Sunday, August 31, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
This past year I have ditched the Jeep and the scooter (don’t laugh) for the bus. It’s been a great ride, no pun intended. I’ve saved a TON of money not having to pay for parking, gas, commuter insurance, and other miscellaneous expenses. But with Adrian starting “big boy school” now, we’re having to switch things up a bit.
For the past year Jed has been taking me and the boys to daycare in the morning and then I would walk a mile to my office. In the afternoons I would walk back to the daycare and then the three of us would ride the bus home. But now Nathan has to get to school at 630 in the morning and Adrian’s school, 2 blocks from our house, doesn’t start until 730. Jed now takes Nathan to daycare in the morning and I stay behind with the clown to take him to school. While I LOVE riding the bus, the one problem I find with it is the schedules pretty much suck. They’re SUPPOSED to run every 20 minutes on my route, but it never fails that one will run earlier than its posted time and the other runs later than its posted time. For example: The NB #5 was SUPPOSED to get to the 16th & Lavaca stop at 403 pm yesterday afternoon. I got to the bus stop at 400. At 405 I realized I the bus had likely already passed and I would have to wait for the next one that SHOULD HAVE arrived at 417. At 434 it showed up, and I was hot, sweaty, and ten-shades of bitter. As a side note, living in a college town, when school is in session, there are 50,000 new residents a mile from my office and the traffic basically comes to a dead stop. When school is out of session, my ride usually takes about 25 minutes (to go six miles north). With all these adorable little students back in town, it takes much longer. So yesterday I got to the bus stop at 400 pm and I got home (SIX MILES AWAY) at 517 pm. RIDICULOUS.
While my work hours are MOSTLY flexible, I typically had worked 645 am to 345 pm. Now that I’m taking Adrian to school I’ve had to do some adjusting to the schedule. While I don’t mind working later, I don’t want to work TOO late because I’m also in school every evening from 700 pm to 945 pm. I don’t want to work TOO much later in the afternoons, because I WOULD like to spend SOME time with my family. Riding the bus after dropping Adrian off in the morning just isn’t an option anymore.
This morning I dusted off the seat on my scooter after dropping the kiddo off at school. Riding down Lamar this morning having the wind blow through the hair of my eyebrows was an amazing feeling. I had forgotten how cool the morning air is while hurling down the street on the back of a murdercycle at 40 miles an hour. I miss my scooter. My commute only takes me 15 minutes again, and I couldn’t be happier.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
About 2 weeks ago Jed and I had to go register Adrian for school. On the way to the elementary school he’ll be going to, Jed started getting all sappy and teary. I asked him what was up and he said he “Just wasn’t ready for Adrian to start school yet.” I tried to butch it up as much as I could and said, “Jed, they’re only ours for a little while…” and as the words started coming out of my mouth, I started getting a little choked up myself.
While commiserating with the mother this last weekend about how fast he’s growing up she told me that she couldn’t believe she’d passed her window of opportunity to keep him for any length of time and that now she would have to start sharing him on a school schedule basis. No shit?! THAT’S ANOTHER THING I hadn’t considered…long forgotten will be the days of loading the kids up on a Thursday for an impromptu camping trip at Homo Haven. And where did the time go? Three and a half years have passed and my bathroom still sits in shambles; the backyard, neglected; the house getting messier and messier…yet with all the outward appearances of “crap”, I see a house filled with love and memories in just 42 short months.
My son, if I do say so myself, is BRILLIANT. On Thursday, while talking to mom about time I can’t slow down, I walked into the house to grab a glass of water. Adrian came running into the kitchen and loudly demanded, “DADDY, YOU NEED TO GO BACK OUTSIDE.” I do, I wondered? “Why,” I asked. He replied, “Cuz you’re talking on da phone…(pregnant pause) and I can’t hear the t.v..” I snickered and told him “okay” and walked back outside. My mom and I got a good laugh about what a “sassy bitch” he had become. “Just like his father,” mom said. After just a few short minutes I realized I had forgotten to grab that glass of water I had gone in to get. So I walked back into the house (QUIETLY, of course…don’t want to disturb Adrian’s television watching!) and I catch that little fucker standing at the corner of the table, arm stretched out behind him (at least a good six feet…the kid’s got amazingly long arms) to the table INSIDE A BAG OF COOKIES while his neck is craned around a corner so he can see the television…obviously not able to hear me walk in. He was shoveling cookies into his mouth so fast that I thought he was a virginal Indian goddess with six arms moving. I yelled out, “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING.” And he said, “fgro fweod for foookies.” I couldn’t really make out what he was saying, as he had about 26-30 cookies in his mouth. I said, “Is THAT why you needed me to go back outside?” He said, “Yeth.”
