The Tourists

Traveling for work means dealing with tourists on the road. Sooooo many tourists. Young and old, every time of day or night, every day of the week. It’s as if no one goes to school, has a job, a life. Or everyone I come across is super rich and has no need for any of that.

I end up traveling down a lot of 2-lane roads when I drive. Lots of curves, no room to pass, low speed limits, and tourists. There is no frustration greater than being stuck behind a tourist going 5 or 10 miles under the speed limit when you can’t pass them. The reason they drive so slow seems to be so they can look out every window except the windshield to take in the scenery, completely unaware of anyone around them. Or they don’t care.

This is something that happens several times a day. This is something that happens regardless of location. This is something that happens no matter what time it is. This is something that happens even if I beg God to run either me or the tourists off the road.

These same tourists don’t appear to have ever eaten in any restaurant anywhere, ever. They don’t understand pictures, lines, how to order food, how to be polite to those in front of or behind them, or that they are the only ones who are not under a time-constraint.

My favorite tourists are the ones who stop in doorways to chat to the other tourists whether they know them or not. These same tourists also don’t know how to park, but I don’t have to patience to get into that right this second.

I love traveling and looking at the scenery of new places I’ve never explored. I do the speed limit, or more, I use the mirrors in the vehicle, I pull over safely to allow others to pass me so I can stop and look around. I order quickly when in a line and I don’t stand in doorways to talk about the fucking roadrunner I saw run across the road last week. We get it. It was a roadrunner. It ran. It ran across the road. Get out of my way, Dr. Seuss, I have things to do.

If you’re reading this and you are not a tourist, I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you’re reading this and you ARE a tourist, I absolutely mean no disrespect. But that means you should be respectful as well. Be mindful of those around you on the road, in restaurants, in doorways, and in parking lots instead of parking so close to my vehicle that you don’t know how to get out of your car so you stare at me until I move because you screwed up and don’t understand how to back up and park again without taking 20 minutes to get the car in gear.

Stay classy, and I’ll see you at the next stop.

The Know-It-All

I like to think of myself as a fairly intelligent guy. I can be a bit pretentious and cocky as well. One think I don’t do is talk down to people just because I have a small inclination of an idea of what they are talking about.

As I sat at a Starbucks the other day, I had the chance to eavesdrop on a conversation at the table next to mine. This story involves 3 people: a Catholic priest, a 19 or 20 year old girl who happened to be Catholic, and the fiance of the girl. The 3 were having some kind of session regarding the upcoming marriage and how it works in the Catholic church. Several other topics were brought up as tangents during the conversation. Throughout all of this, the girl kept saying she knew this or that already, because she was Catholic. She was clearly showing off to her fiance and the priest and they both appeared to be put down whenever she said it, which was often.

First of all, this girl is about to get married. Probably not a good idea to put down the guy you’re about to spend the rest of your life with, especially since he seems to be converting to Catholicism for you. Secondly, don’t put down the priest, your own personal conduit with God.

The priest kept pressing on. He kept saying, “Well, yes, but…” every time the girl opened her mouth to try to expound on his points, only to be interrupted again. Her poor fiance just kept nodding his head and throwing out a few questions now and then.

This girl was also very loud, and seeing as there was nowhere I could move to get away from the conversation, I was growing more and more frustrated. I was trying to put out more posts for you guys and this girl is teaching everyone in Starbucks that she knows things because she’s Catholic. There are a few problems with that. If you’re sitting down with a priest to discuss upcoming marriage arrangements, you need to show some respect to him and those around you. If you have to tell everyone how much you know, you probably don’t know that much to begin with. And pardon my French, but if you think you know more than an ordained priest in the religion of Catholicism just because you are Catholic, then you can Catho-lick my balls. You’re wrong in every way, you’re obnoxious, and you’re incredibly lucky to find a man who can not only put up with how loud and annoying you are, but who will spend the rest of his life with you.

That’s really all I have to say about that.

Stay classy, and I’ll see you at the next stop.

The Production Line

Being on the road as much as I am, I eat out for 99% of my meals. Because of some of the remote locations I go to, this means McDonald’s. A lot. I understand that dining at such a fine establishment does not bring with it the highest of expectations. However, I have a few issues.

Issue #1:

I showed up to a McDonald’s and ordered a McChicken sandwich, with pickles. I also ordered a Hamburger. Both of these items are on the Dollar Menu and, again, I should not have expected the fanciest of cuisine.

