Wednesday, June 29, 2005
I read in Cosmo (yes, Cosmo. I know. Shut up) that something like 37% of guys have been caught doing something...uh..."naughty" on camera. So, maybe (just maybe) the "Department of Court & Detention Services" is monitoring these incidents of elicit/delinquent behavior, and they are notifying me accordingly of my very public (or private) "wrong doings".
Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if I got a notice from the "Department of Court & Detention Services" because the Highland Park police had (gasp!) witnessed my dogs pooping in my yard. No, I am not kidding. Dog poo is a health code violation in little, ole' HP, and is punishable by up to $500. Funny thing is that my dogs only seem to poop in my yard. I do "dog poo maintenance" once a week, but I have to admit that I very, very rarely pick up the poo immediately after my dog deposits it. After all, it is my yard (well, sorta. I'm house-sitting at my grandmother's until the family can sell her house).
Anyway, since I don't pick up the poo immediately, my neighbors have apparently decided that I LIKE dog poo and bring their dogs over to add to my canine fecal collection. It is either that, or they KNOW that I cannot afford to live in "the bubble" and are making social commentary with dog sh*t.
So, sometimes just to be a bother (or, if you prefer, a mite passive aggressive), I'll let my dogs out into the front yard to poo when I see a HP police SUV (yes, they drive Chevy Tahoes) parked nearby. Honestly, it is a challenge to the cop. A dropped gauntlet, if you will. I want the cop to come over and try to give me a ticket for allowing my dogs to defecate in MY yard.
The same night (this was several months ago) that close family friends of mine got robbed at gunpoint over on Abbott, the HP police were busy giving me a warning that my dogs were barking "louder than the allotted number of decimals in Highland Park". This took...ah, yes...not one cop, but two. And they each had their giant, SUV cop car with them. So, the front of my house looked like a scene from Fox's "COPS". Nevermind the fact that the dogs were only barking in the first place because there were two strange men standing in my front yard (probably making note of each and every pile of dog poo for their upcoming "health code sting").
Sorry, officers. According to my dogs, you two are STRANGERS. I forgot to teach them the whole "cop uniform = good" thing. I was more concerned with making sure they were house-broken.
I'm sure my family friends would absolutely love to know that the night they were accosted, there were TWO cops dealing with a "canine noise violation" less than half a mile away. Figures.
Actually, it is a very smart method, if you stop and think about it. The Highland Park Police are infamous for arresting 99 year old women for minor traffic violations. I guess you don't have to worry so much about your personal safety or getting hurt on the job if your biggest concerns are absent-minded geriatrics and pooing, barking dogs.
Oh, and don't forget about your typical upper-class housewife. You gotta keep your eyes on them - they are bad-to-the-bone. They drive around looking for trouble. Case in point: one of my dad's "lady friends" was arrested (yes, arrested) for pulling a rolling stop at a stop sign. They handcuffed her, and dragged her down to the Highland Park Police Station where they proceeded to book her. Bail was set at $800, and the only form of acceptable payment was cold hard cash (no checks, no credit, no money orders allowed). Too bad that my dad's "lady friend" was driving to dinner and only had a few dollars in her purse. Too bad the banks close at 5 PM. Too bad my dad's "lady friend's" mother didn't have $800 in cash just lying around in her Highland Park mansion.
Conclusion: poor "lady friend" had to spend the night in jail for committing a rolling stop violation. I guess she learned her lesson.
Meanwhile, people are getting robbed a mere five blocks from the police station. Yeah, so that makes sense! Way to prioritize there, boys.
But I digress. Back to the "Department of Court and Detention Services"...
So, I get this letter and I open it half expecting it to be a notice that I've been caught doing something...well...bad. But, of course, all it really is a jury summons.
Which brings me to my next point. Has anyone ever read a jury summons before? I mean really, really read it? In case you haven't, there are three reasons why you can be "disqualified" from jury duty:
Number 1 - you are not, "a resident of the City of Dallas, Texas, and qualified to vote in said city elections under the constitution and laws of the State of Texas".
