Posts for Category A Day in the Life

Scenes from an election

In which Bill helps make Democracy work and explores middle school
Nov 192014
 
Bill's head in a jar with an election officer name badge

Aside from donating blood (which I haven’t done in awhile because last time they botched the procedure–not in any dramatic way that was a threat to my health or had blood spraying across the room, but they had to throw away my blood, which left me faintly annoyed) my chief contribution to my community is working as an Election Officer–“Election Officer” being the formal title for “those old people who volunteer at the polls on election day,” except that I’ve found there are far fewer old people doing it than I’d always thought, probably because you work at least a 15-hour day and have to use technology like computers and touch screens and ballot scanners.

Usually I get assigned to my own precinct, so I get the fun of seeing my neighbors come in to vote, and of secretly judging the ones who don’t, or who vote the wrong way. Not that I actually know how anyone votes, mind you, but you can generally guess based on which party’s sample ballot they’re clutching when they come in. I wonder sometimes if, really, you should be voting if you’ve done so little research that you don’t even know the name of the person you’re supposed to vote for when you cast your party-line vote.* I have noticed–anecdotally and definitely subject to my own confirmation bias–that I see more people holding Republican sample ballots than Democratic, which could mean that Republicans are more likely to need to be told whom to vote for, or maybe just that the Republican operatives outside the polling place are more effective at getting people to take their handouts (which is strange because usually Republicans are against handouts).

Still it’s nice to see your neighbors and people you recognize from the grocery store and whatever, and–if I may be serious for just a moment–I think it probably helps instill some confidence in the process, if you’re there to vote and see that it’s people you know who are running things. Even if you don’t like them, or you don’t like their politics, at least you recognize them and know they’re not evil strangers scheming to steal the election from Good Americans like you. Well, not strangers, anyway.

This year not enough citizens from the S—— North and S—— South precincts were willing to work the polls, so most of us poll workers came from elsewhere. I like to imagine I was asked to go there because I’m on a list of super-awesome Election Rapid Response Officers, but probably it’s just because when I filled out the form I checked the box that said I was willing to leave my neighborhood. The big problem with being assigned to this location–aside from not being able to check up on my neighbors (though I did see the FedEx driver who’s been delivering to my house for at least 10 years, whom I’ve had more interactions with than I have with most of my neighbors)–was that it’s a good 12-minute drive from my house, which doesn’t seem like a lot except that I had to be there by 5am, and minutes count at that absurd hour.

The S—— North and S—— South precincts were operating from the cafeteria and gym of the same school, which adds some confusion to the day, as voters tend to know that they vote at the school but nothing beyond that. I wish I had a little video montage to show you, of a day’s worth of momentarily-flummoxed voters standing in the hallway, digging through their wallets and purses for their voter registration cards, or trying to find their house on the precinct maps that, oddly, omit the names of many of the key streets, making it quite difficult to orient yourself. The best moment came about two minutes before we were going to shut the doors and close the polls at the end of the day. I walked out into the hallway and there was a poll worker practically yelling at a guy who had just rushed through the outside door and didn’t know which precinct he belonged in.

“You have to be in the check-in line by 7 o’clock! Try to remember! Were you North or South last year?”

“I can’t remember.”

“Do you think you went to the cafeteria or the gym?”

“I DON’T KNOW!”

“Quick! There’s no time to look at the confusing map! Just pick a door!”

It worked out fine for him, though, and also for the couple with two crying infants who came in right after him, even though the woman seemed like she was about to pass out and couldn’t recite her home address without a lot of help from her husband. At first I thought this might be my first case of voter fraud of the sort the Republicans are all lathered up about, but it turns out they had moved recently and she was hopped up on cold medicine. I doused myself with hand sanitizer as soon as she moved away from me, just in case she had Ebola.

Speaking of Republican vote suppression efforts bogeymen, here in Virginia we had a new voter ID law to eliminate the non-existent problem of in-person voter fraud. We had to demand from each voter a “valid” photo ID, though the definition of “valid” was a bit arbitrary and impractical to adjudicate on the spot. For example, an out-of-state driver’s license is not acceptable, but an employer-issued ID badge (from any employer in any state) is. As if election officers can tell the difference between a real employee badge from Acme Corp. and one you just printed up yourself that morning for purposes of voting twice and stealing the election by casting the one vote that swings it. I can’t even name the 11 Native American tribes recognized by the state of Virginia, much less guess what a valid tribal enrollment card from one of them might look like.

