Braking the Cycle

People like to always say ‘time goes by fast’.  In addition to being a fucked-out, hackneyed cliché, it’s also quite true.  I wondered for a long time why life started going so fast for me, and then it hit me.  Routine.  Most of us are ruled by routine, and the ironic element to routine is the better you have your life figured out, the more routine your life becomes and the faster time goes by.  In other words, once you got your shit together, you can’t blink without what seems to be another Christmas or birthday coming up.

My weekend routine is rather enjoyable, or as enjoyable as can be with two little kids demanding most of my attention.  Part of my Saturday and Sunday routine is going to Starbucks to get an overpriced coffee and latte for my wife and me, respectively.  I grab my wallet and keys, hop in my car and hit the road.  And that’s when they get me.

Cyclists.

Fucking cyclists.

As I round the first corner on my short commute to the caffeine castle, I have about as much of a chance encountering at least one of these weekend warriors as I do of not getting a weekend blowjob, which is to say certain.

A visual interpretation of my weekly fantasy

Why am I such a dick?  Why can’t I just share the road with people who are trying to enjoy the outdoors while getting some exercise in the process?  Lots of reasons, not the least of which is….

  • You think you’re better than me?  Look, I just woke up 20 minutes ago and have a mild hangover.  I don’t need you pedaling up that hill on Saturday morning, mocking me and the extra lbs. I’ve put on lately.
  • Those tights look ridiculous.  Speaking of lbs., you’re no Adonis either.  I can see the fat bulging out the saran wrap you call shorts.  If you’re such an avid cyclist you must have started your journey at 400 pounds, because from what I can tell you have a long way to go to becoming:
  • Lance Armstrong.  You’re better off hacking one of your balls off if you aspire to be like the 7 time Tour de France champ.

Your Average Cyclist

  • Quit riding with your boyfriend side by side.  These roads were built for people that had somewhere to get.  Like their job.  I get that you have a bike lane and yes, according to the law you have every right to the road, but you and your buddy pedaling side by side means one of you is sticking out in my lane, and I have to slow down or move over a lane to get around your non-motorized ass.  Ride single file, asswipe. 
  • Speaking of law breaking.  If you want to claim joint ownership of the road then follow the goddamn signs like the rest of us.  Red light doesn’t mean you get to slow down and look both ways before running the light.  If I was a cop I’d throw you in the slammer with the rapists.
  • We all know you’re ending up at the coffee shop.  For some reason, coffee shops are the mecca for cyclists.  They like to meet up at Starbucks, order their muffins and coffee, take up all the tables and clank around in their expensive clip on bike shoes.  You look ridiculous, stop it.  It’s bad enough I had to risk my life driving past you, now I got to wait in line while you figure out how many half caff mocah chai lattes everyone in your group wants.

“Hey, aren’t you the guy that flipped me off 5 minutes ago as you drove by?”

I am ruled by routine, and I like it that way.  What I don’t like are moving obstacles with two legs that threaten to make my life a lot shorter as I drive off a cliff attempting to avoid clipping them with my car.  If you like to ride bikes and want to get exercise, get a mountain bike and ride the trails.  There are fewer cars and even fewer assholes like me.

 

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The Word That Shall Not Be Named: Cancel

Trust is a funny word.  We live our lives trusting other people, trusting ourselves, trusting society.  Sometimes trust is just us being lazy.  For example, I trust that no one is going to break into my home if I leave my front door unlocked and sodomize me with a broom handle, but really I’m just too fucking sluggish to get out of my comfortable bed and lock a door that I think may be unlocked.   I trust that the yellow light that appears when I get low on gas will have enough to last me a couple of days, but really I’m just too lazy to find the nearest gas station.  Oh, I just thought of another one.  I trust that my cable company won’t go out of their way to make sure I’m chained to them as customer, like some runaway that knocks on the wrong door, and quickly finds a cold, cramped, locked basement as her new digs.

Recently there has been a grassroots push to demonize corporations as greedy and opportunistic entities.  To that I say, “No shit.  Did you also know that the Patriots are a better team with Tom Brady than without?”  Many politicians have glommed on to this evil corporation sentiment, which is fine too; as long as they plan to do something about it.  The problem is, camping out in public with no clear message, other than dropping out of high school was a bad idea, isn’t going to get anything accomplished.  Nor apparently is relying on public servants.  People like to complain that they’re getting screwed by corporations; politicians like to claim they’ll save us from fraudulent business practices, but at the end of the day, everyone just goes “Ah, fuck it, American Idol is on.  Pass me the potato chips”

“Please, all I want to do is lower my cable package! And hydrate my skin. Thanks for the lotion, by the way."

I get emailed a receipt each month for my DirecTV cable bill, which is automatically debited thanks to bill pay (oh, you mean you’ll automatically charge my card each month solely for my convenience? Bless you, DirecTV; your altruism will serve you well in the corporate heaven in the sky). More often than not I delete the email without looking, but feeling in the mood to be raped, I decided to open up my cheeks and my bill this month. What I saw was a staggering collection of items I wasn’t even using; including premium cable channels (HBO, Showtime, etc) and sports packages (ESPN GamePlan and ESPN GameDay).

