Wednesday, July 7, 2004

The Cat

First off, we had a bit of controversy around the magazine last month. Joel Spolsky separated Microsoft into two camps, with us leading one of them. Anyway, I've spun off an essay on the subject here.

After John Kerry named John Edwards his VP candidate yesterday, the Bush campaign launched an ad campaign calling Edwards the "second choice." And who knows more about being a second choice than, oh, GEORGE BUSH - the second choice of the American people in 2000!

I've been walking to the train station lately. It's eight to ten minutes, depending upon which side of the platform I want to end up on. It's something I feel I should do now that gas is up around $2.20/gallon. That one mile a day I walk instead of driving might not seem like much, but you multiply that by 20 days a month, and figure that my car gets 20 MPG, and I can save $2.20 a month if I walk every day. That's MY $2.20, not the evil oil companies'! I can buy myself something special with it, like half an Entenmann's crumb cake, and eat the entire thing on the way home, thereby negating the healthful effects of a month's walking.

One downside of the walk is The Cat. Two weeks ago, a dead cat appeared on the grassy area between street and sidewalk along the shortest route to the station. Someone had put a washcloth on top of it. I figured it would be moved pretty quickly - no one wants a dead cat in front of their house.

Days went by. The cat wasn't moved. Someone mowed around it, so the grassy strip was now well-tended except in this little dead cat jungle. It wasn't being eaten or anything, it just sat there. I finally drove past it again yesterday, and it was still there, lying there twisted with a death meow on its face, looking like it had just spent some time on a feline Catherine wheel.

Another good thing about walking is that I don't have to deal with Escalades. I was on the highway yesterday, minding my own business but wondering just what crap the white Escalade in the far left lane would pull. They always do; their drivers tend to be atrocious because of their false feelings of womb-like safety. So I properly apply my turn signal to indicate my imminent exit, when Womb Boy comes barreling out of the far left lane because, well, too busy on the phone to move into position for the exit without going perpendicular. The driver, who I must say never appeared to break conversation, flashed the universal signal of Escalade triumph: a rocking motion that made the semi-semi look like it was about to go up on two wheels as he tried to reestablish a straight-line trajectory. No offense, but Escalade drivers are dicks, and their trucks are leaky condoms that provide the illusion of safety without actually coming through.

And speaking of commuting! The train I take home is always hit-or-miss when it comes to peaceful coexistence, since it stops at all the connector stations for Fire Island ferries. A couple of days ago, I found a nice quiet seat. A young woman sat two seats ahead of me and curled up with a book.

Then the train got to Jamaica. A group of three young gentlemen boarded. You could instantly see that they were looking for trouble - they were carrying three fishing rods and a bongo. THey were wearing stupid straw hats and were trying to grow vague beards. I could immediately tell that there was the potential for some explosive anger on my part. The three young men sat two behind the woman, and one next to her.

Things started slowly, just some generalized inane chatter. One of the lads was reading "Fight Club", and when he got to a passage about "tits", he chose to read it aloud to the others without the benefit of removing his headphones so that he could modulate his voice in any way.

We passed Hicksville, and Lad 2 announced in his best outdoor voice, "Dude, that sign just said HICKSVILLE!!!" The three lads collapsed in laughter. Then they got into a deep discussion about the proposed cross-sound tunnel.

"You mean they're going to dig under the ocean? They could never do it by hand. You'd need some really fast water robot."
"A waterbot."

The explosive anger kicked in. I'm sure that one of them could hear the anger forming behind them, because he hooked his ear buds to his hat so that we could all share his nice someone-else's-walkman effect.

Finally, we were approaching my stop. The discussion turned to another young lady that Lad 3 knew. For unknown reasons, the young woman trapped by them didn't claw her way out of the side of the train at this point. Maybe she was deaf.

"She's like the devil. She like doesn't care that people can go to jail for having sex with her. If she were like a morally like good person like, she would say this is like fine but you're going to go to jail and i don't want you to go to jail, man. I'd rather be ignorant than a whore."
"Her having sex with two people does NOT make her a whore."
"No, the fact that they were over 18 makes her a whore. That's sick."

Yes, Hicksville indeed.

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