Saturday, February 26, 2011

The kindness of strangers

While I waited at a stoplight downtown, a car to my left honked. This was strange for two reasons: 1) nobody in Austin ever, ever honks1, even if you practically kill them2, and 2) there were no cars in front of said honker. She made the universal "please roll down your window" sign, and I complied.

"Can you tell me how to get to South Lamar?"

A fair request in any other city that has a South Lamar, but Austin was not built with ease of transportation in mind. Although I was a tad uncertain myself, it was my civic duty to help a damsel in distress, so I guessed.

"You have to turn right3 to get on Lamar southbound4. It should be two stoplights ahead. Lamar is an overpass, and we'll go under it."

Yeah, I know, that's a lot of detail to give someone if I'm just guessing. Call it an educated guess; after all, I have a college degree.

She thanked me for the directions, and for rolling down my window, and then the light turned green. She sped ahead, cut me off (it's okay, she signaled and I still had the parking brake on), and the winding roads of Austin proceeded to prove my educated guess entirely correct.

I drove away feeling very warm and fuzzy inside. I think I was happier about having helped a complete stranger find her destination5 , but I don't want to downplay the joy of guessing directions correctly.

MORAL: I'm always right.

1 Full disclosure: Stay out of my lane, guy on a cell phone, or I will honk until your grandmother removes you from her will.
2 Of course, when that drunk guy practically killed me, I didn't have time to honk because I was too busy trying to get control of my vehicle. And if he hadn't driven off, I would have honked. [nodding] Yeah, I would have.
3 Right = North. Always.
4 South = Left. Sometimes, not always. It's very complex stop asking me questions.
5 I hope she wasn't a contract killer.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

You lose

I enjoy watching the Biggest Loser. It motivates me to be better at whatever I do. Like eating pizza.

Moses, a contestant from the current season, shattered Week 1 records by losing 41 pounds. In ONE WEEK! That's a lot of water weight. I'm a fair-weather fan (this applies to everything but the Cubs), so I've decided I like him.

Like many of the older male contestants, Moses has knee problems, so disproportionate amounts of his exercise come from shadow-boxing. This means punching nothing, so although it's a good cardio workout, it gets a little mentally fatiguing. His motivation to keep going is his family, and he shows it by saying a family member's name every time he punches. Kind of sweet.

And kind of disturbing.

Kaylee: "Hey Dad, can I borrow the …"
Moses: "Kaylee!" (punch ) "Kaylee! (punch) "Kaylee!" (punch)
Kaylee: "Yeeeeaaah. I'll just come back later."

Thursday, February 17, 2011


It's been such a long time since I was inspired to write. Not that I am now; I just have the time. FINALLY.

The last month and a half of my life has been so overwhelmingly consumed with work that I've somewhat forgotten how to relax. Having a laptop awake if I am has become part of my routine1, to the extent that I can't pull myself away long enough read an actual paper book. Or a digital one.

Even when I exercise, it's to an exercise video from Netflix (who has a halfway decent selection for someone who just wants to tone). Staring at bright screens is giving me regular headaches. Tylenol and I have become friends.

When I was a kid, using the computer was a privilege. Also, the Cubs didn't play every summer afternoon, so I had to come up with a lot of alternative entertainment (to be read "normal-person entertainment"). This included using my imagination, riding my bike, climbing a tree (I was like a monkey), playing catch, or throwing a tennis ball at the side of our house in the name of "pitching practice."

We were brought up to use our free time in good wholesome activities. Our family would take regular trips to the library, and we'd devour those books. We probably even went back three times in a week. My books of choice were Matt Christopher youth sports novels and riddle books. (Where else do you think I get my love of bad, bad puns? Oh yeah; my dad.)

Now that you're old and decrepit, how do you unplug?

1 Addiction, anyone?