azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
Azure Jane Lunatic (Azz) 🌺 ([personal profile] azurelunatic) wrote2012-03-02 03:04 am

Of Tyres and Trains

Too many of my journal entries start with something akin to "I recently had an experience that I just had to tell you about," but it is none the less true for its repetition.

Tuesday evening, coming home from work, I had a near-death experience. I was on 35 heading for my particular preferred exit into Pacifica, as that is how I roll, and I was both sick and tired, and thus my attention was suffering. There was also a hill that crested just behind me. There was also a driver in a pickup truck, who I assessed in the aftermath to have been going about 80, who I did not see at all. I did, however, see the yellow light, see my distance from the yellow light, see the heavy traffic, and made the executive decision that Vash and I were stopping for this yellow though his brakes might complain, because no good could come of running the yellow and potentially part of the red. So I stopped. And he bitched at me. And from behind came this *noise*, and I only registered it as wild honking when the driver careened around me and Vash, going about 80. Clearly he had not reckoned on me actually heeding the traffic light.

My immediate reaction, of course, is to caress Vash's steering wheel as I sit shaking at the red light, telling him what a good baby he is, and how I am going to get him that goddamned oil change I'd been promising him the very next day, before work. (I'd had a strong presentiment to avoid that route home and maybe take him to the place I got his oil changed the last time on my way home, but I was figuring maybe I could wait until Saturday and do it somewhere less expensive and closer.) Also he needed his blinker looked at, and probably his brakes, and in any case, morning and a full service auto place.

Morning, albeit a groggy and cranky morning, saw me at the full service auto place on the one corner, laptop in tow so I could catch up on email and Twitter and stupid Facebook clicky-games, hoping they could squeeze me in for an oil change, get his brakes looked at, and get his rear turn signal replaced. The fellow warned me it might be a while, but I figured I'd sit myself down and have a bit of a wait; I had books besides.

I emailed my team at work to let them know I'd most likely be in after lunch. By one, I was nervously emailing my manager to ask at what point I should throw in the towel assuming a 30-40 minute commute. (She emailed back shortly after that letting me know that all was well, and I was doing fine right where I was using my little laptop as a portable office in the car shop, because I was able to resolve a few things for her from email right then and there.)

It was four before I got out of the auto shop, with two new rear brake cylinders, as the old ones had been leaking fluid and I could have lost brake fluid pressure at any point. And furthermore, there was steel sticking out of a tire. Hoooly shit. (There was some entertaining byplay with the light -- they'd replaced the rear brake light, not the rear blinker. Oi. But that got straightened up right smart.) I went very delicately and slowly home on the back roads, via the pizza place right next door, and immediately I got in, put the pizza on, and got petted by Momma Rah a bit, I called up the auto shop. "Hi, this is $NAME, I was in the shop today, and I'd like to make an appointment for Saturday," I said. "Yep." "What time you got?" "Great! See you then!" (Any paraphrasing in this conversation is at the "yes", "yeah" or "uh-huh" instead of "yep" level, rather than any more substantial differences.)

Clearly driving at 65mph for 40 miles on a tire with exposed steel was not a life choice that the Fishmum should be modeling, both for role model as well as health and safety reasons. Thus it was determined that I should give Caltrain a try as a means of getting to work. I reasoned that since the later trains had an unbelievably shitty bus connection to the workplace, that I would go for as early as I thought I could, and perhaps I could even practice my espresso-making wiles for my poor beleaguered Overlady, in the throes of Potential Intern Screening. (Work has fully automatic espresso machines in each one of its snack kitchens, at least in my building that I have seen. I have only used a home espresso machine before, of a different manufacturer.)

I stayed up inadvisedly late staring at various inexplicable transit combinations and attempting to figure out which would be the most felicitous. Going in at my usual time was in fact unlikely to actually get me there in shorter than more hours than I wanted to spend in transit, as most of the ways to get from Caltrain to near-ish work involved commuter routes that didn't exist closer to lunchtime. I wrote down times, and was able to then cobble together some ideas about the latest I could arrive, and suchlike. I determined that really, I needed to leave Pacifica as early as I could get up. I set my alarm for 5:45.

It was cruel, cruel timing that had me thinking mournfully of Davy Jones (and slightly resentfully at the daydream believer, who had a whole extra 15 minutes of sleep). I dragged myself out in time for the 7am bus (and as it started to drizzle, my thoughts turned to Darkside, taunting me about my affection for the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher by mockingly singing "Don't Stand So Close To Me"). I poured more money into my Clipper card (the tube that used to hold scented bath product holds dimes and nickles very securely; the mini M&Ms tube holds quarters nicely but not securely) and by the time I hit Caltrain, I realized that I would be on the last run of the commuter bus I was planning to take. The train was delayed by a signal indicating that another train was on the tracks. I amusedly tweeted the conductor's humorous comment, and found myself retweeted by the Caltrain Diaries.

Delightfully, a friend was on my same train, and we said hello as we got off. I looked around for the bus stop, and only managed to locate it by the taillights of the departing last commuter bus. I settled in to wait, determined that, well, this time I was going to find out about some of the other options, and wasn't it lucky that I had time to spare.

The route of the other bus was weird and I did not recognize any of the landmarks. Unfortunately my grasp on local geography was still tentative, and the route maps did not give enough context to be helpful, and Google maps were... similarly unenlightening, as their suggestions were unfortunate and unrealistic. Thus it was that I wound up at the other end of the line of that particular local route, and had to get back on going the other way.

The driver told me once we had hit the one street, and it was a bit of a hike. I duly hiked, and then discovered (to my vague annoyance, but not surprise) that she had had me get off on the first street of the crossroads that I mentioned, and naturally around the corner on the other street of the crossroads and much closer to my destination, was another bus stop on that very line. Next time I will know.

