Life in the slow lane

Posted in grocery store, life with tags , on Friday, October 3, 2014 by Ed Wyrd

I was making good time tonight, which is unusual considering how many Milwaukee streets are torn up for unnecessary repair.

It was only 4:40pm as I neared the grocery store. I figured I had time to run in and pick up a few things and get out.

4:43pm – I made it through the store in no time and headed for the checkout. Since I did only have a few items, I chose the “15 Items or Fewer” lane. I was behind three people with only a few items also. I’d be out in no time.

Then I noticed the cashier. She was holding some coupons and typing on the screen. OK. Sometimes you have to key them in because they don’t have a bar code. No problem.

4:44pm – Tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap

Seriously?

4:45pm – Tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap

Oh, come on!

4:46pm – Tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap

And by this time, it’s too late for me to change lanes. The others are full with people with grocery carts full. And our line is now 10 deep behind me.

4:46pm – The cashier finally asks for help. Another cashier comes over. The first cashier says, “She just showed me how to do this once.” OMG. So the second cashier takes the coupon. Tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap

I started looking around for cameras and Alan Funt’s son, Peter, to show up and say, “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera!”

4:47pm – Tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap.

Finally, the second cashier steps away and leaves the first cashier to her own devices. Tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap.

No. This can’t be real.

4:48pm – Tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap.

Now there is a line from extending from all three open lanes. It’s like a nightmare. I’m hearing my cashier tapping away while another cashier is yelling, “Price check,” and the third actually says, “Override on 2!”

I’m in Hell. I know it. I’ve died and I’m in Hell. I’ll be in this lane forever.

4:49pm – Tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap.

A man, who I thought was the manager comes over and says to my cashier, “You’ve been on this for 10 minutes. The entire store is backed up!”

As he stepped away, I realize he’s just an irate customer. There’s a lot of us here now. Finally, the second cashier opens another lane. But because there’s now like 15 people behind me, I can’t move. I’m committed, or fit to be.

4:50pm – The cashier from the service desk comes over to help. Tap tap tap. “There.” And she walks away, but the first cashier finally says, “That’ll be $5.85.” Yay! We might actually get out of here.

4:51pm – The next customer in line moves through in no time.

4:52pm – The customer just ahead of me is having her stuff scanned. Whoohoo! I’m next. But wait, what’s this? She’s handing the cashier some coupons! Oh, no, you didn’t!

4:53pm – Yes, she did. Tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap.

4:54pm – Tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap.

My stomach is growling. I am, too. I contemplate opening the jar of peanut butter I have just to keep from starving to death.

4:55pm – Tap! “You’re total is $2.35.”

I’m next! Seriously, I am! Boop! Boop! Boop! Boop! Boop! Boop! She’s done! I’ve already ran my debit card through the reader and I’m impatiently waiting for it to say, “Approve?”

She looks at me. “Do you have any coupons?”

No! As God is my witness, I do not have any coupons! Please, just hit the Debit key so I can get out of here!

4:56pm – She finally hands me my receipt – with attitude – as if I was the one causing all the problems.

Really?

4:57pm – I make it to the parking lot. I’m home free.

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Adventure in ADHD

Posted in ADHD with tags , , , on Tuesday, September 30, 2014 by Ed Wyrd

To some people, routine means stuck in a rut, but to someone with ADHD, routine is one of the few orderly things in a chaotic world.

For instance, every morning I would make myself a mug of coffee with breakfast. I’d hardly drink it and as I got ready to leave for work, part of my routine for the last several years was to pour that mug into my travel cup then take my Adderall before screwing on the lid and leaving for work.

The last two mornings, however, I changed things up. I thought, why do I dirty a mug when I could just brew the coffee into my travel mug, cutting out all those extra steps?

So that’s what I did yesterday and today. And guess what I forgot to do as a consequence?

That’s right. I forgot to take my Adderall.

You may call it living in a rut, or doing things by rote, or even being unimaginative and boring, but the fact remains, for many of us suffering with ADHD, routine is our lifeline keeping us from being swept away in a river of chaos.

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2014 MLB review

Posted in Milwaukee Brewers with tags , on Sunday, September 28, 2014 by Ed Wyrd

As the regular season of Major League Baseball wraps up, its time to evaluate changes that took affect this year and whether or not they worked.

