Take a Number

Just this week, I found out that I owed a fortune for a missed EZ pass violation when I tried to renew my registration.  I paid it by phone and was told I had to go to the MVA right then because the lady who took my payment was sending over a “clear notice” for the flag and it could only be done that day.  OOOOOOkkkkkkk… I was in jammies since I was gonna stay home all day and work. Because, of course I was.

Off I go to the MVA.  About ten minutes in to the drive, I see a car parked to the side of the road.  It registered in my brain that it was a cop and I was going, well, warp-speed, just as his lights came on.  Why hello officer, hope you’re having a nice day. Why no, I don’t know why you’re stopping me… And I must’ve looked particularly pitiful, bonus points for not having time to do my make-up properly, or else he had bigger fish to fry, because all I got was a warning. Little did I know this was just the universe lulling me in to a false sense of security.

My Google maps tried to loop me in a circle to get to the MVA.  Luckily, I remembered it had done that the last time I went to the MVA, and I was able to keep from going too far down that rabbit hole again.

Get to the MVA and see that it’s national let’s all go to the MVA day.  Who knew?

MVA Hell started when I was instructed to wait in a line to find out what line I should wait in.  I had to pee when I went in but refused to go after being in line cause I didn’t want to start over.  After about 45 minutes I finally get to the front and the person in charge of the line pulled up my account to see that the lady who took my phone payment hadn’t sent anything over at all, even though she had told me I HAD to got to MVA that day or the world was going to implode.  Go over to the EZ Pass counter, they say.  It’ll be fun, they say.

Next stop for me had to be the restroom.  The disgustingly dirty restroom with no TP and no paper towels. Whatever. I’ve got kids. And dogs. I’ve handled worse.

I come out and head over to the EZ Pass counter line.  After twenty minutes I am told that I needed to go up to the bill payment collections counter with my confirmation number that the lady had given me over the phone (that I had taken with me despite the lady on the phone saying I wouldn’t need it, cause I’m obsessive prepared like that).  UUUUPPPP the escalator I go where I immediately found myself in another line.

After 15 minutes I realize this line was not an official line. I look around to see the “take ticket” sign and plod over to grab a number.  It was like 1006 or something, with the “now serving” number on 4.  After sitting for another 20 minutes, someone comes out and I ask (beg) her to tell me I was in the right place.  Not exactly; she hears what I need and sends me to the bill payment collections window… which is apparently different from the bill payment collections counter. I don’t know, people. It’s the freakin’ MVA.

I was in that line for about ten minutes.  The lady at the counter … there was no window, and trust me, the irony was not lost on me despite my ever-growing frustration … pulled my file up, saw the fines had been paid, gave me what I needed and instructed me to go back to the EZ Pass line. What I needed just happened to be the same confirmation number I already had in hand, just handwritten by the clerk on a piece of official MVA scrap paper.

Down I went, back to the EZ Pass line.  After waiting in that line for what seemed like an hour – though was likely just 15 minutes, I was told that I hadn’t needed to be in that line, I needed to be on the other side of the room waiting to pay my flag and administrative fines.  First, of course, I had to go back into the original line and get a number.

From there, it was the typical waiting around. As if I hadn’t been doing that enough already.  I don’t know how many of you frequent the MVA, but the waiting area is sort of like a twisted Survivor game.  Alliances are made and broken, betrayal (well it’s YOUR fault you went outside for a minute, back of the line, pal), bartering (yup, I’m number 7345.  I see you’re 8736, I may be able to help you out.  What’s it worth?).   Entire romances begin and end there (we didn’t know each other when we came here this morning, now we’re getting a divorce.  Meet Jim, our son, he’s graduating from college next year).  Tempers flare because there are no snacks (why don’t they allow a hotdog stand in there, is what I want to know), and online identities are stolen (well, duh, they name the Wi-Fi “use at your own risk”).

Finally, I get to see someone and thankfully she was very kind. I know, I know, I was just as shocked as you, but it’s true. Anyway, my paperwork (if it can even be called paperwork, since it’s all maintained in cyberspace) was straightened out with the simple press of a button and I was finally free to be on my way.

