Category Archives: Commuting

Don’t be a Dick

Yep.

That sums it up.

Number one rule in life:  Don’t be a dick.

How difficult is that?

Apparently, it would be easier to count the grains of sand in an ant hill. Even counting the grains in a fire ant hill would be easier I’m thinking.

Shoot, taking a gallon of ocean water, waiting for it to evaporate and then counting any sea salt grains would be easier….than trying not to be a dick in to day’s world.

Being a dick, it seems, is second nature for nearly everyone.  Whew, now isn’t that a relief.  Except for those of us who aren’t a dick, then we’re annoyed as hell with you.

The problem it seems, stems from a singular mentality:

It’s all about me.  Me. Me. Me. Me.  It’s all about me.  Got it?  M.E.

Seriously.

Take driving for example.

It doesn’t matter if you are going 3 blocks to the grocery store or 15 miles to work or 100 miles for vacation.  Go the speed limit, go over the speed limit or drive in the far right lane of a 4 lane highway ….  it still doesn’t matter.  There are Dicks to be found.

Everyone has one thing on their mind – themselves.

Some days driving home after work,  it’s the driver game of Survivor.  It’s all about ME.  No, no, no…..really.  By all means.  Please.  Go ahead.  I was at the four way stop before you, but please, don’t wait your turn.  I’m sorry, yes, go ahead and run the red light.  Yes, you should definitely honk your horn as soon as the light turns green because the four cars in front of you obviously can’t get through the light fast enough.  I love it when you cut me off to turn left….From. The. Right. Hand. Lane.   If you could tailgate me, that would really make my day.   Since all of the traffic is doing 12 mph, you trying to climb my fender just makes so much more satisfying.  I like being able to see my bumperstickers in your grill.

All this before I even get out of the city!

Society has created a demand for instant gratification.  Everything NOW.  Impatience is rampant.  Common courtesy  has gone the way of common sense – right out the window.

Go to the grocery store and people will run you over with their cart.  Think they’re going to share the aisle with you?  Not a snowball’s chance in hell.  It’s all about me and I own this aisle, go get your own aisle, bitch.  Forever gone are the excuse me and pardon me moments that used to follow the moment you shoved aside someone to reach the ketchup on the top shelf.

If you come across a shopping carriage blocking the aisle, you have a decision to make.  Do you move it?  Do you wait impatiently?  Moving it causes the owner of said cart immediately to glare at you as if you were attempting to make off with her carriage full of Double Stuffed Oreos, iceberg lettuce, bananas, single-ply butt wipe, Rocky Road ice cream and Captain Crunch cereal.  If you stand there impatiently waiting, chances are she will continue to ponder for eternity which brand of ranch salad dressing to purchase….Hidden Valley or Grocery De-lite.

I’m not asking to see your license and registration.  I’m asking you to share the space and move the hell over.  Oh but wait, it’s all about Me.  That’s right.

In produce, people can’t wait for you to get out of their way so they can get their pick of the oranges, apples, grapes and bananas.  There are only so many times someone can swish open their plastic bag ….I get the hint, but you can wait your turn.  It’s called patience.   Give me 30 seconds, I will be out of your way.  However you never see them at the pineapple, starfruit, coconut, plantains, dragon fruit and kiwis….all those exotic and sassy fruits.  Instead, they’re busy thumping watermelons and squeezing cantaloupes.  I’m thinking I may take up the exotics next time….I could be on to something here.

Walking down the city sidewalk.  It’s the Wild Wild West.  Too busy on the idiot box, which used to be the TV and now are the damn cell phones.  People can’t get off them.  It’s as addictive as crack.  In the next 50 years, babies will probably be born with necks already bent to watch the idiot box perfectly in their hands.  Put it down and pay attention people.  But no. Nobody is paying attention to the world around them, regardless of the phone or not.  It’s all about them.  It’s the Me Bubble.

Side Note: My observation about the cell phone.  People are too damn busy taking photos  about the moment they’re in, so they can have a “look at me moment” to put on social media.  They’re missing being in the moment.