Number 3 - you, "have been convicted of a felony or theft" or you are, "under indictment for or other legal accusation of felony or theft".
Which leaves us with reason Number 2.
Are you ready for this? Drum roll please...
Reason 2 of 3 why you can be disqualified from jury duty in the City of Dallas is because you are, "not able to read or write".
So, let's just say, for the sake of argument, that you are not literate in any sense of the word. And then one day you receive a jury summons from the City of Dallas. How are you going to be able to read and understand what the typed font is telling you? How are you going to know that, "you are hereby summoned to appear in the Central Jury Room on the 2nd floor of the Municipal Building at the above address on [this date and time] for service on the petit jury in the Municipal Court of the City of Dallas. If you are disqualified or exempt from jury service under the law as set forth on this notice, you may submit the completed and signed form below. This must be received no later than the date and time specified for your appearance. Disobedience of this summons is punishable by a fine"?
In other words, how are you going to know that it is a jury summons to begin with?
Really. How are you going to be able to know what the letter is, much less what it is telling you to do? And, I beg you to please explain to me how - if you cannot read or WRITE - are you going to be able to, "sign the form and mail it to the above address" like the directions demand?
Personally, if I were illiterate, I think I would conclude that the City of Dallas was mocking me and my modern world disability. Of course, I wouldn't be able to reach this conclusion unless I found someone literate and forced them to READ the letter to me. Even then, I would still be unable to perform the task of A) signing my name, and B) mailing the form back to the address on the letter (this would require me to be able to READ the address in the first place as well as WRITE the address on to an envelope). Might as well command me bend the rules of gravity and fall up - it just ain't going to happen!
Which leaves me with what option? Going down to the Municipal Building on the date that the letter ordered me to appear? Can you imagine doing that? You know, walking up to someone in the building with your jury summons in-hand and matter-of-factly informing them that you are disqualifying yourself from jury duty because you are illiterate?
If I were the receptionist at the Municipal Building and someone walked up to my desk and informed me that they were illiterate and were, thus, disqualifying themselves from jury duty I would be like, "Yeah. Okay, sure. You're illiterate."
"No really. I am."
"Yeah. Okay. And I'm Garfield the Cat."
"Whatever, lady. I'm unable to read or write."
"Sugar. If you were unable to read or write, then explain to me how you knew to appear here today?"
"I had someone read the letter to me."
"Uh-huh. Riiiiight. We will let you know when we need you. Next in line, please."
Like salt on an open wound. Your only other option is to wait to be fined for not showing up to jury duty. However, the notice that you are being fined will probably come through the mail, and to find out how much the fine is for you will again have to seek out a literate person to READ the letter to you.
Therefore, at the end of the day, you are being fined because you cannot read or write - even though the fact that you are illiterate should have cleared you from all jury duty related responsibilities (and penalties) in the first place.
In other words, you need to be able to read and write to tell the City of Dallas that you cannot read or write. If you cannot do this, then you should prepare yourself for a fine. Because THAT makes logical sense?!!
I heard on the news the other day that 80% of the people that the City of Dallas summons for jury duty on any given day do not show up. Because of this staggering statistic, the City of Dallas has announced that they are going to start arresting people that play "hooky" from their jury duty responsibilities.
So, let's recap...
If you are illiterate and you get called for jury duty, and you cannot read or write to explain to the City of Dallas that you are, in fact, illiterate (thus, disqualifying yourself from the jury pool) then you now will be fined and/or arrested for being a jury dodging truant.
Apparently, simply being fined isn't enough. Now you run the risk of jail time because of your innate inability to read or write. Because, you know, it wasn't bad enough already that you were illiterate in the first place. Seems a little unfair somehow, doesn't it?!