I unwrapped my McChicken. A pickle had fallen out, no big deal, down the hatch.

I unwrapped my Hamburger. I realize that ordering such an item from McDonald’s, off the Dollar Menu no less, shouldn’t get my hopes up. I don’t know about you, but when I think of a hamburger, even the most basic of hamburgers, I imagine the bun, some lettuce, tomato, some kind of condiment, onions, and the patty. Most places seem to use mustard as the condiment, so when I ordered, I asked them to sub mayo instead of mustard and made sure they put pickles on it.

Behold, my “Hamburger.” The pickles were ON TOP OF THE BUN. All of the lettuce was in the wrapper, none of it on the burger. The patty was in the bun, held in place by an obscenely large amount of mayo. By obscenely large, I mean enough for the patty and myself to go swimming in. It was spilling over the sides of the bun. It covered the pickles and turned it all into a disgusting, congealed mass of green and white. There were a few finely minced onions on the patty, the rest were in the mayo orgy. The top bun, the one with the pickles on it, was completely off the patty. No tomatoes or lettuce. The burger consisted of a patty, pickles, and onions.

I was aware that for so cheap of a price I would be able to participate in the building of my own burger. Especially since they refused to remake it for me.

Issue #2:

I know McDonald’s employees probably don’t get paid much, don’t have many incentives, and are only there for an easy paycheck. Hence the quality craftsmanship of my aforementioned meal. I have never seen worse attitudes from managers and employees than I have at McDonald’s. Every McDonald’s I’ve been to, not just the one.

If I bring back something and kindly ask for it to be remade or to just have my money back because it looked like the Hulk had an anger issue with my burger during an earthquake, then I don’t need to hear that you don’t see anything wrong with it. Or that you can’t remake it. Or that you can’t refund my money.

I understand that I’m sacrificing quality for price at such an establishment, but come on. At least be nice about it. And don’t laugh about it when I turn my back to leave the counter. Go reprimand the line cook. Anything.

Issue #3:

After such an experience, and on a hot day, I figured I’d treat myself to a shake or an ice cream cone or something of that nature. Remember, McDonald’s was the only place in town, I couldn’t go somewhere else for a tasty treat.

I ordered my ice cream cone. But guess what, and I know all of you know what I was told. Everyone together now: OUR ICE CREAM MACHINE IS DOWN.

Of course it is. I can’t remember a single McDonald’s anywhere that I’ve been to in the last 4 years that could serve ice cream because the machine was down. All of you have experienced this. It doesn’t matter which location you go to or what time of day or night you go, the machine is down.

After some research, I discovered that this is because the ice cream machine they use puts itself through a rigorous self-cleaning operation that takes several hours. Completely understandable. So get 2 and alternate them. Or set the time that it cleans itself every day and put hours up that ice cream is not available. Are you telling me the multi-billion dollar company can’t afford to figure this out? Hire me. I’ll clean the damned machines myself if I can get some ice cream once a year. I bet I can do it faster.

These issues make me dread going to any McDonald’s. But when you’re starving and it’s the only place for a hundred miles, what are you going to do? Get your shit together, Ronald McDonald. Your Golden Arches are fool’s gold and no one is loving it.

Stay classy, and I’ll see you at the next stop.

The J’Accuse!

I’m not sure why I haven’t written about this yet. It should have been one of the first posts I wrote. Basically, I did my job, did a good deed for the day, got spit on, and didn’t kill anyone.

Let’s dive in.

Gallup, NM. The dead of winter. Strong wind, snow, 6 degrees, and hard work. I have 4-foot manhole covers open, large orange cones everywhere, I’m a large guy in a bright orange work shirt, jacket, and safety vest. All fuel dispensers are bagged off in bright yellow caution bags that say “OUT OF SERVICE.”

Enter Karen. I’m using the name Karen because everyone knows a Karen, and knows that Karen is a terrible person. Karen drives a white 2016 Honda Civic. Karen has a “let me speak to your manager” haircut. Karen is roughly 65 years old. Karen hates the world, specifically, hard workers named Michael.

Michael, the hero of our story, is diligently working in terrible weather and trying to stay positive. All of a sudden, a white 2016 Honda Civic speeds through a section of large orange cones that are surrounding 4-foot manholes.

