Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Daytime Running Lights

I wonder how many drivers of vehicles that are equipped with Daytime Running Lights (the headlights that turn on when the car turns on, so they are always 'on') are aware that they need to turn on their REAL lights when it gets dark outside. Apparently quite a few of them are NOT aware ... I drove home with three of them this evening. They had NO rear lights, and when approaching them from behind, the only reason I saw them was the reflection of my own headlights on the backs of their vehicles. So dangerous.

I think these vehicles either need to have a "it's dark, stupid, turn on your lights" indicator, or when people flash their lights at them, these unaware drivers should get a clue instead of flipping us the bird.

I am done, now.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Annoyances Du Jour

My, goodness, but I've had my share of annoyances today! I had to drop my car at the mechanic (that part was fine!), and when I do that, he drops me at the Metro (train, subway, whatever you call it in your area), and I take the train to work and back again and have him pick me up. Generally, there is an unspoken (HAHAHA!) 'quiet' protocol on the train. You do not do anything to annoy those around you. It is just how normal adults would behave. People who whip out cell phones get the evil eye, from a LOT of people.

So let me tell you about my day.

On the way IN to work:
(1) Guy had a newspaper spread out in his lap and was CLIPPING HIS FINGER NAILS. I stared at the back of his head, but he could not feel the evil thoughts I was flinging his way. People around me turned around and looked around to see where the annoying sound was emanating from. They wrinkled their noses and/or rolled their eyes. One asked me (I was standing), "IS SOMEONE CUTTING THEIR NAILS?!?!?!?!?" and someone else added, "Ew, that's GROSS." Guy kept going - he must have had 34 nails to trim, too... took him forEVER. Amazing.

(2) Public speaker. Woman with no clue what an "inside voice" is. She stood near one end of the car, talking VERY LOUDLY to a friend standing next to her, and she annoyed about 60 people for about 20 minutes straight. EVERYone kept turning and staring at her, but she was smiling and clueless. Just before my stop, I notice the woman next to me was having a fit of some sort - like an asthma attack. I asked her if she was okay, and her response was (through clenched teeth), "If that WOMAN does not SHUT UP ... " and went on to mutter something about personal space and sense of entitlement and "the world revolves around me" attitudes. What a great way for all of us to begin our mornings.

I wonder if you can claim medical disability because you were driven insane by a nail-clipper or a self-centered loudmouth.

On the ride back to pick up my car:
(3) By noon the train cars are mostly empty, so I thought I was safe. Nope. Woman across from me was cracking a massive wad of gum, and seemed pretty happy about it, too. What is it with people who chew with their mouths open and then crack their gum? Why do they think this is okay? She thankfully got off the train two stops later.

(4) I started hearing a tap-tap-tap sound. I turned around and a guy was tap-tap tap-tapitty-tap-tap tap-tapping his ring on the metal rail tap-tap-tap on the back of his tap-tap seat. tap-tap tappity-tap tap-tap-tap AAAAUGH!

After all that tap-tap-tappity-tapping, I get back to work and have the opportunity to call a Helpless Desk for a water delivery company. I had a problem with my settings on their site. I used to have two cards listed that could be used to pay my balance, and now there was only one. I tried to add the second one back in and got an error, so I HAD TO CALL THEM. At least they were not in India, though I think she was reading the same script. She had what I later diagnosed as a "listening problem".

Me: I have a question about my payment methods.
She: Okay, how can I help you?
Me: I am on the Make a Payment page, but my second credit card seems to have dropped off. Can you tell me why?
She: Can you go to the Make A Payment page and tell me what you see?
Me: (pause) I am already on the Make A Payment page, and I see only one of my two credit cards listed.
She: Can you edit it?
Me: Edit what? It is not there!
She: Ma'am, I am only trying to help you, and you are getting irritated with me.
Me: Okay, can you tell me where the edit button is?
She: Are you on the Make A Payment Page?
Me: .... (breathe, just breath ...) Yes, I am on the Make A Payment Page.
She: Once you get there, tell me what you see. Do you see an Edit button?

Are you dizzy yet? I was seething, and she could tell. Bottom line: after about 10 minutes of this, I gave up before she could say "thank you for calling ..." and I deleted/re-added my own information. Then I sent an email that I hope gets to their programming staff that their Make A Payment Page has an opportunity for improvement.