1) Instant Replay — Fail. This experiment did not work. Having some joker in New York reviewing plays did not help the game any. He got it wrong as often as the Umpires on the field did, so what was the point? All instant replay eliminated was the part of the game the fans have come to love: The Argument. There is nothing more exciting then having your manager come out and argue a play call. It pumps up the fans and it pumps up the team. Who can ever forget Billy Martin kicking dirt onto the umpire as he argues with him? That’s baseball and that was sorely missing this season. Instead, we got a kinder, gentler, more boring game. Get rid of Instant Replay!

2) Inter-league Play — Fail. The point of having two leagues is so they face each other in the World Series and until then, it’s a mystery which league, or which teams are better. Having cross-league play all of the time takes the mystery out of it. Get rid of Inter-League Play.

3) No more blocking the plate — Fail. At one time, one of the most exciting plays was the play at the plate as the throw and the runner reach the catcher at the same time. The runner who slam into the catcher to dislodge the ball. The catcher would brace for the impact and try to hold onto the ball. I realize they did it to prevent injuries, but the rule started to get in the way of the game as they’d review any play at home in the off chance that the catcher might have sort of almost been blocking the plate. Besides, rules shouldn’t be made just because one team’s star player was taken out of the game for the rest of the season because he didn’t know how to stand without getting hurt. Bring back the catcher’s ability to block the plate.

Major league baseball is trying to improve it’s product as it competes against the NFL and NBA, but none of these rules help its standings and in fact, they ruin the fans’ experience.

About the only thing the MLB did get right is it’s stand against steroids. Bulking up players so they can hit a home run into the parking lot does not improve the game. Home runs might bring a moment’s excitement for the casual fan, but for fans who are knowledgeable of the game, they understand the best baseball is all about the fundamentals: getting base hits, advancing the runner, proper bunting, suicide squeezes, and pitcher duels.

Look, I admit I’m a purist about baseball. It’s been a great game for over 100 years and doesn’t need any tweaking to make it more accessible to the lowest common denominator. What it needs is more national exposure. Why is the NFL so popular these days? Because almost every team shows up on national television allowing people across the country to follow even the smallest market team, the Green Bay Packers. But television coverage in baseball is all regional. You want to see the smallest market team, the Milwaukee Brewers, you’re out of luck. There are few national games available. Baseball, to reach a wider audience, needs a significant national television contract to expose more teams to more people.

Baseball is still America’s pastime, but it’s a regional level. And until they make it available at the national level, it’ll never compete with the ratings for football.

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It was a Dicken’s of a season

Posted in Fire Roenicke, Milwaukee Brewers with tags , , on Thursday, September 25, 2014 by Ed Wyrd

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the 2014 season of the Milwaukee Brewers.

It truly was the best of times for most of the season as the Brewers had the best record in all of baseball for quite a long time and except for one day in July when they were tied with the St. Louis Cardinals, they led the National League for more than five months.

Then came the worst of times as September brought an astonishing 17 out of 19 losing skid wherein the Brewers failed in every single aspect of the game. They had no hitting, their pitching went south, and their offense looked pathetic as they committed errors and bone-headed mistakes that even Little Leaguers know better than to do.

Unfortunately, the ship never righted itself. Even when the pitching finally came around and they led the league in the lowest combined ERA, the bats were still silent and they managed a pathetic five wins in 10 games.

The final weeks of baseball season are usually it’s most exciting as any number of teams vie for the Pennant as well as the few Wild Card slots.

And usually, when your team has been leading the league all year long, making the play-offs should be a shoo-in.

Not the Brewers in 2014. Instead of an exciting knuckle-biting finish to the season, they’ve already been eliminated and their fans have been let down. Not that we haven’t been let down before, but not like this. Never like this.

It would have been one thing if the Brewers had dug themselves a big hole at the beginning of the season then slowly, game by game, week by week, scratched and clawed themselves into contention. Then, even if they missed the play-offs, such a season would show the team had grit, heart, a strong desire to win. Fans could have lived with that.

Instead, after a long season at the top, they crashed and burned at the end. The final few weeks it was as if the team had simply run out of steam, as if they didn’t give a damn any more. Basically, the team said, “Screw you,” to all the fans.

In the history of this franchise, 2014 will go down as one of the biggest disappointments ever. We were there. We had it. We had pitching, both starting and bullpen. We had hitting. We had offense. Every aspect of the game was clicking on all cylinders.