I mean, for reals. How smart is that kid? To tell me I need to go back outside so he can hear the television…only to realize that he had gotten me out there so he had complete and totally free access to the cookies? BRILLIANT I tell ya, brilliant. And my mom repeated, “Just like his father.”
So Brandi and Brandon…and any of you other new parents out there, seriously, believe me when I tell you. You don’t get these minutes back. Enjoy every single one of them that you can.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
One of the presenters of this seminar was a member of ALLGRO here in Austin, which is basically a social network for gay and lesbian Latino/Latina business people...I THINK. Note the use of "Latino/Latina", not Mexican, not Hispanic. This will be very important in a few minutes. The seminar ended up being very divisive and pointed out some flaws within the gay community itself. You see, we, the gay community, can't even get along with ourselves. There was a dear sweet woman from PFLAG at this seminar who was chastised by the presenters for daring use the word Hispanic. Apparently it’s no longer P.C. to use this term. Now they want to be labeled Latino/Latina. This is the problem with labels. Nobody hands out a memo that says, "Uh, hey. You can't call us that any more. Now you must call us (fill in the blank)."
I get crap all the time for calling myself a faggot. You know what? Fuck you. I'll call myself what I want. To me, calling myself a faggot has the same effect that black people learned a long time ago. It takes away the power from the word and makes it less offensive. However I'm not sure what you’re supposed to call black people any more. We all know to stay away from the dreadful "N". But now when I say African American I get chastised by friends and am told that's not correct any longer, because they aren't African. Part of the problem with society in general is that nobody can make up their minds what THEY want to be called. Pick a label and stick with it. But don't get offended if I call you something that I’ve been programmed to call you. I don't call somebody something to intentionally be offensive, but if I've called you a particular label, it's because at some point in my process of learning, this is what I've been told by one of your people that this is what you want to be called. When I first realized my gayness back in the early 80s, our community was called GLT or Gay, Lesbian, Transgendered. A few years later the bisexuals (don't EVEN get me started) pitched a fit because they didn't fit into any of those categories, so it was changed to GLBT. I found out a few months ago at this seminar that it’s now called GLBTQQ, because the people who hadn't decided what the fuck they were wanted to be included so the wanted "queer questioning" added to it. This, in and of itself is contradictory, because are we gay, or queer? So who are we?
Leather Daddies/S&M Queens/Bears: You've all seen them. These are the folks that the media opts to choose to portray every time there’s a gay pride parade in your neighborhood. These are the fags that parade around in chaps, leather harnesses, stylish leather caps, and lead their partners around by a leash. These are the people that the media would like you to believe we all are. I have news for you readers. Freddy has never accepted anyone's fist into his anus. We are not all, nor are all leather daddies, freaks like that. Yes, they're out there. But their numbers are small. I have never led Jed around by a leash. I have never strapped him down in 4 point restraints and placed a ball gag in his mouth. And as far as I know, he has never worn a leather hood with a zipper over his mouth.
Drag Queens/Cross-Dressers/Entertainers: This is the second largest group of people who hog the media attention at the parades. If middle-America doesn't already believe that every homo is a leather stud, then they think we all put on a dress so we can look like Celine Dion and lip sync to bad music. Freddy, again, has never worn a dress or make-up. I have, however sang along to Madonna and a few other female singers. This does not make me an entertainer, this just makes me a Karaoke whore. Don't make the mistake of assuming or calling DQs Trannies, because this is a whole separate category.
Trannies/Transexuals/Transgendered: These are the folks that feel that they were born the wrong gender and choose to do something about it. My heart goes out to these people. While genital mutilation is not my bag, I've met some wonderful trannies in my life and they have all of my respect. What I don't get are the sub-culture of trannies that undergo so much to become the opposite sex, and THEN decide to become a homosexual. Yes. There are men who have become women only to become a lesbian. WTF?
