Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hands off--the government gets involved

Three days ago I posted this piece about how the "hands free" cell phone law really wasn't addressing the problem.

Then today on the Yahoo home page I see this story about how the administration was looking into the "epidemic" of distracted driving (that term is in a quote attributed to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood) with a two-day meeting on the subject.

Coincidence? Or could it be that someone in Washington was keeping tabs on what Doug's little site is mentioning?

No, it's coincidence. They're apparently considering banning cell phone usage because it's distracting, when if they'd read my post they'd know the problem is not distractions. (Distractions are the symptoms of the problem.)

Until they develop a cure for stupidity, the only way to prevent distracted driving would be to ban driving. However, as that's unlikely to meet with much support we'll have to go in another direction: federally funded good luck charms.

See. Didn't take me two days. Not that anyone at the meeting will read this, but if you happen to have a line to this LaHood guy, feel free to pass this along. I'm not about the glory; I'm merely happy to contribute to the solution.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hands off (III)

Over a year ago a California law went into effect wherein it became a punishable offense to talk on a cell phone while driving without a so-called "hands-free" device. (I mentioned it in this post last year.)  In other words, one was not permitted to hold a cell phone in one's hand while driving; one had to employ a Bluetooth earpiece or something that allowed one (in theory) to keep both hands on the wheel.

At the beginning of this year the law was extended (or maybe it was a separate but related law) to prevent texting while driving, which closed an obvious loophole with the first law.

In the months since the "hands-free" law went into effect I have witnessed many, many motorists blithely ignoring the law, with one hand pressed up to the side of the head while they breezed along streets and freeways.  I'm not sure whether they were somehow oblivious to the new rules or merely were unconcerned with the penalty; perhaps they doubted that the police would bother to enforce it (having much bigger problems here in the metropolitan L.A. area, or that it would be difficult for police to see definitively while traveling at high speeds, or that if they spotted a cop they could just hang up quickly and deny everything. 

The only certainty (from my extraordinarily limited and anecdotal research):  The law wasn't having much of an effect in changing the behavior in the minds of those who most needed to be affected. 

Presumably the idea behind the law was that holding a phone was distracting, but clearly these people didn't agree about that.

And to be fair, I must concur.  It's not holding a phone that's distracting.

Many years ago, long before the law was even under consideration, I had an incident where I was driving along a somewhat poorly lit side street and my cell phone rang.  I answered it because I figured it would be a short conversation, just to answer a question for the friend who called.  And although the call didn't last very long, I did realize at one point that I drove through a stop sign at an intersection.  This wasn't until I'd gone through it, of course, and there was no problem caused by this, as there was no car coming from the perpendicular street, but nonetheless I'd flat-out missed it.  I could argue that the intersection should have been better lit, but I can only blame myself for not paying better attention.

The thing is:  Having one hand off the wheel made no difference.  I was distracted by the act of talking to someone who was not in the car with me.  I could have taken both hands off the wheel and steered with my knees and still noticed the stop sign if I wasn't splitting my focus between the tasks of driving and conversing on the phone.

And since then I have held a strict policy of not using the phone while the car's moving.  I was lucky that time, and there's nothing I have to say to anyone that's important enough to have to test that luck again.

Maybe there are others who are better at such multi-tasking, but I think it's more a matter that there are many who simply have been lucky that others were paying attention.  As a pedestrian I've had several incidents where a driver on a phone came barreling out of a driveway and I've stayed out of the way, even though I had the right-of-way; being in the right doesn't do much good against several tons of steel and glass.


To be fair: I did once see someone get a citation for breaking this law.  The person was sitting at a stop light in downtown L.A., with the phone up to the ear nearest the window.  An officer on a motorcycle pulled up between lanes and tapped on the window and pointed to the curb.  I will admit that seeing that gave me a bit more pleasure in that moment than is justified, but looking back it was not so much a triumph of behavioral engineering but the ensnaring of an idiot.  The law got someone who was too stupid to be paying attention,  too stupid to think that putting the phone up to the ear toward the interior of the vehicle would at least be less obvious.

I'm sure it's possible that there have been other citations I haven't seen, and there may be some who are genuinely dissuaded from using their phones with the law in place, but the trouble is that the law doesn't address the real issue: some people are inconsiderate, crappy drivers; using a phone certainly exacerbates that, but it doesn't initiate what's wrong.