The ID requirement did not supersede the requirement to have voters state out loud their full legal name and residence address, which led one impatient citizen to complain that it was stupid for us to be asking for information that we could read from his driver’s license. I think so, too, but I’m not allowed to express an opinion on election day, so I tried to explain that we are only volunteers and don’t make the rules, and anyway the photo ID is only to verify your identity, while stating your address is used to verify your address and to make it easier for the partisan poll watchers (absent that day) to challenge your right to be there if they think you look suspicious or non-white, but that didn’t appease him. You know the type–a lot like me, probably. He said, “It’s not even a very interesting question to ask.”

I couldn’t tell if he was just was annoyed that we were wasting an extra 15 seconds of his time, or was trying to make a point about the stupidity of the ID requirement, or what, but I lost control for a moment and said, “Sir, what color is your underwear?”

Well, that got him sputtering. “What do you mean? What’s that got to do with anything?”

“Nothing,” I said, “but you wanted a more interesting question and that was the first thing that came to mind.”

He didn’t answer on the grounds that it had no relevance to voting. Or maybe he was voting commando. I hope he didn’t report me to The Authorities and get me fired from my thankless volunteer job for insubordination or lack of seriousness. Actually the county pays me for my volunteer service, and this year the pay is up to $175, which, even for a 15-hour day plus a few hours of training, is more than a lot of people make for a much harder day’s work. And it’s not thankless: a fair number of people make a point of thanking us for being there and making the whole thing work–which, by the way, it’s sort of amazing that it does.

I’m always thrown off by the people who read my name off my name badge and thank me by name. “Thanks for volunteering today, Bill.”

“Thanks for voting, and how the hell do you know my name?”

It just would never occur to me to address a stranger by name like that. Though once the idea was planted in my head, I was tempted to start reading people’s names from the work ID badges that a lot of them wore to the polls, and addressing them by name so they could experience that moment of doubt and confusion, too.

I know this all makes it sound like an exciting day of making Democracy, but mostly it was just a long, boring day of telling people to “slide it right in” the ballot scanner, which for some reason a lot of people have trouble figuring out how to do. You’ve got a ballot. There’s a slot. Not so complicated. This is another place where I need a video montage; it would be even funnier than the the first one.

* * *

On my breaks I spent some time wandering the halls of S—— Middle School, which had more rules, yearbook ads, and fonts than I remember from my time in school.

Sign telling kids not to use their electronic devices Sign reading "Live by the 3 R's in the hallway" with a lot of damn rules for walking in the hallway Sign reading "Yearbook. The original Facebook." Sign reading "Band Participation respect, honesty, teamwork, growth, creativity, and commitment excellence..." in a lot of different fonts Sign reading "A picture is worth 1000 tweets" with two absurd girls looking shocked and/or excited

An entire list of rules for how to walk in the hallway? Hallway passport? Follow the most direct route?

Sign reading "A picture is worth 1000 tweets" with two absurd girls looking shocked and/or excited. Plus Bill

The yearbook ones are a little clever, with the tagline “Social media captures the now, your yearbook preserves the now forever. Like yearbook!” I don’t know about the “forever” part–I think I’ve thrown away most of mine, unless they’re still boxed up in my parents’ attic. But at that age you can be persuaded that they’re important memories.§

When I saw the last poster I couldn’t resist getting in on the fun. I’d love to know what they’re looking at on that phone, though. The girl in green looks horrified, while the girl in white is all, like, “oh, yeah!” which makes me think maybe it’s a picture of White Girl making out with Green Girl’s boyfriend. Or worse: maybe some of that sexting stuff the kids are into.

Sign giving hashtag for submitting photos to yearbook

A little later I saw this sign, encouraging people to tag their photos on Instagram for possible inclusion in the yearbook. I thought long and hard before deciding not to tag a bunch of pictures of me posing around the school. While it would have been funny to you and me, I suspect the kids on the yearbook staff wouldn’t have been amused. Though their adviser might have been, if she or he had a sense of humor at all and didn’t report me to the police. Also it’s not clear where you tag your selfies if not on Instagram, so that “or” maybe isn’t appropriate, and I don’t know how to use Instagram.

There were also these banners, painted by student artists and depicting the school’s panther mascot.

Creepy paintings showing lurking, smarmy, possibly psychopathic, panther dressed in human clothes pretending to be a student

I thought they were a little creepy when I saw them, and I still think that, looking at them now. I’m pretty sure the one on the right is about to kill those two kids and is carrying the remains of some other kids on his lunch tray.

Go Panthers!