Gym Bunny/Steroid Queens: These are the queers that try their bestest to look like mainstream America, pumping iron in the gym 6 hours/day, 9 days/week. We all know the truth about these queers, the only reason they spend so much time at the gym is they have the personality of a lettuce leaf, and the gym is the best place to look at half-naked men (or fully naked men if they're hanging out in the shower...no pun intended). Tragically, these men look FABULOUS from a distance, but then they speak and a purse falls out of their mouth. Must be the steroids.
Abercrombie/Pretty Boys: This is actually representative of the largest segment of our population. Who doesn't want to look good, smell good, taste good? Me. That's who. I’m an Old Navy kind of queer. I hate ironing, and I enjoy feeling comfortable. I am the anti-Abercrombie. I'm the queer that Abercrombie queers take on as their "ugly friend". Eyebrow waxing is painful to me. I just want to be me.
Effeminate/Flamboyant Queers: Everybody has an idea of what these people are. It's Robin Williams in The Birdcage; it's that queer in the pink shirt that was on Deal or No Deal this last Tuesday night. I've got a news flash for you people. I can't arrange flowers. I'm not exactly sure what Flan is. Yeah, I can cook, and yes, I do own Caphalon, but I am NOT a effeminate man. I change my own oil. I change my own tire. I've never had a mani/pedi (though I do know what they are). I drink shitty beer from a can. I can burn meat on the grill like nobody’s business.
"A" Gays: These guys are just assholes and not even worth talking about. They're the ones who think they're better than everyone else and are the lowest form of homosexual you can imagine.
What's my point? I don’t know that I've got one. I'll be the first to admit that I don't have any friends in any of the sub-categories I've mentioned above. It's not that I don't like these people. Call me "gayicst" if you will. I just don't find that I have anything in common with any of them. I don't think dick is enough of a commonality for me to want to hang out with these people on a regular basis. However, I fully realize that in order for us to gain acceptance with the general population, we must first work on organizing and appreciating the differences that make us unique. In that regard, I'm going to start opening up my mind to my own people. Only when we can accept our own group will we find acceptance with everyone else. It's going to take all of us working together to make a change. Just please, for the love of God, don't add any more letters to what we want to be called. It's confusing enough as it is. Everyone out there can call me what they wish. Queer, fag, faggot, gay, homo. I don't really care. As long as you just call me, you can even call me Freddy.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Why am I thinking about this years-gone-by pipe-dream today? I was listening to a story on NPR this morning on the way to work about people who were considered “the working poor who lived out of their cars.” I had no idea the numbers were so outrageously high. They interviewed a woman from Sacramento (I think that’s where she was from). By definition, the “working poor” were those who were making at, or just around, the federal minimum wage of $5.15/hr.
The jist of the story was that the new average cost of an apartment these days across America was $938/mo. For a full-time “working poor” person, this would far exceed their take-home pay of $786/mo. if you were to assume this person was working a full 40 hours a week. Thus there was a huge number of homeless full-time employees that were living out of their cars. If I recall the story correctly, Sacramento, along with Portland, were the only two cities in the nation that had a program where they would allow people to participate in a lottery to obtain 1 of 50 “safe” parking places in government parking garages between the hours of 7 pm and 7 am where they could park their “homes” and be safe from other homeless people and criminals. In all other areas of the country, living out of your car is still illegal with fines of up to $1000.
The woman interviewed for this story had been living out of her Mazda for 6 years. She had a full-time job as a parking lot attendant, presumably making the federal minimum wage of $5.15. She talked about the trials and hardships of living out of her car, although she also mentioned how she had persevered. It was, in fact, a very uplifting story.
But this is what started me thinking about my dream from childhood of living in a little Scamper. I am by no way implying that I would shuck everything I have now to downsize and live in a camper, but I do think I would rather live in a 100 square foot haven rather than sleep in the back seat of a 1986 Mazda Protégé. Impossible you scoff? Well let me lay it out for you.
If you were to assume that this person was indeed making the ridiculously low wage of $5.15/hr., that would net her $786/mo. Call me naïve, but I think there are places in this country that you can actually get a job for slightly more than that. Not much more, but I assume most employers offer a wage comparable to the cost of living for their cities. I know even in Austin you can get a job at a local grocery store starting at a minimum of $12/hr as a stocker. But let’s just, for the sake of arguing, use the federal minimum of $5.15/hr. and an average of $9.00. Still not a lot of money, but doable. So we’re now working with a net take home of $786-1342/mo.
