Apr 20, 2011

On Hold, Again

Yesterday I was on hold with an airline.  You know what that’s like, yes? I feel like I should leave an extra long space here…

…to mirror what it was like to be on hold with the airline.  At the beginning of the call, that voice told me it would like to help me.  It would like to direct my call so the airline can best serve me.  Then that  same helpful voice told me my wait would be 25-35 minutes!  Not so helpful, after all, mister.  That is a really long time!  And nobody sits around for 25+ minutes just listening to airline chatter about how well they serve us.  I tried it.  My cheek hung up the phone twice and I had to start over. Twice.

So this got me to wondering; what do those airline reps hear when they finally answer our calls?  Because I was very close to attempting a brief trip to the bathroom during my wait.  They must sometimes catch someone tinkling or flushing after 20 minutes or so.  As I’ve hit middle age I seem to only have 20 minutes between bathroom stops so the 25-35 minute wait is pretty much asking for a shared auditory experience.

And standing around waiting is also a trigger to snack!  I’ll bet the reps often pick up to hear someone who just took a huge bite of chips and salsa.  “How can I help you today, ma’am?”

“Ri ramph rimph ri romphing raph.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t understand you, ma’am.  Could you please repeat that?”

“Ri raid, ri ramph rint ri roarding rass!” 

“I’m sorry, one more time, ma’am, you said your ramps rid high swording mass?” 

Swallow. “No!  I can’t print my boarding pass!” 

And after the rep does or doesn’t help, she gets off the phone and turns to her co-worker, laughs a really long time, and says “Chips and salsa again.” 

Maybe that’s why the waits are so long.

Apr 12, 2011

The Good Show(s)

Well, of course you'll notice the new look of the blog so let's get that out of the way.  Done? Whew!

Now, the content.

I guess since it's finally Spring, I'm not in the mood to rant.  Instead I'll gush.  No middle ground.

In the last year my husband and I have taken to watching TV shows together.  It's our new little ritual. We have certain favorites that we TIVO.  Then we get out the old-fashioned TV trays at dinner time and watch. The Good Wife is one of our favorites.  Great show.  Julianne Margulies is excellent. Chris Noth is always great, no matter what the role.  Archie Panjabi, who plays Kalinda, is captivating and a little scary.  And doesn't it just make you happy as heck that Michael J. Fox has a recurring role?  Here is a guy who takes life's lemons and makes some of the best lemonade ever.  He has created a smarmy, sleazy, surprising, strong, memorable character. Not bad for someone dealing with severe health problems.  And the cast has many other actors worth mentioning too, but I'm going to skip over most of them to Alan Cumming, who is my personal favorite.  He walks on TV-water.

Another of our favorite shows: Shameless.  Did you hear the screams of agony from our house a couple of Sundays ago, when we learned the season had just ended?  Damn, that show is fun.  William H. Macy as a drunken low-life who isn't above throwing his kid in front of a car for the insurance scam.  Joan Cusack as the agoraphobic dingbat.  Emmy Rossum as the eldest and most responsible child, in over her head but treading water.  If anyone knows when Shameless returns, please send up a flare because we need to know.  We really, really need to know. Our Sunday night replacement: The Killing, not quite Shameless, but it has a deliciously slow reveal.  Let's hope the show continues to deliver; so many shows seem promising at first and then lose all their charm.  Castle, you know I'm talking to you.  And it's a long time until March, 2012, when Mad Men is slated to return.  Don't make us wait too long, Don, we may have found new loves by then.

Apr 5, 2011

What Is It With Drivers?

There are some basic driving maneuvers, call them steps in the choreography of the road, that every driver should know and practice.  California drivers have been ignoring these basic steps for some time and I'd like to offer a little refresher course here.  This is a gentle nudge to do the right thing.

1) Lane changing.  The changer should use his turn signal to indicate a lane change.  But here is the crucial step, usually missing from the lane change dance, and the main reason so many otherwise good drivers have abandoned the turn signal: the driver in the other lane should be receptive to the change.  He should alter his foot's position on the gas pedal, not by accelerating and preventing the merge as so many are wont to do, but by gently lifting the foot enough to allow the car to enter the lane.  This seems to be the big point of confusion here in California: lift the foot gently to allow merging, don't hit the gas to protect your position like a 300 pound tackle trying to stop a touchdown, like a Rottweiler keeping the mailman from coming through the gate, like a jealous child clutching a toy and screaming "Mine, mine!"  Oh, the metaphors could keep coming but you get the idea: just let the guy in your lane!  He's not stripping your masculinity; he probably just wants off at the next exit.

2) The Zipper.  The Zipper is used when a whole lane needs to merge into another.  The unwritten rule is that a one-to-one merger is done.  One car from lane A, one car from lane B, etc., just like the teeth of a zipper meshing together, thus the name. Do the drivers in lane A ever, ever let the drivers of lane B merge using the one-to-one choreography?  They do not.  You get some nice people, of course, and then you get some real schmucks who stare straight ahead and pretend they haven't even noticed the twenty or so cars that have merged ahead of them.  What? Your lane is gone over there? Why I hadn't noticed! Well, couldn't you just ride along on the berm there with the broken glass, the dead raccoon, and the shredded tire for a few hundred feet or so and then take a right turn and get out of my sight? Couldn't you just drive off a cliff? Boy, they have perfected that staring ahead business, haven't they?

3)  Turning right on red.  This is a great rule, being allowed to turn on red.  Not every state allows it. Right on red means drivers don't have to sit and wait at a red light while no one is around to take advantage of the green light.  However, right on red does not mean sneaking your little ass in there when the patient cross traffic drivers are trying not to block the intersection. No, no, no, it does not.  If your light is red and there is a long line of drivers with a green light who have not entered the intersection, it is not a signal that they wish you would go ahead.  They do not think you are the most worthy driver in the world.  After you, after you, most esteemed driver.  No, they are waiting to cross when they won't get stuck in the intersection.

Well, these are a few basics.  You probably have some maneuvers of your own to share, pet driving peeves.  Like those people who drive fifty miles an hour on the freeway, and the lane darters, and the people who think the world is their parking lot, and, and, and...all those wacky drivers out there.