 

Living in the world of NOW,  patience level is nonexistent. Patience has gone the way of drive-in movies, tv dinners in tinfoil trays with the yummy apples for dessert, riding bikes without helmets, metallic wallpaper patterns, roller skates & roller rinks and Tupperware parties.

It doesn’t matter if you work in an office, school, medical center, factory, scientific institute, art and design establishment, recycling center or transportation industry.

There are days at work, when you think to yourself….

  • I’m going to have to lock myself in the bathroom and beat my head against the wall before I  loose my mind.
  • If I wander away, would anyone notice?
  • How much longer until 5:00PM?
  • Did I really sign up for this?
  • Who the hell are these people? They’re crazy!
  • Other duties as assigned?  Are you fucking kidding me?

I’m right…..I know.

It’s funny cause most of us are in the same boat.  Ask anyone.

We should all be living our dream, but chances are we’re grinding it out trying to get to our dreams.  In the meanwhile, we’re all trying to run each other down on the highways. Or run each other over in the grocery aisles.  Better yet, trying to knock one another out at work on various levels.

We live in a singular world.  It’s all about me.  I have to be first.  First in line.  First through the door.  First through the light.  First with the photo.  First to park.  Look at me.  Look at me go.  Get out of my way.  It’s all about me.  Me.  Me.  Me.  Me. Grocery, shopping mall, book store, coffee shop, hair salon, gas station, highway, etc.

Well, hair salons are different.  There, you are being sized up.  Women come in looking like they have just been rolled out of the bushes by some raccoon when they show up…hair is every which way, sweat pants and oversized shirts.  Or the yoga pants and they’re obviously not doing any yoga.  That’s a whole other blog.  What’s with the stretch pants?  Don’t get me started….

Fast forward a few hours, by the time ladies are ready to leave the salon,  they depart acting like they are in a Pantene shampoo commercial.  Every other woman waiting her turn to see her stylist is sizing her up as she leaves….seriously.  Better do the hair flip and make it look good. Or what’s the shampoo commercial where the woman washes her hair in the airplane bathroom and acts like she had an orgasmic experience? (Of course, on several airlines now she’d probably be charged a fee for that and then arrested.  Or she might be asked to do a show, who the hell knows anymore.)

The other place you don’t see people trying to run you over with the piss-headed idiot syndrome is the liquor store.  Honest.  Next time you go in, look at how polite everyone is to each other.  They know.  They get it.  You are just grinding away the daily work life.  The liquor store is almost like a therapy session.

“What you need?”

“We have a sale – two for one.”

“Have a good one.”

Is there any doubt why some states have liquor warehouses?

I think not.

 

 

Airline Rodeo

I don’t get it.

We’ve all been there.

Yet it’s mind boggling.  It makes no sense.

None.

Airplane boarding.

Airplane de-boarding.

Let’s reflect, here at gate D-47.

There’s 15 minutes until boarding time, plenty of time to grab a coffee, visit the restroom, buy a newspaper, down a few shots of Jagermeister, make a phone call, snag a sandwich and some snacks for the flight but no.

Already passengers are lining up at the start of the catwalk entrance for the airplane.

Seriously.

The airline representative at the gate announces over the loudspeaker:

In a few minutes, we will begin the boarding process.  Please take note of your seat assignment and board when your row is called.

****

Right.  Like this actually matters.

Watch out, you’re about to get trampled!  Everyone and their brother pushes forward towards the gate.

Bags are hefted on to shoulders.

Pulley suitcases are squared up behind,  wheels double checked for quick launch and shoes scuffed against flooring, like bulls in tauromachia,  to ensure successful dodging of all slow pokes ahead.

Also remember at this time, your carryon bag must fit in the overhead compartment.  If it doesn’t fit in the overhead compartment, we are happy to gate check it for you.  (Side note: or just try and ram it into the overhead compartment while everyone watches while silently cursing you….as you are delaying the flight.. and see who wins, you or the Boeing 747)

****

Ladies and gentleman thank you for flying with Vexatious Airlines.  We are now going to begin boarding.

So begins the litany of prequalified fliers who are oh so savvy and much more dignified than you to actually BEGIN the boarding process:

First Class passengers.

