Archive for September, 2009

Damn Kids

September 24, 2009

When did I get old?*

Taking an exercise walk/run…okay, okay, more of a walk/vaguely-faster-shuffle…I was out in the neighborhood checking out the houses and occasional neighbor (all this to distract me from the aching of my weak-ass body).

I guess there have been issues in the past with drivers exceeding the modest 25 mph speed limit in the area, as there was one of those portable speed radars set up.  You know the kind, with the big numbers that flash if you exceed the speed limit.

speed radar

This provided lots of distraction as I would watch the numbers as drivers drove by, many of them slowing to get the sign to stop flashing at them**.

Then the young kid drove by, going in the opposite direction of the sign.  I noticed him, but didn’t give him a second thought.  That is until he turned around at the end of the road and came back towards the sign.

Accelerating…

I watched, slightly bemused, slightly old man “what’s that damn kid doing?”-ish.

He was able to hit 54 mph in the 1/8th of a mile the radar sign was picking him up.

I looked around to see if anyone else saw, but there was no one (and, thankfully, especially kids).

Now who would purposely go faster to make the sign do what they wanted?

Oh….yeah, I would’ve been tempted as well…

…Damn Kids…

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*…and, yes, I do realize the foolishness of asking such a wide open question in this forum.  I’ve teed it up, readers, give it a good whack!

**I wonder if there was the fear (as I’ve obviously had, thinking on it) that there’s also a camera in there that will nail the recalcitrant speeder and send their license plate number, with the speed over the limit, to the police.***

***This was emphasized as the next day I saw a car just like the kid’s car being pulled over by a cop.  Hmmm…. I’m getting paranoid.  Or not paranoid enough?

One Of Those Days

September 16, 2009

My job doesn’t always require me to get all dressed up, boardroom style.  As long as I look professional and am not dealing with a client at a formal meeting, I can dress a bit more casually.  Since most of my customer dealings are by phone or more informal, I don’t often wear a suit.  Today was not one of those days.  I put on one of my nice suits and went into the office where I was met with stares of incredulity and questions about whether I was interviewing elsewhere for a new job—buttheads.

My meeting with big muckety-mucks (a technical business term for over paid, high ego senior managers) was set for 1 pm.  I went home for a light lunch and headed back for the 10 minute drive to the meeting at 12:30.  Lots of time, right?

Nope.

Turning onto a busy street and getting into the far left lane to make my next turn, my car sputtered and lost power.  Frantically looking over my shoulder to see if I could get back to the berm on the right side of the road, my gaze was met by a solid wall of two lanes worth of cars.  And, seconds later, the engine gave up the ghost and quit.

I put on the emergency blinkers and attempted to restart the car.  No luck.

What’s that smell?  Gasoline?

Getting out of the car, I opened the hood to help, along with the emergency blinkers, to let oncoming traffic know I was stalled out.  I was amazed to see how many people stayed in the lane, accelerating towards me.  I feel lucky not to have been creamed by one of them.

Called good old AAA…there has to be some reason I continue to pay them year after year for other than a map and a 10% off coupon to Willy’s World of Wombats down the way.  Told the lady on the phone I was blocking traffic and she said that would bump my priority way up.  So, I waited.

Called the police, too, to let them know I was blocking traffic.  Especially after the third or fourth clueless driver almost accelerated into the back of the car.  They said they’d send a car.  So, I waited.

A few kind souls driving by asked if I needed help.  One guy even offered to block the three lanes of traffic with his jeep and help push the car over to the right side.  I declined, fearing for his life as well as my own.

My barber pulled up behind me, laughing.  Going back to punch him in the face (okay, not really…I was laughing by this time, too), I noticed a pool of gasoline on the road at the back of the car.  Uh-oh.

Called the police back and asked if they could connect me to the fire department…just in case.  Found out there was a severe car accident up the way and no one was available.

I started suspiciously eyeballing every passing driver with a cigarette butt, hoping they wouldn’t flick it out at my car.