* * *

I have some serious thoughts on all this (the election part, not the wandering the halls of a middle school part) and even some pride at being part of the process, but I’ve run out of space and this is no place for that sort of earnestness, so maybe I’ll follow up after the next election when it’s all fresh again.

Notes

*
In 2012, when turnout was high (in U.S. terms, anyway) and lines were long I had to help a husband-and-wife pair who rushed in toward closing time, a bit frazzled because they hadn’t looked at the new voter registration cards they’d been mailed and therefore didn’t realize they’d been moved to a new precinct, so they’d already been to their old polling place and stood in line for awhile, to find out they were in the wrong place, then driven to the new polling place, where they got to stand in line all over again to check in, and then stand in line a bit more to wait for a spot at the ballot-filling-out table, where they were confused because their sample ballots–which they brought from the first stop–were telling them to vote for candidates who weren’t on the ballot. After I explained that they were now in a different Congressional district than their old precinct, they asked me to give them a sample ballot, which as a conscientious and strictly neutral Election Officer I am not allowed to do, so they asked me if I could tell them which ones were the candidates from their preferred party, at which point I gently pointed out that there were “(D)” and “(R)” indicia next to the relevant names on the ballot.
That’s all I knew about my assignment, too, and I only realized I had reported to the wrong room that morning because the Chief Election Officer introduced himself, and I couldn’t remember the name of my Chief but did know she was supposed to be a woman.
I finally had to ask someone what middle school is. I thought it was something like 5th and 6th grade, but in this school system it’s 7th and 8th grade, which were called “junior high” when I did them.
§
I found the designer who created the posters, who says that the purpose of the campaign was “to express how yearbook is just as if not more important than social media,” which is a comforting thing to believe if you work for a yearbook company. Also I learned the word yerd, which is a yearbook nerd but also means “to beat with a stick,” so watch the context.

Bill takes a spill

In which Bill's Head is dashed violently against the pavement and Bill's Shoulder nearly falls off
Jun 212014
 
Crashing doughnut bike

Note: I was originally just going to write a quick, humorous piece about Concussion Camp, but then realized that the three of you who hadn’t already heard the backstory might want to be filled in, and if I had written this a month ago I could have just pointed concerned friends, family, neighbors, and strangers here instead of telling the story over and over. I know it’s generally tedious hearing about other people’s minor medical dramas, but I’ve tried to stick to the entertaining highlights.

One Tuesday evening back in May I crashed my bicycle,* landing quite hard on my helmet, face, and shoulder.

Fortunately this happened during a lull in traffic, and I was able to get myself out of the road before I got run over. Two men in an old station wagon, with limited English-language abilities but generous hearts, pulled over and kept asking if I was OK and if I needed a ride home. Naturally I told them I was fine, despite the ripped jersey, big lump under my eye, and assorted other abrasions—never mind the wrecked front wheel of the bike. I’m not sure what I thought my plan was, but I wanted everyone to just go away and let me solve the problem myself (last time, after all, I rode 35 miles to get home on what turned out to be a broken wrist). Maybe I was going to walk three miles home? Or catch a bus? I remember watching all the other cars coming up the road and worrying that one of them was going to rear-end the stopped car and make the whole situation even worse.

They were persistent, though, and eventually I let them tie my bike to the roof of the car and drive me home. I tried to be polite and make small talk, but I’m not great at that in the best of circumstances, and it was more than a little awkward chatting with the driver about his work as a painter/carpenter/electrician/drywall-installer, all while giving driving directions using a lot of hand gestures and trying not to bleed on his seat (or cry). Part of my internal dialogue went something like this:

Hey, I need some drywall work done. I should get his card or phone number so I can call him. Hiring him would be a great way to thank him.

But how do I know if he’s any good at it? What if I hire him out of gratitude and he does a crappy job?

Would that really be the worst thing? Then you hire someone else to come fix it, and the nice man has still gotten a reward for helping you out.

My arm hurts and I want to cry. Stop thinking about drywall.

When I said something about how nice they were to bring me home, the driver said, “It is OK, my friend, because today it was you but tomorrow it could be me.” That’s like what people say in movies! I feel extra-terrible that I didn’t even get their names.