At least we all can go to sleep tonight knowing the real criminals are behind bars (i.e. the illiterate jury dodgers and the upper-class housewives that commit the mortal sin of a minor moving violation). I'm sure that once we clean up ALL the dog poo in this city that we will finally have the time to focus on getting the rapists, thieves, murderers and drug dealers off the street.
Until then, though, please watch where you step. That pesky dog poo is EVERYWHERE!
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
ME: "I need to get my car detailed. It's been almost a year since I got it."
[LONG PAUSE IN CONVERSATION. NDT CHEWS THOUGHTFULLY ON A GRAPE.]
NDT: "Detailed, huh?"
ME: "Yeah. Why?"
NDT: "Wait. What does 'detailed' mean to you?"
ME: "You know...detailed. Getting the car waxed, the rugs steamed cleaned, the leather seats conditioned..."
NDT: "[INTERRUPTING] Whew. Okay, good."
ME: "So, uh, what did you think I meant when I said the word 'detailed'?"
NDT: "Well, I thought you meant that you were going to pimp-out your car. You know...get the spinning hub-caps or install one of those things that makes your car bounce up and down. I was kind of worried. I was thinking that you didn't strike me as someone who would ride around in a bling car."
[CUT TO A FEW DAYS LATER...]
NDT: "So, how often are you supposed to get your car detailed?"
ME: "I dunno. I think they recommend that you do it every year or so."
ME: "I think it is because it is really good to get your car waxed once a year. I used to do it myself, and I was never any good at it. I always said that once I got a new car, I was going to have a professional do it. Whenever I did it myself there were all these little white spots on the car where I didn't get all the wax off. I figured my new car deserved better."
NDT: "I guess that makes sense. My dad always details his car when he is thinking about selling it or trading it in. I guess it is good maintenance."
[LONG PAUSE. NDT LOOKS UP AND NOTICES THAT I AM STARING AT HER.]
ME: "Your dad details his cars?"
NDT: "Yeah. Why?"
ME: "Well, did he ever come home with a pimped-out ride?"
NDT: "Well, no."
ME: "I thought you said the other day that you didn't know what 'detailing' meant!"
NDT: "Well, I didn't. At least not really."
ME: "But your dad apparently does it quite often."
NDT: "Yeah, but I always thought that he was just going to get 'a really good car wash'."
Friday, June 24, 2005
So, tonight the NON DOMINANT TWIN (NDT) and I are playing tennis together (and by "playing tennis" I really mean that we will be spending most of our time running around chasing balls. Yes. We are THAT bad. Personally, I think that we are SO bad at tennis that it we have actually gone BEYOND bad and become experts at a completely new game that just happens to utilize tennis courts and rackets).
Anyway, NDT just called me to ask what time we should plan to meet. We agreed on the 6:30 to 7 PM hour for two reasons. 1) I want the RED OZONE ALERT to have a chance to expire (or, at least, "fade") and 2) NDT and the DOMINANT TWIN (DT) are going to Half Price Books after work.
This is how our conversation went:
NDT: "Yeah, my sister and I are going to go to Half Price Books first. Is 6:30 too late for you?"
ME: "Oh, no. Not at all. Is your sister going to join us?"
ME: "For tennis."
NDT: "Oh. [PAUSE] No, she isn't coming."
ME: "Really? Why not?"
NDT: "She doesn't sweat."
ME: "[LONG PAUSE] She doesn't sweat?"
NDT: "No. She doesn't sweat."
NDT: "Or, rather, she doesn't like to sweat."
ME: "Huh?! Really? I thought she liked to go running."
NDT: "She does."
ME: "Well, doesn't she sweat when she runs?"
NDT: "Yes, but she doesn't like to."
NDT: "It just got too warm outside for her to run and not sweat."
ME: "Uh. Okay."
Okay, so it might just be me, but I sweat when I run. It doesn't matter when I run - I'll be sweating regardless. I ran a half marathon a little over a year ago in December. It was freakin'' freezing and I was sweating like a...well...like you wouldn't believe.
