Category Archives: Latham

I think I need to get one of those helmets with a canary in it.

Random crap Saturday? Sure thing, buckaroos, saddle up. 

Winning Aunting with ADD Trains 

So it’s almost The Nephew’s third birthday. His mom’s having a party for him in the rec park near his house, happily on a Sunday so that means I can attend. Yippee! I like seeing The Nephew. He’s very excited about his birthday. He tells anyone who asks “I’m turning THREE YEARS OLD!” I think he’s also reached the age where he realizes that with birthdays, come presents. I think that’s a very auspicious age, when you can connect the two. 

I am going to show you a picture of The Nephew. I know, this is probably pretty unprecedented. If any pervs show up searching like they did on my friend Mer’s blog once, I’ll come to your house and make you eat your own testicles as an hors d’oeuvre, I swear on all that’s holy.

This is a picture of The Nephew fishing with his dad recently. It is possibly one of my favorite things in existence, because LOOK AT THAT SKEPTICAL FACE. He is NOT SURE OF SOMETHING. I love this child. To pieces.

His party is construction-themed, because right now The Nephew is into construction vehicles like dump trucks. He should come to Albany! All we HAVE is construction right now, Nephew! Come on down! I think you’d be a little less enamored with it if you were stuck behind one of these big trucks and it was driving super-slow and you JUST WANTED TO GO HOME AND RELAX IN FRONT OF THE FAN DAMMIT, but maybe that’s just me. 

My mom checked with The Nephew’s mom to see what gifts he wants for this very important birthday, and apparently, the answer is Chuggington. Which sounds like a euphemism to me, honestly. “Hey, honey, what time are you getting home tonight? Because I think it’s time for us to try out the Chuggington, right? Wink wink nudge nudge!” 

What is Chuggington, you ask? Some train shit, I don’t know. He likes trains. He used to like Thomas the Tank Engine, but there’s a scary train on it so he stopped watching that one. Listen, I just checked the website to show you which train scares my beloved little buddy and there are a LOT of scary-faced trains. Why is this a children’s show? 

I don’t trust the smile on this one, he looks like a child molester.

The hell? This might give me nightmares and I’m a grown up old person. WHY SO MAD, DOUGLAS?

Hector looks like he just walked in on his mom doing it with the pool guy on a pile of his Christmas presents. HIS LIFE AS HE KNOWS IT IS SHATTERED.

I asked my mom which one scared The Nephew and she said this one. He is scared of it because of “The Claw.” GOOD GRIEF. This show is NOT FOR CHILDREN. When I told her that, she said, “Eh, it’s British, what can you do.”

Anyway, Chuggington. I’d never heard of this so I did some research. Here is what the internet tells me about Chuggington: 

Now, come on. “Let’s ride the rails” has to be a euphemism, right? RIGHT?

It is British
It is about talking trains
One of the talking trains seems to have ADD
One of the talking trains is colorblind
Two of the talking trains are mischievous
There is a “movie star chugger” who flies (…I don’t know either)
One of the trains is a douchebag and tricks the other trains
One of the trains is named Hodge and “it takes a lot to get Hodge excited” (I think I dated Hodge in college)
There is a zoo with animals in it (I’m down the zoo situation)
The show seems to exist to teach us all about FRIENDSHIP 

OK, FINE, The Nephew, I’ll get you some Chuggington birthday presents. I’ll research this shit at Toys R Us.

Good GRACIOUS there are a lot of Chuggington toys at Toys R Us. 102! I had no idea. Toys R Us! Never one to not jump on a trend when it’s hot! JUMP ON IT LIKE IT’S HOT TOYS R US! 

“Bridge and Tunnel Starter Set.” EUPHEMISM!!!!

The problem is, if I get him Chuggington toys, everyone ELSE is ALSO getting him Chuggington toys and there’s a chance he’ll get repeat toys and I hate that. I like to stand out in the gift-giving department like the shining star that I am. I really, REALLY like to win aunting. I only have one other person to compete with, but I like to WIN, baby. 