Thank goodness it is Friday.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Like Oil & Water

I rant a LOT about rush hour in the DC area because it is so stinkin' crazy, and slow. But the good thing about it is: everyone knows where they are going. Yep, they know where they are going, how to get there, etc. Even the after-work shoppers, the ones just stopping to get one or two things on the way home, have a sense of urgency - get me in and get me out.

Then you have your daytime drivers. You know, the ones that get up a 10 am and think about running errands, but they are in no particular hurry, and oh, this is a major point: they always have the right of way. And when they get to a check-out, you hear: Hey, Susie, how's those grand babies of yours? Oh, may I see your new pics?

Situation: A rush-hour commuter, after-work get-me-in-and-out shopper, takes a few days off of work. This person innocently ventures out into public with two definite destinations in mind, one of those conveniently on the way back from the other one.

BIG MISTAKE! *I* know where I am headed, but those other people are CLUE-LESS. OMG, I was almost in 6 accidents in 2 hours. Let's review the stupidity du jour.

Clueless man, incidents 1-3: Main drag, 3 lanes in each direction. Left lane. Driving 10 mph under the speed limit. Won't move over. Get to a light with a left turn lane - two lanes. Cannot decide which one he wants, finally ends up in the left of the two lanes, in front of me. Of course. Light turns green, he moves, turns into the left lane (good) then STOPS. STOPS! I slammed on my brakes, and luckily no one was in the right lane (or behind me), so I moved over and went past him.

Same guy, decided he really wanted to be in the right lane after all, and since I'd stopped to let someone turn, he was now next to me. Cut me off, I slammed on my brakes again (stuff in the back of my car is flying all over the place), he WAVED AT ME TO THANK ME (jerk), then drove at, you guessed it, 10 mph under the 30 mph speed limit. Now we were on a 2-lane road with no chance of passing, so I stewed. At least he was moving.

Same guy a few blocks later. Pot hole. The car in front of him slowed down, he slowed down (so I did, too), then I almost slammed into him because he came TO A COMPLETE STOP. My tires actually screeched and probably took off some rubber. He just kept going like it was his road to do what he wanted. IDIOT! At my first opportunity, I got out of there, and FAST.

Incidents 4-5: I finally arrived at my second destination, rearranged the stuff in the back of my car that was now piled up against the back of my seat, got in to the store and got everything I needed. Got my car loaded up and started to back out of my spot. NO ONE in sight. As I continued in reverse, a car, doing about 40 mph IN A PARKING GARAGE, almost nailed me; she honked at me, then screeched to a stop past me. Since she'd stopped, I continued to back up. Then SHE THREW IT INTO REVERSE! AT 40 MPH! What an IDIOT! Again, I was in her way. She screeched to another stop, and turned on her directional - she wanted my spot! I should have pulled back in and let her steam for a while, but I had better things to do. I finally got out of my spot, then realized she was on the wrong side of the aisle, which caused ME to have to drive on the wrong side of the aisle. Sigh. I got out of there, almost.

Incident 6 (and last): Pulling out of the garage there is a merge between the ground-level section and people coming down from the upper levels. Two lanes form. Normal people coming from the upper-levels stay in the left lane, and the lower-level people stay in the right lane. Note I said NORMAL people. So imagine my joy when I pulled out, staying in the right lane, and this DINGBAT flew down the ramp and ANGLED HER CAR ACROSS BOTH LANES, cutting me off. LADY, two lanes, both turn right onto a 2-lane road, and THERE IS A CAR THERE! Once again, I slammed on my brakes. I am not even sure she saw me.

Now it is noon, I am home, and I need a drink. Good lord, but these people scare me!

I think I'll go organize something to take my mind off the stupidity on the roads.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Helpless Desk

Had a lovely chat with a Helpless Desk in India today. Told the guy my email was being sent twice, and I asked why.... Oh, wait, I have the transcript, so I'll just share! I will scatter my commentary where appropriate. I left in all my typos for the heck of it. I was a little miffed, and typing way too fast.

'Jason N' says: Thank you for contacting EarthLink LiveChat, how may I help you today? [Jason N? This screams 'India']

lhanna@mindspring.com: I am using web access mail, and every email I send gets sent twice. I tested and it is also received twice.

Jason N: I will be glad to assist you . [Notice the space before every period. Yes, I notice this stuff.]

Jason N: Please click on the below mentioned link:
Jason N: https://webmail.earthlink.net
Jason N: Then enter your complete email address and password .
Jason N: And click on sign in .
Jason N: Please let me know whether you are able to sign in or not .
[What part of "I am sending mail" made him ask if I could sign in? Do you think he was maybe following a script?!]

lhanna@mindspring.com: i am signed in and sending mail.
lhanna@mindspring.com: it is being sent twice.