And of course, I know that the way the universe works, were I to make even a slight exception and use the phone for just a moment, I would be the one the cop would cite.

Maybe the key to avoiding getting caught breaking minor laws (such as the "hands-free" cell phone usage while driving) is to be unconcerned with getting caught.  One would not act suspiciously, and perhaps what draws attention from law enforcement most of all is the appearance of something to elicit suspicion.

If one cannot be genuinely oblivious, one should develop the ability to not give a crap.


In any case, the law cannot forbid what it needs to address—namely, that people are stupid.  It may not be that all people are stupid all the time, and it's likely that all people are stupid at least some of the time, but stupidity at the time is the key.  What we seek is a world without stupidity (in theory), but that's not going to happen.

What would we have to rant about then?


Clearly I am offering my own small contribution to the stupidity of the world with this little rant.

Friday, September 25, 2009

More Hawaii photos

Because it's the 25th it's time to remind my intrepid readers that over at the photo site there's more photos of our honeymoon on the Big Island of Hawai'i (click on that to see the whole Hawaiian series thus far).

There's some shots from along Highway 200 (the Saddle Road) as the terrain shifts from lava fields to tropical rainforest... one moves southeast away from Mauna Kea and gets to the Kaumana Caves.

And there's some pics of this interesting tree (with many vines hanging down), which is near the entrance to the caves.

(Sure, the honeymoon was in July. I'm not rushing it. What's the big deal?)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Falling in to autumn

"When summer's gone / Where will we be?"
The Doors, "Summer's Almost Gone"

We'll be here.


In case you had not noticed, the autumnal equinox occurred Tuesday afternoon (for those of us in North America), bringing the official start of the season of autumn. But let's face it: No one really cares about even noting the equinox itself other than dorks such as myself, so there's no reason you should have noticed. So today, Wednesday, will be the first full day of the new season worldwide.


The autumnal equinox is perhaps not as observed as even the vernal equinox (in March) because a) people tend to like summer, and b) the return of kids to school and the start of the fall TV season have already commenced, so people already felt like it was autumn.


On the news programs the person reading the weather (who may or may not actually be a meteorologist) will tend to mention when the equinox will occur, and people may glance up from putting on their makeup or drinking their coffee and nod with some vague sense that they should find that interesting, but the official shift from summer to autumn (or from winter to spring in the southern hemisphere)—that is, that very moment when the position of the earth relative to the sun is just so (i.e., the scientific stuff*)—makes so little difference in the daily lives of people that it's ultimately nothing more than a quaint bit of trivia.

From the standpoint of the changing seasons, Tuesday wasn't that much different than Monday was, nor that different than Wednesday will be; it's not as though all the leaves on all the trees dropped at 2:18 (Pacific Daylight Time) or that the temperature will suddenly drop 30 degrees (at least, not because of the change in season—climate change might bring about any number of consequences, I suppose, but even that seems unlikely)—especially here in SoCal, where actually it was warmer as autumn came in than it was during a good portion of the summer (if those aforementioned pseudo-meteorologists can be trusted with their forecasts).

It's not as though the universe flashes a light across the sky or offers some cosmological indication of when the equinox has occurred. Either you pay attention to the available information and watch the clock for that moment and choose to get a kick out of it for whatever silly reason that might be, or you get on with your day and when watching the news at night and the pseudo-meteorologist mentions that the equinox occurred earlier and now it's officially autumn you'll have a vague sense that you should find that interesting.

If we were meant to pay attention, they'd make it a holiday so we'd have the day off. Of course, given that most holidays are observed on a Monday (so we can have three-day weekends), it's more likely that Monday would have been the observance of the equinox, and thus the precise moment Tuesday would still be largely unheralded.

And that's okay. The universe keeps going whether we notice it or not.


* Of course, if you don't grasp that the seasons are caused by the particular way the earth orbits the sun, and more specifically by the tilt of its axis relative to the sun, then none of this is likely to make the slightest bit of sense. (And if you want to find out about that, this piece on the National Geographic site isn't bad.)

But again, the beauty of the situation is that you do not need to understand it to get on with your regular existence.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

This is not about Kanye, Serena, or Joe Wilson: An uncivilized post

[You probably should sit down for this one. Oh, you are already?  Good.]