Which brings me back to DT...she MUST sweat when she runs. I don't think it has as much to do with the seasons or hot versus "not-as-hot" (we live in Texas after all - not the Canadian tundra. It is ALWAYS a degree of hot down here).
Anyway, it was just interesting to have this conversation with NDT. It was definitely a "Whaaaa?!" kind of moment.
Oh, and FYI...DT is also the author of Impatient Chicken.
Now, that everyone knows that DT has an irrational fear of sweating (which is much weirder than my irrational fear of donuts, by the way. So far, I have avoided developing complexes about the daily functions of my physical being. You all should have seen DT and NDT in the bathroom at Dave 'n' Busters a few weeks back. It took us 15 minutes to get OUT of the bathroom. And by OUT I mean the 15 minutes it took to prepare the "we-just-washed-our-hands-and-cannot-touch-the-door-handles fire line". There was awhile where I wasn't sure we were going to make it OUT - EVER), go back and read her "postings" on going up the stairs at work. Sheds a WHOLE new light on her entries!
At least it makes me giggle!
Thursday, June 23, 2005
I thought it was going to happen on my way to work, but I arrived at my building a mere mile and a half shy of the 10,000 mark. I spent all day strangely excited because I KNEW that it had to happen on my way home (again, my life is rather dull).
Last night I got in my car and paused to look at the odometer. It read 9998.5. I started to drive out of the lot and towards the highway - keeping my watchful eye on the odometer the WHOLE time.
Merging onto the highway, I hit 9999.
It was at this precise moment when I remembered that I forgot to jot down a phone number at work. I had temporarily misplaced my cell phone, and I was supposed to play tennis with one of my coworkers. It dawned on me that I had absolutely no way of contacting her unless I went back to work and got her number off the staff contact sheet (and that wasn't going to happen. When I leave work, I am GONE).
So, then I start to backtrack in my mind. Where was that stupid cell phone? What was I doing when I last saw it? And I suddenly knew - it MUST be at my dad's house!
Instead of taking my normal route home, I changed direction and started heading to my dad's house to pick up the phone. I made a mental note about how stupid it is that people (like me) are so reliant upon silly machines (like cell phones) to store vital information. Because of cell phones, I cannot remember the last time I actually MEMORIZED a phone number. After all, what's the point if the cell phone remembers everything for you. That is, of course, until you lose the stupid thing. Then you are cut off from everyone.
Then I start thinking about my contact list at work. I wouldn't know what to do if I lost it. I have almost 4,000 contacts stored in there. It took me the better part of two months to get my contact list up to date and current, and I would be lost without it. Of course, it is all stored on my silly computer because technology makes finding names, mail merges -- EVERYTHING -- just so much more easy and convenient. And it could all just disappear in the blink of an eye.
It is at this moment that my mind proceeded to drift into nightmare-like vision of all the ways my work contact list could JUST vanish (POOF!). Fire. Tornado. Static electricity. Server crash. Squirrels. Computer viruses. Hackers. Lighting. Magnets. Software malfunction. The non-dominant twin on a rampage. The possibilities are literately endless.
I actually considered turning the car around so I could go BACK to work and save my contact list to a disk of some sort. I had worked myself into a near-hysterical frenzy, and I was (at this point) completely convinced that my contact list would be COMPLETELY obliterated by the time I got to work tomorrow morning. I had to take immediate action, or all would be lost.
However, by this time, I was almost to my dad's house, so I figured I would pick up the cell phone first (seeing as though I was so close to it at this point). After all, I'd need it to call my coworker to let her know that I wouldn't be able to play tennis after all, because I had, "an important work-related problem that required my immediate attention".
So, anyway, I am pulling into my dad's driveway when it occurs to me what had just happened. I look down at the odometer and it read 10009.