Jason N: Please click on Preferences . [That's it - no more. After a few minutes I asked:]
lhanna@mindspring.com: and ..... what?
lhanna@mindspring.com: i have not changed anything, andit was working last night.

Jason N: Under General tab, you will find Session Security as the last option .
Jason N: Please turn it ON .
Jason N: Then click on Save .
Jason N: Sign out of WebMail .

lhanna@mindspring.com: why do I need to do this? it makes no sense.
lhanna@mindspring.com: plus, wouldn't I need to be on a secure server? will this change my connection settings?

Jason N: You need to try this .
lhanna@mindspring.com: No, I need to know why first.

Jason N: No .[In response to being on a secure server, I suppose.]

lhanna@mindspring.com: I do nto change security settings without know why first. What has changed in the last 18 hours to make this stop working?

Jason N: It will not change any settings.It will be in a secured server .[uh-huh]

Jason N: Is there anything else apart from this that I can help you with ? [Note the space before the '?'. And does it sound like he's helped me yet?]

lhanna@mindspring.com: Yes, you can tell me why I suddenly need to change a security setting to send email correctly.
lhanna@mindspring.com: What has changed in the last 18 hours that necessitates this change?

Jason N: There are currently problems with our WebMail Server.
Jason N: It is under maintenance . [?!?!?!?!?!?!?!]

lhanna@mindspring.com: You could have told me that first. I will just wait until later then.
Jason N: I am extremely sorry for that .
lhanna@mindspring.com: Me, too. This was a total waste of my time.
lhanna@mindspring.com: I am glad I did not make the security change.
Jason N: Okay .

lhanna@mindspring.com: Is tehre an ETA for themail server, and are there plans to communicate this outage to your customers?
Jason N: We did not receive any estimated time for this issue .

lhanna@mindspring.com: You should still tell customers that there is a known problem. That is much easier to accept than being uninformed.
lhanna@mindspring.com: Is there a status link we can access to check back on the progress of the outage?
Jason N: Okay .
Jason N: You can click on the below link to check :
Jason N: http://my.earthlink.net
lhanna@mindspring.com: thank you

After a few more lines, Jason N and I parted ways. He thought he'd helped me, and I needed a drink.

FYI - that link he gave me tells me NOTHING. It is the personalized home page for Earthlink, like iGoogle. Totally worthless.

Luckily, I got a survey right after the chat ended, and I told them what I thought about my service experience. And as of now - hours later, things are still sending twice. And yes, I can sign in just fine.

Just between you and me? I am converting all my stuff over to gmail.

Monday, September 28, 2009

My Thoughts On Football

Let me begin my defense for what I assume will be a deluge of hate mail, but I hate football. Well, that's not true. I hate (intensely dislike) football fans. No, that's not it, either. Okay, I have a low tolerance for people who are such rabid fans that their team can do no wrong. Yeah, that's closer.

I grew up in Ohio, but I did not attend Ohio State. I will cheer for my own college (Miami Univ), but I have no interest whatsoever in who or what or when OSU plays. When I moved to Michigan, I learned everyone was assumed to be declared for either UMich or Mich State, no matter where you actually attended college. My co-workers could not understand how *I*, a gal from Ohio, cared not for OSU. It was just not in their chemical make-up to comprehend such things.

I was the product of non-rabid fans. My Mom was from Brooklyn, and she told us a true fan stood by their team through thick or thin, win or lose. They LOVED their Dodgers, and went to the games because they were fans, not because the team was on a winning streak. She told us people lined the streets and cried when the Dodgers left town.

Nowadays, no player stays with a team for very long if they can get more money somewhere else. It is a business and I think that is what has soured me to all sports. It's more about money and winning (and drugs) than it is about playing the game.

Okay - The Washington Redskins. I am in "Redskins Rule and Cowboys $uck" territory, and it makes me crazy! One season after a loss to who-remembers-what-team, all the guys could talk about was how they would have won "if only so-and-so had not been injured" or "if that call had gone in our favor". HELLO! You LOST! Accept it and move on, okay?!

Last Friday all I heard was how Sunday was going to be a cake walk - they were playing the joke-of-a-team not-even-worth-our-time Detroit Lions. I looked it up and the Lions had not won a game in like 2 seasons. Okay, fine. But where was the sportsman-like conduct? They know not of these terms.

