Archive for the ‘observations’ Tag

Why Do People Drive Like Idiots?   6 comments

This is Brad.

For the last few years I’ve owned my own business operated out of our house, which meant I keep my own hours. While Lela is driving to work in the morning, I’m drinking coffee at my leisure and catching up on the news online. I generally schedule appointments later in the morning and often, since my company repairs houses, my customers prefer late afternoon and early evening. Unlike the refrigerator repairman, I don’t schedule you for sometime today, expect you to hang out at home all day, and then not show up. I like repeat customers. Therefore, I’ve mostly missed rush hour traffic for about three years.

Image result for image of the 12 Steps applied to distracted drivingExcept that Lela’s car is currently broken and until I either acquire the skills to fix it (doable, but it was the flywheel not the starter and flywheels look complicated) or save the money to take it to a mechanic (more realistic for a flywheel), I’m driving her to work in the mornings. We don’t do debt anymore and we try not to dip into the emergency fund for non-emergencies (which this really isn’t), but I’m tempted just so I don’t have to be on the road with all the idiots.

Yes, idiots! There’s the guy talking on his cell phone and drinking coffee while weaving in and out of traffic going 60 in a 45 mph zone. There’s the woman barreling through the school zone at 40 (school zone speed limit is 20 with 30 being the limit at either end.) And this private school’s administrative offices are on the other side of the streets, so the chance of a kid popping out at you … fairly high. I don’t know … is there some new prestige I’m unaware of in having a manslaughter conviction on your record?

There’s the dozens of people who rush to red lights! Why? You know they’re red, right? I mean, you could slow down like I do and just roll through them when they turn green. Do you think you get extra points for waiting in line puking exhaust into the air?

Or maybe they just want a moment to all look obsessively at their phones so that when the light does turn green, I have to wait for them to come back to reality and start moving again, usually slowly enough so that most of the people behind them can’t make it through the light. Did you even notice the mama moose and calf who walked right in front of us this morning? You might want to keep those crosswalks clear.

Then there’s the people who are so busy looking at their phones while they are actually driving that they are surprised by the red light, slam on their brakes and turn sideways as they are sliding up on our trunk. Did I mention that I try to roll up on red lights so they turn green while I’m still in motion? This morning I managed to stay ahead of a potential accident, but really, folks … are you so addicted to a screened device that you can’t set it aside while you’re driving? If that be the case, I think we can modify the 12-Step programs for you. You clearly have become powerless over your screened device.

If I were dictator for a day (what am I saying, a day wouldn’t be enough!) I would force everyone to do it my way. Lela is a great admirer of anarchy and she sees a certain beauty in how traffic functions without rulers because everybody (sort of) follows the rules. I’m not buying it. I would gladly become the higher power that brings distracted drivers back to sanity. There needs to be a traffic dictator … someone to take the phones out of everyone’s hands and force them to look around them, someone to teach everyone to take their lead foot off the gas pedal as they scream up to a red light. Someone to say “Hey, look at the moose! Yes, the moose that is right in front of you. You know, the several thousand pounds of muscle and bone that could come crashing through your windshield and decapitate you if you hit it? Hello! Are you paying attention?” Trust your higher power. This is for your own good and the good of society.

Image result for image of cop car with computer in middleYeah, me as anyone’s higher power is a little … laughable … ludicrous … frightening? The fact is, I only feel like I want to be the traffic dictator for a little while every morning after I interact with idiots. I don’t see beautiful functional anarchy in traffic. It makes me skeptical that anarchy could work at all in society. I like my own freedom. I feel I use it well and treat others with respect, but clearly I made that woman who roared around us this morning angry because I didn’t run over the old Eskimo fella who was crossing against the light. I’m pretty sure SHE wanted to force both of us to do things HER way.

And, hey, people at the 4-way stop! I know this is an anachronistic practice – stop signs — but honestly, the guy on the left gets to go first in Alaska, which was why I was gesturing for you to go. Really, I wasn’t trying to trick you so I could rev up my engine and smash into you while you were in the intersection. I just wanted you to go so the other idiot could go so that I could go. See, it really could have worked that way … if you’d trusted me.

And yet, Lela would point out that, despite the fact that there are so many idiots on the road, we pretty much all manage to get to work basically on time without dents in our vehicles because the vast majority of drivers more or less follow the rules … without any active rulers. Would we do better if there were actually traffic dictators?