Next time I go to the MVA, it will be for my license renewal.  That’s simple enough though.  I snagged the instructional pamphlet on my way out of the MVA and I’m reading it as we speak.  Wait. What the Hell is a “Real ID” and why do I need my birth certificate, social security card, first born child, and the middle names of my great-great-great grand parents?

Screw this. I’m taking the bus.

Breakroom Philosophy

The end of last year was, well, let’s just say, less than pleasant. The beginning of this year is on the same track. I find myself wishing the year away because, in a word, I’m tired.

So. With that said, let me recount to you a conversation I had with a coworker this morning as we spoke briefly over a percolating coffee pot.

Me (sighing): Good grief, will this year ever end??

Co-worker (bright and cheerful):  It’s only Wednesday.

Me: …

Co-worker: …

Me: … Ummm, yeah, that about sums it up.

And so it does.

Future Disappointment

I remember watching the Jetsons years ago and being so excited for a future with flying cars, fully automated kitchens, and robot maids named Rosie.

Instead, here we are. With sex robots and Taco Bell delivered to our door.

All is not lost, though. There are some real-world inventions that I never would have imagined as I watched George walk Astro on the conveyor belt outside their floating apartment complex.

The Wine Rack: Ladies, rejoice. The Wine Rack is a bra that you fill with wine. It comes with a sipping nozzle (no, it’s not there, you perv! It’s on the side of the bra). You can carry your own booze with you anywhere you like.  This is as hilarious as it is genius.

The Better Marriage Blanket: Otherwise known as the fart blanket. Allows your husband (because we all know women don’t fart) to pass scentless gas.  This is going to save marriages because, according to a survey I just made up, farts are responsible for 62% of all divorces.

Rear Gear: At last. A solution to the annoying problem of your dog or cat having a butt.  No lie, these are stickers to put over the hole in your dog’s rear end.

Baby Mop: As someone who puts rags under her shoes to mop up spills because I’m too lazy to bend over, I applaud this one.  Stick this to your baby and as he crawls, he is polishing your floor. Sheer genius.

Diet Water: Not even going to try to explain this one. Apparently, getting fat by drinking water is a real issue.

Vertical Bed: You know, if you need to nap in line at the grocery store.

TV Hat: Wear your TV hat as you sleep standing up in your Vertical Bed.

Banana Slicer: Of all the fruits on the planet, the hardest to master is the banana.  Thank God someone invented this handy banana slicer.  For your added pleasure, you’ve got to read the comments on this one.

Neck Pro: Because having a licensed chiropractor to treat your neck pain is so “last year.”

Face Flex: Apparently, you can use this medieval torture implement to tighten and tone your facial muscles.  Scroll down the page to the short video.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait.

Seriously though guys, if we are ever going to have flying cars, end world hunger, and achieve world peace, we need to do better than this.

Ok, so, I know you’ve been waiting for me to comment on the sex robots, so here is my take. They have male and female sexbots, and, well, honestly, I’m not sure it’s a bad thing.  Although I am concerned about the “try for 30 days, money back guarantee.” Just ewww.

As for me, if they make a male robot who does dishes, cuts the lawn, and changes the oil in my car, I’m all in.

Monday’s Fun Day

As you know from my previous post … this past Monday was a tough one for me. Some days, tragedy strikes when you just aren’t expecting it.  When it hits so hard, all at once, it can take weeks, months or even years to recover.  Sometimes, you never fully recover at all.

Monday turned into one of those days.  I almost feel ready to talk about it now. I will push through. For you, my lovely readers.

I was running right on schedule (translation, thirteen minutes and three seconds late).  I stumbled to my car before remembering that sometimes, just sometimes, you need car keys.  Thank God, I had forgotten to lock my front door and was able to walk right in to my house to get them.  Also, thank the Gods that be, I don’t live in a high crime area. Cause you know … open front door.

That wasted three minutes of retrieving my keys cost me my coffee stop on the way to work.  There I was, in full Monday Zombie mode, uncaffeinated.  I know, I know. That’s not a good thing for anyone.  I’m okay though, I thought, because there is coffee at work.  There is always coffee at work; my entire office worships the brown life-giving brew that enables us to think, socialize, and well, move at all.

Pulling into work, I see one spot left.  It isn’t much of a spot, but after maneuvering my car for six minutes, I was able to park in it and exit my car through the trunk.  It was at this very moment that I realized that I had forgotten my purse. My arms were too empty, you see.