Any vehicle, especially small, white 2o16 Honda Civics, don’t do well when driven through 4-foot manhole covers. In fact, they do so poorly that they can even get a flat tire.

Karen now has a flat tire.

This is very clearly my fault, as my large, brightly-clothed frame and large orange cones don’t scream “DO NOT DRIVE THROUGH HERE, YOU MORON.”

Karen decides that the only way to diffuse and correct this situation is to get out and yell at Michael. “You don’t have the right to shut down a whole gas station! I’m on empty, and now I have a flat tire! I want your name, company name and phone number, and your boss’s name!! I’m going to call and report this!”

Naturally, Michael gives her all the information she wants, knowing full well that this is entirely her fault. The cones, cameras, and witnesses were proof enough.

In an effort to calm Karen down, Michael offers to change her tire for her and apologized for the travesty she has experienced, because Michael is a nice fucking guy. Changing a tire is easy enough, but still a frustrating task. Added insults and rants from bitchy old women like Karen don’t help.

The tire is changed, all is well, and Karen is back in her white 2016 Honda Civic without so much as a “thanks.” The store employees and manager even come out to offer help and ask what happened. Karen very eagerly explains in full detail what transpired and why she is so upset. The store employees and manager, who witnessed everything from inside the store, have been on the side of our hero from the beginning and just shake their heads in disbelief.

Karen, either exhausted from this catastrophe she has experienced or anxious to berate some other poor human being at another location, decides it’s time to race off and test that new tire.

Our favorite 65 year old degenerate circles back around the fuel pumps to find an exit and pulls back around next to me as I’m kneeling down besides a 4-foot manhole to yell at me one last time and remind me that I must not know who she is, she can’t wait to call my office first thing Monday morning, and that she’s glad she doesn’t to do such a lowly job and work with the likes of me.

Then, the climax of our story occurs. Karen musters up a tiny bit of spit from her dusty, wrinkly old mouth, and launches it right into the side of my head.

Michael, the super heroic and hard-working man that he is, is ready to lose his shit. This is the first job of the day, he hates the cold and snow, New Mexico is one of his least-favorite states, and he has a low tolerance for rudeness, especially since he almost always respects his elders.

Karen speeds off immediately after her display of emotion, never to be seen again. The store manager watches this go down and comes back out to see if Michael is okay after what Karen did.

Honestly, this is a fairly normal day in Michael’s life. People are rude, have bad days, want to take frustration out on the guy messing up their routine, and are usually not awful people. Michael drinks a coffee and goes on about his day, and cut it a couple hours short to find a hotel.

Don’t be like Karen.

Stay classy, and I’ll see you at the next stop.

The Art of the Deal

I don’t condone the use or sale of drugs or anything like it. That being said, if that’s something you do, be smart about it.

It was 7:45 in the evening in Santa Rosa, NM. Still plenty of daylight, definitely enough to make a drug deal obvious to anyone who happened to be looking in the right direction. I was in the middle of testing sensors under a bunch of fuel dispensers. Halfway through, I looked up. A mid-90s Ford Something-or-other was pulling up to a dispenser. A guy (Idiot Numero Uno stepped out and started walking toward the store. Another guy, we’ll call him Idiot Numero Dos, was smoking a cigarette against the side of the store and started walking towards Idiot Numero Uno. They met in the middle of the parking lot, halfway through between the fuel pumps and the storefront.

Now, if I were going to make such a transaction as these two businessman, I certainly wouldn’t do it in the middle of a parking lot at the busiest gas station in town, at the busiest intersection in town, while the parking lot and store are full of witnesses, with the sun burning bright. Not that I would do anything of the sort to begin with.

Then the idiocy began:

  • Idiots Numero Uno and Do chatted for a minute. A solid minute. In the middle of the busy parking lot
  • Idiot Numero Dos pulled out a wad of crumpled up cash and visibly counted out the right amount in exchange for his product
  • Idiot Numero Uno took the cash, counted it, and stuffed it in his pocket
  • Idiot Numero Uno pulled a joint out of his other pocket and noticeably gave it to Idiot Numero Dos
  • Both Idiots shook hands, Numero Uno went back to his car; Numero Dos back to his wall to smoke another cigarette

I’m no expert, but I have enough common sense to see that they went about their little exchange all wrong.

