Walk the Line

Posted by Al | Ranting,Thoughtful | Wednesday 19 May 2010 12:32 pm

I’m practicing my social networking skills as I stand in line at the DMV. Not with the people here in front of me, but you reading this now. I have always enjoyed observing people in their daily activities.

I agree that cell phone use in public can be very annoying. The reason being that to all but the phone user, it’s a one sided conversation. The very same can be said for people that think out loud while in public. The tallest black woman in the line is also the most vocal. She expresses every thought out loud, even though the person who she came with left. She was not interested in waiting with her and had probably heard how, ‘She’s gots a jobs now and needs to take her ass to work. So’s it’s about time she gots her license.’ as we have all been informed. Although no one seems to respond, this doesn’t stop her from needling the person ahead of her, asking, “Is you on lunch?” The woman is dressed in nurses scrubs with an id tag hanging around her neck and only needs to answer by nodding to the obviousness of the question.  The loud thinker also informs people who appears to be jumping the line, “The line is back here. We have all been waiting too! What makes you so special?” The truth is, everyone in line does look pained when a new visitor comes in the door and walks straight to the counter, bypassing the line. In this case her directness serves a purpose for the group, since we are all wondering the same quietly to ourselves.

DMV Line

Every time the door opens everyone turns to look at the reaction of the next victim to walk in.  They have a guilty look as everyone stares at them for few seconds and then turn their heads away as the new person settles into line. Or in some cases when discover the length of the wait, they roll their eyes and walk out again, obviously too busy or more likely too impatient to devote an hour of their lives to the privilege of driving legally. North Carolina budget cuts have brought the staff down to three employees in this location, which makes for slow going. The line snakes six feet one way and then the other four times. It has taken me 35 minutes to travel 18 feet. After an hour, I approach the front desk and explain I’m renewing my driver’s license. It feels like being accepted into the Emerald City and then I am graciously allowed into the next room to sit and wait some more.

In the testing room there are many empty seats which makes each one of us who has gotten this far feel very important. Most are careful not to look back at the line like they are on a death march and we have been spared. My number is 186 and I quickly scan the displays to see how long my wait will continue. I half expect the current number to be 12 but I am relieved to see 183 on the sign. The loud thinker is now speaking with an inspector about her needs. The back of her shirt reads, “I’m not a Bitch. I’m THE BITCH. And that’s Miss Bitch to you.” I wonder how she would react if I were to address her in this way. “Excuse me Miss Bitch, you dropped your Social Security Card. Yes, it says so right here, THE BITCH.”

Bing, my number comes up. I read a line of letters, identify some street signs, pay $35 bucks, have my photo taken and I’m done. It seems anticlimactic to have stood in line so long for a process that is over so quickly.

The ‘Burbs

Posted by Al | Ranting,Snarky,Thoughtful | Monday 26 April 2010 1:33 am

The 'Burbs Now and then I have lived in a metropolitan area but never the mass transit type. If you live around NYC, Chicago or Washington my guess is you can get anywhere, anytime without a car. As a kid, I had a six-mile bike ride just to get a soda or ice cream. And then six miles to return home. I spent the first 20 years or so of life growing up in the backwoods of Central New York State. As a kid I didn’t have any trouble finding something to do. I believe that 21 acres of land may be the cure for Attention Deficit Disorder. If I had too much energy to sit still, or something was troubling me, I could just take a walk around the property. After you spend a solid 9 hours in the woods, alone, you will completely forget why you left the house in the first place.

Nowadays I have settled into a nice suburb of Charlotte, NC. I couldn’t be any further away from the city’s center without being considered living in the next town. There are cows just down the road but this is one of those newer developments that have taken over the farm and wooded land as the city’s inhabitants continue to expand outward. As a kid, if I wanted to visit with the neighbors I had a good hike to reach them. The kids on my “block” were spread over a three mile stretch of road, and that was a total of 15 houses. Growing up in a rural setting meant that when I took a job delivering pizzas at the age of 21, I didn’t yet know that one side of the street had odd numbered houses and the other had even. I have definitely been a “country mouse” for the better part of my life. This may be the cause of my antisocial nature.

It’s not that I don’t like people, I just don’t understand why the houses have to be so close together. When I was younger the house next door could have burned to the ground without you knowing it. Today, my neighbor can inadvertently change the channels on my TV with his remote. It’s hard enough to live right on top of each other, but some people go out of their way to be a nuisance. I have a fairly well trained Yellow Lab that knows enough not to bark every two seconds for hours on end. I can’t understand why anyone would want that kind of companion. If the person you lived with would not shut up for a few seconds each hour, you would probably consider having them put to sleep as well.

And to my neighbor; If your little yappy dog is terrorizing my back yard, please get off your cellphone and call it home instead of watching me fight my way to my car to go to work. And if you are going to have a loud party until the wee hours of the morning, at least invite me to attend. My only participation should not be when your guests choose to relieve themselves on my lawn before kicking trash out of their cars and driving home drunk. I don’t feel the need to impose myself on anyone else and I don’t need roommates anymore. But if your activities are going to infringe on my life so much, maybe you should be paying a portion of my rent.

My life… later.

Posted by Al | Thoughtful | Tuesday 16 February 2010 11:04 pm

For anyone still following my thoughts on this site… Update: Still Alive. I have become a major couch potato, again. I haven’t had the inspiration for being creative for several months. Even though I’m just a couple of months away from my 35th birthday I often get a giggle when I remind myself that I’m an married adult. I’m by no means a conventional married 30-something guy but it works.
I am spending more of my free time supporting my wife’s creativity. She started a new business with my help in the last year. (http://www.myartevent.com) She told me how much she liked painting and ask if she could start taking more classes for fun. I suggested she teach the classes and get paid. That was the spark that really got her going. “Having fun painting, teaching people, hanging out in a group, being the center of attention AND getting paid?? What more could there be in life?!” I think she is hooked and doing very well booking parties left and right.
As for me, when I have a day job I have a really hard time getting excited about doing anything on my day off other than sleeping and being entertained by the internet. I have a nice LCD projector set up in the living room, and use my netbook to watch Hulu, Netflix and Justin.tv. We pay the bills, play with the dog, have lots of fun with each other, what more is there? Having your best friend and wife be the same person is terribly convenient. I don’t have to meet up with anyone in any location other than my own home. We make each other laugh so much and really enjoy spending time with each other.
I still have some ideas of creative things to do, but not sure what my spark is going to be. Now may be the best time to start a long project like writing a book. I have a great idea that no one else could steal or replicate. Since I have had held over 45 different jobs in my life I think it could make for interesting reading. I’m sure everyone will be able to find something in it that will relate to their own experience. It will be a marathon of creativity to accomplish and I’m not sure what I’ll do with it after it’s finished, but it will be yet another adventure.
Maybe someday we will buy a house and have kids. Maybe someday I will get my act together and seek a career instead of living paycheck to paycheck and crappy job to crappy job. Until then, life is good.

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