Imagine my GLEE yesterday when I heard Detroit had won the game! OMG, I could not WAIT to get to work and hear what people had to say. Today, all day, it was vewy, vewy qwiet ... {tee hee}

Then, as I was leaving the office, I saw the Washington Post out on a table, and glanced at the headlines:

"Washington Bails Out Detroit". Okay, guys, YOU WERE TROUNCED! But I am not surprised this was spun into a positive tone. Not one bit surprised. I am sure all week I will be listening to how "if we had only ..." excuses. Yeah, guys, write 'em down and play the game next week, okay? Do you think maybe you were just a wee bit complacent and assuming in this cake walk gig? Well, do ya?!

I am done, now. Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


My day, and why I need a massage every 2 weeks. I actually need it weekly, but I like to eat, so I sacrifice. Here are today's burning "Why" questions:

1. Why do you think it is okay to turn right from the left lane? Do you not see there are cars in the right lane? Do you not see the sign over your lane that indicates you may go straight or turn left ONLY? Why do you think you have the right-of-way over the cars in the right lane, or the oncoming cars turning left? Are you TOO GOOD to get in line like the rest of us and wait for the light? Where are you going that is so important that you are special?

2. Why do you think it is okay to exit left from the right lane? Do you not see there are cars in the left lane? Why is lack of planning on your part suddenly imposed on several others who have to stop to prevent them from slamming into you, thus backing up traffic even more? Are you TOO GOOD to think about the fact that there is an exit coming up and maybe you should be in the proper lane to start with?

3. Why do you wait until your merge/transition lane is gone and you are driving on the shoulder to begin your merge? Why do you feel a God-given right to stick your car into moving traffic without the benefit of a turn signal to indicate your intent? Why do you feel the need to flip the finger at everyone who failed to stop traffic to let you in? What part of this is not YOUR doing?

4. Why do you feel it is okay to cross a double solid white line (which indicates the exit has already been defined, and you are past it) and create a second lane in the one-lane exit, bypassing all the cars already legally in that lane, then push your way into the waiting cars so you can exit? Do you really need to get to work that much faster than the rest of us?

(Caution: change in topic.)

5. Why is your music on so loud that it is blaring from your ear phones to the point where you could not hear me say "excuse me" after YOU stopped dead in your tracks, totally unaware that anyone else was in the world, causing me to bump into you? Then, after you grudgingly acknowledged my existence, why did you give me the evil eye as if this was somehow MY fault?

6. Why was I so upset/confused/dismayed after listening to that NPR piece on teens so addicted to texting they felt they could not possibly be expected to drive without texting? Why do these kids feel it is okay? Even after one of them was in two serious accidents because she was texting while driving? What part of distracted driving (and to an inexperienced driver, at that) is not clear here? *I* cannot even get my cell phone out of my purse while driving without losing focus, and I have been driving 3 times longer than these kids are old! Why do they feel this would be such an imposition on their lives? What do they freaking have to say that cannot wait until they get to where you are going?!?! Is a life in danger? Then SHUT UP AND DRIVE.

7. Why, when I went to the Post Office the other day, were three out of four people on their cell phones while waiting in line? What do you have to say that cannot wait until you leave the Post Office? Do you honestly think I want to listen to your conversation about your doctor's appointment, or what you need to do when you get home, or why you think that guy likes you? Put a sock in it!

7.5. Why (while we are on the subject of the Post Office) do you think you can walk in to the PO with a shopping bag and start packaging up your item to be mailed? Did you not think of the shipping part of this when you bought the item? Are you aware that other places sell boxes and tape? Do you know how much smoother things go when your item is ready to ship before you get into line? Do you think it is the responsibility of the Postal Service worker at the window to help you tape up your package? Why can some of us manage to do this at home? And DO NOT ask me to let you in front of me in line because you have already been here so long. YOU ARE NOT IN LINE YET, so move to the end, bucko.

8. WHY did I not see those awesome Hostess cupcakes in the vending machine at work until I was leaving? I just KNOW they could have helped me fell better about all of this.

Monday, June 1, 2009

A Three-Fer Day

When I see stupidity, I start composing in my head so I can spew it all out of my system when I get home, but I usually calm down by that time (long commutes are good for something!). Alas, today was not one of those days, as all three of these 'incidents' occurred within a few miles of home.