Global Platinum Card Members  / Vexatious Advantage Shakers and Movers Members

Global Silver Card Members / Vexatious Advantage Unique Personality Members

Global Business Card Members / Vexatious Advantage Mediocre Members

*****

At this point you look around and a third of the gate has boarded the airplane.

Thank you for your patience.  We would like to continue boarding with our Vexatious Advantage Members who have reached Movie Star Status.

Those fliers who have reached Vexatious Advantage Soap Star Status, please board the plane now.

Thank you for your patience, our guests who have reached Vexatious Advantage Aim for the Stars Coupon Book Status please come down the catwalk.

*****

Another third have disappeared towards the plane.  Huh.

Welcome aboard to our Cat Lover Club

Welcome aboard to our Dog Lover Club

At this time, thank you for waiting, we would like to welcome aboard those guests who had tickets to the original Woodstock.  Those of you who had tickets to a Farm Aid concert, your time to board will be coming up, please wait for your announcement. 

Members of the press, we would like to offer you this time to board.

Families traveling with small children, or those who need extra assistance when boarding, you may board at this time.  If you need extra assistance, we hope you brought someone with you for that assistance.  If you are traveling with an emotional support pet please wait until you are called for boarding. 

Uniformed military personal, you can board at this time.  We thank you for your service.

Thank you for your patience, those who are too attached to their electronic devices to pay any attention to these announcements, we invite you to board at this time.   You aren’t listening anyway.

Prima donnas please board at this time and anyone who thinks they are all that, but aren’t even the pickle on the plate, please board at this time because you aren’t listening to any directions anyway because you think it’s all about you anyway.  

Our guests who are traveling with emotional support pets, including but not limited to: Golden Retrievers, teacup chihuahuas  himalayan cats, ferrets, ducks, teacup pigs, pygmy donkeys, ferrets, camels, spider monkeys, albino lizards, wallabies, hamsters, turkeys, porcupines, rabbits.

Farm Aid ticket holders, you are welcome to board at this time.

****

You look around and only a handful of people remain.

At this time we would like to begin general boarding beginning with the back of the plane. For those guests in row 35 – 20 please board now.  Oh, forget it.  There’s only 6 of you left, please figure it out and board now.  

 

****

Everyone is so anxious to get on the plane, they can’t hardly stand it.  It’s all about pushing and shoving. And for what exactly?

To be cramped in a tiny seat, with no leg room, shared armrests, crawling with bacteria and if you are damn lucky….your seat mates won’t be chatty. The toilets smell, unless bless the hearts of your flight crew (Who, by the way, have one of the hardest and least appreciated jobs in the entire world.  I thank them for all they do to make our journeys the easiest and most enjoyable they can.) have put a bag of coffee in the tiny little lavatory to absorb the piss-o-roma fragrance.

P.S.  Note, I don’t care about your kids, grandkids, your job, where you live or what book you’re reading or where you’re going. I don’t like to fly.  I only do it because it’s the quickest way to get there and I’m a little claustrophobic so please, leave me alone. I simply get into my seat, wipe everything down with my Clorox wipes, put in my earplugs and do my best to tune everything out.

As the fliers race down the gate catwalk,  waving their boarding pass in hand to be scanned, their magical entrance to the airplane granted and approved…quickly scurry beyond the doorway down the jetway.

Only. To. Be. Halted. 40 people back on the jetway.

Que the evil laugh.

They can’t wait to get out of the boarding area.  One of the privileged few.  Look at me.  See you suckers.  I’m outta here.  Yeah, well….guess what.

Here we all are.

Waiting.

In the jetway.

Aren’t you precious?

Let me grab my eyeballs before they roll out onto the tarmac.

Jackass.

You go from one waiting area to the next.  Why the rush?

Everyone gets on the plane.  No need to shove and sigh and huff and puff.

Bags stowed and we get into the air.

Eureka!

*****

For as absurdly impatient everyone was to get on the damn plane, it’s as if they had no idea everyone was expected to actually get off the plane upon arrival at the destination.

The plane lands, sometimes to the sound of applause…and arrives at the gate.

Passengers excitedly leap out of seats and annoyingly tap fingers and roll their eyes….annoyed we aren’t moving faster to get off the silver bullet.

