Tag Archives: Rant

Driving Me Crazy

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best driver in the world: I rarely check my blind spot, I travel at high rates of speed, I enjoy breaking quickly, I can’t park to save my life and I am the poster-boy for road rage.
That being said I am still less of a threat on the road, and even a better driver, than way too many people out there with licenses.
There’s the people who drive too slowly. Not the speed limit, but SLOWER. If it’s a clear day and the roads are dry and you’re on a highway you’d best be going within 5 of the speed limit. They say it can happen, but just once I’d actually like to see someone getting a ticket for going to slow.
Then there’s the idiots who chuck cigarette butts out their window. This really has nothing to do with their driving ability, but it really annoys me.  Today someone cut me off and stopped short and tossed a butt out the window and it landed on my hood.  Sigh.
Let’s not forget about the two lane highways occupied by two different cars both going the same speed. I’m not sure if the car in the fast lane just enjoys being an asshole or what, but these people should have a Volvo rammed where the sun don’t shine. 
Lastly, there’s the ever popular super-conscientious citizens. The people whose sole job on the road is for them to make sure you drive below the speed limit and come to a full stop at all the appropriate places. The purposefully drive so you can’t pass them, they take EXTRA long at stops, they NEVER try to make the amber light, and don’t even think about making the left as the light goes red. Nope, these people want to make sure that you follow all the rules, all the while you’re just thinking of ways to run them off the road without them actually getting killed.
If I wasn’t such a lazy ass, I’d walk.

Readability Be Damned

Back in March when my mother asked me what I wanted for my birthday I went onto http://chapters.indigo.ca and into the fiction section to see what I might like.

I initially gravitated to the new Chuck Klosterman book.  His first piece of fiction.  I had read a few of his books before (collections of essays, mostly true stories, and anecdotes) and read him online from time-to-time so I added that to my wish list (it’s called “Downtown Owl“, and I liked it).

Then, I started looking for crime novels, heist books, and other assorted who done it types.  In the new release section was a Don Delillo book that claimed to be about a filmmaker and a U.S. Government inside-the-war room fellow.  In grade eleven I read this book “White Noise” by Don Delillo.  All I can tell you about it today is that I think it ended with the main character in a grocery store but I vaguely remember liking it.  I put his new one on my wish list as well.  It was titled “Point Omega“.

It sucked.

It’s not just that it was a slow moving book.  It never really got started.  It was only a hundred or so pages, but honestly it could have done with another hundred more just so that the really good story lines actually had time to develop.

In my non-expert opinion it was just poorly written, and I can’t even begin to describe how much I now loathe the comma.  This is what this awful book has done to me.  I can’t even look at a comma now without feeling sick to my stomach.

It began with sentences with so many commas I could barely keep track, kept with that theme for a while, continued to overuse them, and finished, finally, with a few pages of disjointed thoughts, separated, of course, by many commas, presumably to promote something I can only describe as “punctuation epilepsy”.

The only advice I can give is to avoid reading this book.  That, and Don Delillo should read “Eats, Shoots & Leaves” by Lynn Truss and pay careful attention to the chapter on the comma (assuming for a minute that a hugely successful author of dozens of novels, short stories and plays can take advice from a blathering blog hack like myself).

Would You Like Fries With That?

This post seems more relevant today than when it was first written over 5 years ago.  This is for a couple of reasons: 1) I now live back in Cambridge where part of this took place, and 2) something happened at Tim Horton’s that made my jaw drop and laugh out loud at the same time.  I’ll explain at the end of the rant.
I don’t want to sound condescending or elitist, but really, what does it take to be an employee at a fast food drive through? College diploma? University degree? Heartbeat? Tom Vu seminar attendance receipt?

