Sunday, October 23, 2011

A very strange taxi ride

I don't take taxis a lot. Partly because I'm cheap, partly because I don't often need to go very far, and partly because a lot of them are jerks.

Last night, I had occasion to take one, and it was a rather surreal experience.

As I got in and told him the landmark nearest where I wanted to go (not very far, actually), his reaction reflected a quantum superposition of knowing and not knowing where this was. I'd quote him, but I was a bit distracted from hearing his exact response because I was having difficulty buckling my seatbelt.

I told him I'd be paying cash, but I wanted a receipt. He replied, "we don't take cash... ... ... only jewellery." I didn't know what the hell that meant either. I mean, I could tell the jewellery part was a joke, but the pause was too long for me to tell whether the whole thing was a joke, or just the part about the jewellery. I put away my cash and readied my credit card to be on the safe side.

Throughout this peculiar exchange, an annoying beeping was coming from the dashboard. I leaned forward and saw over the driver's shoulder what looked like the "fasten safety belt" indicator flashing in time with the warning. I looked over next to the driver's seat, and the seatbelt was snugly holstered. He was probably keeping it in its original packaging so he could later trade it to a collector, still in mint condition, for some jewellery. After getting more frequent and annoying, the beeping eventually stopped and the light just flashed silently for the rest of the otherwise brief ride.

This was good, I thought: This guy must drive so safely that he knows he doesn't need his seatbelt. My faith in this hypothesis waned, however, as he crept the nose of the car past both lines of the crosswalk while the crossing traffic still had a green light. At least *I* was buckled up. I ignored the traffic signals and just looked both ways as we crossed for indications I should brace myself for a collision.

Finally, we got to our destination (double-parked, of course), and I handed the driver my credit card. He stared at me. He looked down at the credit card machine in the front seat. "I'm sorry. Were you kidding about the cash thing earlier?" I asked. He explained, vaguely, that the credit card machines were new and he wasn't yet very familiar with their operation.

I put my credit card away and pulled out a US $20 bill that I'd been trying to get rid of since I returned from a trip a few months ago. "Is US cash alright?" I asked. "It's not alright, but I'll take it" he said, again, cryptically. Go ahead and quit your taxi job, guy, but please don't think you'll make it a comedian.

As I unloaded my bags onto the sidewalk (made more awkward by the line of parked cars separating the sidewalk from the car door), the driver prepared a receipt for me. By the amount of time it took him, I figured he was trying to get the machine to prepare it for me, but it turns out he was just taking an unusually long time writing a couple of numbers onto a small card.

After taking my chances riding in a taxi, I was relieved to be at my destination, in one piece. I hope his other passengers will be able to enjoy that relief, too.

- RG>

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hey buffleheads! It's National Grouch Day!

Oh, sure. You're celebrating Zoom's birthday today.

You're even celebrating National All Bufflehead's (sic) Day.

But are you celebrating National Grouch Day? You know, Oscar the Grouch's birthday?


You probably wouldn't even have noticed the apostrophe if I hadn't sicced Latin annotations on it.

- RG>

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Dear Mr. Quebec car driver

Dear Mr. Quebec car driver,

I appreciate—and even share—your desire for you to get the hell out of my neighbourhood, but I would appreciate it if you didn't treat the other direction's light turning yellow to mean that you can proceed from the red light at full acceleration.

I see the blast from my bike's air horn brought this reminder to your attention, as you came to a stop just after your rear bumper passed the stop line and you waited patiently for the green light in your (and my) direction.

I hope you noticed and were ashamed by the "slow clap" from the hipster pedestrian at the corner. Were it not for the scorn and ridicule from him and the other pedestrians at this intersection, I would have considered reporting your behaviour to the authorities; however, no punishment available to the police would be as severe, nor as immediate, as that hipster insult you have already encountered.

In closing, I particularly hope you achieve that desire of getting the hell out of my neighbourhood, and that this desire never again goes unfulfilled.

But please do it safely.


- RG>

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Pink irony

There were a few articles in the news lately about "pinkwashing": slapping a pink Breast Cancer Awareness Month ribbon on a product to make it sell better. One story in the Ottawa Citizen, Pink Fatigue describes the difficulty some groups face with the many caveats placed on the amounts given in these campaigns, and that money needs to go towards prevention, not just treatment. It's a controversial topic that I won't wade into too deeply.

Except to post this photo of the same issue covered last year.

I wonder if there was any effect on Telus' "Go Pink" campaign after the ad was placed right next to an article decrying just those types of ads!

- RG>