Death by Truck

February 28, 2010

Cars drive fast.

It doesn’t matter where we are: the highway, a school zone, meandering down a country road, a neighborhood, a regular city street.

Or the conditions: sleet, snow, a hard rain.

It doesn’t change the fact that the guy behind you has to get where he’s going now!

If severe weather hazards can’t stop him, nothing can.

This same outlook goes for truckers.

No matter their size–be it heavy duty big rigs with a dozen wheels spanning the width of your car, tow trucks carrying eight cars on its back, all of them swaying with each bump in the road, or those hauling flammable liquids, that, if toppled, could potentially kill everyone in its path.

That’s not enough to stop them.

They will eagerly and willingly careen down the highway, zipping in and out of traffic as if they are a five-speed, lighter-than-a-feather sports car.

But the problem here is . . . they’re . . . not.

You wanna break the news to them, or should I?

We all know that our city’s broke.

If I were a police officer trying to help my city accumulate funds, my first plan of action would be to stop every semi, write mind-numbingly expensive tickets, and tell the shocked truckers that when they can prove to me their ability to bring their 70-mile-an-hour bullet to a stop in a few feet, instead of a few miles, I will gladly cancel their ticket.

Until then, every time they want to endanger thousands of lives while swerving in and out of traffic at high speeds, I will make sure their heads spin.

Sigh. A girl can dream, right?

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b-ball babies

February 28, 2010

I spent one afternoon sitting in the student section at a college basketball game.

It was fun . . . at first:

I could deal with the fact that we were losing–it’s a reality of life we all must come to grips with. But the students on the other hand, the students I could not deal with.

I came about an inch away from throwing my half-eaten hot dog at a saxaphone player in the band who would not stop heckling the opposing team. Why? Well, because they were beating our team, of course.

I mean, what other reason is needed to mock and scream unceasingly at another human being solely for the reason that he chose to go to a school other than yours, probably for the simple fact that he was born in a different area than you, which is totally under his control.

It makes me feel all warm inside to think that these beautiful young people will one day procreate and breed screaming, prejudiced offspring of their own.

And then I began to notice that the students weren’t the only tongue-wagging offenders in the arena.

So I guess things never really change, do they?

They say, high school is a picture of real life. The cliques, the peer pressure, the gossip. Anyone who works in an office can attest to that.

Add to that, the nationalistic prejudice breeded into us from pre-school on with the national anthem, the academic snobbery of college, and the religious close-mindedness of adulthood.

No wonder the world is a scary place.

traffic violations

February 20, 2010

Emergency vehicles serve a very large, very important need.

They help people in life-threatening situations.

I’m gonna venture to say that EMT’s don’t under normal circumstances use the bright lights and screaming sirens for fun. But that’s just a guess.

It could be that someone on their crew is having an intense sugar attack and really, really needs a donut.

Or maybe someone forgot to mail his utility bill, and his roommate is going to kill him if their lights get turned off again.

I mean all those reasons are valid right?

That must be what drivers are assuming when they fail to move out of the way.

Surely, they aren’t going anywhere that important.

Or my favorite: the people who speed behind an ambulance as everyone in front of the vehicle is forced to move to the side. Perfect way of pushing past everyone to get in that number one spot.

But where does this gutsiness come from?

Being in a car gives off a weird sensation of anonimity. Almost like wearing a mask. But funny thing about those masks: they come off. Same thing as a car, open the car door and the mask disappears.

More people need to reach this realization.

Because surely most individuals would not do half the things they’ll do in traffic if they were not wearing their “mask,” but simply in the grocery store.

Someone cuts you off in the supermarket line, you might roll your eyes or sigh as if tremendously inconvenienced, but most people would just get in another line. Or meekly trail behind the intruder.

In traffic, however, honking, tailgating and possible obscenities are usually involved.

Because, as we all know, that always solves the problem.

televised trash

February 16, 2010

I have sworn off television.

I actually feel dumber after watching it.

Partly because I know better.

Partly because, try as I may, I know I won’t be able to find anything worth any brain power.

Today, I witnessed Judge Judy humiliating her guests as usual–and herself at the same time. Tyra talking about herself . . . or sex–it’s always one of the two.

I paused to check out Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Unquestionably, the longest two minutes of my life.

What were Brad and Angelina thinking when they accepted these roles? Maybe they saw it as a way to work together; far be it for the script to be any good. They probably figured that with their breathtaking looks and neverending star power, they could scoop dog poop for two hours, and audiences would giggle in ecstasy.

They weren’t far off, unfortunate to say.

Another show that helped bring up my lunch for the day was Secret Life of the American Teenager. Now here’s a sure-to-be classic. 15-year-old girl gets pregnant. Lives with no obvious consequences. Goes to school like a normal girl without a baby. Comes home to a nice, spacious house and a loving family–albeit with obvious mental problems. But no economic issues. No discussion of money. No dreading of bills. No crying over depression or lost opportunities that come with mothering a child. Just smooth sailing. Dating with no concern for her baby’s future. No late-night feedings or changings. The season finale might even be that her baby is simply a figment of her imagination. I haven’t figured that out yet.

Reminds me of Rachel from Friends when she had a baby. But where was that baby? The gang at the coffee shop hardly ever saw her and definitely never heard her. Best baby ever!

And Rachel sure didn’t look any worse for it. Her hair was always quaffed in her Rachel way. Outfits always neat and ironed. No baby spit-up for her. No, her baby never did that.

Man, if parenthood were that easy, what’s all the fuss about?

Molly Ringwald plays the 15-year-old’s mother on Secret Life. She was bragging about the program one day, calling it a family show that kids and parents could enjoy together. Storylines for everyone.

Except, that is, for people with standards. And those who want their kids to grow up well-adjusted and not sex-crazed.

Those people might want to just say no to the show. Maybe even tv in general.

Weekend Lover

February 10, 2010

Back in elementary school, I remember these t-shirts that said “Gymnastics is life; soccer is life; dance is life;” etc. All the kids wore them, touting their favorite after-school activity.

Today, I have come to the conclusion that those same sentiments can be attributed to most adults and teenagers alike. Just erase the given hobby and replace with “weekends.”

It’s pretty obvious that people live for the weekends. Our whole society propogates that ideal. Beer commercials. Billboards. Magazine ads.

Because I spend a significant amount of time serving coffee each week to those sad souls headed to work, I find plenty of time for reflection. Listening to them you’d think they were headed to the guillotine, instead of an office desk.

Our quick coffee conversations consist mostly of parting grunts:
Ugh, It’s Monday.
Tired, need coffee.
Back to the grind.
Friday’s almost here.
Week’s halfway over.

I don’t know about you, but something doesn’t feel right about living for two days of every week. It feels more like settling. And I don’t settle.

But if I did, living for two days a week means that instead of enjoying 365 days each year, I would enjoy 104.

Logically, then, I wonder, why does work have to be such a drudgery?

Now, I understand that some jobs just can’t be turned into an enjoyable experience. Working in a call center, for instance. For me, there’s nothing that sounds more gloomy. But then again, for others, especially the sunny, cup’s-always-half-full type people, calming down irate customers all day long does not seem so depressing.

The key, then, is finding the job that’s right for you. Not for your parents or your spouse but for you.

Not settling for what’s easiest or most convenient or safest but searching and finding what’s most fulfilling.