The best way to make your dreams come true…

4 02 2013

Being creative until the wee hours in the morning.

Dream away.

Dream away.

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A Dog Fight at a Dog Park

28 01 2013

I love my dogs so much. Some may think it’s not normal but I’m not really seeing children of my own in my future so my dogs ARE my family. I’ve taken hundreds (probably thousands) of pictures of them and will probably take thousands more. I talk about my dogs like people talk about their children. I enjoy spending time with them, teaching them new tricks and spoiling them with special dinners and fun toys. My life is a lot happier when there is a dog in it.

I think I’m more amazed that I can still be amazed at the stories I come across about dogs; their loyalty and never-ending love, their will to survive, their forgiving hearts, their amazing talents and their instinctual behavior that causes them to perform life-saving feats that sometimes make the headlines. I can never get enough and there always seems to be something new popping up.

Yesterday, I caught myself in a state of amazement once again.

BFFs

BFFs

We took my Pit Bull and her sidekick Boxer mix sister to the dog park on Sunday, a ritual we’ve started since the first of this year. This is my first Pit Bull and I’ve spent the past 4 years learning all that I can about them. Even though she’s been around other dogs her entire life, she’s had a few squabbles, which leave more of a negative impact on me than the dogs because they always sound so horrible and scary. I don’t want to see my cute, sweet baby girl showing her teeth and scrapping until blood is drawn. I don’t want to see any dog getting hurt.

Needless to say, I was a little hesitant about bringing her to the dog park. When I had my Shepard/Rottie mix, I didn’t think twice about the dog park. Maybe I was naïve or inexperienced. I never had a problem or was traumatized by any dog fights all those times we went. But with my Pit Bull, it was different. Maybe because I’ve heard a lot of negative things about Pit Bulls or that I know what they are capable of if not trained or conditioned properly. They are very smart dogs with amazing strength, but then again, so are a lot of other types of dogs.

Dog parks, although an excellence place for exercising and socializing your dogs, can be scary. As a Pit Bull owner, I’m very aware of other people and dogs around. I’ve trained my girl a certain way but I don’t know how anybody else trains their own dogs. I’ve overheard people say that their dog doesn’t get along with this type of dog or that type of dog but they still bring them into the park. I was a little nervous at first but the more we went, the prouder I was of the way they behaved.

My Pit Bull simply likes for me to throw the Frisbee the entire time. She’ll check out a dog or two and sometimes checks up on her sister but for the most part it’s just her and I and the Frisbee at that park. She loves that there is a lot more room for her to run, jump up and catch the flying disc. She pays no attention to the other dogs for the most part.

Backyard Fun

My Boxer mix on the other hand must meet and greet every dog that comes into the park or is already in there. I noticed her playing kissy face and following around this beautiful male Blue Pit. I have to watch her a little more carefully because she is still young and energetic and sometimes tries to play with the grumpy dogs. Maybe she likes a good challenge. Truth is, she would rather be playing with the little dogs next door but settles for running up and down the fence between the big dog section and the little dog section chasing the fast rascals that are brave enough to race her.

So I was throwing the Frisbee around and my Pit was showing off her skills. All of the sudden this older Lab mix and another Pit Bull get into a fight. The grisly sounding barks and growls caught the attention of the other dogs which gathered around and watched, kind of like us humans sometimes do. Owners grabbed their dogs one by one so they wouldn’t join in. The two dogs went at it for a few seconds and I noticed my Pit Bull watching real close. So many thoughts went through my mind. It’s hard not to get involved in a fight because I love these dogs and I don’t want to see any of them getting hurt.

I clenched the leash tightly in my hand and wanted to make it over to my dog who was on the other side of the fighting dogs. At this point even though the Lab mix was the fight instigator, the Pit Bull had strength and youth on his side and was now dominating the fight on top of the Lab. Before I could even take a step towards my baby girl she jumped in on the back of the Pit Bull and straddled him from behind. Yes, it looked like she was going to hump him and my anxiety immediately escalated because this dog was pissed off already and in fight mode.

I see her wrap her front paws around his backside with a tight grip. She didn’t bark or growl or even hump. I didn’t notice that crazy look in her eyes like when she’s tried to hump her sister. She actually started to drag him off of the Lab. It worked for a second and distracted him from further attacking the Lab allowing the owners extra time to retrieve their dogs and break up the fight. I saw the Pit Bull quickly snap back at my dog but then just as quickly turned back to the Lab. At that point I was able to grab my Pit’s collar and pull her away from the fight. I was holding on to her collar so tight before I realized that she was fine. She wasn’t barking or growling or trying to get in on the action. She was actually a lot calmer than I was.

The fight was stopped and both owners held on to their dogs. Immediately the other Pit settled down once his owner had control over him. The Lab had some injuries to his tail and leg that looked pretty bad and was whimpering a little. My heart went out to that dog and his owners who were a little shaken up by the scene. They carried him out of the park and took him to the vet where I’m sure he was taken care of.

