Friday, April 25, 2008

On Being Right. Dead Right.

I may be dating myself, but I remember when the concept of Defensive Driving became popular. One of the TV commercials back then had the line about "being right. Dead right." It was talking about taking the right-of-way when it was yours without thinking or looking to see if it was safe to do so. I thought about this tonight on the way home from work.

Today was a picture-perfect day for driving home on the back roads with the rag-top down. Sunny, clear, not too hot. I took the back, twisty, shaded roads on purpose, and it was sweet.

At one point, the road comes to a one-lane bridge. My direction has no stop sign, but at the other side of the one-lane bridge are two stop signs - one to the left and one to the right. When you cross the bridge from my side, you have to go left or right.

Anyway, my side always has the right-of-way. As I approached the bridge, all relaxed and happy with my choice of roads, I stopped. This is because even though I had the right-of-way, one of the vehicles on the other side had already commited himself to turning onto the bridge, so I waited for him to pass, then started across. But then the car on the other side pulled onto the bridge, so I stopped to let him go. In my mind, it was the end of the day, it was gorgeous out, and I was in no hurry to get to the grocery and buy TP.

Apparently the guy behind me thought differently. When the first car started across the bridge, he almost hit me, thinking I should have been moving or something. Where?!?! Did he expect me to start across the one-lane bridge so I could collide head-on with the approaching vehicle? Yes, I did have the right-of-way, but what choice did I have? I guess I could have started across and made the other guy back up, but what's the point of that? It was easier to just let him go.

Then when I started again, and the other clown beat me onto the bridge (I'll call him aggressive, and not paying attention, okay?), the guy behind me laid on his horn, stuck his head out of his window and yelled obscenities at me. I raised my hands in the air as the other vehicle passed me after crossing the bridge as if to say What? Where did you want me to go? Right INTO the guy?!?! At this point, he was waiving his arms and pounding on his dash board. I thought he'd blow a gasket.

As I crossed the bridge, with Ranting Guy right on my bumper, I put on my directional to let him know I was planning to slow down and turn to the right, and as soon as I did he proceeded to peel off to the left. Good riddence!

There went my nice, Friday, end-of-the-week, beautiful-day mood. Now I was steamed! I went on to the grocery store, and after I was done and loaded all my goods in my car, I returned the grocery cart to the store (hey, that's what I do - the right thing!). As I was crossing the main drive in front of the store to return to my vehicle, I was almost hit by some young punk going about 40 mph in the parking lot. I had the right of way (being the pedestrian), and I was 2/3 of the way across the street, fer crissake. It was not like I'd just stepped off the curb in front of a moving vehicle! The guy almost did not stop! I actually stopped to make sure he was not going to hit me! Jerk! He finally did stop, but I am convinced it was my wicked old-lady evil eye that put the fear of God into him. Jerk. Did I already say that?

Needless to say the mood was broken. To the point that I did not feel like stamping tonight. Sigh. Thanks for reading this far ... I needed to vent so I can go to bed and sleep now. Bah.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Making Change

Why can't people make change any more without the cash register telling them the answer? I was paying for my lunch the other day and the check-out person was making change the way I do: by starting with the amount and adding coins up to the next denomination. For example, if my lunch was $4.35 (yeah, right!) and I paid for it with a $10 bill, then change would be a nickel (to get to 40) and a dime (50), then 50 more cents (75, a dollar) to get to $5, then a $5 bill to get to $10. Done. I congratulated her on knowing how to do that, and she just laughed. Apparently she and I are the two remaining people in the world who make change this way.

I sell cards at a Farmers Market every Saturday from May - October, and I make a lot of change. Most people just take it, but one woman stood there looking very puzzled. She'd paid for a $7.68 amount with a $20 bill, so I took two pennies (69, 70), then a nickle (75), then a quarter (8), then two singles (10), then a 10 and handed it to her. She stared at me and asked, "What are you doing?" Making change. It's not like I had a cash register or anything, so how else would one make change?

