Happy Anniversary to… well, Me!

Over a year ago, Steve mentioned to me that he was going to start a web log (blog) to track his progress of authoring while working on his book . While he was telling me about it, he told that he thought it would be funny if I started my own blog, since I always seem to have something to say about everything. I realized that he was right: I do have option on most things, but what I actually realized was that there also seems to be a never-ending stream of bizarre or unique events that happen to me, which causes me to have some strange story to tell. I decided to give the site a shot, and I started this web site in February 2002. After fighting with Network Solutions about my domain name for most of March, I wrote the initial posts and finally I went “live” with the site on April 1 – I find to be a rather fitting date of birth. Three providers and two website designs later, and the site is still running, offering two or three new posts per week. And the madness of my own life shows no signs of stopping, either, so it’s bound to keep the site going. Right now, I’m sitting at my desk at my day job – where I haven’t been paid for over a month now – in a Starbucks barista’s uniform, after having spent the last hour in a traffic jam just to get to here. Normal? Most people wouldn’t think so. I was planning on telling the story of why I’m dressed like this, but as is usually the case, when I drive to work there’s always something that happens that preempts my original writing.

This is a warning, and to my knowledge it’s the first of its kind online. If you see a silver 4-door Mercury Grand Marquis, New Jersey license plate NME-29S, get off the road as quickly as you can. I followed this dick-munch from Jersey for about ten miles of road on i-95 today and I can attest to this first hand: the man driving is a menace to all other drivers! I was stuck behind him during most of the 13 mile traffic jam that people call a commute from Bridgeport to Stamford (Connecticut, of course) on Interstate 95. The man almost caused three accidents, while we were traveling less than ten miles an hour.

As anyone that has driven this ugly corridor of i-95 knows, it’s usually bumper to bumper from the hours of 6:30 to 8:30 but the cars do move occasionally… it’s just at the average speed of 7.5 mph. There’s a lot of stop and go “parking” as you move down the road – unless a burning car stops all three lanes from moving (CT drivers can’t seem to pass a burning car without admiring the flames and with longing looks of wanting to toast a marshmallow before going to work) – but the traffic usually doesn’t come to a complete standstill. This would imply that all of the cars will move at the same speed and at the same time as traffic inches forward.

Not this driver! We were both in the left lane for most of this adventure. When the car in front of him would move forward, he wouldn’t move. He would start to edge forward when the car in front of him was now 1/8th of a mile ahead of him. Of course, this invites the cars from the middle lane to move in front of him, since he’s causing this pocket to open often enough. Only one car would be able to move in front of him, however, since he would lunge forward when he saw a car starting to change lanes in front of him. While we were stopped, he kept leaning his head out the window and looking at the ground; obviously he was a few sandwiches short of a picnic. This lasted for a mile – which was about ten minutes at this speed – and that’s when he started to get worse.

He flung out a cigarette out the window, followed by a few other things, which irked me. I’m not a green-friendly person, as anyone that knows me could tell you. I’m just as inclined to stick a battery in the ground and wait for a power plant to grow there as I am to dispose of the battery “properly”. The Green Message is lost on me. Yet, I have a floor full of napkins and ATM receipts on the floor of my passenger’s side front seat because littering is stupid and just plain lazy. OK, fine – he moves a level higher on my “People Most Likey To Be Removed From My Planet” list, but I can get over this – I only get pissed at flying cigarettes when I’m in the Jeep with the top down. Traffic was beginning to clear out a bit now – since it was now 8:45 – and we started to hit 30 miles an hour. This is when he became dangerous.

The man couldn’t stay in his lane. I don’t mean an occasional weave or even a swerve. I mean he had his hood ornament lined up on the while line at one point. I even beeped at him, from behind him, which is something I’ve never done before – he was that erratic. Was he on the phone? Probably. [I’m pro-cell phone in the car, actually – I’m just anti-stupid people in the car. The same people that have accidents “caused” by cell phones would just as easily been distracted by a CD player or the counting air molecules – the cell phone is just a catalyst and not the problem, so I don’t blame the phone; I blame the person.] Doesn’t matter to me what his problem was, but he now had a 1/4 mile of a gap in front of him and almost hit three cars in the middle lane.

Some where around Westport – midway through this odyssey for people not from CT – I saw a gap in the middle lane. I used all six cylinders in my VW for a change and moved around this nimrod – of course now I had to worry that he might hit me from behind, but I’d rather take that chance than watch him hit someone else and I hit him… If he rear-ended me, he’s automatically at fault. While I didn’t want to get hit at all, I’d rather have a sure-fire-blame than have to argue in court that this dork was a shitty driver. Shortly after I moved in front of him, he sped up, cut through the middle lane, and took off in the right lane, which was when I lost sight of him for a while. Another five miles up the road, I eventually passed him again; he was off on the side of the road with his hazards on.

Far be it from me to issue a public warning, but it’s warranted here. If it helps anybody out, maybe I’ll start a “List of Shame” for CT motorists and keep a running list of the evil driver’s license plates that cut me off, make right hand turns from the left most lane, or drive a Maxima. We already know that Maxima drivers would make up at least 45% of the total list; it’s just a question of outing the individual drivers this time!

On a somber note, hats off to Derek Jeter for a quick recovery, after last night’s play at third… One of the most violent I’ve ever seen on the infield and given the shoulder injury, I’m hoping that it hasn’t altered his career… I have some hope that he might be back before the end of the season, but it’s fleeting – I just would hate to his career marred by one night on the diamond. Sucked bollocks, is what it did, but there’s no one to blame for it – just one of those things.

More on the Starbucks uniform tomorrow or Thursday – it was just a pre-empted story, not a lost one.

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