights, because you have an advantage without the fear of dying, rather you do these things to truly feel what it’s like to do them. To feel the wind against your face as you free fall thousands of feet in mid air, meet the underwater sea creatures nobody has been able to discover, wrestle an alligator, swim with a whale, whatever you desire, you can conquer.

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4) Best of the Best Concert Series

Being a vampire has some definite advantages. You can go watch every great musician, band, solo artist, quartet, or instrumental group perform live. Imagine hanging out in a local Jersey dive listening to Bruce Springsteen, at a Minneapolis coffeehouse listening to Bob Dylan, or at a club in Liverpool listening to four boyish legends known as The Beatles. Hear famous symphony orchestras and opera performances from all over the world. Learn the moonwalk from Michael Jackson, smoke weed with Snoop Dog, Jimi Hendrix and the band Sublime, drink beers with Johnny Cash, strike a pose with Madonna, party with Kurt Cobain and Jerry Garcia, compare lips with Mick Jagger and Steven Tyler, have a cocktail with Frank Sinatra, sing the delta blues with Willie Brown, or jazz it up with Duke Ellington and Etta James. You would be able to watch live performances of every artist, in every country, during the course of the time that passes. Spend years traveling around attending one concert after another until you’ve crossed everybody off your list, of course you’ll be adding them as you go too. You will be so well diverse with every genre of music, the uniqueness of each decade or era, educated with soulful words and melodies. I can only imagine the happiness within. Collect the concert tickets or napkins from the location or something that proves you were there and make a collage for your vampire home. How cool would that be to be able to enjoy all of these artists, live, pouring out their energy so you can be inspired and entertained?

5) Never Be Jobless

Since you’re a vampire and your life is about endless experiences, you pretty much are living history as is plays out, decade after decade, century after century. You were there when aspirin company Bayer used to market heroin, during the 72 years when Louis XIV reigned France, witnessed the dollar become the first official currency, or to meet Dante (pre-Divine Comedy) when he was just a boy studying Tuscan poetry at the Sicilian School. With all of this first-hand knowledge you can work as a college professor (night classes only) or write and publish history books with explicit and accurate detail. You can also teach online history classes or tutor individuals in the evenings. These types of jobs would probably come easy to a vampire. Since you have the opportunity to be an expert in just about any subject matter many options are out there for you such as DIY shows, travel shows for the countries with the best nightlife and more!

It’s starting to make sense why Vampires can come across as being arrogant and snobby. They’ve been around long enough and have learned as much as they could take in and could be quite bored with the ordinary. Imagine having to explain the same thing to each person you encounter, day in and day out, teaching them that Arabic numerals were not invented by Arabs, that ketchup was sold as medicine in the 1830s, that two of the Titanic survivors were dogs, and that it took 20 thousand men, 20 years, to finish building the Taj Mahal. They’re smart, they’ve been there, done that, and seen that, and they kind of have bragging rights to be know-it-alls. Don’t take it personal if they beat you in Jeopardy and Who Wants to be a Millionaire, remember, they could do a lot more damage if they really wanted to.





Driving to work on a Wednesday morning

19 09 2012

Today I managed to drive to work without getting pissed off at other drivers. I kept calm and cool. Very proud of myself because you see, I was running a little late already (fairly typical of me) and every morning when I leave my neighborhood I have a choice between turning left and taking the back roads to work or turning right and taking the highway (Not to be confused with the high way). Its arguable as to which way is quicker. Each morning I set out to time it and I only get so far before I get distracted and forget what time I started or just forget I was trying to time it all together.

This morning the forces were out to get me. They were out to test my patience and temperament. It started out as soon as I made my decision to take the highway, which I’ve only just started taking recently because I swear the other way was faster. So I get onto one of the roads before reaching the highway and its backed up and not moving. I’m finally able to inch up close to a side road which will get me through to the next road I need. After two or three stoplight changes I was able to turn onto that side road. I drove through the back roads and made it to the road I needed. That too was backed up. Now I’m stuck on the road I need to take to get to the highway and it’s completely stopped. Didn’t loose my cool. Kept telling myself that I’m not going to be too late for work and there wasn’t anything else I could do about it at this point.

This is how happy I was trying to be on my way to work.

After a few minutes I finally made it up to the stoplight and of course got the red light as soon as I approached. No problem. Still calm and collective. Kind of expected that actually with the way my stoplight karma is. I’ll explain that at another time. The light turned green and the cars were moving, pushing me closer to the highway. The flow was nice and I make my way onto the highway. There were a lot of cars but the flow was still nice. I sped past some cars to merge into the lane in the direction of work. The highway was a smooth ride. I approach my exit and was able to barely make it through the green light. Once I turn right onto the next road I have to almost immediately encounter another stoplight. I’m always hoping to get the green left turn arrow but it doesn’t happen too often. That light is also a curse to me, now, because I got busted running a red light from one of those intersections with the cameras. That intersection annoys me and makes me so paranoid.

So I turn onto the road and come up to the stoplight just in time to watch it turn from green to yellow to red. Of course I didn’t try to make the yellow-orangish light because of what happened to me last time I tried to catch it under the unspoken theory that if you cross over the line while the light is yellow and happens to turn red before you make it through the intersection all the way then you technically did not run a red light. That unspoken theory was wrong. $158 dollar lesson learned. Now i’m sitting at the light. Waiting. Still keeping my cool. Not letting stoplights, traffic, people cutting me off, people driving slower than me, nothing was going to steal my peace away this morning.