So today I bring you a three-fer, wherein I'll spew three different rants at you. Come on in - the water's fine!

Rant #1: I was at the grocery store this evening to pick up a prescription, and as I waited in line, I noticed a sign on the counter that asked people to please end their phone conversations before they approached the counter. Basically, hang up the dang phone once it's your turn! I congratulated the Pharmacist about the sign, but he said they've actually had to take it down in the past because people complained about it.

Huh? People complained that they could not be rude and talk on the phone while someone was trying to help them with life-saving medication? What's wrong with this picture?!?!

Rant #2: I was stopped at a light and I heard a really, really, really loud radio. So loud my car was vibrating! I turned to see who was driving the car next to me (as I closed my window to drown out even a little of the brain-jarring noise), and to my surprise it was a guy on a motorcycle! I kid you not!

Okay, I drive a Miata. A Miata has a rag-top, meaning there is zero insulation between me and the great outdoors. This also means road noise is ever-present. I have a radio. I keep the radio volume so I can hear it with the windows closed, which is pretty dang low. I'll turn it up to hear the traffic report, but then I'll turn it down again...I just want something in the background.

If I open the windows, though, all bets are off. I'd have to crank that thing up to crazy-loud to hear it over the noise of open windows. I generally just listen to the wind when I drive, and I catch the news or traffic when I stop at a light (or on the "expressway"). And if the top is down, I forget about the radio all together...it would blow out normal speakers to be that loud, and anyway, part of the joy of having a rag-top is being open to the sun and breeze and enjoying nature. At least that's what *I* think, for what it's worth.

So imagine this: a motorcycle, and not a small one, with the associated engine roar; a helmeted driver; and a radio loud enough to be heard over the engine noise and through the helmet. Now imagine the volume of the same radio while stopped at a light. Yeah, it was LOUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rant #3: There is one family in my neighborhood of condos/townhouses that feels it is their God-given right to stop their car in the middle of the street and just leave it there. I cannot figure out why, either. It's been there in the past, with all the doors open, and they've been out walking around. It's not as if there's no place to park - they just choose not to.

But tonight they appeared to be actually waiting for someone to come out. They sat there. They honked. They continued to sit there. They honked again.

Now we'll take a little trip in the way-back machine to when I was in High School. Dating Rule Number 1 in our house was this: If he does not respect you enough to come to the door to get you, then you are not going out with him. Simple. Straight to the point. And never, in all my years, did anyone I dated ever honk for me to come out. Never. I dated good guys. ;-)

Back to the present. What kind of message are these people sending to their kids that it is okay to sit in the parking lot and honk to pick up someone. Sometimes there are kids in the car, and sometimes they are picking up kids, but either way, where is the respect for anyone? I think this is just one part of what *I* think is wrong with some people today - they cannot be bothered, so it has become acceptable, and I think that is so sad.

Hey - thanks for reading this far! See, they were tiny little rants, and I am done! Typing all this out can be very cathartic. ;-)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The "Me First" Principle Of Merging

The following text was copied from here: http://www.dmv.org/how-to-guides/merging-into-traffic.php. I chose to include the text so I can RANT and emphasize particular passages.

At first, I was not sure the driving laws hadn't changed over the years, but this text re-assures me that they have not. Drivers are just stupid. And aggressive. I have emphasized certain passages in blue to drive home the point that these laws have not changed. Grrrr....

Please see further commentary below the quoted text.

Merging is a relatively straightforward driving skill to learn, but that does not change the fact that the act instills fear in some motorists. This can be chalked up to the high speeds generally involved, and the fact that the task needs to be accomplished quickly, with little room for error. But after a few rounds of practice, your behind-the-wheel confidence will be enhanced and the technique of merging will become somewhat natural.

Still, the procedure requires extreme awareness because the last thing you want to do is have the driver in the vehicle that you are merging in front of end up in your passenger seat. Nor do you want to go into a panic and wander off from the acceleration pedal and land onto the shoulder. Here are some tips to help you become a major league merger.

The Art of Entering Gaps

Merging is designed to permit vehicles to enter and exit a highway without causing disruption in the flow of traffic. Highways are equipped with on-ramps and off-ramps, which generally connect to acceleration and deceleration lanes.

The idea behind this is when you pull onto the entrance ramp, you slowly begin building velocity. At the point where you can make eye contact with the highway, you need to immediately start assessing the gaps and the speed of existing traffic. From here, you should turn on your signal to reflect your intent to other drivers to merge onto the roadway.