I’m aware I signed up for these, but I’m also aware that this is the best damn country on earth and I’m going to take charge of my life, beat off real quick, and then cancel these superfluous items. Funny thing is, much like my New Year’s resolution of abstaining from booze for two days a week, I couldn’t do it.

Hmm, I can add programming online, but can’t downgrade or cancel online. Something must be wrong with their site. I better alert their IT guy.

You see, DirecTV (and other cable companies I suspect), make it conducive to spending more money with them, but make it very difficult to say “Eh, I don’t want to pay for this or that anymore, I think I’d rather have my money back”. Upon closer inspection, I found cancelling or downgrading my options online is apparently too complicated, rendering the option unfeasible:

From DirecTV’s helpful FAQ page:
________________________________________
Can I cancel my DIRECTV service online?
No, we don’t have that option available right now.
___________________________________________

I hope that someday DirecTV can master the intricate complexities of allowing its customers to downgrade, or God forbid cancel their account online. Until then we’re forced to wait on the phone for an extended period of time, only to be met with a reluctant service rep who is clearly incentivized to get you to stay on board, and will no doubt give you as much shit about downgrading/cancelling as your Mom gave you when she found weed in your sock drawer.

We trust the corporations that provide the services we use in our daily life. The question is, do we trust them because we believe they will do the right thing, or because we’re too lazy to ensure that they’re doing the right thing? If it’s the latter, then the onus is on our politicians to represent the people who elected them by fighting for consumer rights. Of course, as soon people demand action, the companies that deceivingly profit off us will ironically use our money to influence the politicians we elected. The only thing I trust these days is our own laziness. Anyway, I’m getting tired. I think I’ll turn on American Idol.

Postscript

Couple of notes about your friendly cable company:
1) They will lower your monthly bill if you threaten to cancel. If you can stand listening to Kenny G(ish) music for up to an hour that sounds like it’s being broadcasted from Saddam’s bunker, you will be successful in putting some cash back in your wallet.
2) If they weren’t overcharging you so much they wouldn’t be able to fund their venture division. Cable companies are making so much money off their customers they all have their own venture funding group that invest millions in companies for the purpose of making even more millions.

Enjoy your next bill!

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Return of the Shopping Cart

I go to the grocery store infrequently as my wife does most of the shopping.  It’s part of her arduous duties of being a stay at home Mom.  In between play dates and social lunches she squeezes in 45 minutes at the high-end grocery store (sans kids) every couple of days to stock up on overpriced meat, bread that ends up stale halfway through its existence and wine that normally costs $25 but is on sale for $20, (what a fucking steal).  Quick note on that, never argue with your wife about the cost of something, because you won’t like the response.  If I decide to bitch to her that the artwork she just bought at some fancy art store was too expensive, I’m quickly met with “They had art there that was twice as much.”  Yeah, I know they have art there that’s twice as much; they have art there that costs 75% less than what we bought and it too looks like a cat defecated a box of consumed crayons onto a canvas.

Back to the grocery store.  Occasionally I got to the store to load up on the bulky and/or heavy stuff; waters, sodas, toilet paper, etc..  By the way, there’s nothing like showing up to the counter with an economy size roll of toilet paper for the hot cashier to ring up.  Does she think I have massive digestion issues that need tending to all hours of the day?  One day I’m just going to blurt out “I shit a lot, and I need this much toilet paper to get me through the day.  I’ll be back tomorrow for another round and I think I’ll throw in some baby wipes while I’m at it.”  It’s what she’s thinking; I might as well just break the ice.

So after I haul my crap to the car, I’m left with an empty shopping cart.  I don’t know why but people have some sort of mental block on quick, menial tasks like taking the shopping cart back to its proper destination.  I know you just loaded your car with preservative-filled boxes of Trans fat, high calorie drinks and burger patties and you just want to get the fuck out of there, but seriously.  You can’t waddle your fat, lazy ass the 20 feet?  I think the sign they put up in every grocery store parking lot is what gets to people.  You know the one, “Please help us keep costs down by returning your shopping cart here.”  It’s like a challenge to the customers.  “Oh yeah?  How about I just prop it up on the curb next to my car, or better yet, leave it alongside my car and the guy’s car next to me, who now stands a 50% chance of having it eventually roll into his Porsche.”  As if returning your cart saves the store any money anyway.  Really?  So if we all band together to put our carts where they belong, you don’t have to employ the retarded kid whose Mom thought smoking meth while pregnant had its advantages?  I don’t need to be guilted into returning the cart, and neither should anyone else.  It’s just the right thing to do.  I don’t need the picture of the baby polar bears in my hotel bathroom either, pleading for me to conserve water by reusing my towel, or face the fact of knowing I single handedly killed their Mom and made them orphans like the hunter in Bambi.  Fuck that though, I paid $300 for this room, I’m going to destroy Antarctica by the time my visit’s over.

Just return your shopping cart.  That’s all I’m saying.

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