The same thing happened to me in February. I counted down the days to my friend's birthday, and then I completely forgot about it ON her birthday.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
The entire concept of a "new" England implies that there is an "old" England somewhere out there (which, of course, there is). The same goes for a "new" York or a "new" Hampshire. The "old" York and the "old" Hampshire are both over in "old" England. Yet, "new" Hampshire is part of "new" England and "new" York is not. Same goes for "new" Jersey (a.k.a. The Garden State, which - by the way - is a whole other problem. "The Garden State" should not describe the same state where there is - in a geological sense - the "new jersification" (a.k.a. erosion caused by humans not thinking ahead) of the coastline. Apparently, the New Jersey coastline is a prime example of what NOT to do. In my freshman geology book, the term "new jersification" was used to describe man-made coastal erosion in places that don't even border New Jersey (one in particular was in California). But I digress...).
Anyway, I've had many, many people (almost all of whom were from Massachusetts, by the way) try to explain the logic of the states included (and excluded) from "new" England. None of it ever made any sense to me (but that is what you get when you are dealing with people that invented the concept of the "tree belt", I guess).
Personally, I think it is because Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut and Rhode Island are elitist. They are just jealous of "new" York and "new" Jersey because they have more electoral votes, more people and more pollution. Not to mention Wayne Mahar's red snow jacket and Doppler the weather cat.
Originally, the "'new' England Club" was only made up of "new" Hampshire, Connecticut and Massachusetts. However, they had to open it up to other states because they were kind of like the "band geeks" of the union. Plus, for protection against the jocks ("cool", "sporty" and "outdoorsy" states like Texas, Arizona, Utah, Montana and Alaska) there is a lot to be said for the whole "safety in numbers" thing (I should know. I was in the orchestra. Orchestra geeks are EVEN lower than "band geek" on the hierarchical scale of high school "coolness").
"New" York and "new" Jersey were excluded because they were way too sophisticated and cosmopolitan to hang out with the nerdy "band geeks" of the nation. It just like totally didn't work with their oh-so posh image, okay?! Plus, "new" York and "new" Jersey had girlfriends (mega-popular, head cheerleaders, Maryland and Pennsylvania) and didn't have time to join any juvenile, tree-house, boys club anyway.
Connecticut tried to convince Massachusetts and "new" Hampshire to let Delaware into the club. This idea, however, came to an abrupt end when it came out that Delaware collected New Kids on the Block life-size dolls and well as "Garbage Patch" and "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" trading cards. Not to mention the fact that it was public knowledge that Delaware still had issues wetting the bed (which really wasn't the image the club was going for).
The "'new' England Club" decided to let in Maine because it is the only state whose name is just one syllable long (this would be considered "neat" to a "band geek" who is really into trivia and watching Jeopardy).
Then they let in Rhode Island, because it was the smallest state (and that was kinda' cool in a unique and petite sort of way). Plus, if "new" England ever got big enough to start a rugby team, Massachusetts decided that Rhode Island would make an awesome "hooker".
Then there was Vermont, which up until that point had always been considered "eastern Canada" (New Hampshire was dismayed to discover that it did not, in fact, border another country). But the other states (except New Hampshire who abstained from voting because it was still bitter over the whole international border thing) voted to let Vermont in MAINLY because they felt sorry for it in a "band geek" to "band geek" kind of way (and because Vermont promised to supply the rest of New England with a bottomless supply of ice cream and Moxie Soda).
Now that I've insulted a good fifth of the states in the country - is there anyone out there that has a LOGICAL explanation for what constitutes membership in the exclusive "New England Club"? Why aren't the 13 original colonies all part of "new" England? That would almost make sense (sorta).
These are the things that keep me up at night (and, consequently, keep Sugar Free Red Bull in business).