Last year I got him a scooter, which was a total win and he did all the scooting. What should I get him this year that is better than all the other gifts, but costs like $50 or so? People that have three-year-olds or know some three-year-olds, help me out here. Remember: this is not about anything but WINNING AUNTING. Oh, what’s that? Also making The Nephew happy? Oh, yeah, that too. THAT TOO. (No, but seriously, seeing his little face light up when I’ve gotten him a good present makes my Grinch heart break the measuring device every damn time. I’m an easy mark when it comes to The Nephew. This is going to be a problem when he’s older and the gifts he wants are like computers and things.) 

I think I’m dying of black lung 

So we’re in rehearsal for our Director’s Showcase which opens Thursday (well, and closes Thursday, it’s a one-night thingamabobber) and since our building is owned by the City and our ceiling is falling in, they decided to come and fix it right now. So we’ve been coming into rehearsal and the theater is in various stages of disrepair. You’d think it would get better, but it just keeps getting worse. One day we showed up and we couldn’t get down the aisles without squeezing through ladders (BAD LUCK BAD LUCK!) then we showed up a couple days later and there are no seats to sit in so we have to sit on the stage to watch the actors, because the seats are covered in plywood. (I don’t have to sit on the stage. I get my own ROOM to sit in. I’m in the light booth. I’m running the lights and sound for this one. I’m FANCY.) 

I had to move old disgusting ductwork in the lobby in order to close the theater door (you need the doors closed when you’re doing lights, otherwise you get spill from the lobby and you don’t know how your lights will look in a dark theater – there’s some theater inside info for you! Listen, before we’re done here, you’re going to be able to run your own theater, I swear) and my hands were so covered with nastiness when I was done that would NOT come off no matter WHAT I did that I’m pretty sure I’m dying of asbestos poisoning right now. Also, there are electrical cords everywhere, and I don’t know if any of them are live, so it’s like a game of chicken to walk anywhere. Will I live? Will I die? WHAT WILL HAPPEN? 

I know what will happen. I’ll get mesothelioma and have to call one of those TV lawyers to sue my own theater, is what will happen. Cough. Cough cough. 

Oh, what, you think I didn’t take photos? THINK AGAIN BUSTER.

This is the ductwork I had to move with my own hands. That left black shit all over my hands and pants. BLACK LUNGGGGG!

This is the inside of the theater right now. In front of you: the wood on the seats. Under that wood: the seats. To your far left, almost inaccessible: the stage. Directly in front of you, to the top: a ladder, precariously balanced. Directly in front of you near the bottom – a…snow shovel? I don’t know.

This looks like a haunted house but it’s the theater. Oh, hey, there’s my light booth near the top right, hi, my light booth! This is more seats, covered in plastic. And an abandoned bucket, all lonely-like. Some hard hats. And some wood. Heh. Wood. Also, to your left? ORBS. The theater’s totally haunted, yo. Call the Ghost Douche.

This is the ceiling right now. The ceiling that I’m sure is covered in asbestos. NO, I don’t know that for sure, but since when do I not exaggerate? Also, dangerous electrical cords, you know, like you want hanging out of a ceiling.

Also, Thursday, the workmen dropped a deuce in the toilet and didn’t flush, and left us a filthy tanktop on the table we serve refreshments from. You know. Like the classy people they are. THANKS WORKMEN.

(Listen, the show looks great, though. I like working on the director’s showcase because it’s a new director, and it’s fun to see what they can do and how they bring it all together. Well, I guess it’s fun if you like the director and they do a good job. In this case, she’s doing a great job, the show looks excellent, she’s got a wonderful point of view and I think the audience is really going to enjoy it. Also, she hasn’t even complained about the mess in the theater, which, hey, kudos. Don’t worry. I’ll complain enough for the both of us. That shit is CRAZY messy and gross.) 

Righto, guv’nuh. 

So tomorrow, I am going on an ADVENTURE. I know, right? I’m actually leaving my house and purposely going on an adventure. Are we all the most excited? Sure we are. 

Cute, right? So cute.