Except one. And that’s the reason we lost. How can a team be the best for so long and then suddenly collapse and not recover? Coaching. Specifically, the manager, Ron Roenicke. The man with no emotion. He sits in the dugout showing as much expression as if he were watching paint dry.

When other managers would be inspiring their troops, yelling, cajoling, ranting, raving, thinking of ways to get them back on track, Roenicke sits there like a lump doing what he’s done his entire tenure with the Brewers: absolutely fricking nothing.

The Brewers season is over because of Ron Do-Nothing Roenicke.

The thing is, had the Brewers made the play-offs, Roenicke would have been an easy choice for Manager of the Year. Luckily, however, he showed he not only doesn’t deserve that title, he doesn’t even deserve to coach any more.

Fire Roenicke.

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Now I understand

Posted in driving, education, life with tags on Thursday, September 4, 2014 by Ed Wyrd

I’m at the Department of Motor Vehicles with my son. He’s taking his driving road test.

As I sit here, the DMV driving examiners come in with the wannabe drivers to review the road test results.

I’m eavesdropping, of course.

One examiner is telling the wannabe driver, “OK, when I told you to make a right turn, you swung way out into the next lane before turning, then you turned wide, going into the far left lane. You should always stay in your lane and turn into the lane nearest you.

“When I told you to make a lane change, you only used your mirrors to check for cars. You need to look over your shoulder to check for cars. The mirror is just a tiny picture and leaves a big blind spot.”

This is something I had just told my son the day before, to check over your shoulder when you make turns and lane changes. He said, he had the mirrors set up so he didn’t have to turn his head. I then said, the examiner is going to check to make sure you’re looking over your shoulder. My son, of course, didn’t seem to think I knew what I was talking about. So when the examiner said that, he gave me a “Oh, OK, you were right,” smile.

The examiner continued, “When I had you make a Y turn, you didn’t use your turn signal. Nor did you signal when I had you pull over to the side of the curb. And you didn’t signal when you pulled out into traffic.”

This is the kind of driver the DMV passes today.

This is the kind of driver the DMV passes today.

And there were several other mistakes the examiner counted off. My son and I sat there waiting to hear the examiner give the driver the bad news, that he had failed.

Instead, the examiner said, “Congratuations. Did you want to get your license today?”

Of course, I was dumbstruck.

And I hate to be one to say, “I told you so,” but “I told you so.” Bad drivers today aren’t my imagination, they are a reality and the examiners are the ones responsible for letting them get on to the road.

Oh, and my son? He got an almost perfect score. The examiner said he could have ridden with my son all afternoon.

Well, sure, because all those other drivers you are passing probably scare the crap out of you.

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Bad drivers are everywhere

Posted in driving, life on Thursday, August 28, 2014 by Ed Wyrd

There was a time when drivers knew the rules of the road, when they were courteous (for the most part), and when public schools educated future drivers.

But today? Road rage is the norm, but more than that, stupidity is everywhere.

At one time, the residential streets in Milwaukee were all uncontrolled. They didn’t have Stop signs or Yield signs. Drivers understood that when you drove through a neighborhood, you slowed at every intersection and looked both ways before continuing through. If another car was coming, you were courteous and followed the rules of the road that the driver on the right had the right of way.

Today? Every street now has either a Stop sign or a Yield sign. Why? Because of driver stupidity. Too many drivers were racing through neighborhoods thinking no signs meant unlimited, unchecked speeding. Many side streets now have Speed Humps and even roundabouts to slow these idiotic drivers.

At one time, crosswalks were understood to be a safe haven for pedestrians. You could step out into a crosswalk at any intersection and the cars would stop or at least slow down enough that the pedestrian could skip out of their way. School zones were sacred. People actually watched out for children.

Today? Drivers are so inattentive they’ve had to create a whole new color for Pedestrian Crossing signs! Once, there were three colors, green, red, and yellow. Now they have had to add these odd neon yellow-green signs.

Because today's drivers can't see yellow, they created this color.

Because today’s drivers can’t see yellow, they created this color.

But even these aren’t enough for today’s drivers who are so self-absorbed they can’t be bothered with anything that goes on outside of their vehicles. That includes traffic signs, pedestrians, other cars, trees, and even buildings. Nothing is safe from them.

Don’t believe me? Many traffic signs near schools or hospitals now have flashing lights around them just to jar you into paying attention! Flashing lights around Stop signs, around Pedestrian Crossing signs. It’s pathetic.

Seriously? Today's drivers suck so badly they need flashing Stop signs?

