fighting the lack of good ideas

gum must die

What is wrong with people?

Why is it that activities considered totally uncouth with “normal” chewing is thrown out the window when people chew gum?

When you chew food, you chew with your mouth shut.

When you chew food, you don’t crack it.

You don’t blow bubbles.

But when people chew gum, they feel the need to chew it all day, like cows, and crack it every few seconds.

I hate gum because people that chew it are [almost] all assholes about it.

It’d be nice if people could have some courtesy around others, but apparently gum chewing is the exception to being polite. Or maybe it’s just narcissism has risen to the national pastime of America.

12 may 1953 to 11 aug 2008 – cindy lee myers

I just found out my aunt died sometime between Saturday night and this morning.

She didn’t call-in to work to say she’d be out, so one of her coworkers checked on her – and she didn’t answer the phone, so my dad, her older brother, went to her apartment to find out what was wrong. He found her lying on the floor not breathing.

All I know right now is that this wasn’t supposed to happen.

55-year-old people are not supposed to die.

Only old people are supposed to be allowed to die. Three score and ten. That’s 70. Not 55. Just a few weeks ago, my great-grandmother passed-on, but she was 98. In 2005, both a great uncle and great aunt passed away, but they were old, too.

55 is just not old enough.

She was supposed to be at work today.

She had just finished her first full week back after having been out ill for a couple weeks. It was her first full week at work since February.

She was supposed to finish her career at Albany County Social Services and retire in 10 years.

She was supposed to be moving nearer to my parents in the next few months.

She was supposed to see my younger sister, her only niece, start and finish college.

She was supposed to meet whoever I end up marrying, and be at the wedding.

She was supposed to see MY kids grow up and get a chance to know her.

She was supposed to come to trivia at Uno’s with us some Sunday nights.

She was supposed to see my sister get married.

But most of all: she was just supposed to be alive.

I talked to her Saturday on my drive from North Carolina to New York, and didn’t tell her I was coming up because I wanted to surprise her. I was in Albany on Sunday, and was the one who told my parents that we didn’t have room in my truck to pick up her dehumidifier that she was going to lend us after their water heater broke and flooded the basement. So, I was the one who bailed on surprising her yesterday – after having planned to do so the whole ride north.

That means my last memory of her is of saying, “I know you need to hit the sack so you can go to breakfast in the morning” and her responding with a “good night, Mike”. I didn’t call her yesterday morning because a) I knew she was supposed to be at breakfast, and b) she’d have been curious as to why I wasn’t at church, to which I didn’t want to have to lie, or give away the surprise.

Not two years ago she had a heart attack, and bypass surgery. She was back to work just a couple months later last year after physical therapy. I told her then that she had expended her “emergencies” and wasn’t allowed to do anything like that again. And she didn’t – she went to work as much as she could. She was out of work for a couple weeks a couple months ago when she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia – which is treatable, and she was on a medication track to keep her healthy.

This upcoming weekend, after my friends’ Evan and Christy get married, I was supposed to be driving back to Albany, and we were all (mom, dad, sister, aunt, and I) planning to have dinner. We were supposed to be celebrating her going back to work at our favorite restaurant.

We were supposed to do lots of stuff.

We were supposed to have lots of time.

Now everything that I had to say can’t be.

Everything that should have been done won’t be.

Now I’m sitting by myself. In a hotel room. In Nutley New Jersey.

Trying to figure out what it is that I wished I’d done, said, acted upon… and now never can.

Saying “I miss you” or “I love you” is too trite. And she’s not here to hear it. So whatever it is that needed to be said, and done, and acted upon now can only be written.

“Tell me I have led a good life.”

It’s too late to tell you.
It’s too late for you to hear.
But as long as I’m here:
It’s not too late for me to tell the world: “You did”.

In eternal, loving memory: Cindy Lee Myers. 1953-2008.

traveling == car rentals

I travel for work. Because I fly hither and yon, I get to rent cars. Some of the time I get interesting ones. Mostly I get vehicles that drive, and get me from point A to point B and back again.

In another life, I worked for Hertz in Latham NY. Working for Hertz was both a fun time and an incredibly frustrating work experience. The city manager was a royal prick – micromanaging everyone of his Vehicle Service Attendants (aka folks that clean cars and get them ready for the next renter), and not letting any of us, all of whom were demonstrably more intelligent than he was, do the jobs we were hired for. Instead of talking to us like the adults we all were something to the effect of, “we need a bunch of full-sizes today” (read ‘Taurus’ or similar) and letting us go clean the full-sizes that were awaiting prep, he’d come out and pop trunks on the cars he wanted us to clean – oftentimes in the middle of the rows of cars, which meant they didn’t get gotten-to for a while, since we’d clean our way to them. But I digress.

The best thing about working for Hertz was that I got to drive everything they had. The worst thing about working for Hertz was I had to drive everything they had. From Miatas to Windstars, Mustangs to Corollas, Jaguars to Accents – we cleaned them all. I got to know a bunch of vehicles I’d love to own, and an even larger list of ones I’d prefer to never see again.

Now that I travel for work, I again am forced to drive whatever the rental agency has available – corporate driving rules and all, I don’t get to pick my vehicles very often. I’ve gotten to drive the hybrid Escape, new Mustang, and Edge. I’ve also been stuck with a Corolla. This week the very polite folks at Avis (no that is not sarcasm) here in Atlanta stuck me in a PT Cruiser. I wrote about my opinions of that … ‘vehicle’ … on my other blog a while back. The newer PT Cruisers are still under-powered. They’re also weirdly laid-out for controls: the window controls are not on the door, or even the center console – they’re on the dashboard.

It has head room, and the leg room isn’t horrible, but with a hideously small engine for its heft, I wouldn’t want to be in it if I had to get up to speed, say like getting on an interstate. Its mileage is also pretty bad for such a small vehicle, and it has very little cargo space compared to anything else I’ve had as a rental: including the Corolla. The only thing I’ve driven with less space was a Miata. But at least the Miata is fun to drive.

toll revenues are down, and they do what?

USA Today reports that toll revenues are down because (drum roll please): fewer people are driving, they’re driving shorter distances, or they’re taking mass transit.

What is the response from the organizations that run toll roads? Why, raise tolls of course.

That’s right: like any other time the government gets involved in something, instead of encouraging people to drive more (such as by dropping tolls), they raise them. They do it with taxes, bus fares, and anything else where they think they’re entitled to revenue.

When private enterprise starts losing customers, they sure as hell don’t *raise* prices: they cut them to get people back. But not the government.

And don’t get me started on the fact that all these roads have paid for themselves dozens of times over from the tolls *already* collected.