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.

The Landlord

Posted by Al | Audio,POMP,Ranting | Sunday 11 January 2009 9:26 pm

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Download – thelandlord.mp3

contract signWhen two parties enter into an agreement, especially when a contract is signed, a certain amount of ethics are to be expected. The relationship between Landlord and Tenant is not usually a friendly sitiuation, and often times quite confrontational. This is one of those times when everyone is just supposed to trust each other, but those involved rarely do. Pieces of paper do not have much effect on peoples behavior. In most cases it’s only a matter of who will breach the contract first. So each side handles the other like a neighboring war-like country. With diplomatic pleasentries and sutble reminders, whether it’s an awkward phone call or visit to talk about the late rent or non-working appliances. Now, if all goes well, and the full term is reached, then each party goes on their own seperate ways. But all too often, somebody doesn’t live up to their promise and the war begins. Landlords that professionally lease property become familiar with the scenarios that play out in their houses and subsequently very familiar with the laws that attempt to protect their assets. Tenant that habitually rent also become familiar with what they can get away with, and how little fun late-night packing can be. When either side has decided to plant their feet and not cooperate, very little happens next without the intervention of the legal system. Even the law cannot do much to fix these problems as new laws continues to counteract each sides case. And so, it comes down to a staring contest where the first to blink, loses.

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