On the cover of Tuesday's USA Today I noticed (as I passed the dispensary--yes, one of those antiquated devices on street corners where people can spend money to buy a paper version of the website; quaint, I know) a story with the title "What Happened to Civility?"  Accompanying it was a photo of Kanye West stealing the microphone away from Taylor Swift at the VMAs.  Below that were smaller shots of heckler Rep. Joe Wilson during the president's speech, and next to that a close-up of Serena Williams (presumably at the U.S. Open, in the midst of her tantrum).  From what I could see of the article through the glass, it was drawing some connection between these incidents of less-than-respectful behavior and a larger societal problem with a lack of civility.

And it occurred to me fairly straightaway:  People who act in civilized ways—who don't yell out during the president's speech, who let someone accept an award without jumping on stage to tell them they weren't deserving, who take what they believe to be a bad call without losing their temper—do not make the news.  This is not a clever or terribly insightful conclusion, I admit, but it struck me as a primary explanation.  The various parts of the media that report on such things do not put on their cover stories about people who acted in a civilized manner in whatever situation called for it; that was simply expected, and therefore unremarkable.  As Oscar Wilde noted, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about; today the desire for attention—whether it's positive or negative in nature—is almost certainly greater than back in Wilde's day, and it's infinitely easier to attain.  Thus, the ability to develop a taste for it (so to speak) is much easier as well.

I'm not B.F. Skinner, but it doesn't take a doctorate in behavioral psychology to see why what was perceived as civility would seem to have disappeared: it is not reinforced the way that incivility is.

Of course, the likelihood that people really ever were civil is questionable, but now we're veering off into the good-ol'-days conundrum.

But when USA Today has a headline reading "Good Guy Does Right Thing in Tricky Situation," we'll know we've turned a corner.  Or at least seemed to have.

Again, this is all what came to me without really knowing what the article was about.

(And this part probably would have been more clever or amusing if those sort of elements were better in regards to being reinforced in contemporary society.  Unlike in Wilde's day, today cleverness generally gets one misunderstood.)


When I got home Tuesday night I briefly looked up the civility article online.  And for our purposes here let's just note it was more or less what I'd surmised.  Thus, as I suspected while having those initial, inchoate thoughts, there was nothing particularly insightful to my reaction.  What level of inspiration I thought I may have had to do something with those thoughts dissipated; they didn't really offer anything that wasn't in what the writer had included.

That would have been the end. This post would not exist.

However, then I made the mistake of starting to peruse the comments that had been left after the article.  I dare not say "in response to" the article, as that would not (in my humble opinion) accurately reflect their overall nature.

The beauty of the internet is that it allows anyone to offer his/her thoughts.  The disquieting aspect of the internet is that it allows anyone to offer his/her thoughts.  (Case in point: what you're reading right now.)

The irony of how an article about a lack of civility spurred comments that were, I'd have to say, not terribly civil was only noted in one comment I saw., but that was a rare exception.  The majority fell more into the category of complaining about whatever issue was stuck in the commenter's (proverbial) craw. 

I couldn't make it though the hundreds (as of the time I post this days later it's in to the thousands) that were left; I can't imagine anyone could unless he/she has a masochistic streak and gets off on reading others bicker back and forth.

However, of the dozens I did make it through, those that struck me as thoughtful, without being merely rancorous (whether coming up with someone or something to blame for this lack of civility, or going off on a tangent and lamenting how another news story wasn't getting better coverage), were few.  There were some, but they seemed a distinct minority.  There were others that noted the newspaper itself was not entirely without culpability in promoting the very scenario in question.  But regardless of one's thoughts on the topic, the only definite conclusion I could draw was that there was no consensus about what could restore a aura of civility.  Nor, frankly, did I get the impression that most who was moved to leave a comment would have really desired that; they agreed with the premise that civility would be good (I presume), but by and large I doubted that a lot of what was posted would have made it through a filter of civility.

The civility in this context seemed to revolve around the way that most commenters appeared to have utterly ignored most of the other comments.  They made their sweeping generalization and got out.  It was not a discussion where others' points of view were considered; it was yelling "Here's who I blame!" and stopping the conversation at that point.

(The secret to reading the comments on a website may be in one's mind to preface all of them with the phrase "In this wing nut's whacked-out opinion…" and then be amused by the result, or delighted when it proves unnecessary.)


