Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dog Wars

A couple of days ago I argued with the love of my life over dog breeds. Specifically what kind of dog would be perfect as a pet. I said husky; gorgeous, fierce, independent, the perfect dog for me. It would run with me and growl ferociously at the freaks approaching me on my walks. It would also serve as a replacement for Teddy the loveable husky we had briefly before he was hit by a car on Christmas Eve.

Apparently others view black labs as perfection. And apparently besides being man’s best friend, ultimate retriever, loving, intelligent and safe to have in the house they also make pancakes, mow the lawn, scrub the toilets, mop the floors, take out the trash and speak Spanish.

No comparison.

But while some of us argued and dreamt about our future dogs others of us went out a bought one. My brother Travis sent me this picture text later that night.

“Look Bre! It’s a puppy!! Oh man he’s the coolest little dog you’ve ever seen! We just got him today ha ha! He’ll be a hunter.”

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Red Light Break

Driving home from work I found myself with a front row seat for popping tires, shattering glass and spinning cars. Oddly this is not the first car accident I’ve watched in real time here in Salt Lake, and it’s fun to watch the news knowing what will headline. In fact I was in one myself about 18 months ago.

And I wonder why I’m terrified to drive sometimes. It reminded me of Ireland where I drove quite a bit after my month probation. Yep, had to wait a month before I was given car keys—I wanted to give them back after that first outing.

If my body were the size of an average U.S. car then my pinky would be the Peugeot I drove abroad. I never decided whether I was glad to have the steering wheel on the left while I drove on the left. Awkward. Tiny cars: tiny roads. Tiny winding roads. Roads the size of a city sidewalk, meant for two lanes of traffic. Sometimes you had to pull off to the side and let the oncoming car squeeze by. Sometimes you had to back down the road to find the small shoulder you passed minutes before to avoid a stall with the oncoming car.

I think my shoulder pain originated in Dublin. My keen sense of direction allowed me many extra hours of driving in circles, specifically around St. Stephen’s Green. Looping the park in city centre I’d clench the steering wheel, press my back against the seat, bite my lip, hold my breath and will my foot to respond; gas, brake, gas, brake, brake, BRAKE.

Driving on other roads went similarly except I’d cringe a bit more and close my eyes often. It was surviving; I couldn’t face my certain death. Once I had the great privilege of riding shotgun on a winding road with blind turns and rock walls. Remember we’re driving on the wrong side of the road in a car with the right-side-of-the-road features. Out my window I’m staring at the passing cars, the words of my mother running through my head, “Don’t stick your hand out the window!” It would be chopped off.

I must have been zoning out a little too because I heard a loud thump and saw my own wide blue eyes staring back at me. The passing van, a service van slightly wider than most cars there, had hit our side mirror and knocked it closed. We left it for the remainder of our drive.

That was the only near accident I witnessed in Dublin. I guess it’s the wide streets that present the problem in Salt Lake.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fugitive Behavior

Yep. Fugitive. I clearly remember the police officer on the other end of the line threatening my reentry to the wonderful state of Utah; as in don't come back you are now considered a fugitive.

How I came to be such a thing? Oh a little dust storm on the plains of I-70 between my home state Colorado and the nemesis Utah. A little dust storm that involved another car and a semi crashing into me from behind. Yes and I was to blame, according to the Utah officer. Now you may scratch your head in wonder but there it is: Semi driver who nearly killed us all, probably given kool-aide, but the girl from Colorado, FUGITIVE.

Ok, this may have been the start of a series in which I've warred with traffic laws, usually those posted on white signs involving numbers. But I fully accept my punishment when appropriate. For nearly all of the six speeding tickets I acquired one year I calmly nodded my head when the condemning officer asked if I knew why I'd been pulled over. The one exception was the jerk who said I'd run a red light. I expressed my disapproval in traffic court when he kept bugging me to participate. As if I didn't have anything better to do that Saturday morning.

And so here it is, midnight on a Thursday, I'm pulling into my parking lot amazed that the flyers pinned to my windshield have survived the freeway trip home. Wait. That's not a flyer. The pink envelope suggests a violation of some sort. Wait there are two of them. Two tickets for a plate infraction dated exactly one minute and eight seconds apart. HOW?

The plate infraction is this—my tags looked expired. An officer was nice enough to pull me over six days ago to inform me. I informed him that the car is registered and the powder on doughnuts isn't for smoking.

I didn't tell him that. BUT I did produce my registration, proving my innocence. And now I will once again prepare for court to prove my innocence there.

As a fugitive I was also asked to appear in court. I had witness papers in a sealed envelope and the day off work for the venture to Moab. A few days before the scheduled appearance I received a letter saying the judge had thrown the case out.

The cops may hate me, but the law is on my side. Innocent.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Just Call Me Val

Once under tremendous pressure, fatigue, facing starvation and physically intimidated by a guy in my office I let it slip that I'd graduated top of my class of 99. No not a typo for Class of '99, there were only 98 Savages flipping that tassel with me. Impressive. Or at least for said guy and he jokingly called me Val—every time I said or did something completely brainless.

Hi, my name is Val.

In the fourth grade we dedicated an entire year to the United States. Especially the geography, capitals and time zones. Simple. Easy. I mastered it.

Fast forward to my fourth year out of college, see even that was wrong it's my third. Here I am struggling with math, numbers and time zones. In an attempt to nail me down for a phone conversation, an acquaintance exchanged emails with me to set the exact time. This is the brilliance that occurred in my head.

The email simply says: Can you connect Thursday at 2:30 PST?

Yes, I thought. No, I thought. I work until 1 and need time to get home so I can take notes (seriously thought that). So 1 my time (MST) will be 12 her time. OK, I'll say yes. Wait, I have to stay an hour later that day so I won't be done until 2 my time which is 1:30 her time. Hmm I'll have to ask her to push it back a half hour so we can talk as I'm getting off work and I can be done for my shift at 4. (Are you confused yet? You should be. My train of thought made absolutely no sense.)

And she did. The phone meeting was scheduled for 3 p.m. PST. I rushed through my goodbyes at work anxiously clutching my phone. Minutes passed. An hour passed. I thought maybe I'd got the time wrong, checked my email and read 3 p.m. PST which convinced me that I'd missed the call.

I sat on my couch slightly depressed and finally got it. It was like Mrs. E had slapped me with time zone comprehension all over again. 3 PST means 4 MST… Idiot. Val. I'd moved the phone call back to the time I'm expected for an intense ABA session.

I swear time zones were easier when I was ten.