A new tea house/restaurant opened up very close to where I work, and when they were in the process of opening it, I saw the sign and mentioned to Ken, hey, there’s a tea place opening near me, when it opens, I should check that out. Then it opened, and I kind of forgot about it. SHUT UP, I have a lot going on. But then I remembered when I saw a review of it on one of our local blogs, so I checked out the tea selection and sent the link to Ken because he has to tell me if I’m allowed to go to places like this (I don’t know if tea is any good or not, what do I look like, fancy? No), and he said not ONLY am I allowed, I NEEDED to go. So, Sunday, I’m going to visit the tea place, and then I’m writing you all up the tale of my tea adventures on Ken’s tea blog. So you have to go THERE to read it. Yeah, it’s all a nefarious plot to get you to read Ken’s blog(s) as much as I think you all should, I’m not even denying it. Plus, Ken has promised to be my on-call tea expert should I run into any tea-related emergencies while I’m there. I’m sure I will. I can’t imagine I won’t. I’m also trying tea WITH CAFFEINE IN IT. I know, this could totally be the end of me. And by “the end” I mean it could cause a migraine to happen. But it probably won’t. It’s been a long time since the doctor told me that maybe caffeine was my migraine trigger. Who knows what will happen? It’s not going to hurt to try. And I really really REALLY want to see what Oolong tastes like. Ken makes it sound delicious. And since they don’t offer it as decaf, well, you can see my conundrum. 

Also, there’s totally a tea-related gift shop, and someone I know who was mentioned a billion times in the preceding paragraph has a prize package coming to him and tea relates to his interests, so that’ll be fun to investigate, now won’t it? Sure it will. What? What’s that? NO I haven’t finished shopping for the Bloggiversary Gift Package yet. Shush, you, I only got paid Thursday and we’re teching a show, I’m a little busy. 

So be ready for tea adventures! Oh, also there’s food. There’s totally food. I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty excited about the food, too. It looks delicious. 

OK, there’s three things. THREE RANDOM THINGS! Plus lots of pictures. I’m exhausted and I think I’m dying of maybe TB like Doc Holliday so now I should go around saying lines from Tombstone like “you’re a daisy if you do” and “I got two guns, one for each of ya.” HAPPY SATURDAY! Enjoy your day, it’s supposed to be lovely!

Nonsense. I have not yet begun to defile myself.



They made Hulk angry, and they didn’t like Hulk when he was angry.

Happy November! The gateway to winter, is what this is. ARE YOU READY FOR SOME WINTER? I yelled that like they do on the football programs. Don’t even tell me that the name of my blog is misleading. I HAVE SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE.

For fun, guess how many trick-or-treaters I got last night? No, guess. GUESS. If you guessed anything but ZERO you are WRONG. None! No trick-or-treaters. I didn’t even see any walking around outside. Did I get the day wrong or something? So now, guess who has three whole bags of mini-candy at her disposal? If you want some mini-candy, I’m your woman. I’m kidding, of course. You totally can’t have my candy. HANDS OFF I SAID.

I need to think of a name for these increasingly-more-common posts where I just blather on about a number of topics because listen, do you even KNOW how much awesome is in my brain? You can’t even imagine. MY BRAIN IS A PINATA OF AWESOME. …and now I think we have the name for these posts.

CARA HAS STOLEN MY ABILITY TO SLEEP

So yesterday, I wrote about how ten years ago I woke up in the middle of the night and there was a shadowy man with sparkly eyes standing over my bed and I was frozen. BOO! Ha. You weren’t expecting that because Halloween is OVER, right? GOTCHA SUCKERS. Anyway, so after she read it, Cara, my honey badger of a friend, said “You were visited by a shadow person.” So of course, as you do, I thought, hmm, what is a shadow person?

THANK YOU SO MUCH CARA NOW I’M NEVER SLEEPING AGAIN.

Shadow people are a THING. A THING THAT PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT. And I read THREE SEPARATE WEBSITES that VERIFIED THIS. But there were more. MORE! Than THREE!

Shadow people are sometimes seen out of the corner of your eye, when you’re just going about your day all la la la, and sometimes standing over you when you are sleeping. Oh, wait, you totally want a picture HERE IS A HORRIFYING ARTIST’S RENDITION.

What's with the steam rising from the Shadow People? Are they hot? THEY'RE ALSO HOT? This is INSANITY.

And HERE are some things I learned from a TOTALLY LEGIT WEBSITE THAT WAS TRYING TO SELL ME GHOST HUNTING EQUIPMENT. I’m totally picking up a Melmeter. They’re named after the creator, you know. His name is Mel.