"This Golden Age of communication means everybody talks at the same time / And liberty just means the freedom to exploit any weakness that you can find."
- New Model Army, "225" (1989--yes, twenty years ago)


Obviously, the comments left after the article seemed to reveal more about the individual pet peeves of those commenting than capturing any sort of pulse of the American public in general.

Perhaps that's what is the problem—not merely with ostensible civility but with people in general:  Rather than accepting that people acting out inappropriately in a public forum (i.e., on TV or some other medium that can be captured, such as our beloved internet) should be seen as representative of those individuals, they draw larger conclusions about society at large from these incidents (even if that is specious at best).  It will be interpreted as accurate if the reader is so inclined, but that doesn't intrinsically make it empirically true.  People want there to be patterns, and thus patterns are perceived. 

(Yes, the irony of making a generalization about making generalizations is intentional. At least I delude myself with the notion that it is.)


At the end of the day, I'd argue that this reveals the true American pastime (heck, perhaps the human pastime): being pissed off about something.  That is how our country started, when you get down to it; a bunch of colonists got upset about their treatment.  Without that, the British flag might still be flying over our capital.

Sure, back two centuries ago they took up muskets rather than keyboards, but you get the idea.  The tactics have changed over time, but the ultimate mindset remains kind of the same.

Seen in this light, society isn't really going downhill; it's pretty much the same as it always has been.

Of course, that sort of perception may serve to make one less inclined to be pissed off about the ostensible downfall of civility, which would ruin the great American joy of being upset about what one has perceived as something to be upset about.  So this may not be for everyone.


And wrapping up...

Two weeks before the Joe Wilson/Serena/Kanye trifecta spurred this civility debate, there was an incident at one of the town hall meetings about (we'll call it) the health care issue that were prevalent in the news (whether they were really representative of a majority of the public or not), where a fist-fight occurred and a man had the tip of his finger bitten off.

Bitten off.

I'm not sure whether the reason that didn't spur a cover story on USA Today about a dearth of civility was because: a) a digit removed dentally is pretty darned newsworthy regardless of the context, or b) neither the perpetrator or the victim was in the public eye (at least not in the way a politician or athlete or music star would be), or c) it wasn't done in the same week as two other noteworthy instances.

Perhaps all of the above.

Maybe when it crosses over to the hideous and monstrous, calling it merely uncivil seems a bit inapplicable.  A breach of etiquette is one thing, but something that elicits a I-can't-f*cking-believe-it response is probably construed as quite another.

The only unarguable conclusion to the drawn from a cover story on civility:  A somewhat slow news day.

If a paper can spend front-page space on that, society has not become that uncivilized.


Thanks for pretending to pay attention. Especially this long. I'm going to presume you know the link to the comments section is below. Remember, without those comments, you wouldn't have had to sit through this.


P.S. Regarding the opposite of "civility" I'm not sure why the adjective is "uncivil" but the noun is "incivility." Gotta love English.


And in case you missed Lewis Black's brilliant "Back In Black" rant from Wednesday's The Daily Show which touches on this whole thing far better than I have above, go here and watch it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Might the Ten Commandments be better if rather than being phrased "Thou shalt not..." they started off "Come on, you know you really shouldn't..."?  So, yes, then they'd be the Ten Rather Obvious Recommendations.

Whatcha think?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hats and sunglasses

Some celebrities complain about being hounded by the paparazzi and the tabloid media, but the solution is very simple:  Be dull and uninteresting.

It works wonders for me.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Paul Westerberg does not wear eyeliner

In a piece by Sarah Vowell, "American Goth," she is transformed by goths into one of them (at least for an evening).  As precursory work they assign her tasks, one of which is to listen to the saddest song in her record collection, over and over.  Which, for her, ends up being an old country song.

(Johnny Cash.  The Man in Black.  That's at least coincidentally goth.  I digress.)

It occurred to me that the Replacements, who are generally lumped in with the '80s post-punk, college rock scene, did have a song that qualifies as goth:  "The Ledge."
The Replacements - The Ledge

It's about suicide ("I'm the boy they can't ignore / For the first time in my life I'm sure / All the love sent up high to pledge / Won't reach the ledge"), and about it being too late to be saved. 

Of course, now that I think about it more, it may not romanticize suicide enough to be goth.

