A brief note to drivers

If y’all don’t mind, I’d like this to become my most famous post ever. I want this getting 10,000 views a day for the rest of my life. I want it shared in drivers’ ed classes. Hell, I want it to be the only topic of entire days of drivers’ ed classes.

If you stop, unpredictably, in order to allow someone to pull from a side road or exit from a business and turn left in front of you, ESPECIALLY if you are already in the left lane of traffic when you do this, you should lose your license. On the spot. It should self-destruct inside your goddamn wallet and burn a painful hole in your ass. And once you have lost your license and bandaged your burnt ass, whoever is behind you and managed to avoid rear-ending your ignorant self should get to choose one of your body parts (possibly the other unburnt half of your ass) to cut off and wear around as a hat.  

The protection of the law should no longer apply to you if you make a decision like this.

Fucking stop it.

In conclusion, I hate you and hope you die. Which, given how you drive, will probably happen sooner rather than later.

The end.

In which I live to serve, but not for much longer

butler-rhettActual Fiction has happened today; not much, but nonetheless Actual Fiction, so I feel pretty good about the universe right now.  I was supposed to spend the morning taking care of my last Act of Ridiculous Customer Service (why, sure, I’ll drive to Michigan and pick up the seat of your armless chair and drop it off at the leather reconditioning place so you don’t have to do it!  Why not?) but the timing ended up not working out so I’m probably doing that tomorrow.

This will be the last time I drive anywhere for a customer, which pleases me.  It probably seems slightly more unreasonable than it actually is, at least in my head; I don’t always have a lot to do on my days off and if I’m just going to spend the day on the couch playing video games or staring at HGTV I may as well drive for a bit and listen to some podcasts instead, y’know?  Yeah, gas costs money, but so does everything else, so I’m not going to worry about it all that much.

Anyway.  The world seems to be a bit more on fire than usual this week and there’s a Big Corporate Visit coming next week at work so I’ve been mostly keeping my head down.  Anything going on out there that doesn’t involve disaster?

Adventures in customer service

IMG_6872
The kid’s doing well, in case you were wondering.  Also, the iPhone’s Portrait Mode is ridiculous.

So last weekend sometime I sold a sectional.  I am absolutely religious about checking ETA dates whenever I order furniture, as you are probably aware if you’ve ever read any of my posts about my job before.  I absolutely despise dealing with pissed-off people, which makes me the most honest salesperson on the planet, because I’ll lose a sale in a second before I’ll misrepresent when something is gonna come into the store.  Because you’re gonna notice, and I’m not gonna want to deal with you when you do.

So.  A bit of background: our company has two main warehouses.  Our upholstered product is all supposed to come to us from one of them, but if that warehouse is out of a particular piece and the other warehouse has it, we can send an email and switch which warehouse it comes from and it still shows up on the same timeline.  I do this a lot, as you can probably imagine.  However, the person who responds to those emails works banker’s hours.  So I was rather dismayed on Monday to discover that a particular piece had sold out from the secondary warehouse over the weekend and that I now couldn’t get it until– wait for it– June, when I told my customers to expect it in the store in 7 to 10 days.

June is farther away than 7 to 10 days.

No problem!  I found one at our Lafayette store, and decided that rather than wait for a truck to come through from their store to ours and hope that they remembered to put the piece on that truck, I’d just go get it myself today.  It’s like a two hour drive.  I have a former student who I’m still in touch with and quite fond of who is a sophomore at Purdue, so I’ve got somebody to grab lunch with, too!  I’ll go get the piece and have lunch and come back and drop it off at the store and nobody’s the wiser and I’ll lose a chunk of my commission on gas money but whatever.  I like the occasional car trip.

Go ahead, check the weather report for today for northern Indiana.  Because holy Christ, why did I do that stupid thing I did.  I have never seen fog in my life like the Lovecraftean, Ravenloft-esque insanity that I had to drive through today.  We’re talking maybe three seconds of visibility in front of the car, less on the heavy spots, for the first two thirds of the trip.  I thought about turning back repeatedly, consistently falling prey to the sunk cost fallacy and reasoning that surely I was damn near out of the fog by now and that it would be, would have to be, gone by the time I was on my way home.

Also, once I got to campus, my GPS utterly shit the bed, trying at one point to send me the wrong way down a one-way street, then redirecting me to another street that it could have just left me on the entire time rather than taking me out of its way to nearly die, and then directing me into an alley between two buildings that abruptly turned into a bike path that just-as-abruptly turned into nothing, at which point I called my former student and described where I was as best I could, informing her that I wasn’t moving my car again and she needed to come find me.

(Also: I’m not a complete idiot.  The other problem with Purdue’s campus is that there are damn near no signs anywhere.  Signs that say things like “No Exit,” which one might put before a point-of-no-return road of some sort.)

Also, Logansport, Indiana is the worst place in the world and I don’t want to hear any different from any of you.  I got directed through “town” for some reason and half of the place was utterly deserted and everyone in the rest of it had the Innsmouth look.  I deliberately took a different route back to avoid the town.