Somewhere from the time we left the last departure lounge, to the time we arrived at the new gate…..the hundreds of passengers on this plane have had a mind fart.  Where has all the urgency gone?

Suddenly nobody can find their bags.  Where’s my glasses?  Where’s my book?  Where’s my chapstick?  Did I have a jacket?  Did I bring a water bottle?  What about the cell phone?  What gate are we going to?  I can’t find my shoes!  Is this my suitcase?  This isn’t my bag!  Where’s my husband?  What city is this?  Oh I’m not getting off here.  Can you help me close this zipper?

The circulating air has made everyone slow and stupid.  People who couldn’t get on the plane fast enough suddenly have spent the last 10 minutes, or longer taxinging from the runway to the gate picking their nose and pondering how daises grow rather than gathering their shit up from their seat and organizing their departure!

Fuck people – if you would pull yourselves together we could all get off the damn plane faster.  You idiots were so concerned about getting on first.  It’s all about me. ME. ME. ME FIRST. FIRST. FIRST.  However when we land, it’s like you’ve lost your mind.

Snap out of it and focus.  You are holding the rest of us up.  From the time the pilot said we have begun the 20 minute decent for landing, the smart ones started packing up.  Plan ahead folks….for arrival….not just the departure.  It works both ways.

Be smart.  Travel smart. Get out of my way.

 

 

 

 

 

Stop Talking….. Before I Get Out the Duct Tape.

On my Fridays, I take the ferry to / from work. It’s like a sightseeing trip.
This past week, in the morning, I was able to score a chair out on the deck.
Sitting in the sunshine and watching the world go by.

Sailed right into downtown Boston, calm and relaxed.
Ahhh.
THIS is a civilized commute.

The return home is even better as they have a bar on board.
Usually, I throw my bag into a seat and grab a Chardonnay for $6.
This. Is. Nice.

If I were a guy, I’d have at least two beers on the way back. I watch them and most do. Some buy two beers right off the bat. Smart.

This past end of the work week, I was the third person in line for the ferry. So I was able to get my wine on the way to finding a seat. I decided to sit outside on the return as well. It was lovely. Sunny. Didn’t need a coat. Beautiful. I settled in and prepared for the start of my weekend.

There were 34 people on the outside deck.
3/4 of them were on their smart phones.
1 was reading a book.
Several were enjoying the surroundings, hidden behind their sunglasses and drinking their beers.
1 was politely smiling and nodding his head.

Why?

Because the girl he was sitting next to would not shut the hell up.
She talked.
And talked.
And talked.
And T A L K E D.
And kept on talking.
She never took a breath.
Not to mention she was loud.
Annoyingly loud.
They were right behind my left shoulder.

The point in having a conversation with someone is to say something – then let the talking partner have an opportunity to respond. To talk to the point of vomiting words is not carrying on a conversation. It’s being a selfish conversation hog. When you are a conversational hog, you don’t care what the other person has to say, because all you want to hear is your own voice. Your conversation partner practically has to karate chop you to get you to shut up or they need to fly the white flag and give up.

This, does not a good conversationalist make.

She literally, I don’t think ever….. took a full minute of silence.

These are some of the areas she covered in her 40 minute filibuster:

She just got married.
They bought a house.
Since she is now married, everyone is telling her to go back to school.
She’s not sure she really wants to go back to school.
And why should she go back cause she just got married?
Does that make any sense? No. It’s so odd.
She works at a hospital.
This department is so much better than her previous one because you’re not trying to save lives in this one.
There is a lot less pressure.
But who knows if this is the right department for her.
Oh and there is this doctor who just annoys her.
And the co-workers are really great, especially this one….
Her new husband used to work at an Auto Zone.
Now he is doing referrals.
They are so excited to be back in Boston.
Although she doesn’t like the winters.
She loves this weather though.
Isn’t it nice weather?
Her mother told her to bring her sneakers when she comes to visit.
It was good she told her, cause she wasn’t planning on bringing her sneakers.
There are so many trails.
When she and her mom went on the trail behind the house, there were lots of turkeys.
Her mom is afraid of turkeys.
She takes pictures of all the turkeys.
Oh look! There’s another one, better get a picture.
What do you think this is? Left over and forgotten bridge?
They aren’t doing anything with it.
Wonder what it’s here for.
That is so random.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
40 minutes of this. Relentless babble.
She was early 20’s.
He was in his 50’s.
Obviously he was an old family friend as she was asking him about what so-n-so is doing now a days, how excited her mom will be to know she ran into him, it’s been such a long time. Etc.

