Thursday, June 15, 2017

Don't Eavesdrop

I'm not one of those "bring your lunch to work" guys. I can't just sit at my desk for nine straight hours without a break. If my day is not broken up halfway through, by the end I'm searching through my drawers for a rope that will support my weight.

Sometimes I head over to the second-nearest supermarket and buy a frugal lunch. Since there is no free wi-fi so I can watch Netflix on my phone, I usually return to the company lunchroom area to relax and consume my cheaply obtained fare while staring at my propped up cell phone.

The beauty of this is that the headphones block out all surrounding distractions, a necessity demonstrated by the rest of this story.

When I completed the episode of "Sherlock" I was watching last week I left the wrappers and containers on the table as I used the restroom to clean something I had spilled on my hands. I returned to the table to clean up my mess, I caught the conversation of the three women at a nearby table. Walking to the bathroom they were chatting about which NBA star who's team was currently in the finals would make the best boyfriend.

When I returned, however, the conversation had shifted to, and this is a completely accurate quote "You know the bible says if your boyfriend is cheating on you, you got to kill him."

Yikes! Not even, "You should kill him" or "you can kill him." You "got" to kill him. It's a moral imperative. It is now your responsibility to remove him from the world.

The response from the other ladies was even more surprising to me. "Maybe your bible says that. But my bible doesn't." What? Do people think bibles differ this much? I realize there are different translations and interpretations, but one says "you gotta kill your boyfriend" and another one says "thou shall not kill" and both of them are equally valid?

Also, who could possibly interpret the bible, one of the most misogynistic works ever written, to contain a rule where women are permitted to kill men? Kill a cheating woman? I could definitely see that, but the reverse seems very unlikely. If you are a modern woman who believes, however, I understand how you could make this gender conversion work for you. Maybe there are even modern translations that make this gender neutrality more prevalent?

Two lessons learned. Don't eavesdrop on other people's conversations, and don't date religious women.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

People Change

Last year I decided to drive to New England from here in Tennessee to visit a friend and to hand deliver a birthday gift to my brother and his daughter. He was turning 50 and she was turning 18 so I thought it would be nice to see them again. We don't get to see each other very often, maybe twice in 15 years.

I had a whole week off so I also thought it would be cool to visit Atlantic City. I love to visit Las Vegas and had never been to AC before. It's almost shocking since I grew up in the DC area and it's really a short drive from there to the Jersey shore. That seemed like light years away from me then, now it's hours closer than Tunica Mississippi which I drove to on Memorial Day weekend. I could check out AC, play some cards in the Taj Mahal before it closes, and then head up to Foxwoods. Then on to Boston and New Hampshire.

The strangest thing happened to me when I was driving through the Virginia/Washington DC area. I was driving my car on the beltway and the traffic was fast moving but intensely busy. I had previously debated riding a motorcycle for the trip but decided the car was a much better idea. The bike would have been much more challenging, which is what attracted me to the idea. But clearer heads prevailed.

As I was negotiating traffic I had multiple near misses and I was very much on edge in the driver's seat. I don't drive in heavy traffic often any more, especially since I took this job where I take a two-lane country highway at 55 MPH all the way to work every day. I distinctly remember thinking "I'm sure glad I didn't take the bike. This would be terrifying. You'd have to be a lunatic to drive a motorcycle in this area."

It was almost a half an hour later when I was nearing Baltimore that I realized I am that lunatic.

I used to live in Virginia, and I worked at a place inside the beltway. When I was twenty I bought a motorcycle, a Yamaha FZ 250. Not even a big motorcycle, a little one cylinder 250cc baby crotch rocket. I had never ridden any kind of bike before. I just went to a dealer, found one where my feet could touch the ground and bought it figuring I'd learn to ride it on the way home.

And I rode it all over the DC area. Inside, outside and on the beltway. Day and night, rain or shine. Only snow could keep me off the roads. It's not like the traffic in that area has changed either. If anything it was even more scary then because cars were such pieces of shit in the 80s. Even that bike ran on regular gas, which was getting tough to find in 1989.

It boggles my mind that it took me almost half an hour to realize that I have changed so much that not only would I not ride a motorcycle in that situation any more, but that there was a time when I did it without even a thought of how dangerous it was. I had forgotten who that person was and what he was like.

I know people sometimes say about their past "that was in a previous life" but sometimes it really feels that way.

Thursday, April 27, 2017


I drive a plug-in hybrid electric car, and I'm lucky that my workplace has electric charging stations where I can charge my car while I work.

One day when plugging in my car I noticed a coin sitting on the ground in front of the charger. I picked up the coin and placed it on the top of the charger. It's kind of slanted, so every day the coin slides a little way towards the front of the charger, eventually falling back onto the pavement. Occasionally I pick up the coin again and place it back atop the charger. I've been doing this for at least six months. Someday the coin will disappear. It will fall and roll farther away than I care to look, or someone will see the coin on the ground or the charger and take it for themselves. Until then, I will keep putting the coin back up on the charger.

Thursday, April 13, 2017