“…the movement of shadow people is said to be quick and jerky, sometimes with stops, starts, and changes of direction, not at all like the smooth floating motion often associated with ghost sighting. “

“…some people report being able to discern that the shadow people are wearing a fedora style hat like a 1930’s-era gangster or a cloak.”

“…there are very few reports of positive interactions with shadow people.”

“Unlike the friendly ghost sightings that are fairly common, encounters with shadow folk are almost always frightening or shocking.   In fact, even the experts that view shadow men as a subset of ghosts, usually concede that shadow men are a malignant beings.”

“One of the many ideas is that shadow people represent a Thought-form, ghost or demon that was created by extraordinary pain, suffering, and trauma in a dying persons life.  Others suggest that shadow folk have been purposefully summoned from another realm through black magic or other occult practices.”

THESE ARE JUST UTTERLY NIGHTMARE-INDUCING FACTOIDS.

The worst is the FEDORA. Why is the shadow person dressed like a gangsta? Is he coming to make me an offer I can’t refuse, seeeee? Am I going to sleep with the fishes? I AM TOTALLY SO MUCH MORE SCARED NOW.

Mandy at Borkadventures had a similar situation happen to her, only hers was a girl, and Mandy said she didn’t seem malevolent. I’m going to assume Mandy’s Shadow Person was not wearing a fedora. MANDY. Was your girl wearing a FEDORA? I think this is something we should figure out. Probably it’s important since I’m going to become a ghost hunter now that I found that orb and I’m getting a Melmeter and all.

Also, it’s sad there are no positive interactions with shadow people. Now that I think about it, I blame the fedoras. It’s hard to be jolly when you’re wearing a fedora. Because fedoras make you want to be all serious, like you’re a grandpa. Or one of the Mad Men. Someone really needs to talk to the shadow people and tell them, listen! Cheer up! And maybe tell them to wear something more cheerful. I suggest a cap like those kids in Newsies wore. They were dancing ALL OVER. And I didn’t see it but wasn’t it set in the Depression, or something? If Newsies caps can make you dance even though businessmen are jumping out of skyscrapers, Shadow Men, WEAR ONE.

I’M SAD NO ONE COLLECTED THOSE LITTLE SPOONS WITH STATE CAPITALS ON THE HANDLES

So this article was in the paper this weekend and I cut it out because it just tickled me so much I wanted to read it AGAIN. I think this is a totally interesting window into my psyche you should note, by the way. Me reading the paper every Sunday: I read the inserts and such first. I throw the sports section to the wolverines. (I don’t KNOW what wolverines. THE wolverines. It’s a SAYING. It’s NOT a saying? Well, I just SAID it, doesn’t that MAKE it a saying? Good grief.) I work from the inside out and finally read the news part, which is usually pretty boring but it’s like taking your medication: you have to, really, don’t you? And then sometimes you find things like this and it makes it WORTH YOUR TIME.

FINE, I’ll give a synopsis in case you don’t want to click. Do we need to have a talk about your energy levels again, Clyde?

It is an article about some international autocrats and the memorabilia they collected when their houses were raided and/or just that we know about because we haven’t killed them yet. That was kind of harsh. Sorry. Probably we’re not planning on killing ALL the international badguy leaders, right? I don’t know anything about politics.

The things that stood out, quoted from the article:

“In one of Saddam’s mansions, U.S. forces uncovered what’s been described as a ‘1960s-style love nest, a mirrored bedroom, lamps shaped like women, and fantasy-art paintings featuring scantily-clad, bodacious women and buff warriors.’

The Guardian’s art critic…said the “artwork” was “dredged from some red-lit back alley of the brain.”

“A group of Western journalists in 1952 received a tour of the Cairo residence of King Farouk I, Egypt’s last king…Time’s correspondent reported ‘… a bedroom filled with a weird mixture of pornography, childishness and sentimentality — mild glamour shots like those advertising Chicago burlesque bars; Kodachrome nudes complete with pocket viewers; trick photographs that could be squeezed to make a fan dancer bump and grind.'”

