Tuesday, October 30, 2012

No, I am Just Driving Through

I have lived in an around this grand metropolis since 1996. And, apart from major thoroughfares and my oft-traveled routes, I know remarkably little about where certain roads lead. This occasionally causes problems for me, especially as I do not possess a GPS.

(This not an image of my location, but I think is a decent representation of my perception of life as a commuter.)

I like to drive around and explore, and this has helped me expand my knowledge of the city. Recently, though, Little One and I moved from one end of town to the other. We even moved from one county to another. I haven't learned all of the little short cuts and back ways of our new environs yet.

Tuesday morning at rush hour may not be the best time to try to remember a back way to get across town to the office. And yet that is exactly what I did. After dropping Little One of at school, I took a different tack to get to the interstate. As I neared the on ramp and the long queue of cars I recalled driving straight through a couple of lights and then going through a neighborhood, taking a left, and  then being back to a spot where I can get to the office.

So I turned my back on the interstate and the slow-pace of traffic that I knew would await and pushed ahead. All was fine until I can to a 4-way intersection and I couldn't recall which way to go. I had to choose a lane, so I opted for straight.

It was the wrong choice. As it turns out, I was in the line of cars of people dropping of their kiddos at an elementary school. There was no way to turn around. The train of vehicles was routed, ever so slowly, around the teachers' parking lot, and then up the hill to the school. I looked for a way out. There was none.

And, yes, there were teachers opening car doors for parents to expedite the process of getting the kids out of the cars. But I had no child. So when my turn came, I rolled down the window and smiled stating "I took a wrong turn and now I am here." The teacher came me a bit of a concerned smile, and I felt quite uncomfortable, as if I was now going to be flagged as some sort of creepy dude cruising the elementary school.

As I neared the main intersection again, I managed to take yet another bad turn that took me not in the direction that I had sought. It did lead me back to a major road and avoided the siren's song of the back road.

I guess the old adage rings true that "Short cuts make for long delays."

Monday, October 29, 2012

Dealing with the Collapse

A close friend of mine has had a very rough year. First and foremost, she lost her husband in April. That has been quite a change for her and her two young children. Devastating.

Added to that is that the company for which she worked fell into fiscal ruin last year. In a very public way. In the papers. The kind of way that might give future employers reason to pause when they see your name on your resume.

It is the 1-anniversary of the wave the crashed into the company's fortunes and broken them apart. My friend and her co-workers, senior managers with the firm, are still dealing with the fallout. Reporters still call. lawsuits are still a threat. Stock options are worthless. Employment can be hard to come by.

I was once out of work for about 6 months. It was my own choosing, in a way. I left at a position with which I was miserable but didn't have another job in hand. It was a slog to find meaningful employment. It was difficult to stay motivated after a while. I can only imagine how much harder it must be when one day you have a job - a career - and the next you have nothing, and you are being accused of all manner of sins.And then in a few short months, you lose your spouse.

And now, she is dealing with the anniversary of the collapse of the business, more news reports, more calls from reporters, more meetings with attorneys. Add to this the advent of the holiday season with the kids. At least she has moved back to her hometown, where she has the benefit of her family and longtime friends.

Hang in there, C. I cannot say it will get any easier any time soon, but let's hope that it does.

Friday, October 26, 2012


This holiday, beloved of children and many adults, will soon be upon us. Little One has decided on separate costumes, one for a party at the ice rink and a second for general trick or treating.

The first costume is an inside joke for folks at the rink - she plans to dress like the skate school director. It really just involves wearing guys black skates, black pants, a jacket and carrying around a clipboard and a travel mug of coffee.

The second costume is more commercial. She plans to mimic the attire of the protagonist of "The Hunger Games", Katniss. We have purchased a jacket and a mockingjay pin. We may still acquire some boots and also some cargo pants, both of which could be incorporated into her wardrobe, even if they might be worn infrequently.

Little One and I had plans to attend a party in a town not too far away. A lady of my acquaintance is hosting the event. As I spent some time getting to know her I began to realize that she is bat shit crazy. I am getting better at detecting the signs.

Having reined in our plans a bit, it should still be a pleasant holiday, with too much unhealthy candy and assorted junk and fun with carving gourds.