“A lot of your friends will tell you, ‘Don’t come to the seminar. It’s a get-rich-quick plan.’ Well, tell them, It is a get-rich-quick plan because life is too short to get rich slow.” 
– Tom Vu, 1990

I can understand that they may not be able to hear through the state-of-the-art sound system provided, but what’s wrong with clarifying an order if they are having trouble hearing? Would that not be a better idea than just throwing anything in a bag then waving good bye and smiling.

I mention this only because for about 40th time I had a Tim Horton’s drive-through screw up my order. I used to think it was just this one store I went to all the time in Cambridge
(seriously, people would go out of their way to come to this place just so they could get a first hand glimpse of how inept they were – one employee actually asked me how to make TEA!!!)
but as it turns out, it’s not limited to that one place and it’s not limited to Tim Horton’s either. McDonald’s and Wendy’s do a pretty nice job of pooching the order quite regularly. Don’t even get me started on Taco Bell.

OK, you got me started on Taco Bell…

Recently I picked up some food for the kids and the babysitter. I asked for an extra order of fries, was asked if I wanted more fries, confirmed I wanted more fries, asked if it was just one fries, confirmed it was just one fries, asked if I wanted anything else, declined anything else, was asked at the pay window if I was the guy who ordered the extra fries, confirmed I was the guy who ordered the extra fries, was asked if the pop was in fact a Sprite, confirmed that I did request a Sprite, had my pop spilled on me as it was passed from the window, drove away with a wet crotch and a bag full of food, got home, and then dished out everything to the hungry hoard.

No extra fries.

Even though Taco Bell couldn’t have done anything worse in this instance, I’d have to say that the good ‘ole drop-outs at Timmy’s have got the World’s Worst Drive-Through Service Championship Belt hanging proudly in the back room. Black 1 sugar does not mean double double. Tea with nothing in it does not mean hot chocolate. When I get to the window, an apple freaking fritter is not, “What kind of doughnut was that again? Oh sorry, we’re out of apple fritters”.

If eating all this fast food crap isn’t killing you (which it most definitely is), try going to the drive-through. At the very least you’re guaranteed higher blood pressure and a Boston creme instead of a honey glazed.


After a moment of reflection…

Two words: Minimum wage teenagers.

It’s either the minimum wage teenager or the recent immigrant who has 3 PhD’s that for some reason the stupid Canadian Government refuses to recognize. Either way I’m getting a coffee for a buck fifty and a doughnut for a buck and a quarter served to me in my car by someone making next to nothing who’s probably been shagging this crap all morning for jerks like me.

Without the minimum wage doughnut slingers I’d have to drink the crap they have at work and there would be more punk-ass kids crowding up the streets and higher taxes. OK, I’m not sure about those last two points, but for sure I’d be drinking crappier coffee.

So, check the order before you leave the window. Check it again, and then politely thank the fine people behind the window when after the third try they finally get the order right. If they nail it on the first go, then thank them extra nicely. If it happens that way a few times in a row, then go in for a change and tell their manager how much you appreciate it.
So what happened today?

I was in line at the Timmy’s and when I get called up to the counter I am served by a lady who has been working at Tim’s for something like 10 years.  He’s the happiest, energetic, optimistic, most polite Tim Horton’s employee I have ever met.  She can’t remember my name yet (I moved out of town for 5 years) but she clearly recognizes me as I’ve been in the store a lot lately.  It’s “Roll Up the Rim to Win” time!

As I pass her my free donut cup from the coffee I had a few days ago says something to the extent of, “Can someone please get this gentleman his free donut?”

To which I replied, “Sure beats giving these guys [Tim Horton’s] any more money.  They have enough already.”

And then very subtly under her breath in a deeper tone than she normally speaks – and instantaneously after I made my comment – she says, “You fucking got that right”.  And then she looks up at me, eyes wide and jaw open, as if she could not believe what just happened.  Well I’ll tell you what happened: Her inside voice finally got out.  After 10 years of slogging crappy coffee and sugary pastries my comment finally hit the right nerve and she (sort of) snapped.

It was awesome.