We lingered over lunch, at any rate.  I was the oldest person in the restaurant by at least 18 years and we were both vastly entertained by the literal hush that fell over the room when we walked in, as everyone tried to figure out if I was a sugar daddy or not.  When the hell did college students get so Goddamned young?

I was planning on being home by 2:00 and didn’t bother leaving West Lafayette until after 1:00, figuring that the fog would have to have burned off by then.

Nope.  Just as bad on the way home as on the way down there, except without the opportunity to turn back.  Also, west central Indiana smells terrible.  That sounds like I’m just being mean because of IU vs. Purdue regionalisms and I swear I’m not.  It smells awful.

Point is, I think I deserve a tip for this one.

So, my car

Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 5.02.01 PMI done fucked up today, I think.

My current car is a 2001 Ford Escape with nearly a hundred and seventy thousand miles on it.  The fabric on the driver’s side door is mostly peeled off, there are big patches of rust inside all the doors, and there’s a big crack in the rear bumper.  The radio intermittently decides it needs to take a rest and won’t turn back on for anywhere from a few seconds to a day.  It leaks oil from a leak so deep in the engine that repairing it is an absurdity.  And its gas mileage… well, leaves something to be desired.

That said: it turns on when I need it to turn on and it gets me where I want to go, and while it’s loud as hell at speed it’s not an uncomfortable ride by any means.  It’s just that at 170K it is only a matter of time until something breaks that will be pointless to repair.  To get ahead of myself a bit, I was offered $1200 for it as a trade today and I think it was probably a pretty generous offer, all told.

The boy has named the car Joey Car Kristofferson.  I will very much miss having a car named Joey Car Kristofferson, to the point where I will probably insist that its replacement be named Joey Car Kristofferson II.  (My wife’s car, incidentally, is called Lisa Car James.  Don’t ask where the boy got the names.  No one knows.)

So anyway, I took that car up there for a test drive earlier today.  It’s a 2016 Kia Soul in the + trim level, with 28,000 miles on it.  It’s immaculately clean and seems to run beautifully.  It’s small– trunk space, in particular, is kind of a joke– but it fits my main need in a vehicle, which is that it rides high enough that I climb into the seat and slide out, rather than the other way around.  I refuse to struggle to get out of my car, which means I’ll never own a sedan again.  I’ve started to seriously hate them.  I test drove a brand-new Ford Escape a few months ago, and loved it, but financially I think it’s a better idea to go for a lightly used vehicle right now rather than a new one.  Unless I lease, which I might choose to do but <insert every website and argument about leasing ever> and my brain isn’t set up for that right now.

It’s just under fifteen thousand bucks, that car, and with the financing I’d expect to get I’d probably be making payments of just over $200 a month.  Which is in the neighborhood where I’m thinking Yeah, I can swing that rather than I can afford that.  To my mind, that’s a real difference; you can swing a new purchase if you can come up with some ways to cut costs that would absorb a lot of the new bill and figure you’ll be okay.  You can afford something if you don’t have to think at all about what you’ll do to pay for it.  For example, I can afford to spend $25-50 pretty much whenever I want so long as I don’t, like, do it every day.  But if I want to buy a new shirt or something?  I don’t have to think about that.  A car payment means I’m thinking things like well, I do eat out way too often anyway and I’m spending too much fucking money on comic books every week while I’m considering what it would do to my budget.  And the down payment would have to come out of our mutual savings, which my wife will likely have something to say about.  We did just drop three and a half grand on a new bed, after all.

I’m not sure I have a point here, and I don’t know if I’m asking for advice or just talking.  I just need to decide how quickly I think I need a new car, and whether I should buy a new one before I need a new one.

Go buy some of my books and make this easier, dammit.  🙂

A quick question for everyone (music)

kendrick_lamar_grammys_performance_rhceuz.jpgAs I was driving home I was listening to music and reflecting on how I really need to find a way to put a car into my living room somewhere.  Either that or I need to invest in a really high-quality pair of headphones.

Why?  Because more and more lately the car seems to be the best place for me to absorb music.  I still buy at least two or three new albums every single month, and some are heavier than others.  I seem to be rather unique in that among the adults I know; I just asked my wife when the last time she bought new music was and she thought for a long time and said it might have been before our son was born.

He just turned 5, remember.

1383089177_5d7c613188689706de8fdb506ca69d95.pngSo, yeah: I still spend a decent amount of money on music.  In fact, other than books and comics, music is the thing I spend the largest share of my discretionary income on.   And what I’m finding is that until I’ve listened to a new album in my car, it’s as if I haven’t heard it at all.  This was driven home recently by the first time I listened to a recent Hopsin album in the car.  I’d listened to it over and over again at home, and I mean it: it was like I’d never heard it before.  I appreciated that album so much more after keeping it in rotation in the car for a while than I had when had just listened to it on my computer– and my computer has good speakers!

(You might be wondering why there’s a picture of Kendrick Lamar at the top of this post.  Same deal. I never properly appreciated Kendrick until listening to him while I was driving.)

Anyway, here’s the question: Are you, as a presumed adult (and if you’re not an adult, let me know and then answer anyway,) still buying music?  And where’s the best place for you to listen to it?