Shut up.
Shut up.
Shut up.

What is usually a pleasant 40 minute water journey home, felt like an eternity.
There were no other chairs available on the deck – so I was stuck unless I wanted to go inside.

This.
Is.
A.
Nightmare.

It was like being in a long hallway in a horror movie, trying to get to the end, but the hallway kept getting longer and longer. There was no end in sight. Your anxiety rising like a repeat of Chinese food in the back of your throat.

At any moment, I felt a giant alien may come out of someone’s chest, or a little kid on a red tricycle was going to show up and pedal around the deck. Either would have been better than being pummeled by her voice.

This was pure agony.

I was annoyed.

SHUT UP! STOP TALKING!

Give

It

A

Rest.

For the love of god – put a sock in it!
Here! Use my sock!
You are melting any ear wax I have because of the incessant noise that is your non-stop verbal cacophony.

Yes, the gentleman did get a few words in edgewise. I only know this because I could hear the wind blowing for a change. He was soft-spoken and got to the point. He didn’t pontificate on the pros and cons of going back to school or eating out at the new place around the corner from work. This man understood the etiquette for conversation. It’s only too bad he didn’t educate her on what that entailed.

I’m sure his face was tired of smiling and nodding by the time they got off the boat.

My ears were ringing when I got off and I only had one chardonnay! I should have followed the boys on board and had a second.

Standing Room Only.

I’m not going to lie.
When we left Alaska, it was exciting to be going to Miami.

Daily sunshine.
Palm trees.
The beach less than a mile away.
Warm weather.
Rocking thunderstorms.
Eating outside.
Not having to wear a winter coat 8 months out of the year.
Disney was a short drive away.
Fresh coconuts.

Delightful.

After about a year, the novelty wore off.

For us Alaskans, it was always hotter than Hades.
The humidity was so thick even the cats’ fur was frizzy.
Christmas wasn’t the same without snow.
We didn’t speak Spanish.
The insanity of the drivers on I95.
Honking is relentless.

Enough already. So we started to look north to New England.

We landed just south of Plymouth Rock this February and couldn’t be happier.

Of course, we arrived in the middle of winter. And for anyone who is familiar with the legends of the 2015 Boston winter….you can only imagine what we faced. Of course, we were likely the ONLY people in the Boston – New England area that was THRILLED to see snow.

Need someone to help shovel? We’re on it.
No, it’s not too cold to go out for a walk.
Forgot something at the store? We can go.

Laying in bed at night, we were like little kids, “do you think it’s snowing yet?”

With the first snow storm coming down, the schools quickly started to broadcast on the TV who was going to be closed. Okay, when I was a kid you had to listen to the radio (1060AM) the morning of school to know whether or not you were making the trek into school. Things have progressed in the school districts!

Image

At any rate, we went over the public transportation again and reviewed how I would get to work on my first day. (Actually, earlier in the week we did the entire route just to be certain I knew where I was going on my first day.) I was ready to go.

Buzz-buzz-guess what?

The recruiter who had been along with me for the entire hiring ride, emailed me on Sunday night… “Work is cancelled for tomorrow. It’s a snow day.”

Really?

Huh. Okay. Well, this is definitely different than Alaska.

The next morning we awoke to multiple feet of snow. So exciting!

That night, the Mayor of Boston was on tv and says, “Due to the blizzard, all non-essential employees should stay home tomorrow.”

Well.

Am I non-essential?

I feel pretty damn essential.

How do you know if you haven’t been told if you’re essential?

Excuse me, could you tell me if I am a non-essential worker?

You see, I now work for the city, so yes…I could be essential or non-essential.

Buzz-buzz-guess-who?

My recruiter emails and tells me officially, “Day two snow day. No work.”