And…my absolute WTFFFFF favorite…

“(Moammar) Gadhafi also had a well-documented obsession with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who he called ‘my darling black African woman.’ Rebel forces found an album of photos of Rice in his residence in Tripoli, a discovery the U.S. State Department called ‘deeply bizarre and deeply creepy.'”

Um. I know. I KNOW. You guys, I totally know. These are baddies. I get it. But come ON. Saddam Hussein liked things like this:

(I know that’s probably not what he liked but this makes me laugh. What’s going on here? I don’t know. VOODOO FANGS! Someone’s RIDING A ZEBRA! Also I think maybe the woman’s saving the man, which, +1!)

Lamps shaped like women and “bodacious” fantasy-art paintings. TOTALLY FUN SADDAM.

(The Guardian’s art critic was SO UP IN ARMS, right? OH MY STARS AND GARTERS!!!!)

I also like King Farouk’s wacky photos that you can squeeze to make a dancer bump and grind. Pretty sneaky, sis. I like to think of this old-timey king all squeezin’ his photos and makin’ ’em do nudie dances and laughing and laughing and FINE probably also getting all hot, because he’s totally a weirdo perv.

BTW, this is King Farouk I. Um, he’s totally the kind of person who’s squeezin’ the Charmin, right? WHOA. Stylin’ mustache, chap. And a FEZ! You don’t often see a fez pulled off this serial-killery. This guy totally has a van with no windows he trolls public parks with. YOU GO KING FAROUK I.

And then, there’s Moammar, who TOTALLY HAD A TEEN-BEAT-ESQUE STALKER BINDER DEDICATED TO CONDOLEEZA RICE. And a little NICKNAME for her. I can’t EVEN. What is happening. And I just have to wonder, what exactly went through Condoleeza’s head when she found out about this? Are you outwardly disgusted but inwardly flattered? Are you all-the-way-through disgusted? Do you laugh? Do you cry? WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN THIS PERSON WANTS TO LICK YOU LIKE A LOLLIPOP.

Doesn't he totally kind of look like a disgruntled bullfighter here? "Damn you, El Toro. You have bested me again. Touche, El Toro. Touche."

I TOTALLY WORK WITH THIS PERSON

I don’t know if anyone remembers this:

M. PIEDLOURDE!

(Oh, I can hear you NOW, you HEATHENS. M. WHAT? M. WHO? That’s Mr. Heavyfoot, for those of you who are not TOTALLY BILINGUAL IN FRENCH like I am. OK, FINE, I’m like 1/8 bilingual. I can say, very clearly in French, “Please speak more slowly. I only speak a little French.” THIS IS HELPFUL WHEN TALKING TO FRENCH PEOPLE. Because listen, they totally talk the FASTEST. Yeah, yeah, scoff it up, I can ALSO say “grapefruit,” “stop,” “why,” “fire,” and “library” – and string them all together in an awesomely perplexing sentence, “Stop! Why is a grapefruit on fire in the library?” – and when I was in Paris, I only got laughed at about 7/8 of the time I tried to speak French to the locals, which is where I got the 1/8 bilingual statistic from. I AM SO PROUD OF THIS ACCOMPLISHMENT. How, you ask, did I become this awesome? The answer is 6 years of French in high school and 2 in college. BAM I’M LIKE THE FRENCH MASTER BABY. It is totally the language of LOVE. And there, you see, is why I am SO SUCCESSFUL ROMANTICALLY.)

I work with Mlle. Piedlourde. SHE HAS THE LOUDEST FEET EVER ZOMG. And she walks past me 80 KABILLION times a DAY. Back and FORTH and back and FORTH and CLIP CLOP CLIP CLOP LOUD LOUD SHOES I WANT TO HIT YOU WITH A CAST IRON FRYING PAAAAAAAANNNNNNNN

Sorry. Sorry. So, to entertain myself, and so I don’t brain her with a frying pan (I mean, I don’t even HAVE a frying pan at work, WHO HAS A FRYING PAN AT WORK HA HA HA) I pretend I’m listening to that jazzy little M. Piedlourde music as she walks by. Doo doo doo doodle oo-doo…

HULK MAD! HULK SMASH!

