Monday, February 15, 2010

Bad Drivers

I'm the guy who brings you your hot, delicious pizza on the night that you get home from work tired and hungry. I'm only too happy to do it, especially if you tip well. If you don't . . . well . . . at least I get mileage pay, and the smug knowledge that there's a special place in hell reserved just for you. Kidding, of course. What really irks me are people who don't pay attention when they drive.

I was on a delivery the other day, approaching an intersection preparing to turn right, when a Porsche Cayenne turned left in front of me, forcing me to slam on my brakes. The beauty part? Once I was behind this joker, he drove 30 mph down a 40 street. My immediate though was "Damn this person. I hope he dies". Then I thought about it, and you know, I don't actually hope he dies. In fact, if you are the owner of said Porsche, I don't wish death on you.

I imagine that you cut me off because you were tired after a 10-hour day at your soul-draining job. As you approach the Taco Bell drive-through, you see a long line of cars, but you sigh and pull in anyway. When you order a double-beef gordita with extra sour cream, they tell you they're out of them. Again, you sigh and order five soft shell tacos (extra sour cream of course), some nachos, and a large root beer. You get your food and realize as you're pulling out that you're almost out of gas. Home is three miles away. Your 500-horsepower turbo V8 will never make it, so you have to stop for gas. You pull into the nearest gas station, but unfortunately all the pumps are taken, so you have to wait while someone fills up his Chevy Suburban. When he's done, you see the "flex fuel" sticker on the back of his car and come to the horrifying realization that you're waiting for a natural gas pump, so you have to pull around to one of the other pumps and wait. This time, the guy in the Ford F-350 finishes up and you realize you're at a diesel pump. Third time's the charm, and finally you're on your way again.

Your dinner is now cold, but it'll taste good anyway once you're home. As you approach the final intersection before your house, some jackass in a little dinky Subaru, just like the one I drive, turns left in front of you. You slam on the brakes and your dinner flies into the dashboard, spilling ground beef, lettuce, cheese, extra sour cream, and root beer all over your leather interior and on your expensive suit.

The moral of this story: let's not wish death on our fellow human beings. Only inconvenience.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Legislature

If you'll permit me a brief rant: it's time here in Utah for our annual legislative session. Many of us hold our breaths and wait while the Democrats bury the most dangerous and restrictive of the proposed bills at the bottom of the pile so they'll never get voted on. Last year, we had a governor who was kind enough to veto one such bill, a bill that surely would have been overturned by a state court if the matter ever came up. Then, dear President Obama went and appointed him as the ambassador to China, and now we're left with someone who thinks we don't need anti-discrimination legislation, because "we should all simply do what's right".

One thing our legislature doesn't do is remove laws. A few years ago, one senator introduced a bill to finally take Utah's sodomy laws off the books, but that one never made it to a vote. As the Republicans pointed out, the Supreme Court already took care of that one. We wouldn't want people to get the wrong idea, anyway. Can you imagine a state where the activities of two consenting adults in the bedroom weren't the government's business? In fact, maybe we should all confess our various trysts in a public forum. Moreover, I think each legislator should install a webcam in their bedroom so we can make sure they're not engaging in any immoral activity with their spouse. Then again, when I think of watching two sixty-something Republicans go at it...okay, bad idea.

So, I wonder what we'll get this year? A tax on video games, perhaps. I know! No one under eighteen should be allowed to buy junk food at a convenience store. How about this one? Anyone not in church on Sunday gets hit with a $1000 fine. Maybe we should make it illegal to watch TV past eleven o'clock. Finally, if we get to it, we'll make it so that you can't renew your driver's license unless you have obtained a concealed-carry permit. If we're not required to own guns, the government might start infringing on our individual rights.

We can be certain, however, that there are a myriad of issues the legislature won't tackle. Irrelevancies like the rising cost of health care or the 58 homeless people who died on the streets of Salt Lake City last year. They won't discuss how to make the state safer from violent crime, or how to reduce the soaring number of traffic deaths that occur every year. Our police department will continue to function on a shoestring budget, and most of our education dollars will be sucked dry at the district offices.

And on that happy note, I encourage everyone to get involved. Call your congressperson. Vote. I'm certainly going to. After all, if we don't, can we really complain about the actions of those who do?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Scary Deliveries

Every day I risk my life on the front lines for the people of America. No, I'm not a soldier, nor would I ever compare my job to that of defending the country. I deliver pizzas. I don't mind doing it, it's good, honest work, but it can be a little perilous. I took a rather frightening delivery the other night.

I headed north up a dark street in Murray, a suburb of Salt Lake City. South of me, I saw the inviting glow of lights lining the parking lot of a new apartment complex, one I've delivered to many times. But this delivery was going elsewhere. Ramshackle houses passed me on the left as I drove. Next to me I saw a big white fence, separating this street from the rest of the world. My headlights provided the only light ahead.

My GPS droned on, "Go 500 feet, destination on the left...go 200 feet, destination on the left...destination on the left". I U-turned so I could park on the right side of the street. This had to be the house I was looking for, but they had no identifying mark of any kind on the exterior of the house. The house itself looked old and worn out, like no one had lived there for years. Not a single light showed through the blinds or on the porch, and an old car that had gone its last mile sat silently in the driveway. Anything could have been waiting for me in the darkness.

I took a deep breath, grabbed my heat bag, and walked to the door. If something happened to me here, no one would know about it until it was too late. I knocked. I didn't hear the usual feet scuffling or dog barking. Only silence greeted me. No cars went by on the empty street. I pulled out my cell phone to provide some light, but I still could find no clue that I was at the right house. I knocked a second time, and waited.

Finally, I called the number on the delivery ticket and got a busy signal. I knocked a third time, and called again. Same result. Finally, I got back in my car, locked the doors, and took a deep breath. I called one more time to no avail. Only as I began to drive did I see a woman appear at the doorway, and finally I saw light flooding out from behind the shutters. I hopped out of the car and gave her the pizzas she ordered, my palms sweating. The woman tipped me one dollar.

I drove off, made sure the car doors were locked, and turned up the heat, relieved to be safe in my own car. I felt the cash in my pocket, and considered how much my terror was worth to this woman: one dollar.