My Boxer mix was already leashed and taken out of the park as a safety precaution and I was considering going home at that point because I was emotionally exhausted after that. Nobody good wants to see their dogs fight like that.

I couldn’t leave though. It didn’t seem fair. Both of my dogs acted great. The Boxer noticed the confrontation but obeyed the commands to leave the area without a fuss. My Pit actually tried to do what I couldn’t do and jump in to stop the fight. I watched her assess the situation, act on it with bravery and strength and backed down when I commanded. She actually grabbed the other Pit from behind and tried to pull him away from attacking the Lab. It was like she knew what they were doing was wrong and was trying to help make the situation right. All she walked away with was a couple of scratches but didn’t seemed phased one bit.

Afterwards we ran into the other Pit Bull owner who was upset about what happened. Upset that people immediately started making comments about Pit Bulls and his dog had never been in a fight before. He stuck around and offered the owners of the Lab any assistance but they had bolted quickly.

My Pit and his Pit gave each other bloody nose kisses and were very calm and collective. You wouldn’t have thought at all that these dogs were just in a fight a few minutes prior.

I decided that since we hadn’t been there very long it wasn’t fair to punish the dogs for behaving properly by taking them home when all they really wanted to do was play. We brought them back inside the park and let them play for another hour until they were both exhausted.

Smiles

I’m still in awe of my Pit. She is amazing to me. And to top it off she has a heart of gold which makes me the proudest mother around!





Squirrels and the Dangers of Tightrope Walking Power Lines

11 01 2013

Have you ever been outside and witnessed a squirrel tightrope walking on a powerline? Almost every day I see squirrels doing these amazing stunts and often wonder how they do it. Their tiny little feet and claws gracefully scurrying across a thin, high voltage line, crossing over streets in what appears to be a very risky endeavor. I’ve seen a few slip but would quickly catch themselves and continue on. Most of the time they make it across to whatever destination they were pursuing.

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Picture © Paul Young 2008

The other day when I was walking my dogs in the morning before work like I always do, I experienced something pretty horrific and a little traumatizing. I can’t get it out of my head.

I have a routine with my dogs and that is they get a walk every morning before I go to work. It’s great exercise for me too and really wakes me up and I feel better knowing the kids got to enjoy some semi-fresh air and a little exercise before I leave them for a day of work.

Ever since the holidays it’s been harder for me to get up as early as I would like. Each morning they get walked at different times. Sometimes early, sometimes later. This particular morning I was struggling with getting up. So their walk was just slightly later than the average.

We made it around our 1.5 mile loop and were coming down that last long stretch that dumped us out on our street. Throughout the walk we encounter other dogs walking with their owners, lots of cats that either scurry away when we approach or tense up in a ball and stare us down with evil glares, several squirrels that like to race us along the top of the wooden fences, lizards, birds, etc.

As we were walking down the sidewalk, I was keeping my Boxer mix puppy under control as she was getting excited about a cat sitting in this neighbor’s driveway. All of the sudden I heard this noise. It sounded like a splatter, one I’m oh too familiar with. This sound reminded me of my childhood days when I used to skateboard and rollerblade. There was always that one stick or rock that would get under my wheel and cause my wheel to lock while my body continued with its forward momentum. Then I would slap my body onto the concrete sidewalk, face first, sometimes catching myself with my hands or knees. It wasn’t the greatest feeling in the world. Who am I kidding, that hurt like a bitch. I recall several accidents resulting in me falling and smacking myself hard onto the concrete.

Image

When I heard the sound I thought to myself, “Was that? No, it couldn’t be. But that sound.” I felt it was something more than an acorn or bird poop. It was more of a splat than a splatter. When I turned to check it out I was horrified. Only a few steps behind me on the sidewalk lay a squirrel, flat on its stomach and face. I watched for a second to see if it was alive and I saw some movement. My heart went out to this thing. It must have fallen from a powerline or tree or something. The crazy thing is if I was 10-15 seconds slower it would have landed right on top of me or one of the dogs. I kind of wish it did because it didn’t look like it was doing well on the sidewalk.

I thought maybe it broke its neck or seriously injured itself. It was barely moving until I started walking back towards it. I wanted to help it if I could, and yes, I was planning on scooping it up and taking it to a vet if it was still alive. When I took a step towards it, it started to crawl a little. Its hands looked a little funny, like they were broken and weren’t working properly. This squirrel still tried to crawl, dragging its body to the edge of a yard.

I didn’t want to scare it but I had my two big dogs with me, both very interested in the squirrel now. I couldn’t just leave it because I thought time was of the essence. As the three of us approached, that squirrel quickly recovered and skipped on through the chain-linked fence to the base of a nearby tree where it sat for a few moments. I imagine it was trying to recover and stay safe. I was still a little worried since that cat next door looked like he was ready to prowl. I walked up to the fence with the dogs and the squirrel scurried up the tree, holding on without any difficulties. It seemed as if the fall didn’t hurt it that much. It was lucky this time.

That sound still haunts me because it originally appeared that the squirrel was dead and that made me sad for a moment. Oh, well. Happy endings rock!





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.