Friday, July 14, 2006

Warning! Road-weary motorsports writer unloading ahead

OK, fair warning right up front. I have been spending a lot of time on the road lately, and I’m getting pretty cranky about it. Don’t say you have not been warned.

  • The two guys signing on the Applebee’s commercials? I hope they hitch a ride with the “Can you hear me now?” guy and drive off a cliff.
  • Something is going on with me and hotel maids. (No, gutter minds, not that.) Their newsletter must have a whole section about me or something.
    Earlier this year, on a Sunday morning, one knocked on my door at 7:30 wanting to clean the room. At least she knocked. Last weekend near Chicagoland Speedway, the maid used her pass key to come into the room on both Sunday and Monday mornings without bothering.
    Look, I know this sounds petty. But when I am in a hotel room, that’s my space. I put my stuff in the bathroom where I want it. The maids need to leave it alone. Again, in the same hotel in Illinois, they had this little lap desk thing in the room. It’s lovely, but I don’t use it. So I sort found a hole for it beside the TV cabinet. Every day, the maid kept putting it right back on the bed. Why? They do that, but if ice has melted in the ice bucket they don’t DARE pour that water out.
  • Just because the airlines say you can use your cell phone as long as the plane is parked at the gate, that doesn’t mean you have to. Nor is it a rule that you have to turn it back on as soon as the wheels touch the ground.
    There are people who are important enough that they need to be in contact with the world as much as possible. These folks, however, almost always have assistants and aides who take care of that for them.
    You, almost certainly, are not that big of a deal. That sales call you’re yelling into your phone about while the rest of us are trying to find an extra inch or leg room? It can wait. A decade ago very, very few people had cell phones and the world kept going.
  • Having said that, I like my Blackberry. I think it’s silly when people say Blackberry users are “addicted.” It’s a tool. I check my e-mail from more places now than I used to be able to, but that’s the point. If I go to the hardware store and buy a hammer, it’s because I need a hammer to drive nails with. Ask me after the fact if I find I am driving more nails than I did before I had a hammer, I am most likely going to say yes.
    That’s not my point, though. I like almost everything about the Blackberry, but it has two absolutely horrible design flaws. The button you touch to answer a call is actually a little wheel.
    If you don’t manage to push it directly in and turn the wheel every so slightly downward, the option you’re choosing changes from “Answer” to “Ignore.” And then, the button to end a call is right below that wheel – and right where you put your hand to hold the thing to actually talk on a call.
    It’s not as maddening as the Applebee’s guys. But it’s close.
  • I absolutely agree that people who get in the passing lane and go slower than the speed limit are annoying. But I submit they’re not anywhere near as bad as people who go 25 miles per hour over the speed limit and act like you’re in their way. Don’t hand me this “I am just going with the flow of traffic,” either. If you’re changing lanes every 100 yards that’s not about being in any kind of flow. That’s you being a dimwit.
    If you constantly find yourself uncomfortably close to the rear bumper of the car in front of you, you’re the menace.
  • Cruise control? You’ve got it but you do not HAVE to use it. If the speed limit is 65 and you’ve got your cruise control set on 80, you do not know HOW to use it.
  • Your mother should have taught you a couple of things that she apparently overlooked.
    First, when the door of an elevator opens (and this applies to a bus or a tram or anything remotely resembling that) the people coming off have the right-of-way. Let them come off before you try to get on.
    Second, if you’re part of a group of people waiting for a bus (or a tram or a taxi or a subway or anything remotely resembling that) even if people aren’t standing in one the principles of a line still apply. If the rental car bus (or the airport parking bus or the little train that takes you from one part of the airport to another or anything remotely resembling that) just happens to stop directly in front of where you’re standing, the person who has been waiting the longest still has the right to get on first.
    As that noted philosopher George Costanza once said, “We’re living in a society, here, people!”
  • That sign that says “No parking?” Yes, that does mean you, too.


    Anonymous said...


    You're only half way through the season! Is it time for a vacation?

    I agree with you 100% about the Blackberry. It's a tool that increases my productivity and the management likes it when we're productive. Also, you're right about the little wheel. I can't tell you how many times my wife called and I clicked the "ignore" option on accident. Uh, sorry honey.

    The "do not disturb" sign on the outside of the hotel room door works at the better hotel properties. Maybe the Observer should sign off on that travel authorization to pay for more than an economy level hotel property.

    Lastly - thank you for reminding the folks that people coming off the elevator or off an airport tram have the right-of-way. It reminded me of a time I was at the Cincinnati/N. Kentucky Airport and got creamed by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar because he didn't wait for us to exit the shuttle bus. I've disliked the Lakers since that moment. Gosh!

    Unknown said...

    Yeah, I know the do not disturb sign is there. But in most cases I use that when it looks like I going to sleep in and not when I am going to get up and leave for the track or check out.

    Michael said...

    And, on the subject of boarding a bus, whatever happened to gentlemen allowing ladies to board first?