Then use the acceleration lane to match the speed flow, and ease your vehicle into an appropriate gap before the acceleration lane ends. Some highways give you slabs of asphalt that are long enough for a jet to take off; others, especially on the East Coast, are so short you will need to make quick decisions or yield.

A successful merge entails you entering the highway almost at or at the speed limit, while causing no disturbance in the speeds of the vehicles behind you.

Tips for Keeping the Flow

Where the entrance ramp ends and the acceleration lane begins, note the continuation of the solid white (or yellow line). Do not cross this line and head out onto the highway. It serves as the transition from the on-ramp to the lane, and crossing it can cause other drivers to miscalculate your speed and possibly collide with your vehicle. This line serves as a good indicator to begin your acceleration and gap-finding quest.

While your driver-side mirror is essential to observing traffic behind you prior to merging, you will also want to actually turn your head and check your blind spot before easing onto the road.

You should always decide on the space you will shoot for before accelerating rather than getting to full speed and then deciding. Why? Well, you only have so many yards in the lane, and if you are at full speed before you know where you are headed, you might run out of room prior to finding a traffic gap. This will cause you to have to stop, cut another driver off, or wind up on the shoulder―definitely not good merging techniques.

If you are not familiar with the on-ramp or highway section you are entering, use extra caution because you may run into all sorts of interesting obstacles including: "no merge lane" signs, which mean you will need to yield, which may require you stop before moving into traffic; and signal lights that stagger vehicles up the entrance ramp, usually during times of high traffic.

During rush hour, when the entire traffic system slogs along at a turtle's gait, the fine art of merging takes on new importance to keep the surge moving. Many times you will be driving along the highway at a good clip, and the next thing you know you are in a mass of bumper-to-bumper madness.

It lasts for a few minutes, opens up, and then clogs again at the next exit. Sometimes this is simply due to the sheer number of vehicles trying to enter or leave the road on a single stretch of asphalt utilized both as a deceleration and acceleration lane. But, you can also bet there is some improper merging going on, causing the entire system to break down into the proverbial bottleneck.

To keep a good pace in heavy traffic, merging should work like the teeth on a zipper. One vehicle merges; a vehicle already on the highway passes; another vehicle merges; a vehicle already on the highway passes, and so on. Of course, in this day and age of aggressive driving, it may not always work out this way.

The Exiting Factor

When you choose to exit the highway, you may not technically be merging (or being absorbed into traffic); rather, you are leaving the collective, but it still requires a few words.

In cases where there is only a deceleration lane and an exit ramp, you simply need to signal your intentions to other drivers and pull over. You will use the lane to slow your vehicle and continue on to other roads.

However, when the acceleration lane and the deceleration share the same portion of road surface, it can be tricky. Basically, if the vehicle entering the highway is at top acceleration, you will want to pull into the deceleration lane behind it. If you are moving at a greater clip than the vehicle just entering the acceleration lane then you will want to exit in front of the vehicle. Again, theoretically, this will keep the flow of traffic moving smoothly.

Unfortunately, a whole lot of people in this area are of the "aggressive driver" type. I had a full dose of it this morning, too. A very long line of cars had built up in the right lane, and we had two lights to get through before the on-ramp to the highway. This is normal.

What is totally irritating, though, and actually serves to worsen the situation, are the people who are "too good" to get in line, so they speed up in the next lane and charge to the front, then force-merge into stopped traffic to get into the right lane. If you are stopped, and (like me) are not kissing the bumper of the car in front of you, then there is space enough for someone in the next lane to wedge their car in front of you in such a way that you cannot move without letting him in. This totally pisses me off. It also stops traffic in two lanes, not just one. The really great feat, though, is the car that waits until the solid white line of the on-ramp, just inches before the jersey wall barrier, to begin the force-merge. Now THAT is exciting, let me tell you!

Who taught these people to drive?!?!?!?! What part of "aggressive" driving is not apparent? Where is a cop when you need him/her? C'mon, people!!!!!!!

I swear, I want a car cam. I'll record all this stupidity, and, having captured the license plates of the cars involved, I'll turn them in. Not sure that will help, but it might make ME feel better. Maybe. Unfortunately, the people who should be reading this will not. :-(

And my every-two-week massages? Out-of-pocket, to boot? Is it a wonder that I need them? I am actually amazed I am still alive to rant! Sigh ... Thanks for listening. I feel a little better for having unloaded. And I get to experience it all again tomorrow. Oh, joy.