After that light there are three more lights I must pass through before turning into my work building. The first one I approach, red. Wait. I start driving behind slow people in the right lane because if I drive in the left lane it’s more of a pain for me to check traffic in the right lane which I will eventually have to switch into. Reason being, I still haven’t replaced my passenger side view mirror that’s I broke years ago. Yes, I procrastinate too. Next light is coming up and it’s just turning red. Still not bothered.

I continue through the light and approach a school bus picking up kids with its flashing stop signs stopping traffic. I stop and wait. I did almost have a thought of these kids moving slow and steady so it would take longer before the bus driver removed the flashing stop signs but I quickly jumped back to the fact that I’m almost at work and I was going to have a good, productive day.

Once the bus started moving again, we all did the same. I approached the last light before work and it was also red. But this light changes pretty quickly so I was still cool. I’m about to turn into work but noticed a man on his bicycle riding beside me, in the road of course and not on the sidewalk. Not that it would matter because he was exactly parallel with me. I slowed down and waited for him to pass before turning into work. Parking was a piece of cake and I made it in before final call. Now there’s a story with a happy ending.





To blink, or not to blink: Turn signal etiquette 101

18 09 2012

I’ve come up with this awesome idea that will save us money individually and as an economy. I can’t believe nobody else has come up with this idea. It all started when I began to notice something repeatedly happening whenever I was out driving. You see, my dad is a play-by-the-rules type of guy. I love and respect him for that. It’s a very admirable quality. When he was teaching me how to drive, he taught me the ins and outs, the dos and dont’s.  Hands at 10 and 2, eyes on the road and constantly check the mirrors, always be aware of who and what is around you. If you miss your turn, don’t slam on your brakes and make everybody pay for your mistake, even if you have to go a little out of your way, it’s the right thing to do. The respectful polite thing to do maybe. He taught me to use my blinker when turning or wanting to switch lanes. This is to let people know you want to switch lanes or that you’re turning a certain direction, out of respect and safety and because it’s the law.

What i’ve noticed is that very few people use their blinkers anymore. It’s a rarity when I see that flashing signal indicating someone actually flipped that mechanism on their steering wheel to let other people driving their 3,000+ pounds of heavy steel know that you plan on switching over into the lane they are approaching you in or that you may be turning soon and slowing down would be the safest thing for everyone.

Nope, blinkers aren’t something people take seriously. Now, it’s either we’re plain lazy and don’t want to exert the energy to turn the blinker on or we’re just inconsiderate, self centered and don’t have a care as to what is going on outside our own little world or maybe it’s because we hate people and enjoy pissing them off. I’m sure there’s more reasons other than what I listed but those are my primary ones.

Sometimes I am lazy and don’t want to signal. Usually, though, when I don’t use my signal it’s because nobody is around me or I’m paranoid that if I signal, everybody will then speed up and try to get past me pacing the distance between the car in front of them perfectly so I can never switch lanes and must wait and get at the end of the line. I guess it’s fairly normal to expect to have to go to the back of the line when you step out of the line you were  in.

Anyway, I’ve witnessed this many times. I notice somebody wants to get over because they actually used their blinkers. People come up from behind and speed up, closing in on the gap between the car in front of them. Other cars approach and the cars seems to be driving at the exact same speed, not creating any room for the person to get over. Now if this person were not to use their blinker and just wait for the gap and squeeze in, they would get in a lot quicker. I know there are some people that pay attention and courteously allow enough room for the person blinking ever so nicely to come into their lane. Kudos to you. I do this most of the times. I feel that if your nice enough to give me the heads up as to what you’d  like to do, and it won’t disturb my flow too much, then by all means, come into my lane. But don’t just push your way in without a signal or signal and expect me to let you in right away. If I can I will. But just because you turned your signal on, doesn’t mean you have the right of way.

Same goes for turning. It’s a freaking courtesy. Let the person behind you know that you are turning so they can either slow down or switch lanes and go around you. Not signaling for a turn is like falling and pulling somebody down with you. It’s so selfish and blatantly disregards other driver’s interest and well being. I personally would love for the person behind me to know to slow down and not hit me because I’m about to do an abrupt turn and I shouldn’t expect you to be able to read my mind and know what I’m about to do next.

And if you really want to get me going, while you’re driving down the center lane of a 3-lane highway, use your signal and let me see this blinking light proudly announce that you will be getting into the right lane. I will smile and sing your praises, overwhelmed with the respect and acknowledgment of somebody other than yourself. And then, as you approach that right turn area that you said you were heading, you instead turn left with the right blinker still flashing. I would rather you not blink at all. That is lazy and absent-minded and who wants to be on the road with an absent-minded person who at any given moment may be thinking about something other than driving down the road. Ever heard of road hypnosis. I’ve had it happen to me before. That can be for another blog topic.

If we aren’t going to blink properly or at all then why have blinkers. Why pay the extra money, when purchasing a car, for something you’ll never use? Wouldn’t rather have that money in your pocket or towards something else? The material that makes blinkers, the bulbs, the fuses, everything can just disappear. If we really need to signal there is always your arm and hand. Cars will be cheaper, road rage will decrease because now there no expecting courtesy from other drivers, just look out for yourself. It’s a win-win situation.

If you think I have some serious issues then you’re probably right. You see, I’m traumatized from cops giving me tickets for things everybody and their mom do on a daily basis. Like not using your turn signal. Yes I was pulled over for not using my turn signal when merging from the center median lane into the regular lanes. I signaled to get out to the middle of the road from the stop sign I sat at but my blinker turned off and I didn’t turn it back on to continue in the direction I wanted to go. It was after work and I was ready to go home and relax. I thought that was a petty ticket but it taught me to use my signal. It also created an issue for me I’m just beginning to realize.

Sigh.