The protagonist in the song probably is wearing flannel on that ledge anyway.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Great Debate: Exiled on Abbey Road

In a song by the band Metric, "Gimme Sympathy" (from their most recent album Fantasies)...

...the chorus is this:
Gimme sympathy
After all of this is gone
Who'd you rather be
The Beatles or the Rolling Stones?
Oh seriously
You're gonna make mistakes, you're young
Come on, baby, play me something
Like 'Here's Comes the Sun'
While the song sounds little like the Fab Four or Mick and Keith, it is interesting to hear a younger band referencing the "Beatles or Stones?" debate—something that was going on before even I was born.

For rock music fans (at least those of the applicable proclivities), one's choice in the dichotomy is not merely a preference for the music; it's a window into the personality.  Of course, now that we decades to analyze, the answer reveals as much about how one interprets what both bands are.

As far as the music itself goes, I am a bigger Beatles fan.  It's not that I don't also like the Stones' music, but it's not to the same degree.  However, it's not exactly a fair fight.  I have more of a nostalgic appreciation for John, Paul, George, and Ringo.  When I was in middle school I had a quarter of music appreciation, and the teacher was a Beatles fanatic who breezed through Mozart and Beethoven to get to the lads from Liverpool.  Then a few years later I helped a friend (with whom I'm still friends to this day) discover the Beatles, and arguably that friend turned into a bigger Beatles fanatic than my middle school teacher.  So for me, beyond liking the brilliant songs, I associate the Fab Four with personal experiences. 

I am not a fanatic, however.  I own all the CDs of the Beatles studio albums (the ones released around 1987, including the Past Masters volumes), but I don't have all the other material that was released (with outtakes and live tracks, etc.).  Not that I lack a foundation for appreciating that, but it was not such that I had to have it. (And I'm on the fence about the new remastered versions that were just released. I do have a wedding I'm still paying off.)

With the Stones, I own Exile on Main St., and a couple greatest hits collections.  I acknowledge their talent and their place in rock history, but that appreciation is almost a bit more academic than deeply emotional.  I think the lilty guitar opening of "Gimme Shelter" is phenomenally good—I mean, in a way that it should be studied in music classes 200 years from now—but it doesn't hit me the same way as even "And Your Bird Can Sing."

That said, who would I rather be?  Probably the Stones.

But what does that mean? 

In some circles the distinction might be that the Beatles were pop purity and the Stones were blues grit; in short, the Stones were the bad boys, and therefore had more fun.  However, that's not how I think about it.

The Stones were immensely popular, and continue to be, but the Beatles reached a level of popularity that approached deification; as John Lennon astutely noted, they were bigger than Jesus in their heyday.  It's not that they sought that status; that's merely how people responded to them.  It reached the point where they stopped touring.  They were too big.  They couldn't possibly stay together into the 1970s; their fire had burned too hot in the '60s.  (Yes, I know their last album got pressed up in 1970, but that scarcely constitutes the full decade.)

The Stones had longevity.  Check that: they have longevity.  They continued touring through five decades, and probably have another one in them.  They have put out some material that just does nothing for me, but as I noted they've put out some true classics.  But ultimately, they represent the fact that they're not dead; they may never have burned quite as hot, but that meant they didn't burn out.  They cannot really claim to be "bad boys" any more (or "boys" in any context), but they lasted long enough that such an association ceased to be apropos.

So, this suggests that I am not interested in being worshipped.  I'd rather have a more measured but protracted existence.  I may not be a man of wealth and taste, but I do not seek to be the Sun King.

But the bigger question may be this:  What the heck is someone in his 40s doing listening to Metric?

(Actually, that's an easy one: they remind me of the '80s--a decade for which I was around.)

Monday, September 07, 2009

Getting freshed

The Subway restaurant chain's current promotion is a Scrabble game. I haven't been playing, per se, but as I do tend to eat there about once a week I have gotten a few game pieces on drink cups. As I said, I'm not interested in the pieces with letters (which appear to require going online to play), so the only ones that I bother with are the ones that are "instant winners."

Previously I did get one that entitled me to a free cookie. Eh, not exactly something to make me react like the people in the commercials, but hey, a free cookie is a free cookie.

If nothing else, as one who doesn't tend to win many contests, it's a tiny moment of victory.

Then last week I peeled the game piece off the side of the cup and saw the words "Instant Winner" emblazoned across the top of it.

All right!