After that auspicious beginning, the workday proceeded with very little fuss. I tangled with the espresso machine, and managed to catch most of a rather emaciated trickle of espresso coming out both horns of the double-shot thingamajig in an awkwardly tilted paper cup. A once-mentioned joke from the beginning of time came to pass (one of those "wouldn't it be hilarious if" things), and there was some brief amusement. There was a can't-miss-this company meeting that I'd missed (technically), but it's understood that not everybody can make it at the appointed time, and thus watching the video after the fact is a valid life choice. I had that on while I separated bits of post-it with sensitive information from the underlying paper scroll, and managed to defeat the rest of the box of scrolls on my desk while I was watching it. Heartened, I faced off against the espresso machine once more, and managed to flood the counter while steaming some milk (it was perfect) and had a caffè latte.

The battery on Fruitz (my bitty once-laundered iPod shuffle) ran out just as I was getting off BART on the final leg of my journey. Then my Clipper card did not open the accessible gate, and by the time the nice guy determined that it was the gate and not my card, and the gate needed rebooting, the once-hourly bus was just pulling away. And then in the cold wind I discovered that I had made a deep error.

Anthologies are fun. They're a little sampling of what's often some pretty excellent stuff. I had one that I'd been saving for no particular reason; I'd liked the writing of the person organizing it. I like humor, and I like vampire stories, and I was delighted at the combination. Other non-vampire horror, well, as long as it was funny, right?

One of the first five stories in the book was the opposite of funny. Now, tastes differ, and I am sure that I know at least two people, and people who I like and respect, who would find the story fascinating, if not hilarious. I am not either of those two people. The story started out bread-ovaries-lactation-squick (not even bread-eggs-milk-squick) and got worse from there, in ways that pinged my this-is-actually-a-problem way. It was the tale of a pair of technically-human people out to dinner. The guy was narrating, and took a tone that I have heard no few times from friends -- caregiver/partner/friend who is mildly disabled, out facing a generally uncomfortable and callous public, in the company of someone who is more significantly disabled, helping them out and running interference between them and the rest of the world. Except -- normally when I hear that, it's situations where a sentient with basic comprehension that people with disabilities exist and need accommodations would agree that yeah, dude, accommodations! Really! Like, ramps and accessible bathrooms, and not blocking these things. This situation -- basically, the companion needed to be hospitalized or at least quarantined, and shouldn't be out in public, LET ALONE in a restaurant open to the public. In context of the fact that for public health they should not be where they were, the self-righteous injured tone became the pinnacle of scumbag entitled behavior. The entire story seemed to be a parfait of body horror layered with bodily fluids and other secretions. I decided I was done reading that story, so when I skipped to the end, I learned that the punch line was that they weren't married to each other and the guy is faithful to his own wife no matter how much he loves this woman with all her amazingly gross health problems and petulant jerkassery. I am still debating whether I should get rid of the book or slice the story out of it with a razor, because I don't want that on my shelf. I'm not buying another Kevin J. Anderson anthology again. If he thinks that story fits in a supernatural horror humor anthology, I don't want to read the collections he makes.

The sheer indignation kept me warmer in the cold wind, and I did eventually get home, on the next bus. I spent more time in, on, or waiting for various forms of transit than I did at work, and I was gone more than twelve hours.

I won't be needed tomorrow, so I'll be getting some sleep. I think. I hope.
tiferet: cute girl in pink dress captioned "not all bad girls wear black" (Default)

[personal profile] tiferet 2012-03-02 05:24 pm (UTC)(link)
Kevin J. Anderson is fucking gross and the reason that while I actually read and enjoyed every single damn book in the original Dune series, no matter how weird they got, the prequels do not exist in my world. I'd never buy anything with his name on it unless Seanan was in there (is she?)

Wait, did you actually say you liked his writing? What did he write that you liked? I am now intensely curious, because the things of his that I have read were foul in a way that I don't think would fly with you, either (although I know you tolerate rape-as-plot-device-to-prove-the-villain-is-SO-BAD far better than I do, because you like Lackey).
Edited (edited to not be insulting if you actually like Kevin Anderson's writing, because he pissed me off; you didn't.) 2012-03-02 17:27 (UTC)
tiferet: cute girl in pink dress captioned "not all bad girls wear black" (Default)

[personal profile] tiferet 2012-03-02 09:22 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh that explains it. He was required to be family-friendly in the Star Wars books, which makes him way less gross on the grounds that he can't be having the awful rape scenes and shit.
jd: (Default)

[personal profile] jd 2012-03-03 11:32 am (UTC)(link)
Have you thought about getting a smog inspection while you're at the car place? They do expire after 90 days, so if you're not ready to get things all settled, it may be best to wait a bit, but definitely at least keep an eye out to price check. (Apparently the price isn't regulated, so it's best to comparison- and coupon-shop around.)
bullinacave: one nation underground (Default)

well hello! life exists on this other planet...

[personal profile] bullinacave 2012-03-03 10:06 pm (UTC)(link)
try this instead, "this happened to a friend of a friend of mine" or "i read it (review) in the funny papers" -- that way you are twice removed from the drama and only half as guilty!

"i wasn't there. you didn't see me, you can't prove a thing!"
arkeiryn: (Default)

[personal profile] arkeiryn 2012-03-05 08:41 pm (UTC)(link)
Well, sounds like a pleasant story :/ I suggest slicing it out and then burning it ;) Unless the rest of the book is awful, too. Then just burn the entire thing.

*snuggles the fishmum* glad you liiiiiive though!