OK, disclaimer going in, here. I KNOW DEAD PEOPLE ARE UNFUNNY. I’m sorry, dead person. I am totally sorry you are dead. I am not laughing about the fact that you died. I am laughing at the events that led up to your death. I wish you had NOT died, if only because it would be interesting to find out WHAT THE HOLY HELL.

So yesterday I started seeing news stories titled “Man Dies in Struggle with Police at Latham Gym.” And hey, I used to live in Latham. It’s really close. So I’m totally morbid and wanted to know more! I like crazies.

Um.

Here’s the dealio, friends and neighbors and also pervs here for the scantily clad chick on the zebra. Yesterday, a guy at Gold’s Gym (and SIDEBAR, but does Gold’s Gym scare anyone else? It’s right next to Kmart here, and when I used to go to Kmart, I’d be afraid to walk to my car because the testosterone level in the parking lot was SO EFFING HIGH) “fell off his elliptical machine” and then “went over to the machine where another man was working out, increased the speed of the machine and punched the man in the face.”

Was that enough? No. No, that was not enough for Roid Rage Ricardo*. (*Not his real name.)

Roid Rage Ricardo, “who police described as 6-feet-1-inch tall, about 230 pounds and very muscular, then pushed over several universal weight machines, each weighing over 600 pounds…then went into an office where he ripped computers from the wall and toppled office furniture.” (Which I totally daydream about doing here at the office EVERY SINGLE DAY, just so you know.)

The police arrived. They tased him. (TASE HIM BRO. Please. He’s totally being a nuisance.) The taser brought him down. A cop was standing over? on? his back cuffing him, when he “stood up with the officer on his back.” Like they were playing that chicken game in the water that they play on old-timey movies!!! Totally fun. Only with TASERS. And HANDCUFFS. Also, are you imagining him growling? I am.

He then grabbed the taser from the cops, may or may not have tased himself, and had a heart attack and died not long after. He’d been tased 4-5 times total.

OK. LET ME REITERATE. I’m sorry he’s dead. It is sad. I don’t THINK anyone who knows him is reading this? But you never know. If you are friends or family with this person, my condolences. I am sorry for your loss. He might have been the kind of person who rescued puppies on his free time while also reading to blind war orphans, who knows. The NYS cops have recently been accused of overusing their tasers; whether or not that happened in this case, I can’t say. It does sound like they weren’t able to restrain him without one. Eyewitnesses say he was out of control and they were afraid. Three or four cops were injured bringing him down.

BUT WHAT THE HELL WAS GOING ON AT THE GOLD’S GYM.

Fell off his machine? Randomly went over to another guy’s machine, made him run fast fast fast like it was torture, then PUNCHED HIM IN THE FACE? Then TOTALLY Hulk-handsed the weight machines and the office!

Steroids, right? Steroids. One of my co-workers who is a killer of joy and also always insinuates himself into the conversation unneccessarily said that it was probably a brain tumor but what kind of brain tumor makes you all muscley and go to Gold’s Gym to work out and then Hulk out all over the gym equipment, I ask you? That’s an unlikely explanation, Joykiller. I mean, I guess it could also be angel dust. Didn’t that make Helen Hunt think she could fly on an ABC Afterschool Special or something? Maybe STEROIDS LACED WITH ANGEL DUST. And then maybe some PCP and the marijuana cigarettes. THIS IS HOW MY GRANDMOTHER TALKS ABOUT SMOKING THE DRUGS BTW.

THIS IS WHY I REFUSE TO WORK OUT I AM TOTALLY JUSTIFIED NOW.


Baby, You Can Drive My Car. But if You Start Texting, I’m Tossing You Out of It.

New York State recently had a new law go into effect. This law – the Distracted Driving Law – went into effect on July 12 and is an extension of the cell phone law that went into effect in late 2001, which prohibits drivers from using a cell phone while driving without using a hands-free device. The Distracted Driving Law takes it one step further. You are now not permitted to text, email, play games, or get on the internet while driving.

The fine isn’t much – a $150 ticket for either talking or texting.You also get 3 points off your license.

Here’s the thing.

WHO THE HELL IS DOING THIS.