And then I glanced down to see what I had won. Below is an unmodified picture of the actual game piece:
In case you're reading this on a device where the photo doesn't display, the text below "Instant Winner" reads:
"Not an instant winner."

[Cue muted trumpet "wa waah."]

I'm not suggesting my self-esteem revolves around such moments, but raising of excitement and then dashing it in this manner just seems cruel--rubbing it in almost.

This is not what I need during my lunch hour.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Carded, part II

[Read yesterday's post first, if you haven't already.]

When I got home I asked the wife what she'd think if someone tapped her on the shoulder and dropped a the business card with the flirtatious message on it. When I explained who appeared to have done it to me, she immediately declared, "It's the ring."

Apparently, the woman on the train who gave me the card was not oblivious to the wedding band on my third finger; she was attracted by it. Or at least that was the conclusion my wife drew from my brief recounting of the incident.

She cited what she clearly believed to be common knowledge: that married men get hit on. The fact that a man is already taken (so to speak) suggests that one should try to take him, at least in the mind of some women.

How did I get this far in life without knowing this? Why did this never come up during the time I was preparing to get married?

I understand the psychology of being drawn to what one cannot have, of wanting what someone else has, but even rudimentary contemplation of the situation brings only one possible conclusion: trying to seduce married men—especially because they're married—is a bad idea. If what makes him good is that he committed to someone, and you cause him to break that commitment, then by definition he is no longer good.

I know I should be flattered, but the illogic of the scenario befuddles me so that I cannot take that reaction away from the incident.

That others hearing the tale might take away from the story that I am the freak who doesn't get a kick out of strange women flirting in this manner, that such brazen actions are essentially commonplace rather than being the freakish aspect to the tale, is something I suppose I simply must accept. (Heck, the tacit theme to most of what's on this site is Look what I freak I am, so that's not any big deal, in and of itself.)

Still, that women apparently can be so blasé about this notion of other women being compelled to put the moves on married men, that it is essentially to be expected when one puts the ring on, suggests something so… screwed up… that I am incapable to find some clever, tongue in cheek joke to make about it.

So, ladies, please tell me that this married man magnetism turning women into thoughtless homewreckers is an aberration, not the standard. Lie if you must. I want to go back to being oblivious.

My neuroses prefer it there.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Carded, part I

I still have no idea what to make of something that happened a few weeks ago.

Here's what went down:

I'm sitting on the train, at the window seat, fifth row back, with a young man sitting in the aisle seat next to me (and people in all the seats around, this being the evening commute), with my li'l laptop on my lap, headphones in my ears.

A finger taps on my shoulder from behind me. As I glance up from typing, a hand comes poking up from (I presume) the row behind where I'm sitting, holding a business card, which is thrust up and set on my lap. Not on the keyboard of the laptop, but on the area of my legs between the edge of the computer and my crotch. The hand didn't even wait for me to reach for the card with my hand.

The card has a handwritten message on it.
"Got free time? Call me."

This is odd.

As I glance up I see what I believe to be the provider of the card walking down the aisle and exiting the train. It's a woman, whose hair is kind of a high-piled Afro that's tall on top and kind long in the back, but short on the sides.

As the doors close and the train proceeds forward I see her walking along the platform, but she does not look over, nor do I look over.

Flipping the card over, it is for a hair shop, which purports to specialize in "weaves, press n' curl, braids, African twists…" and so on. In other words, in the sort of services generally of interest to African-American females.

Although I am married to one, I cannot imagine she would have any way of knowing that. It definitely does not include the sort of services I require for my hair; that much is obvious from a glance, even from behind.

(Especially from behind.)

And that does not explain the ostensible proposition on the reverse.

If it was a sales pitch, as I said, I can't imagine she looked at me and thought, Yes, he'll want to come to our shop, or his wife will. And if was intended as a genuine come-on, I have to imagine that I am exuding some kind of musk or something that exceeds anything I have ever managed at any point in my existence. It would suggest that I was able to attract a stranger without even so much as making eye contact with her. Without me having been aware of her existence before her number was in my lap.

And she was not dissuaded by the wedding ring on my finger, which was in view when she thrust the card into my lap.

If she's looking for a sugar daddy, she must be oblivious to the fact that I'm riding public transportation.

I am baffled.

These sort of things never happen to people who drive their cars. I presume.


This is not the end of this, however...