Seriously? Today’s drivers suck so badly they need flashing Stop signs?

Is this because there are no longer any public school driving classes? Is this because its too easy to get a driver’s license these days? Is this because people just no longer give a damn about anything but themselves? It’s probably a combination of these things.

Drivers today are terrible. You. All of you. Yes, even you going, “He can’t be talking about me,” because I am. I am pointing my finger at every single one of you drivers. You’re all dangerous behind the wheel. None of you know how to drive any more, none of you care about the rules of the road. You roll through Stop signs. You drive through Yellow lights. Hell, many of you drive through Red lights. You cut off semis on the highway. You change lanes without signaling. When you make a right turn, instead of pulling all the way into the right lane to get out of they way of other traffic, you make yourselves as much of a nuisance as possible by turning wide into middle lane of traffic, probably so we know you’re making a turn. “Look at me! I’m an ass!”

And the majority of you can’t even parallel park. Seriously? And car makers know this and have come up with cars that can park for you. They have rearview cameras so you don’t run over small children. Auto makers are working on cars that will help drivers avoid hitting things, like other cars, poles, shopping carts, and motorcycles. Personally, I won’t feel safe on the road until they start making cars that can completely drive themselves, then every last one of you can climb inside, shut yourselves in, and text, drink and eat, talk on the phone, do your make-up, shave, read a book, or finish dressing to your heart’s content while the car does the driving keeping the rest of us safe from your stupidity.

And yes, I’ve seen drivers doing each and every one of those activities while driving.

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2018 Mindset List

Posted in life on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 by Ed Wyrd

Beloit College has released it’s annual Mindset List that highlights all the things students entering their Freshman year in college have grown up with and always believed to be true.

Beloit College Mindset List 2018

This list is designed to make the rest of us feel old, but sometimes, like with this year’s list, it just leaves me confused with a few of it’s entries. I often wonder if they are more regional to other parts of the country. In some cases, that’s obvious, like the Affirmative Action being outlawed in California. Not having lived there, I wouldn’t know that, nor do I believe anyone else would who isn’t a native to that state.

So without further ado, here are the ones that really do confuse me.

#3, “Meds have always been an option.” What does that even mean? Meds have been an option for what?

#11, “The water cooler is no longer the workplace social center; it’s the place to fill your water bottle.” Has the water cooler ever been the workplace social center except in bad sitcoms?

#12, “In their lifetime, a dozen different actors have portrayed Nelson Mandela on the big and small screen.” In what? I wasn’t even aware there were any Nelson Mandela movies or TV shows, but then, I’m not much for biographies of any sort.

#26, “Hell has always been associated less with torment and more with nothingness.” I wasn’t aware Christians had changed the definition of Hell. I mean, I know they closed Limbo, although I’m unsure where they sent all the unbaptized babies that were sent there for several hundred years. And then there is Purgatory, which I thought was a place you went to suffer for your sins to purify your soul on your way to Heaven. Personally, I thought “Heaven is a place, a place where nothing, nothing ever happens,” not Hell (Lyrics from the Talking Heads song “Heaven”).

#29, “They never tasted the “texturally enhanced alternative beverage” known as Orbitz.” Has anyone even heard of Orbitz?

#36, “U.S. major league baseball teams have always played in Mexico.” This is news to me.

#37, “Bill Gates has always been the richest man in the U.S.” I always thought it was Warren Buffet.

#44, “The family has always been able to buy insurance at local banks.” Huh? What banks? I’ve never seen any bank offer insurance.

#46, “They have probably never used Netscape as their web browser.” This isn’t true at all. My wife and I both used Netscape as browsers until they were no longer supported after 2008. Therefore, both my sons have used them.

#48, “’Salon’ has always been an online magazine.” What else was it?

#53, “’Good feedback’ means getting 30 likes on your last Facebook post in a single afternoon.” I guess I’ve never had good feedback.

#55, “Since Toys R Us created a toy registry for kids, visits to Santa are just a formality.” People still shop at Toys R Us?

And yes, much of that was tongue-in-cheek. It’s sad that I have to say that, but some people just love to be offended. “How can you say that?” Well, I can say that because it’s called “humor.” Get some.

Anyway, the Beloit Mindset List is always good for a discussion around the watercooler on “kids today.” It offers an interesting perspective on the younger generation, although sometimes, it includes things that just leave me scratching my head.

Golly gee, but I hope I get good feedback on this.

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