I doubt it. I was going the speed limit on my way home, enjoying the lack of traffic now that most of the workers are toiling in the hive, and a cop passed me in the left lane. He didn’t seem to be going anywhere crime-related, but I noticed he had a screened instrument mounted to the dash to his right. He sailed right through that red-almost-turning-green light that I rolled through (as it turned green) and then slammed on his brakes to not go through the next yellow-turning-red light.Distracted driving much?

So if the rulers violate the rules, how can they claim to have the ruled’s best interests at heart?

Just some morning commute thoughts for the day.

The Day the Internet Stood Still | Eileen L. Wittig   2 comments

I live in Alaska and had no idea what was going on because this Internet crisis didn’t affect most of the west. I have one app I use for work that would not do one thing I needed it to do. I assumed it was a glitch and worked around it. Of course, I don’t have a smart thermostat. Brad works from our house, so wanders through a couple of times a day to throw more wood in the wood stove. I guess we could designate him the “smart thermostat”, but I suspect that might not go over real well.

By the way, Alexa … kind of creepy. My brother’s keeps asking us if we want to ask a question. If I didn’t ask a question, I probably don’t want to ask one. And a friend whose name is actually Alexa says her husband has now gifted her with a nickname so as not to set off the answer machine. Just plain creepy! Lela




Tuesday, February 28, 2017, will forever be remembered as the day that Amazon single-handedly made every millennial freeze in their tracks and wonder how to go on living.

The internet outage that struck the eastern side of the US like an alien invasion affected the lives of countless young adults for hours. Hours. For hours, Alexa fell silent. For hours, Amazon Fresh was unavailable. For hours, an entire generation questioned its ability to survive. Good thing the internet came back before anyone had even left work to try to make it on their own at home.

Image result for image of a smart thermostatFor hours, Alexa fell silent. What were we supposed to do, just sit in silence like Medieval serfs? was still running, but how were we supposed to buy things if we didn’t have Alexa to order it for us? The time of tribulation was nothing but questions: what about my music? What about my grocery list? How am I supposed to play Jeopardy or Hunt the Yeti? How am I supposed to get past the smart lock on my house door? How am I supposed to order my usual from Pizza Hut for delivery? What am I supposed to do if I leave work a little early to beat the traffic? Just sit in silence like a Medieval serf?

Tech departments across the Eastern seaboard sat restless, hopeful, shooting each other with Nerf guns while they waited for their jobs to become available again. Internet-dependent workers started actually talking to each other, imagining Employee Steve tripping over the Official Internet cord at Amazon Headquarters, pulling the plug from the wall and the router from its place on the Official Router Table, smashing it to pieces. They imagined Tech Guy Ted, the official Router Dude, being away on a late lunch break, which he always insists on being 100% work-free, enforced by closing his computer and turning off his phone.

“I can’t connect to my thermostat!” my deskmate exclaimed as he stared at his unresponsive phone. “Oh nooo,” I responded in mock sympathy (actually I was jealous he has a smart thermostat and I don’t), “you can’t make sure your empty house is at a comfortable temperature.” “I just like knowing I’m connected, that it’s there,” he said, but he was laughing at himself.

The Return of the World

At last the internet slipped quietly back into everyone’s Amazon devices, back into the unseen cables tying everyone to their stuff, back into the worldwide web, and the world lurched back into rotation like a caught VHS tape realigning.

What if it happened again, on a weekend??

“Oh, my thermostat is back!” my deskmate announced as he refreshed the app for the tenth time. “Ooh look I’m in eco mode. I shall adjust the temperature by one degree.”

And so the world returned to normal, if uneasily. The questions continued: since when did Amazon control so much of the web? What if it happened again later after even more of our lives became dependent on the internet? What if it happened after work instead of at work? What if it happened on a weekend??

With a collective shudder to shake off such incomprehensible horrors, an entire generation moved boldly on with their lives, into the suddenly less confident future. And everyone hoped that Employee Steve had bought a backup router with his accrued Amazon credit points in case he tripped on the cord of the new Official Router again, and that Tech Guy Ted had hired an intern to come in over the lunch hours.

Source: The Day the Internet Stood Still | Eileen L. Wittig

Posted March 2, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

Impressions are Deceiving   Leave a comment

They look so delicate and fragile as they flit across the stage:

But if you look closely, they are as strong as linebackers and a heck of a lot more graceful.

Posted December 26, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Common sense

Tagged with , ,

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