In my travels I have seen some VERY nice travel campers for as low as $4000. Yeah, you can get those huge monstrosities for upwards of $90,000, but I’m talking about the little camper I dreamed of as a child. If you figure you can pick up a decent Scamper for 4 grand and amortize that over a 5 year period, with interest, you’re paying $70/mo. I don’t know how it is in the rest of the country, but in my little neck of the woods, there are lots of area campgrounds that are seriously within 20-30 minutes of the city of Austin where you can get a campsite with water and electric hook-ups for as low as $12/day. Some of these sites even have cable television hook-ups, but that costs a little more, so I won’t even mention them. These campgrounds have fully operational bathrooms with hot showers (in case you don’t want to shit in your 100 square foot space); each campsite has a cooking grill, fire ring, and picnic table; most of them are right on a major lake or area attraction. I realize most all of them have a maximum number of day limit that you can “camp” there, but this is usually a very generous 14 day rule. At the end of 14 days, you can hook up your home to your Mazda (that you clearly have paid for over the last 6 years you’ve been living in it) and move your home to another nearby park (STILL within 20-30 minutes of downtown) and relocate for another 14-days. This way you get a new “view” every 14 days and you can still drive your car to work. If you were to do this every day, you would be paying “rent” (which includes utilities) of $360/mo.
This solution would leave you between $430-912/mo. for gas and groceries depending on whether you’re making $5.15 or $9.00 and hour. I know it’s not as glamourous as, say, Paris Hilton. But it sure gives you a lot more comfort and space than the backseat of your car? Like I said, I’m not wanting to downgrade, but if something were to happen where I had to choose between the four of us sleeping in the back of a Scion XB or stretching out my legs in the comfort of a Scamper, I say pass the S’mores.
By the way, in case you’re wondering. The Scamp that I pictured above was listed on Autotrader “in excellent condition” for $1800. Imagine what you could get for 4 grand…I’m just sayin’!
Sunday, August 17, 2008
My mother is the queen of low price shopping. She has it down to a fine science. I'd like to say that the things she buys are "shabby chic", but the fact of the matter is its downright crap. My mother will buy truck loads of crap just because it was cheap and me, my sisters, and our children usually end up the recipients of this crap. Don't get me wrong. Freddy loves a good bargain just as much as the next person. But when the items purchased aren't useable, it ends up not being such a good bargain.
Her favorite place to shop is a place in OKC called N.B.C. Not to be confused with the television network, N.B.C. stands for Name Brand Clothing. It boasts prices at "1/2 off of 1/2". I don't understand why they don’t just say 75 % off, but that's a whole other story. All of the clothes here have some sort of defect. It can be something minor, like a pull in the fabric; it could be something a little more trouble than it's worth, like a missing zipper; it could be something major. These clothes are the clothes that have been rejected by the original stores, say Dillard's; then rejected by the dollar stores, say Ross; then rejected by Goodwill. My mother claims to have found many bargains there, but either she's kept these jewels to herself or she’s flat-out lying through her teeth.
The worst part, other than receiving crappy clothes, is that she ALWAYS leaves the tags on these clothes to show us how much she saved on us. This is both humiliating and insulting. My sisters and I have developed a secret look that we shoot each other as were opening up boxes and boxes of crap. Here are some REAL examples of things that I have received from NBC. And if you think I'm making this shit up, I've attached a photo at the very end for you to see one of my prized possessions to see if you can catch the flaw.
- One year for Christmas my oldest sister received a beautiful sweater. It had 2 two inch squares cut out of the back of the sweater where the posts from a store mannequin were inserted. My mother insisted it was still cute and perhaps Dana could wear a jacket over the sweater to cover up the holes.
- I once wanted a pair of Doc Martens and my mom found a pair at NBC for $5. The left shoe was missing the tongue.
- BOTH of my sisters have received swimming suits from my mother with snail trail.
- Despite having told my family MANY times that I am not a XXXL, I still manage to receive articles of clothing that could house a small family. I still have a package of underpants, sized 46. I'll never be able to wear them. My mother insists she thought the package said 36 (still insulting), but I'm sure the fact that they were only a quarter was the real reason she bought them.