At least, South Dakota has Mount Rushmore. Which, if you think about it, is quite cleaver. If no one lives in your state then it makes logical sense that you should carve rock people out of a mountain. Then, during the next census, you can count the "rock people" as residents - thus, quadrupling the population of your state. Plus, there are not a lot of giant, rock people out there (at least not in this country), so YOUR rock people will suddenly become tourist attractions. Families who used to drive cross-country to see the giant ball made of string or the various attractions listed on the historic route 66 will now drive north to South Dakota to the see your state's rock people. It is also ingenious to carve the rock people in the likeness of past, great U.S. Presidents. It's not like any of those Presidents were originally from South Dakota or anything.
Poor North Dakota, though. All they have is Fargo (a town which, by the way, is famous because the winter weather sucks BIG TIME).
Personally, I have nothing against the Dakotas. If you are from one of the Dakotas, I did not mean to offend you in anyway. In fact, I think the Dakotas are beautiful, beautiful places and this has a lot to do with the fact that (in comparison to other states in the union) not many people live there. Please rest assured that I also have problems with the fact that we have multiple Carolinas and Virginas.
Someone realized that we probably didn't need an East AND West Nebraska. Where was that person when we got around to naming the Dakotas?
I guess my real issue is with the general lack of naming creativity. There are only 50 states, people! Why can't we give each one it's own distinct name?
So, I was like...Great. This is going to be a disaster.
It is important to note that this event was being "comped" by MY department ("department", by the way, is misleading. I work at a VERY small museum, and represent the ENTIRE education "department"). The event was for teachers. I decided to "comp" the event, because teachers would come to the museum, see what we have to offer in terms of educational programming and - MOST IMPORTANTLY - because the lady-in-question had promised me that there would be absolutely NO setup required. We have this huge lecture hall that seats almost 400 people, and she told me that she wanted the conference to be held in there (no setup required. The chairs are a permanent fixture). The lady-in-question actually told me a month and a half before that she would be running EVERYTHING. That I would not have to ANYTHING except make sure the lights were on in the lecture hall. In fact, the only reason I had been so desperately trying to get in touch with her was because I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TIME THE EVENT WAS SCHEDULED TO BEGIN AND THEREFORE HAD NO IDEA WHAT TIME TO TURN ON THE STUPID LIGHTS!!
Now back to the story...
"You sound surprised about all this. Didn't you get the host-site checklist that I sent out last Friday"?
"No, ma'am," I replied.
"Well, I sent it out via email. Are you sure that it never arrived?"
"No, ma'am. I'm looking at my email as we speak. I haven't received anything from you or your organization in over two weeks".
"Well, I know that I sent it last Friday," she insisted.
"Okay. I really don't know what to tell you. I never got it".
(And this is where the whole "vacuous" thing comes in to play. I SWEAR I am not making this up. Keep reading...)
The lady-in-question asks me (in all seriousness), "Well, why didn't you call to tell me that you never received it"?
I responded in the only way I knew how, "Ma'am, I didn't know that you were sending out a checklist".
But she insisted, "You still should have called me when you didn't receive it. I would have resent it".
At this point I REALLY don't know what to say. So, I actually tried to reason with her by saying, "If I didn't know that you were making a checklist in the first place, why would I call to say I never got it"?
This got me absolutely NOwhere, and I ended up just agreeing with her so the conversation could end (keep in mind that I had hours of last minute setting up to do before I could go home).
Everything ended up going fine the next day, despite a few initial "issues" the next morning (for example, the lady-in-question did not show up until 8:45 AM. I was here at 7:30...just...waiting...to...open...the...door...for...HER...! Oh, and my PERSONAL favorite was when she made me move all of these tables around because she didn't like the way I had set them up the night before).
It all worked out in the end, though and the teachers had a really good experience (several even commented on how organized everything was, and how smoothly the day's events had gone. Oh, if only they knew...!).
After the day was over (and the lady-in-question had finally left) I told one of my coworkers about what she had told me the day before. He told me that I should have asked her why she never call me on my last birthday? Then, he said that I should respond (before she could answer) with, "Oh, wait! You don't know when my birthday is? So, why didn't you call"?!
The lady-in-question probably wouldn't get the joke, though.