At home I tried to give them some money but they refused to take it. “Please,” I said, “take the money and go buy yourselves a drink on me.” They misunderstood me and thought I was offering them a drink right there. “OK, yes,” one of them said, “some water is good.” Was he really thirsty or was he just accepting my offer to be polite? There wasn’t a good way to sort this out, so I went insideone arm dragging, blood dripping, slightly in shock—and poured out two big glasses of ice water. Then I stood around while they drank the water, thanked me profusely, and prepared to leave. I was pretty sure they weren’t very familiar with the area and had no idea where they were, so I tried to give them directions to where they were headed. The whole time I was feeling guilty that they were going to end up lost and stuck in rush-hour traffic because of me.

No wonder I didn’t want to accept a ride.

After the Nice Men left, my first thought was that I should go find my next-door neighbor, whose bike I recently fixed so he could start riding again, and tell him that this is why he needs to go buy that helmet he keeps telling me he’s planning on buying any day now, even if he’s only tooling around the neighborhood.§

Picture of mangled bike wheel
Dammit, I just bought this wheel three months ago

My second thought was to take some pictures of myself and the bike, in case I wanted to write a blog post about the crash or something.

My third thought was to send one of the less-alarming pictures to E—— to let her know I had had a little accident but was OK.

Whilst taking additional selfies in the bathroom mirror, I realized that the lump on my elbow was nothing but my shoulder was a mess, and decided I should go see a doctor. I pulled on a red shirt that seemed like it wouldn’t be ruined by blood stains and drove myself one-handed to the walk-in clinic at the family practice.

At the clinic they got a little worried when I almost fainted, but decided it was probably due to shock and the fact I hadn’t eaten in six hours rather than to head injury, so they brought me a juice box and some cheese/peanut butter crackers. One of those little kid-size juice boxes. I wish I had a picture to show you of me drinking juice from that tiny box through a tiny straw while three medical professionals stood around with solicitous looks on their faces waiting to see if anything terrible was going to happen. They checked me for obvious major injury, told me to come back in the morning for an x-ray, and to follow up on Friday with a doctor at the practice’s sports medicine clinic.

What they didn’t do (as far as I can recall, and according to the clinical summary they sent me home with) was talk to me about the possibility of concussion, or tell me what to watch out for to make sure I didn’t die from an undiagnosed brain injury. Still, I survived the night even without someone waking me up every two or three hours to make sure I wasn’t dead or confused.

By the time E—— and I had gone back to the doctor’s office Wednesday for x-rays, gone shopping for more bandages for my shoulder, and gone out to lunch, I was physically and mentally exhausted. I tried to get some work done on Wednesday and Thursday, but found I was fighting a brain fog a lot of the time. Thoughts moved slowly, I had trouble maintaining concentration, and when I did concentrate for too long I got a headache.

At first I thought my body was just tired from the trauma, but eventually I consulted with Internet and we decided I had a concussion.

Friday morning I saw a doctor in the sports medicine clinic, who, after another set of x-rays, diagnosed me with a separated shoulder (grade III AC separation, if you’re curious or keeping score). I was advised to “avoid things that hurt you” and to start physical therapy in a week or so.

He also had me follow a stick around with my eyes and head and thereby confirmed that I had a minor concussion (or mild traumatic brain injury, to use a name that makes it sound as serious as it is). He told me to come back in a week to be seen at the practice’s concussion clinic,  which a) I was stunned to learn exists and b) I immediately started calling “Concussion Camp” to make it sound more fun. In the meantime, he suggested, I should “take easy walks with friends for exercise. Avoid long hours of TV or reading. Take frequent breaks at work.” And my favorite: “avoid getting into emotional arguments.”

“Concussion is like shaking up a snow globe,” the doctor said, “and it takes a while for things to settle back down.”

Next time in Bill’s Head: a letter from Concussion Camp!

Notes

*
This was a self-inflicted crash: my chain slipped down a cog while I was standing and leaning forward to accelerate, causing my foot to jerk forward unexpectedly and me to lose balance and pitch forward.
Did I just write “generous hearts”?
I was maybe going to illustrate this dialogue with some Angel Bill’s Head and Devil Bill’s Head graphics and before I abandoned the idea I spent some time looking for angel wing pictures I could use. That took me to all sorts of weird places (what is it with the angel fetish?). The best thing I found was in the comments posted for this pair:

many thanks for these arms in the PSD, really makes me work because I have a case of death and had to place the person who died as angel ak. But other photos that were on site with tired with this vain not thank you very much

I’m not trying to make fun of someone who clearly isn’t a native English speaker; I just love the phrase “I have a case of death.”

§
I didn’t actually do this, but when I talked to his wife the next day it was her first thought, too.