Alright, yes, I get it. I’ve spoken on my cell while driving. I got my first cell way back in days of yore – 2001, I think – yeah, I know, did we even have CARS back then, weren’t we still in HORSE AND BUGGIES, ha ha – and I remember thinking I was one cool kitten, driving around chatting with people. Really, it was just kind of douchey. I didn’t need to be talking to those people. It wasn’t something that couldn’t have waited. It just seemed like a very, very adult thing to do. Talk on the phone? While driving? Yes! I am a very important businesswoman! I could very well have Grey Poupon in my satchel! I also lived in another state, and there were no cell phone laws there then. (Just checked. There still aren’t. Except school bus drivers aren’t supposed to be talking and driving. So that’s good. Progress! You go, Grand Canyon State!)

I then went years and years without a real cell phone. Well, I had a cell phone – I think I’ve mentioned this – that didn’t have internet access, and the “5” button didn’t work unless you went all ragemonster on it and bashed it with all of your might into submission. Did I talk on it in my car? Well, I went almost seven years and made approximately 20 calls on the thing, all-told. I talked on it once in the car while I was parked, does that count? It was a phone I had because in this day and age, you need a cell phone. There aren’t pay phones on every corner, and sometimes you’re driving somewhere and your car breaks down and you’re alone. It had no bells or whistles. I didn’t think about it much. It didn’t text. It didn’t have games. It had one ringtone. It didn’t have internet access.

I recently upgraded to a Droid. I seriously am quite sure that an angelic choir sang when I opened the box. The phone makes calls. But the phone texts. It has internet access. Apps! APPS! WHY DIDN’T YOU PEOPLE TELL ME ABOUT THE GLORY OF APPS? I was always one of those morally superior “why are people always GLUED to their PHONES” people but I haven’t looked up from the damn thing since April. I’m getting a hunchback from always peering down at it. It is a love affair, what I have with this phone. A very, very serious thing.

Here’s the thing, though. I don’t talk on it much. Main reason being, I hate talking on the phone to anyone but a select few, and when I want to settle in and talk to those people, I want to be comfortable, in my bed, with a phone that doesn’t heat up like hot lava and threaten to lose its charge before I’m done waxing poetic on the merits of Tide vs. Gain laundry detergent. (I’m being facetious. I’ve only had that conversation a few times. The answer is, they are both amazing and make your laundry smell like it’s been hung on the line; buy whichever is cheaper that day. And use coupons. Who cares if people look at you like a crazy bag lady. You have extra money in your pocket; their pockets have nothing but lint. WHO’S LAUGHING NOW SNEERY MCJERKFACE.)

I do text, though. And Tweet. And everything else you can do on it. If I have it, I’m going to use it to its full advantage. At first, I was just using it for the games, but I haven’t played a game on it since I discovered Twitter. Twitter entertains me a lot more thoroughly than Angry Birds. (OK, Angry Birds fans, I know, you’re probably ready to lynch me. Here’s the thing. Angry Birds crashed twice on me, when I was pretty far into it. The thought of re-doing all of those annoying little fiddly levels AGAIN, a third time, is crazy-making for me. I’ll talk to my Twitter friends instead.)

A few years ago, people started murmuring that we needed a New York State no-texting-while-driving law. I remember when I first heard that, I laughed so hard I choked a little. “Yeah, because people are always texting while they’re driving,” I said, between spates of laughter. Everyone looked at me (as they do, often, it’s like the default setting) like I had two heads. Apparently, EVERYONE texts while driving. I did an informal poll; all of my friends said they’d done it. One showed me how; she put the phone on the center horn part of her steering wheel and texted with her thumbs while steering with the remaining 8 fingers on the wheel itself.

This is not a good idea. Who thinks this is a good idea? Or are you all well aware this isn’t a good idea, but just think, shit, who cares, I have to tell my BFF I’m almost there, mix my margarita extra salty tonight? Or tell my kids to put the TV dinners in the microwave? Why can’t whatever you’re saying wait?

I get talking while driving. And I don’t condone it, but I think it’s doable. Yes, it’s better to have a Bluetooth. And it’s illegal to do it without one, at least in New York State. But listen, half of the time, we only use one hand to drive, anyway, so having one hand on the wheel and the other on your cell – not that big of a stretch. Also, you’re not all that distracted, talking and driving. If you’ve ever had a passenger, you know. It’s doable. Is the optimal driving experience both hands on the wheel, eyes on the road, no talking, no distractions? Yes, sure. But the optimal life experience is a ton of money, a geeky-smart-hot boyfriend, and a house on the ocean, and I don’t have that, either, so there you go.