AAA tow truck finally arrived and we headed off to my car repair shop. But, that severe car accident?  Right on the way we were going and traffic was already backed up a mile.  Took the back roads to the repair shop and took their courtesy shuttle back to my place – – – a half hour after my important meeting was supposed to have ended.

So, I declare victory.  I’m staying home.  I’m writing a blog post.  I’m texting my girlfriend to come over (nope, busy at work…damn!  oh well…another time!).  I’m going to take a nap…or otherwise cocoon myself and hide from the afternoon.

As to the meeting?   I’ll find out tomorrow if I was really missed at that meeting…or if I still have a job.  And I’ll find out tomorrow how much a new fuel pump…or whatever else in the fuel system crapped out…costs to repair.

[sigh]

The ‘Woo!’ Guy

September 2, 2009

Had an opportunity to take a friend this past week to an Elvis Costello & The Sugarcanes concert at a nice outside venue nearby.   A clamshell stage with a great sound system, lawn or pricier real seating, overpriced wine, beer, and food, and some occasionally great artists performing (this year included Loggins & Messina, Blue Oyster Cult, Diana Krall, The Beach Boys, and Joe Cocker to name a few).  Good and bad for neighbors in the area.  If they really wanted, they could (and many do) just go out on their front lawn and listen to the concert, the sound system is that good.  However, if the concert sucks (which many do, I’ve heard), the nearest neighbors can still hear it sucking loudly inside their apartments/houses.  Luckily for those neighbors suffering the latter, the city requires the shows to be done by 10 pm.

Elvis did not suck.  He put on a pretty good show and was in the middle of the fifth song of his encore when the city curfew required them to shut off the power to the speaker system.

Arriving early and buying the cheaper lawn seats, we quickly staked out a comfy spot near a wall with a clear view of the stage and laid out a picnic quilt I brought.  Off for the first of a few beers for the evening, plus a little nosh to tide me over (not that I couldn’t live off the stores I’d so conveniently brought with me around my waistline).

Coming back to the quilt, I was pleasantly surprised to see it still there. Guess that just goes to show my opinion of the basic nature of people—I had given it a 10% chance of being moved by some enterprising pirate wanting our prime spot.

Now, having a primo spot to watch the concert is all good.  But, at a venue like that, you can’t choose your neighbors.

We were unlucky enough to have people in front of us who liked to move around a lot talking to each other.  So, just while I was getting comfortable watching the band, someone would poke his head in the way of my line of sight to the stage.  No biggie, just a minor annoyance.

Another minor annoyance was that our good location happened to turn into the main thoroughfare for folks going for more beer, getting rid of beer, or just wandering looking for a new location.  Again, not a big problem, but…

The biggest thing?  The guy next to me.  There are fans and there are fans.  This guy was a true fan of Elvis et al.  And he was one of those types who liked to show his appreciation for the band, not by clapping, but by a loud, long, high-pitched, and frequent, “WOOO!!!”.  And he was sitting right next to me.  “WOOOO!!!”  Next to my left ear.  “WOOOO!!!!”  And expressed his pleasure, “WOOO!!!” …not only at the end of songs, “WOOO!!!” …but during them.  “WOOOO!!!!”

Honestly, had he not been right next to my left ear, I wouldn’t have minded so much.

But, then again, wouldn’t it be nice if we all had a “WOOO!!!” guy showing appreciation for our work and accomplishments through the day?

…like…

YOU, briefing the boss:  “…and in conclusion, the 3rd quarter figures represent a dramatic upturn in our financial health.”

YOUR “WOOO!!!” GUY:  “WOOOO!!!!”

…or…

YOU, having just finished vacuuming the house.

YOUR “WOOO!!!” GUY:  “WOOOO!!!!”

Yep…that would go a long way for the ol’ self esteem.

…and, admittedly, I find myself the “WOOO!!!” guy on some occasions [sly wink]…