Friday, April 17, 2009

My Kind Of Commercial

You know how I usually rant about driving issues (mostly other drivers' stupidity)? Well, apparently I am not alone! Here is a snippet from an HD Radio commercial I heard today:

" ... Make sure to have an HD Radio pre-installed in your new car. That way, when you fail to use your turn signal, you'll have something to listen to while you wait for the ambulance to pull you from the smoldering wreckage. ..."

Perfection. ;-)

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Sign above the drinking fountain.

The drinking fountain.

I find it sad that (1) adults need to be told these things, (2) the plea was ignored, and (3) this was not an isolated incident.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

See? It's Not Just Me...

I came home this evening to a phone message from Beloved Reader #2, and she gave me permission to share it here. Seems she got rear-ended (just a tap), they both got out of their vehicles to check for damage, and here is the ensuing conversation:

Other Woman: Why did you stop?
BR#2: It was a red light.
OW: But it's right turn on red.
BR#2: Only after a stop.
OW: But there was no one coming.
BR#2: But I didn't know that until after I'd stopped.
OW: {pregnant silence}
BR#2: Look, my car is fine, and we're blocking traffic here, so if you want my insurance information, let me know, cuz I gotta go.
OW: Yeah, me too.

Not a dramatic end to that conversation, but "Why did you stop?"?!?!? That means if she had been the front vehicle, she would have rolled right through the red light and thought nothing of it. See - I cannot make up this stuff ... it is everywhere! Just multiply this by 100,000 drivers on the DC-area roads at rush hour, and you'll understand the seriousness of the situation. BR#2 was thankful she does not have to commute in this stuff every day. Me? I just get a massage every 10 days or so, and I live through it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Frustrating Day In Muddville

Is Muddville spelled with one or two 'd's? Sigh.

I tell ya, when I leave the office, my day is supposed to get better, not worse. But when I am surrounded by stoopid people driving objects of destruction and not paying attention, can you tell it irritates me just a little bit??!?!

First up: Lady in large View-blocker (SUV), holding cell phone in her right hand and gesturing with her left. Holding the steering wheel with ... what? Not her teeth, because her mouth never stopped moving. For miles. I even took various back roads to try and shake her, but she hugged my bumper, for miles. Amazing she did not hit me.

Next up: Woman in front of me driving 10 mph below the speed limit in the left lane. Would.not.speed.up. I could not get into the right lane to pass her because all the people behind me were doing that and cutting me off. Idiots. I finally got around her after a few miles. Grrrrrrr....

Then I went to the grocery store - had to pick up an Rx. Leaving the store, there was a car stopped in the driving lane. Well, actually, both lanes, since she was in the middle of the two lanes, just stopped. I stepped into the cross walk and looked at her to make sure she did not plan to start moving. Nope - she was too busy texting on her cell to even notice I was there. Then once I was about 2/3 of the way across, she started moving (surprise!) and turned into the lane in which I was walking. She drove reeeeal slooooowly, like she was following me to my spot, then she sped up and I looked over - still texting. She went past a few open spaces, then stopped. As a guy started to back out of his spot, she threw her vehicle into reverse and almost nailed him. WT!?! She finally took her car out of reverse and pulled into one of the empty spots - still texting. I got into my car and left, and she was ... still texting. WHO THE HELL ARE THESE PEOPLE TALKING TO!?!?!?!


I get to the fabric store to pick up my sharpened scissors. As the line grew longer, one of the registers closed. CLOSED. When she finally got to me, she had no clue where to find the scissors, so she abandoned her post (line still growing). She was in slow motion the whole check-out time, then she informed me that even though the ticket says $42, she knows scissor sharpening is $3, and so she did not want me to be surprised. Note: This was a huge, heavy bag, obviously containing more than one pair of scissors. I looked at her and told her that there were multiple pairs of scissors in the bag, 14 to be exact, and 14 times 3 is 42, so that is the correct amount. She just did not want me to "wonder". I know she was just trying to help, but I wonder how she gets dressed in the morning. Oh, did I mention her hair was green with blue tints?