When my kids were little, I taught them the "old fashioned" way of making change by paying for small items with very large bills when playing Monopoly. I'd pay for a $120 property with a $500 bill, even though I had the correct amount in smaller bills. Hey, I was teaching a lesson, here! They'd roll their eyes and walk though it. $120 plus what makes $200? 80. They'd take out 80 from the bank, starting with the tens: 120 plus 10 gives 130 ... 140 ... 150. Plus what makes 200? So they'd grab a 50. They now had $80 out, and were up to $200. Plus what makes 500? Three 100s would come out. Done. Okay, so 500 - 120 is what? 380. Right! My boys can make change today without a cash register or calculator to help them, and yes, I am very proud.

I am one of those people who pays for things with a little extra change, just to throw people off. If my total is $12.26 and I pay for it with a $20, I also give the cashier a penny. Then they stare at me. They have no concept of what I am trying to do besides make their life miserable. If I give them the penny, they can give me 75 cents change instead of 74, and that totally freaks them out, because the "answer" was 7.74. I usually explain it to them, they give me my change and then move on to the next customer, probably thinking I am a wacko. Too bad. Those people will never be able to work a table at a yard sale or craft fair because without the electronic gizmos, they are helpless.

And come to think of it, when someone just hands you change, how do they know it is the correct amount? Because the machine tells you it is right? What if it was rigged or something? Who'd ever know? *I* would!!

My kids grew up in a world with calculators, PDAs, cell phones and computers, and honestly, they do not know anything else. It would be like asking me to live without electricity, I guess. I am not asking them to give up the electronics, I just think it should be required for people to learn how to make change without the cash register to give them the answer.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Case For Good Punctuation

From a news article:

The young family stayed in a swanky hotel, where at one point Britney Spears reportedly was in the downstairs lobby, ate incredible food and rode in limousines.

So who ate incredible food and rode in limousines? The young family or Britney?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Indoor Voices and Personal Space

I think I am becoming one of those little old ladies that just complains all the time. The phrase "Back in the good old days ..." enters my mind a lot. And "what ever happened to ..." in reference to things like manners and common sense.

One situation that comes to mind is the time someone stood right outside my cube and talked - real loud - on his cell phone. When I turned around and looked at him, he said it was the only place he could get a signal. Uh-huh. What about OUTSIDE? What about the fact we have a No Personal Cell Phones rule, too?!? I said something to my boss and he offered to get me a White Noise machine since I was so sensitive to these things. Grrrrrrrr. But I digress. (And I no longer work in that area!)

This week I'd finally had enough of people in Cubeville without Indoor Voices. When you live in Cubeville, at least 12 people can hear everything you say, and that is if you speak in a normal voice, like on the phone, or to someone who is in your cube for the purpose of having a conversation with you. That does not bother me too much; I just don't make any personal phone calls at my desk, and I try not to listen to other people who do. It is part of life in cubes.

But when people stand just outside my cube aisle and talk like they are outside, it gets to be too much. I really don't care what they did last night, or what they plan to do this weekend, or where they plan to go for lunch. The whole concept of "people can hear you" does not phase them one bit.

This week, as the conversations got louder and more frequent, I'd look over at the 20-something guy that sits in the cube across from me to see if he was bothered by it, too. He was. And he is usually plugged in to an iPod, so if HE heard them, it was loud.

The first few times I got out of my chair and poked my head around the corner - they were literally within 7 feet of our cubes. When they looked up, I'd say something like, "Please keep it down...we're trying to work here ..." or "Could you please take this conversation somewhere else? " They usually looked surprised, ended the conversation and went back to work.

But then the next batch of people would come along and it would start all over again, and I got tired of asking them to leave. So I broke down and printed several street-like signs to inform the loiterers that they might be bothering others. Things like "No Loitering" and "Please be considerate of your fellow associates working very near here. Thank you." But why should I have to do this??!? Why aren't these people at their desks working? I wish I had time to hang out in the aisles and chat...

Then, as I stood in line at the Post Office tonight, the lady behind me was talking, and I thought it was to me. Nope - she was plugged in and talking to a phone. I looked at her and she looked away and kept talking. What's so important that it cannot wait until she was back in her car? Then the woman behind her started talking into her cell phone and the first woman stared at her. HA! Bothers you, huh? Well guess what, lady, you BOTH bother me! Just stuff a sock in it and stand quietly for 5 minutes. Sheesh!