First of all, the whole thing should have happened all at once and taken maybe 3 seconds. Idiot Numero Dos should have already had the cash counted and separated ahead of time. Idiot Numero Uno should have had the joint in a plastic baggy or some other kind of protected containment; no one wants your nasty pocket-lint weed. there shouldn’t be that friendly of a relationship between a dealer and a user. It can create problems down the road in a big way. That means they shouldn’t have been having that friendly of a chat for that long. If they were friends, then they should have saved the conversation for later, over the phone, or hanging out somewhere else. Idiot Numero Uno should have actually gone into the store for any number of reasons to look somewhat legitimate. Idiot Numero Dos should have left, not posted up in his usual spot. Never stay in the same place where you make a transaction like that.

The best part of this is that I’m 6’1, I was in a very bright orange shirt for work, and I was visibly staring at them both during the whole thing, maybe 10 feet away.

They should have casually passed each other, passed cash and product in a couple of handshakes, and both moved on. It’s simple. But I guess if you have to sell or use drugs to make a living or get your rocks off, you’re probably not smart enough to wheel a tire down a damned hill.

Do better.

Stay classy, and I’ll see you at the next stop.

The Gentleman

Respecting your elders is a rule that should always be followed. I don’t fall under the term “elder” by any means. But when a 10 year old boy in Starbucks says “Hello, sir, I hope you have a great day,” it puts a smile on my face. This same kid pulled out the chair for his mother when she sat down and opened the door for her when they cam in and left.

Chivalry is not dead. Gentlemen do exist if given the opportunity to prove it. A large part of it is going to come from parents. Raise your children correctly. Teach them proper manners, how to respect EVERYONE (not just their elders), and to think of others first. It’s not difficult. Say “please” and “thank you.” Open building doors and car doors, pull out chairs, random surprise flowers don’t hurt. Flowers for no reason at all will win someone over every time. Do things without having to be asked. Listen, communicate, help.

Try to think of things in advance. Make plans. Be spontaneous. The 10 year old at Starbucks told his mother they should probably go get groceries now instead of after her hair appointment so she won’t be rushed and stressed out tonight trying to get everything done. The smile on her face was so big I didn’t think it would fit in the building.

And women, let men do these things. Men want to be good to you, to surprise you, to dote on you, make you happy. Don’t take any of it for granted, but don’t take it as him not thinking you can’t do anything. Every woman should know how to change a tire, but shouldn’t have to do it. Of course you can get your own door. You’re a strong independent woman. We want to make your life easier. Let us. You will be happy. We will be happy.

One last thing, as our favorite 10 year old boy held the door open for an elderly couple, he coughed AND covered his mouth. Anyone who has ever seen a child knows that they are little germ factories. I was amazed, and grateful. I know adults who spray their DNA all over the place every time they open their mouths. No one wants your nasty germs. If this kid can cover his mouth then so can you.

Be a gentleman.

Stay classy, and I’ll see you at the next stop.

The Woman

Everyone needs someone. I firmly believe that and always have. Some people live a lonely existence of searching for the one and never quite find them, or worse, settle for what they have. No bueno.

You need to take the time and have the patience to figure out what you want and who you are before you start looking for the right person. Once you do, you’d be surprised how quickly the woman of your dreams will fall out of the sky. All men are different and are all looking for something specific, as are women.

The perfect woman could be a Spanish teacher at an alternative high school, a loan officer, an astronaut, or maybe a dog trainer. She might be a cat lover, she may be allergic to cats. Perhaps she doesn’t want children and neither do you, just travel and live for each other. Maybe she has kids and doesn’t want more unless it’s right. She may want to chop all her hair off even if you like long hair, and you’ll love it no matter what. She might not like to drink too often. Then again, she may like to go to casinos and black out.

Lots of different qualities make for the right woman. The right woman for you may not be the right woman for someone else. Again, it takes time and patience to figure out what you’re looking for. And a bit of trial and error with some women in person. But she exists and will be worth the wait. You’ll talk on the phone for hours at a time and not realize it, talking about everything under the sun, serious and silly. You’ll miss each other at random times throughout the day and night. You may not always have the time to speak with each other but the feelings are there and won’t go away, and you’ll both understand that that’s ok.

My point is the right woman for everyone is out there somewhere and is looking for you just as much as you are looking for her. Be patient, know who you are and what you want, and take a chance once in a while.

For all the women reading this, the same thing goes for you, but the opposite.

Stay classy, and I’ll see you at the next stop.