Never mind the makeup, novel, phone charger, Kleenex, coupon book, six pounds of loose change, utensils (don’t laugh, have you seen the crusty knives at IHop?), travel mug, candy bars, protein bars to make me feel better about the candy bars, day planner, night planner, weekly planner, monthly planner, expired planner, frequent flyer fro-yo card, screwdriver, and other necessities for daily living, I had forgotten my wallet.  Still, coffee was just 6 flights of steps away (did I mention the elevator was out?), so who needs a wallet.

Normally I have no problem with the non-company outsiders using our facilities for their meetings, but Friday’s meeting attendees must have needed coffee to stay awake, as we all do, during their meeting.  I don’t begrudge them coffee, but they used all the creamer. They used the creamer powder we keep under the break room sink for emergencies.  They used those tiny little creamer pods we keep as back up to the powder for emergencies.  They raided the refrigerator and used the whole milk and cream (we don’t do half and half here) in there, too.  Hoof prints in the break room seem to indicate that they brought a cow in for extra milk.  I pictured people with plates piled high with creamer pods and powder, drinking mugs full of milk and creamer, laughing maniacally and high-fiving each other, “Ha!  No creamer for THEM on Monday!”

The very nice person who always, but always, stops on Monday morning to get our coffee and break room snack supplies didn’t.  I guess she was having ‘A Day,’ too.  Later, she said she could have sworn there was enough creamer left in the fridge to do for a few days … having taken a much-needed day off on Friday, she was not privvy to the outsiders’ shenanigans. I don’t blame her. Yet, there I was, all coffee and no creamer.  My spare creamer was in my purse.  At home.  My imagination played with me again, picturing a burglar sitting in my living room, watching Maury Povich, and helping himself to my purse creamer.

In case you are missing the importance of this, having no creamer in your coffee is like not eating popcorn at the movies.  It’s like non-alcoholic beer.  It’s a French fry with no ketchup.  It can be done, sure, but only by a savage (I’m looking at you Lee).  With no purse creamer and no wallet to slip out to Dunkin’ Donuts, I was facing a Monday without caffeine.  Monday Without Coffee sounds like a country music song, doesn’t it? Or a horror movie.

No wallet means no lunch, so now I am uncaffeinated and unfed.  This is a double whammy.  I think I may have lost a few friends that day.

Then, in a rare burst of energy, I decided to walk to the copier.  My heel broke, causing me to do a dance move I can loosely compare to the Hokey Pokey on speed.  My copies flew all over the hallway as I struggled to maintain my balance.  Why would my heel betray me?  Well, obviously it’s because the shoe was old and not because I have all the grace of a wounded wildebeest.

Naturally, it was National Blooming Idiot Day and everyone around me seemed to be celebrating.  I’m not sure if it was because I was unfed, uncaffeinated, unheeled, and temporarily unglued but these people were more idiotic than normal.

I’m sure you all can share my pain when I say I have a few people in my life who completely lack any sense of self-awareness whatsoever. While they wantonly cavort through my private life, they seem to be especially prolific at work. For those, I offer this piece of advice … when we tell you that you’re a piece of work … it is NOT a compliment.

To add insult to injury, here is Shari, her heathen cup of black coffee in hand, perky and bright.  “Gee, broke a heel?”

No, Shari, I always lurch like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.  You never noticed?  Gee, Shari, how did you not realize I have one leg shorter than the other?  Gosh, Shari, this is the newest fashion craze, you didn’t know?

Instead, I just mumbled “Yeah.”

Helpful Shari.  “Don’t you keep crazy glue in your purse?”

That was the last time Shari was ever seen. You’ll never find the body, I promise.

It’s in my purse.

Ever have a day like this?  You swear that if just ONE more thing goes wrong, you’ll snap.

Then the universe responds, “Challenge accepted!”

Hi Pot, Meet Kettle

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but nowhere is my hatred of people more evident than during my daily commute to and from work. Driving without impeding traffic just seems so simple doesn’t?  If drivers would just keep moving forward, there would be no traffic. But no. You have whole factions that want to take in the view of the lovely graffiti-sprayed concrete barrier walls as they meander along, clogging up the works for the rest of us.