- My youngest son just received a powder blue quilted jacket with a gorgeous belt. Clearly my mother has trouble distinguishing the fact that just because it's blue it doesn't mean it's a boys jacket. My mother has me dressing my 2 year old son as a girl, no wonder the Republicans hate me.
- For my birthday I got a food processor. It was missing the discs and cutting blades.
- A few years ago I asked for a juicer. The juicer I got had been previously used, however not cleaned. It was full of mold.
- The last gem we received was at Christmas. My mom got this outfit for Adrian. It still had the NBC tag on it. Jed and I were so confused when we got it. It looked cute. Nothing jumped out at us as being wrong with it. It wasn't until we were putting it on Adrian that we figured it out. Can you figure out why this was half of half?
Friday, August 15, 2008
B.J. (or “Before Jed”) I dated a boy named Kerry. Kerry also grew up PWT on a cotton farm in Lubbock, Texas. To entertain ourselves we decided once a month that one of us would make one of the most awfulest dinners from our childhoods that we could remember and called it “White trash dinner night”. It was fun times. I couldn’t play this same game with Jed, because Jed grew up on Galveston Island, and everyone knows that if it’s an “Island”, it can be trashy. Right? Wrong. In fact, Jed and I do experience some of the more favorite culinary disasters from his childhood too. Yes boo kat. You’re not escaping my blog!
I’ll begin the humiliation with myself. While growing up, my mother could make 3 things, and only 3 things. It’s no secret that the cooking duties were left to my father. Some people just weren’t meant to cook, and Barb was one of those people. One of her specialties was “Spam Salad”. Why they called it a “salad”, I’ll never know. There wasn’t one redeeming healthy quality about this “salad”. It had everyone’s favorite canned meat product; a hefty helping of mayonnaise and egg yolks; noodles, peas, and oh yes, did I mention a full-cup of mayonnaise? Her other dish was “Tuna Salad”. Again with this “salad”. Who did she think she was kidding? THERE WAS NO LETTUCE. Her tuna salad was just like her spam salad. Except whereas the spam salad would be placed back in the refrigerator to chill after it was prepared, the tuna salad would be placed in the oven to heat up before it was served. Now that I think about it, the tuna salad MIGHT have had a can of cream of mushroom soup added to everything else to make it extra special. If Barb was going to be REALLY decadent, she would crumble is couple of fists fulls of Ruffles potato chips on top of the tuna salad before baking it. It was, as I recall, delicious.
Kerry, as I mentioned, grew up on a farm. His first (and last) attempt at recreating meals from his childhood failed miserably. In fact, that son-of-a-bitch is lucky I didn’t call the police for attempted murder after his dinner. His favorite childhood meal was “pan-fried steak”. He prepared this meal with all the giddiness of a school girl receiving her first “pin”. What he sat down in front of me wasn’t fit for a dog. Imagine my shock, pain, and horror as I cut into this meat and it disintegrated into a cloud of dust. “Kerry, sweetie,” I said to him, “WE HAVE REFRIGERATION HERE IN THE CITY. YOU DON’T HAVE TO COOK YOUR MEAT SO IT CAN BE CARBON DATED HERE.” Yes, apparently in the back woods of Lubbock it was customary to hang your meat up on a hook outside the back door and then cut off the pieces you needed to cook. This lack of refrigeration required that you cook the shit (and moisture) out of your food so that you didn’t die from bacterial poisoning.
Jed grew up thinking all food came from a box or a can. When we first started dating, I made him one of his now favorite dishes, “Freddy Surprise”. It’s basically pork chops with a tomato pepper sauce and garlic mashed potatoes. Jed was shock and surprised to learn that mashed potatoes didn’t really come from a box as his mother had led him to believe. You can honestly get mashed potatoes FROM a potato.
One night I had asked Jed what he wanted for dinner. He said, “Macaroni & Cheese”. So I headed down to my local grocery store and purchased some noodles, heavy cream, cheddar cheese, some bread crumbs, and butter and went home to throw together a master piece of fresh, home-made macaroni & cheese. After an hour or so, Jed started getting antsy. Wondering what on earth could possibly be taking so long. Pacing back and forth through the kitchen. I finally called him to the table to eat and he looked at my beautiful creation as if I had just shat on his plate. “What’s this?” he asked. “It’s macaroni and cheese. Isn’t that what you wanted?” “It’s not orange.” Was his reply. Apparently I had no idea that Mac N’ Cheese was only acceptable to Jed if made with “orange powder”. TO THIS DAY, he prefers Orange powdery mac n’ cheese over the real thing. Go figure.
