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?