Then there's college student who was standing on a stairwell and talking on her cell phone. Apparently it was a fairly private conversation, but what she did not know is the echo from the stairwell carried her voice to all the rooms and offices around the stairs, and about 30 people were listening in. My friend, who worked in one of the offices within ear-shot, went up to her and tapped her on the shoulder. The girl turned around, irritated, and said it was a private conversation. Uh, no it's not. She looked around, turned red and left.

Then there was my son's HS graduation a few years ago. Big basketball arena. Big signs on the outside of every door to the place (1) No Air Horns, and (2) No Saving Seats. So I get to an empty row of seats and sit in the middle. In walks two moms and a few kids who proceed to sit on opposite ends of any free seats, lay their coats across them, and tell people they are saved. Once the lights go out and the ceremony starts, each of the chatty teenagers in these two rows of now-full seats takes out a cell phone and starts text-messaging or calling other teens in other rows and talking and laughing. And not quietly. After I asked them several times to please keep it down, one of the mothers turned around, looked at me, and asked me what was the matter. I told her all I asked was for the girls to turn off their phones and be quiet long enough for me to hear my son's name announced so I could leave. She shook her head, made a "whatever" face, and turned back around. Surprise! Guess where those girls got their training and good manners. I heard the Principal announce my son's name finally (thank goodness he was one of the Valedictorians so he was in the first group), then I left. What's wrong with these people!!?!?!? Oh, and yes, there were air horns, too. Not next to me, though, or I would have gone postal, for sure.

The whole concept of personal space is lost on several generations of people, and it irritates us old folks to no end. What's the matter with kids today!?! (Name that movie!) But it's not just kids, it's their parents, too. I think I know why I stay home so much now...

I read a really good book a while back by Lynne Truss called "Talk to the Hand", and it is subtitled "#?*! The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt The Door". A woman after my own heart. She also wrote "Eats, Shoots & Leaves", about the lack of spelling and punctuation abilities in the world today (another favorite peeve of mine), but that's a rant for another day. In the "Talk to the Hand" book, she mentions one of her methods of dealing with someone sitting next to you in an airport waiting area while talking loudly into a cell phone. She starts to read out loud. This usually irritates the talker to the point they either (1) realize they are bothering someone and hang up, or (2) they keep talking, but they get up and move somewhere else. Either way, she gets what she wants - quiet! Like I said, a woman after my own heart!

Anyway, enough ranting for now. I am not even sure any of this makes sense, but I feel better for having unloaded. ;-) And that's what it's all about, right?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Check out this list of announcements from a company publication (edited slightly to protect the guilty):

> Start walking for heart health today, April 16.

> Yoga starts today, April 16; space is limited – first come, first served.

> Order your See’s Candies now for Mother’s Day.

> Purchase Pizza on Friday, April 18.

I rest my case.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I Love Maxine (Second-Hand B1tch)

I have a page-a-day Maxine calendar this year, and some of these are priceless!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Why Don't People LISTEN?!

I had a doctor appointment today, and part of the routine is the ole weigh-in and blood pressure station. Two nurses. Here's how the conversation went:

Nurse 1: Does she need blood work?
Nurse 2: No.
-Blood Pressure Cuff applied here, and it pumps for a long while. -
Me: I cannot feel my hand. Could we take a break? Why is it running so long, anyway?
Nurse 2: Your pressure must be really high.
Me: No way. I have always had a very, very low blood pressure. Maybe it is so low it cannot be read?
-Cuff reapplied and fired up again...pumps for a while. -
Nurse 2: It's not registering your pressure. Must be too high. Let's forget it.
Me: No, it's low...
Nurse 1: Does she need blood work?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

New Venue

Welcome to my new bitchin' blog! I've decided to keep all my rants off my stampin' site, The Crooked Stamper, but I still need an outlet... if only so I can spew it all out into cyberspace so I can sleep nights. I should not listen to so much NPR when I commute - makes me yell at the radio.

I'll be back soon with a few recent rants I have brewin'. ;-)