Saturday, June 27, 2015

Meet Ziggy!

It's all about the Ziggy love today. I fell for this little guy one day at work, while rearranging the stuffed toy display. He just got me.

The thing is I'm about to take off around the world and I'm thinking Ziggy's the perfect companion. He never complains. He's very photogenic and, let's face it, he's got a great permanent smile. No extra fares are involved. In fact, no extra costs at all.

Yep, I've decided when we finally hit the road, it's be the adventures of Kathy and Ziggy, or maybe Ziggy and Kathy. Heck, he might just get a blog all his own!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Signaling is NOT Optional

Some of you are probably aware that I love my job as a shuttle driver for a giant Toyota dealership here in the Sacramento area. Most of my days are well-spent, driving folks home, to work or maybe the mall and I enjoy them. However…there are things that annoy the hell out of me, all relating to the insane drivers I encounter along the way.  Let’s just review the rules of the road and you tell me if you’ve run into any of these people yourself.


Let’s define tail-gating, because this seems to have been missed in Drivers Ed class by some people. We are supposed to allow a car’s length between ourselves and the next car for every 10 miles per hour we are going. Therefore, if you’re driving at 40 miles per hour, there should be four car lengths between you and the next guy.  I’m especially fond of the drivers who double the speed and half the car lengths at the same time, i.e. 80 miles per hour while riding the other car’s bumper at two car lengths away. I see it all the time - every day, in fact.  My method for dealing with this? I pull over the minute I can and let them go by. Usually, I’ve managed to take this whole thing personally (they’re just bugging me in particular) and realize that they are equal opportunity tailgaters when they immediately run right up on the behind of the next car. I think there should be some form of capital punishment for this behavior. Flogging, perhaps?

And on the same line of thinking, what happened to using the blinker? I know they’re still teaching that in driving school, yet approximately 15% of drivers, young and old alike, don’t seem to know where the knob is located.  Hint: it’s that odd-looking lever that sticks out behind your steering wheel on the right. That’s right, you’ve got it now. (Speaking to the 15% of readers who also do this – oops, I forgot my readers are entirely too smart to think signaling is optional.)


I truly don’t get this new trend for drivers to stop at a light miles from the car in front of them. What is that about? Okay, maybe not miles, but far enough away that you could run a football play in the yardage between the cars. Does it hurt anything? Probably not, but really, what’s going on? This seems to have cropped up in the past few years. I just don't get it, but I'm pretty sure there's a conspiracy there somehow.

The second item under this heading is merging. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, knows that when we’re forced to merge into one lane, every other car takes a turn. Yet there’s always at least one yokel who just has to push it and be car number two to proceed from his or her line. No! Every other one. Be human, will you? Monkeys are not yet allowed to drive.


I can guarantee every single driver that constantly rushing from one place to the next will not prevent them being late occasionally, nor will it necessarily get them to their destination any faster. How often have you had someone cut you off only to pull up aside them at the next stop light? Let's just slow it down people. Perhaps a little Zen shrine on the dashboard would help? Maybe some massage music in the CD player?


I’ve decided to look into marketing digital message boards for the back windows of our cars with some preset messages so that you can just push a button and LED lights will spell out “Back off”, or some similarly universal message.  Perhaps “I’m going to tell your mother how you’re driving.” Of course, you’d still have to allow people to personalize their message when appropriate as in “Hey you! Yes, you in the Black Escalade. I know you’re a soccer mom so quit driving like a drug dealer. Okay!?”

I’m looking for venture capitalists as I write this!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Living Other People’s Lives

This post has been bubbling up in me for a while now, the phrase roiling around in my head picking up lint as I decided what the benefits and downsides were of living other people lives. 

What do I mean by that? Well, as a society we spend enormous amounts of time watching television, movies and reading, all of which immerse us in the doings of characters, either real or fictional. It must be a powerful pull, this desire to observe human beings in their best, worst and everyday modes of behavior because I personally don’t know a single person who doesn’t do one of these things. It might be necessary to visit a monastery to find one. What keeps us watching or reading? (By the way, there is no good synonym for reading. Interesting.)

An easy explanation would be that we are looking for a connection with the individuals; perhaps a metaphor within their lives to our own. But surely not with reality TV stars, with their outlandish antics, and yet there’s a huge following for that sort of thing. 

“Come on, Kathy,” I can hear you saying, “it’s just entertainment.” Maybe that's true too. Escape. Still, you have to wonder why viewing others in the midst of agonizing situations, or sometimes ridiculous ones, would serve to relax or even stimulate us. 

I’m sure there’s a study or two on why we watch television or go to the movies. Maybe there’s one on why some people prefer reading over a filmed diversion. I’m just questioning why being inside another’s life is so alluring an alternative to living our own lives. 

I’m just as guilty as the next person of frittering away the hours, with a book in my hand or a DVD in the player. (I gave up actual TV years ago because I recognized I was addicted.) I’m just wondering if I took just 25% of that time and spent it outdoors, or in a museum, or volunteering at the local food bank, if I wouldn’t be a richer person.  That would be living my own life rather than that of actual or imagined folks.

What do you think?