Something inspiring for a change: bicycling from Washington, DC to Austin, TX

In which Bill meets an interesting guy. Also there may or may not be an Octopus Slide.
Aug 132012
 

When I go out for a bike ride on the weekend, I often go with a group. It’s nice to have people to talk to and to know someone’s there to help out if I get into trouble. But on the other hand, I have to get out of bed and show up on time to start the ride, and at the end of it all I sometimes feel like I’ve just passed a lot of beautiful scenery that I forgot to look at because I was too busy looking at the back of the person in front of me and worrying about maintaining the pace. Partly this is due to the nature and riding style of this group, and partly it’s my own fault.

When I go out for a long ride on my own, I sometimes end up feeling like I’ve had an adventure. This is especially true when I ride in an area I’m not familiar with, or improvise a route. I slow down to look at the scenery. Sometimes I stop to take pictures. If the ride ends up taking far longer than I expected, that makes it feel even more like it was an adventure. It’s a nice feeling even though the “adventure” quotient is actually fairly low. Even if I’m on a new route, I’m generally in an area I’m roughly familiar with, and if something catastrophic were to happen I could always call a friend or family member to come rescue me.

On Sunday I was out on my own for a moderately-difficult 60-mile ride. I hadn’t set out to do anything too ambitious because I wanted to get home with time and energy to deal with some chores. By the time I came into Front Royal after 25 miles, though, I was enjoying the ride and the slightly-nicer-than-it-has-been-lately weather. I had already made one brief detour in search of the “Octopus Slide” (which I never did find, so clearly their idea of “all day!” did not include the middle part of the day). So in search of further adventure I decided I’d extend my ride by getting on Skyline Drive, riding uphill five miles or so to the end of the first big climb, then coming back to continue on my way.

Five miles along Skyline Drive I stopped at the Dickey Ridge visitor center for a food break (and a crappy cellphone picture that I won’t bother posting but I will bother mentioning). While I was there I saw a guy with a loaded-up touring bike (my favorite part: the solar panel strapped across the rear panniers for charging his phone and computer). I asked him how far he was headed, expecting to hear that he was riding the length of Skyline Drive, or maybe Skyline Drive plus the Blue Ridge Parkway. Instead he said (with a distinct Scottish accent) that he was riding to Austin. As in: Texas. This was day three of his 10-week, 2500-mile ride.

I learned that he lives in Brighton (England) and is a fan of American music–country, blues, folk, etc. He’s also a fan of bicycling and felt like he needed an adventure, so he decided to combine the two interests and come tour the parts of the country where the music was born. There isn’t a well-documented and -traveled bike route for this tour (by comparison, there are lots of resources to help you plan a coast-to-coast ride), so he pieced a route together as best he could using Google Maps. He couldn’t tell on Google Maps which roads are paved and which aren’t, so he’ll have to take his chances. He doesn’t seem to know many people in this country, so he doesn’t have much of a support network to draw on if something goes wrong.

After we talked for a bit my own ride for the day was seeming decidedly less adventurous. Rather than turning back as I had planned, I rode a few more miles along Skyline Drive first to make sure I was getting as much as possible out of my day. It even occurred to me to just keep riding until I couldn’t go any further and then figure out what to do next, but that seemed more stupid than adventurous, so I headed back to Front Royal and resumed my original ride, turning in a respectable 75 miles for the day.

As I rode on I realized I hadn’t even gotten the guy’s name, much less asked him if he had a blog where I could follow his progress (everyone has a blog for everything, right?) Fortunately there aren’t a lot of people cycling from Washington to Austin this summer, so 45 seconds with Google was all it took for me to learn that his name is Iain and his blog for the trip is here. Go follow along while you’re waiting for me to do something interesting with my life and write about it.

Oh, there was one bit of extra adventure for me on my ride: toward the end I was shot at by some jackass kid with an air rifle or paintball gun or something like that. No doubt he’ll grow up to be one of those people who thinks it’s funny to throw beer bottles at cyclists or try to run them off the road. Here’s hoping Iain is spared this little part of the American experience.

Update on Bill’s Wrist

Dying to know how it all turned out? Here's an update. Also, you can sign my cast.
Nov 192011
 

Since I can’t respond individually to the hundreds of people who have written in to Bill’s Head Headquarters to ask how Bill’s Wrist is doing, I figured I would post an update here.