One of my favorite things to make in my house is some good ole Frito Chili Pie. YUMMY. White trash? YOU BETCHA. Delicious? I ain’t gonna lie. It’s the bomb-digity-bomb-bomb. The first time I made it for Jed he asked, “where’ the rice?” WHA? RICE? IN FRITO CHILI PIE? “We always put rice in our Frito Chili Pie when I was growing up,” says Jed. So I don’t want my boo kat to suffer. I say, “HOLD UP, WAIT A MINUTE.” I go in the kitchen to put on a pot of rice. This won’t take any time at all my love. After 5 or so minutes, Jed (again) starts getting antsy with me.
“Where’s my dinner?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I thought you wanted rice?”
“Are you making rice?”
“What’s taking so long?”
“Jed, rice take exactly 25 minutes to make.”
“No it doesn’t, it only takes a minute. It says so on the box.”
OH HELL NO! Minute rice? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? To this day Jed STILL refuses to learn how to make rice properly. I have told him ad nauseam how to properly make rice. I have showed him. I have made him read the directions. He can’t do it. What’s worse, he can’t tell the difference between “real rice” and “re-hydrated rice product”. In fact, he insists on calling Minute Rice “real rice”.
So there you have it folks. Some good eats to think about for this weekend. Do let me know your favorite childhood food traumas and whether or not you’ve tried to replicate them as an adult. And, as always, have a fantastic weekend.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
When I was a wee lad we had this class available to us in school. It was, of course, an elective class, not a requirement. But most of us took it as a way to kill our summer months between the 9th and 10th grades. It was called “Driver’s Ed”, “Ed” being short for EDUCATION for those of you who haven’t had your afternoon Starbuck’s yet.
In this class we learned an amazing skill. It was called DRIVING. And we didn’t have to do it driving around the cars with the pizza deliveryesque billboards on the top of them announcing to everyone (as if nobody could tell) “WARNING: DRIVING STUDENTS ON BOARD!!!” No shit. That person going 15 in a 65 is a DRIVING STUDENT? I just though he was EIGHTY. Not that I’m saying all older drivers are shitty drivers…no, that must JUST be my dad.
Even if people ARE, in fact, still taking driving classes some 20+ years after I did, it appears that today’s instructors are leaving out some of the basics. Mainly, traffic courtesy and RIGHT OF WAY. It was always my understanding that yielding the right-of-way was not only, let’s say THE LAW, but it was also a common driver courtesy that you would extend to your fellow drivers. Let’s say you’re both on your Sunday afternoon drive to your house of worship with your 2.4 children in the back seat and you approach an intersection at the same time someone on your right approaches. What should you do? Well back in the day you would have wave your WHOLE hand at the person next to you, NOT just a single digit, and you would play, “you go ahead…no, you go ahead…” for about 3 minutes. Not anymore. Apparently there’s a sense of entitlement that every driver shares that is, “It’s my RIGHT, it’s my WAY.” Oh, and here’s your single digit wave.
I hate you all.
As I was riding in the passenger seat on the way home from Sonic the other night with my grandmother driving (a/k/a Jed), he approached a four-way stop sign at the same time another driver approached his left. The older gentleman to our left started playing the old familiar game I mentioned above, you know, the “you go ahead…no you go ahead…” with Granny Jed. Jed, of course (since he digs older dudes) plays back. I finally said, “FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST MARMIE! WOULD YOU FUCKING GO ALREADY.” Then I turned around and explained to the boys that these were a “daddy word” before resuming my “conversation” with Jed. He said that he was just being polite, and I told him that he was just being annoying. That it was, in fact, HIS TURN to go through the intersection because he had been on his future tricks RIGHT HAND SIDE. I said, “WHY DO YOU THINK THEY CALL IT ‘RIGHT-OF-WAY’?” And he said, as he always does when he hates that I’m right, “Oh!” Apparently this WASN’T something they taught in driver’s ed in Texas. And before all you asshats start leaving kudos and words of encouragement for Jed being all “saintly” and all for putting up with my shit, we both already know how lucky I am that he sticks with me, so just stick to the point.