The problem in New York State seems to be once we have a law on the books, we don’t enforce it. I sat at a fairly large intersection early last week – the Latham SPUI – as the first one at the light, and decided to do a very serious scientific experiment (which will most likely be written up in many prestigious journals. I know. I just can’t help how fancy I am.) I counted 21 cars going past me before it was my time to go. Out of those 21, 9 drivers were on cell phones (without a headset; I couldn’t tell how many were using a headset. I don’t have that kind of laser-perfect vision.) Two were looking at themselves in the mirror on the sunvisor. (While driving through a kind of confusing new intersection. You’re gorgeous! Eyes on the road, now, please!) One was turned around talking to, or looking at, someone or something in the backseat. (I kind of feared for my life with that one.) One was eating a gigantic sloppy sandwich. One was picking his nose. So out of the 21 drivers, 14 were doing illegal, stupid, distracted, or uncouth and unsanitary things while driving. I’m no math wizard, but that’s 66% of the drivers. And now I want to stay home forever and for always, or buy a bubble like Jake Gyllenhaal in Bubble Boy. (Shut up, it’s so awful it’s kind of awesome. No, ok, fine, it’s just awful.)

But those 9 people should have gotten tickets, right? I mean, under the law that’s been on the books for ten years? Why do you have a law if you don’t enforce it? What’s the point? Is it one of those laws that they only enforce when you’ve done something else heinous wrong, then they tack it on to the other things? If so, no one’s going to stop texting while driving.

Also, you’re gaming? While driving? Seriously? This is something people do? This is more unfathomable to me than texting. Phone screens are small! You need to pay close attention to those suckers! So you’re doing that, the l-shaped Tetris brick is dropping, and BAM YOU JUST KILLED FIDO YOUR KIDS ARE WEEPING HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY WITH YOUR NEW HIGH SCORE, HERO.  You can’t wait? You can’t wait until you get wherever you’re going to play your triple-word-score on “Words with Friends” or roll a Yahtzee or drop one of the black bomb birds or whatever? I think your priorities might be a little backwards.

I have checked my phone for new texts while in it. I’m not going to say I haven’t. I’ve even read them – while at red lights. Not while the car is moving. I have not responded to them. Nothing is so pressing it can’t wait. And yes, while we’re at it, I’m that asshole who insists you wear your seatbelt while you’re in my car. Put up a stink about it, and you can walk your ass home. I’m driving, and the last thing I want is an accident where you get thrown into ME because you didn’t have yours on. Yes, it’s all about me. I could care less about you. Seatbelts are the law, and you’re a dick if you don’t wear it. Put the goddamn thing on and shut your mouth.

Here’s my point (yes, yes, I have one, shut it, mouthy.) You are driving a car. A car is approximately 3,000 pounds. (OK, I’ll get back to the point in a minute. Really? Google says that’s true. Isn’t an elephant 2,000 pounds? My little grey car weighs more than an elephant? I don’t think that’s possible. Really? I’d kind of rather have an elephant. They seem enjoyable. Also at least one of them can fly, so maybe I’d be lucky and get one of those. Score! Free plane AND a cool pet!) You should honestly be doing one thing while behind the wheel of that vehicle: driving it. You shouldn’t be talking, texting, gaming, searching the ‘net, putting on makeup, eating, playing with CDs, what have you. It’s kind of a gigantic responsibility. You don’t only have your own safety to look out for; you are also responsible for the safety of all of those other lunatics, at least (according to SCIENCE) 66% of which are very distracted.

It’s a car. It’s not a diner, beauty parlor, juke box, internet cafe, or phone booth. It’s a 3,000 pound metal death box on wheels hurtling down the highway, you know? I don’t know if we so much need a law for that. You know what law I’d like enacted and enforced? Common Sense. Found breaking it: I get to pummel you with a soggy pool noodle until I tire of the exercise and go check Twitter to see what my friends are up to. I’d vote for any politician who brought that to the floor.


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