My injury was a fracture of the triquetrum bone*, which is the most- or second-most-common kind of wrist fracture, depending on whose statistics you believe. Usually, a little piece chips off. They put you in a cast, and everything works out fine. However, because I’m special, that’s not what happened to me. I broke off a big piece, and there was a large gap between it and where it was supposed to be. I went to two separate orthopedists who between them had been working on hands for over 25 years, and neither of them had ever seen an injury like this before. The doctor who ended up fixing it for me was quite excited–he took pictures of my x-ray and CT scan with his iPhone, I guess so that he could pull it out and show me off at orthopedist cocktail parties.

Both doctors recommended surgery to fix the bone fragment back in place, so I had that done last week. The surgery went fine, and my parents, who had come to be supportive, were able to leave the surgery center in time to make it to the opera that evening.

After a week wearing a half cast/splint that they put on me in the operating room (clearly designed or applied by someone who has never had to wear one, given how miserably uncomfortable it was), I got my real cast yesterday:

Bill's arm in a cast

If you look closely, you can see the pin holding things together.

I also got a waterproof cast cover, which is a little more secure than the newspaper bags I’ve been using to cover my arm for showering. I can probably reuse the thing for next year’s Halloween costume, too, since it makes me look like a low-rent monster from Dr. Who.

Bill's hand in a cast protector

This is the first time I’ve ever had a cast, so I missed out on that whole cast signing thing in childhood. A black cast is a little tough to sign, and I don’t see most of you in person, but if you’d like to sign the cast you can scrawl out your message, then photograph or scan it and send it to me (or just use the comments below). I’ll print out your messages on stickers and put them on the cast, if I haven’t lost interest in this project by then. Also, I’m willing to sell advertising space or naming rights; get in touch if you’re interested. But hurry, because I only have to wear the thing for three weeks (half as long as I was expecting).

Thanks to all of you who have wished me well and/or told me how lucky I was not to have broken both wrists like your friend/brother/coworker/acquaintance/spouse/distant relative did.

Notes

*
This used to be called the cuneiform bone, which we encountered recently in our discussion of coins. Why did they change the name? I don’t know.

This was going to be an awesome post but then I broke my wrist

I had a great post all mapped out in my head for this week. It was going to be brilliant, insightful, funny, heartwarming, poetic, maybe even revolutionary. But then I crashed my bicycle and broke my wrist, so here are some pictures of that instead.
Nov 042011
 

I had a great post all plotted out in my head for this week. It was going to be brilliant, insightful, funny, heartwarming, poetic, maybe even revolutionary. But then I crashed my bicycle and broke my wrist, and now I can’t do enough typing to get all that awesomeness into words for you. I hope to be up and running with some voice recognition software (or a secretary) soon; in the meantime please amuse yourselves with these selections from my x-rays and CT scans.

x-ray of my broken wrist

CT scan of my broken wrist

I think I just bought a really cool raised relief map of Iceland

Bill goes shopping for a raised relief map of Iceland
Sep 232011
 

As many of you know, I have been fascinated by Iceland* ever since I saw the movie Cold Fever back in 1995. I also like maps, and ever since I finally visited Iceland in 2007, I have been trying to find a raised relief map of Iceland (a 3-D map that shows the land contours). I can’t remember how I got the idea in my head—maybe I saw one while I was there, or maybe it just seemed like a nice thing to have. But I was never able to find one.

Instead I’ve made do with this map (awesome in its own way) as my souvenir map of Iceland:

Map of Iceland showing area where passenger cars are not allowed to drive
Bill with the map
See: me with the map, in the rental car

This is the map you find in your rental car at the airport. Note the giant section of the country marked “Area Where Passenger Cars are Not Allowed to Drive.”

The map now hangs over the toilet in the powder room in my house, so every time I use that toilet it’s like I’m back in Iceland.

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A Day in the Life: Lunch and Costco

I set out for Costco today to buy a three-pound bag of almonds. I didn't have any urgent need for almonds, or any need at all, really, but it was a good excuse to go to Five Guys for lunch.
Oct 252010
 

[Editor’s note: This will be mildly amusing to a few of you. The rest of you should just come back another time.]

I set out for Costco today to buy a three-pound bag of almonds. I didn’t have any urgent need for almonds, or any need at all, really: I had told a friend I would get her some the next time I was there.

I did, however, have a need to go to Five Guys for lunch. Not enough need, apparently, because I was having trouble talking myself into it. I wanted to go but I also didn’t want to go. It was that kind of day. I sure didn’t want to be at the office, working. Then I remembered the almonds. Almonds at Costco. Costco is in the same shopping center as Five Guys. “Since I need to go to Costco anyway,” I thought, ignoring the fact that I didn’t really need to go to Costco, “I might as well go to Five Guys for lunch first.”

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