So for those of you who don’t understand the simple principles of driving, I give you…driving lessons.
First, the basics:
- When you hear the sirens of an emergency vehicle, you pull over to the side of the fucking road. You don’t keep going, and you certainly don’t immediately switch lanes because the other lane miraculously cleared out for you. And you also are not an extension of that emergency vehicle. Therefore when it passes you, you don’t TAILGATE it trying to bypass all the lights yourself. If you do, you deserve to be INSIDE the ambulance, not behind it.
- When somebody does you a solid, ACKNOWLEDGE IT. Even the slightest of movements from your wrist to your fingertips (ALL OF YOUR FINGER TIPS) will be appreciated by there person who let you in to that last second spot so you could make your immediate turn.
- Rain DOES NOT equal ICE! If it starts sprinkling, it’s no cause for alarm, and no need to drop your speed to 20 miles below the speed limit, especially if the speed limit is only 30 to begin with.
- Stop signs and stop lights apply to you too.
- There is a huge difference between a Stop Sign and a Yield Sign. Not only do they LOOK different, they also mean different things. “Yield”, for example, means YIELD THE RIGHT-OF-WAY.
- SIGNAL YOUR INTENTIONS. If you want in my lane, please let me know by using that stick on your steering wheel that magically makes one of your taillights flash. Likewise, if you’re going to make a turn (suddenly or planned) use the same blinking mechanism.
- FIGURE OUT WHERE YOU NEED TO BE/GO BEFORE YOU START YOUR CAR.
- If turns make you nervous, take the fucking bus.
- If you see a hot shirtless man on the side of the road changing a tire, ALWAYS stop to offer assistance. Even if he’s not “that hot”, you should maybe stop anyway…he may be on his way to extend his gym membership.
Now please forgive my rudimentary diagrams. I’m not as proficient with “Paint” as I am with “Explorer”:
Now in Figure A we have 2 cars traveling towards each other and approaching a four-way stop. If both cars were going to continue in their same direction of travel (IE: Continue going gaily forward), they would both come to a complete stop, and then continue through the intersection. IF, however, car B was going to SIGNAL his intention of turning right; after coming to a complete stop, car B would wait until car A cleared his way through the intersection before proceeding with his turn. I know folks. It’s confusing. But you can do it, I PROMISE.
In figure B I’ve pictured a scenario that I mentioned above…flashback to Jed driving? Okay. Cars A & B approach the same four-way stop intersection at the same time. Car A is continuing forward, as is Car B. However, since Car B is on Car A’s immediate right, Car B gets to get about his day first. Then Car A can rush to happy hour. Doesn’t matter if Car A is trying to turn into Car B’s line of traffic or not, Car B STILL gets to go first. Don’t forget that friendly 5 fingered wave.
Figure C got eaten by my dog. Curses dog.
Figure D introduces the Yield Sign. Isn’t it pretty? It sort of reminds me of the pink triangle. This is what I see every day that I leave my house. On the end of my street there is a Yield Sign. The cross traffic does not stop. It doesn’t have to. It doesn’t have a stop sign. Nor does it have a stop light. People seem to have the mistaken impression that Yield means you don’t have to stop at all. It’s like a “free pass”. They approach the sign and the turn at 30 mph with no regard or care to the people in the cross traffic. Let me tell you. It’s a fun little intersection. A Yield Sign, if you must know, means slow down and proceed when the traffic is clear. It doesn’t mean barrel out in front of a car that is going 35 right towards your door. It also doesn’t mean you HAVE to come to a complete stop, but it’s okay if you do.
Figure E was hard for me to do. I intended the squiggly line to go back and forth several times, however I had no such luck. Not all areas of the country have this anyway. For those that do, know that it’s not a sobriety checkpoint. No. It’s a signal that you’re entering a School Zone. If you’re going 40, kindly drop your speed down to 20 and proceed with caution. Especially if you’re in MY neighborhood, because in a few years it’ll be my bratty children walking to school while Adrian is screaming at Nathan, “Would you cross the fucking street already?”
If you don’t drive, thank you. If you do drive, practice the rules. If you live by the rules, you rock harder than Amadeus.