And then there are those who hamper the flow of traffic simply because their driving style is selfish and rude, and worse, ineffective. “Oh! Is that a leaf blowing on the road!?  Traffic IS pretty heavy during rush hour. I better come to a complete stop just in case.”   “Well, look what we have here! This person coming off the ramp wants to merge in an area where they literally have nowhere else to go. I could get into the other lane or oh, I don’t know, slow down OR speed up to allow them over, but no. I think I’ll just go the exact same speed they are, so they are forced to stop and … voilà! There. Now, we have a nice funnel of jammed traffic for all to enjoy. My job here is done.”

Tailgaters are the worst. Don’t these drivers realize that we’re ALL in the same boat with regards to flow of traffic, etc.?  Do they think that if they intimidate the driver in front of them, suddenly, the traffic ahead will clear, and they can skate through to wherever it is their going?  From their attitude, it’s likely a destination that won’t suffer in the least from their absence. They’re not exactly smiling bundles of nice.  If you’re in the fast lane doing 80 in a 55-mph zone, you should rightfully expect to not have someone riding your bumper. Sure, sure, it’s the fast lane… but there ARE speed limits, you know.

Even more annoying are tailgaters in the slow lane.  I mean, if you’re tailgating me to the point that I can’t even see your headlights while I’m doing 70 in the slow lane … well, guess what? That’s right bucko, we’re back to doing 55. I don’t even care if I’m late to work. Does that make ME the asshole? I don’t think so.  It’s the principle of the thing.

 

Identity Crisis

My friend tells a funny story of identity theft and Facebook hacking, and it goes something like this:

“My daughter was 6 years old, and she saw me playing Farmville on Facebook.  There was nothing she wanted more than her own Facebook Farm, and I let her start one using only my hand-selected friends as her neighbors.  She worked at her farm for months before we both lost interest in the game.  A few months later, she revisited her farm on a whim. She logged in, only to find her account was hacked by someone in Lagos, Nigeria for apparently nefarious purposes.

Of course, I immediately sent Facebook a message confirming that she was only a then-seven-year-old from the US who had been hacked.  Out of curiosity before I closed the account, I checked on her farm.  Whoever had hacked her had continued to play her farm, bringing it to a level 96.  The farm was full of every animal and crop available, every object that game coins could buy, had been expanded, and it was amazing.  As I deleted the account, I had conflicting thoughts of how impressive and amusing it was that the hacker had built up the farm, that it was unbelievable someone from another country was in contact with my online friends and claiming Farmville rewards,  how sad I was that I couldn’t just move the farm to a new account for my daughter, and how equally sad the hacker probably was to realize that all of his months of farming were gone forever. And yeah, they could no longer phish for emails or defraud people of their life’s savings, so there’s that too.” 

This leads me to my thought of the day: why can’t hackers use their hacking abilities for good, instead of evil?  Hack credit card databases and erase everyone’s balances.  Hack the credit bureaus and give everyone scores of 835.  Hack into a store’s loyalty programs and quadruple everyone’s points.  Hack into Facebook and decimate our opponents in Words with Friends.

After the financial fiasco that was the fall-out from my divorce, if anyone tried to hack my credit information to use for a loan, they would be laughed out of the bank. You want a loan based on this mess? The loan officer would call over his colleague to share the joke. She wants a loan based on this mess, Barbara! Can you believe that!? The would-be identity thief would be escorted out of the bank by armed guards, given a lollipop as a consolation prize, and told never to return.  Hell, when all was said and done, he would probably end up sending me a sympathy card and $20 before deleting my records from his database.

Don’t get me wrong, I feel for those who have had this happen.  It is a disaster to straighten out and can linger on your credit scorecard forever.  But imagine if the thief would send postcards and pictures of his purchases and adventures?  It would be like an adult version of “Flat Stanley” or a slightly less fun “Travelling Gnome” prank.

Personally, I would love to see what an identity thief could do for me.  By the time it’s all over, I would probably end up with a credit score of 850, a new house, a nice car, and a home-based business in fruit sales.  I’d be curious to see where he would travel; would he take my identity to the Bahamas for a month?  A long, lazy trek through Europe? Hey, at least one of us should have the vacation of my dreams.

Or, he could just build my farm in Farmville to a level 96 and let me take it from there.  I’m easy to please.