Apparently, I am non-essential. (Well, they haven’t seen my tiara yet…so just wait! Think that is what makes one essential. It’s really good when I bring out the confetti cannon.)

Day two snow day! Whoop! Whoop! Of course, at the end of the blizzard, approaching Wednesday. I’m suddenly filled with, like a little kid, “but I don’t want to go to work tomorrow!”

I wait in front of the TV to watch school closings. Few come.
I check my email for a note from my recruiter. Silence.

Okay, I’m going in.

Image 8

Fast forward about two weeks. Boston has been hit again, again, again and again with snow. People’s cars are buried until Spring.

You can’t see around the corner at stop signs. Wild animals are being brought to animal shelters cause they can’t find food. Even birds!

It was my goal all along to take public transportation in to the office however, lucky for me and thousands of other commuters…the snow storms have wrecked havoc on the public transportation system.

Multiple lines of the “T” are closed cause the crews can’t clear the tracks. People are left stranded. It has become a disaster. I would arrive to the T-stop in the morning along with 50+ of my closest stranger friends and everyone would stand together – looking down the tracks – waiting for the train.

We were like a bunch of penguins out there. Hands in coat pockets. Breathing into our coat collars. All positioned looking due east….anticipating the train.

If we’re freezing out on the platform, it’s okay because due to the snow levels and route cancellations….the train has become:

Standing
Room
Only

Seriously.

Image 3
NOTE: These aren’t my arms. These aren’t my body!

We all know how I like to snuggle up next to strangers. I might prefer to have lunch with a leper.

But the roads are bad enough that I don’t want to drive the 16 miles – so commute I must.

Going into the city, I NEVER got a seat. Since some routes were cancelled, hundreds of additional people crowded on the available trains.

Image 2

(NOTE: This is just the stop before mine – hundreds got off.)

After a week of riding out of the city, I figured out a system and I GOT a seat. It was euphoria when I figured this out. At the main station, my train always came into the same track. Although it was to arrive at 5:40PM, with the weather, sometimes it didn’t show up until 6:15PM.

I would wait calmly, well bundled up, close to the area where my track was outside. As soon as I saw the headlight make the turn towards that track, I started walking.

Excuse me.
Pardon me.

Sneak around this guy and that woman.

By the time I got towards the front of the pack, a few people…usually men…would start to walk down to the track. (Technically you’re supposed to wait for the train to come all the way into the gate and stop…) Nope, not happening for a select few. I was in the front herd. Those that don’t listen to the directions. I joined them.

The result? When the train came to a complete stop, I was usually by one of the doors!

Yahoo! I beat the system!

Why wait for the pack of hundreds?

When you’re small and sharpen your elbows, you can get anywhere.

Now, I too could get a seat. Not just any seat. No. I had MY CHOICE of seat as I got on.

Yeah me!

No more bumping and grinding with strangers.

Image 4

Then someone told me about the ferry. I can take a ferry from close to my home, right into Boston.

REALLY!? I checked the schedule and sure enough….it was operating.

I took the ferry into work. It was delightful.

That night, I took the 5:40PM ferry home. It left on time. But we hit a small bump.

Multiple small bumps.

Actually, some weren’t so small.

The harbor had iced over. We were hitting sheets of ice. All I could think of was the Titanic.

Image 6

No, we didn’t spend the night on the ferry, we spent an extra hour on the ferry waiting for the US Coast Guard Ice Cutter to come and free us.

This is when I discovered….there’s two bars on this ferry.

Case closed, this is how I’m traveling henceforth.

(Note: I’ve been trying to figure out how to use the word, “henceforth” so there.)

Now, the ferry isn’t what you would imagine, or maybe it is. It’s a sightseeing boat in the summer time. Some times I get the GIANT vessel that seats several hundred. Sometimes I get the cute little one. Both offer a decent selection of beer and for me…a chardonnay please… $6.

Image 10

Now I leave the driving to someone else!
I catch up on some reading.
Enjoy a great boat ride.
Have myself a chardonnay and relax on the way home!

So much easier than bringing my airplane bottles of vodka on the train. In those ass bumping moments, sometimes you need to self-medicate and it’s pitiful when you run out and haven’t even left the station yet.

Image 9