Then I get home. I had a message from my Rx company to call. It was a very...slow...speaking...voice...on...a...recording. Did I want to hear about a program about blah, blah, blah? Speak Yes or No after the tone. No. Okay, let us tell you about this blah, blah, blah program that is included at no extra cost with your plan. (What part of No was not clear, here?) blah, blah, blah ... Would you like to reconsider your answer. NO. Well, if you ever DO wish to reconsider ... aaaaaaaaagh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And just now, as I am typing this rant, I get a phone call from another machine - this time from my Dr's office. They have this automated system that calls you - over and over and over until you respond - to confirm your appt. To continue in English, please press 1. I LIVE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. I SHOULD NOT HAVE TO PRESS 1 FOR ENGLISH!

Stop the world, I want to get off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, I think I need a distraction. Hey, look, in just one short hour it will be my bed-time. I hope I am unwound by then .... at least typing all of this made me feel a little better. Sigh ...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

How To Change Lanes - 101

Today's lesson is How To Change Lanes. This is a basic maneuver and must be mastered if you ever hope to advance to the Merge lesson. Let us begin.

First and foremost, it is imperative that you understand the meaning and purpose of the directional (turn signal). The directional is used to inform other drivers in your vicinity of your intent to do something. Did you read that? Your intent. Think of it as your Early Warning System. When hundreds of people are moving tons of metal in skinny asphalt lanes, it is important to take measures to ensure none of these metal masses make contact.

Once you understand that a directional is to indicate intent, then the following steps can be easily followed to safely change lanes:

1. Turn on your directional.
2. Look in your side-view mirror to ascertain the options. You'll need to make sure there will be room for your vehicle in the lane into which you plan to move.
3. Look in your blind spot to verify there is no vehicle lurking. This will require you to look over your shoulder.
4. Once you have determined there is room for your vehicle to safely move into an available opening, begin to cross the dashed line.
5. Complete your lane-change, then turn off your directional.
6. This last step is optional, but I always raise my hand and wave a Thank You via the rear-view mirror to the person who let me in.

Unfortunately for those of us in the DC area, most people follow these other lane-change rules (DO NOT TRY THIS YOURSELF):
1. Speed up, or alternatively you may even stop. Either option will serve to scare the people driving anywhere near you.
2. Slide over the dashed line.
3. Glance briefly to your right and notice the vehicle therein, parallel with your own.
4. Slide back into your original lane.
5. Slide over the line again to begin your lane change.
6. Go to Step 3. After several iterations of Steps 3-5, you may proceed to Step 7.
7. Move the front end of your vehicle into the next lane, without regard to there being room for you. This causes the vehicle you almost hit to slam on their brakes to avoid hitting you (thus making room for you).
8. Flash your directional once, if you bother with it at all.
9. Complete your lane change, then repeat all the above steps while trying to move over one more lane.
10. Extra points if there are children in the vehicle with you.
11. Bonus points if you do this with children and while on a cell phone.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pop Quiz

Today's commute home was a real killer, so here is a pop quiz based on the first few miles of my mis-adventure. Let's see how you do!

1. True or False. You are driving in a lane that is an on-ramp (merge lane) to a very busy expressway. You should immediately brake, make sure to come to a complete stop, look over your shoulder, and wait for someone to let you in (across the solid white line, since you are not even in the straight-away part of the lane, yet).

2. True or False. You are several cars behind the driver in #1. You should peel out of line, drive on the shoulder past all the other cars in front of you, cut back over into the merge lane and begin your merge process.

3. True or False. You are driving in the right lane on the expressway, and to your right is a merge lane (on-ramp). A vehicle turns on their left directional (that blinkie thing) to indicate they plan to move over into the space in your lane directly in front of you. In response to this signal, you should immediately speed up to close the gap and cut off the merging driver.

4. True or False. After cutting off the merging driver, you should immediately speed up some more so you can, without a directional (there's that blinkie thing again) to indicate your intentions, quickly swerve from the driving lane into the merge lane so you not only scare the bajeezus out of the other driver, but also so you can speed to the end of the lane, then cut off some other drivers so you are now 3 cars ahead of where you started.

5. True or False. This was a rare occurance in my daily commute experience.

6. True or False. The situation got better when I tried to merge the remaining 3 lanes to the left I need to merge (yes, every day).

If you answered True to any one of these questions (especially #s 5 or 6), please do me a favor and stay out of the DC area for, oh, the next 15 years or so, okay? I'd really appreciate it.

Thank you.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Annoying to the Nth Degree

The person in the next cube is (1) cracking her gum, or (2) popping bubbles in bubble wrap. My vote (knowing the person) is (1) cracking her gum. Do I have permission to smack her? Why do people think this gum-cracking activity is okay? Do they not know others can hear them? Is it just me?