Jiminy Crickets!

Consider this a bonus post for the day.  Or a plea for help.  Or the insane ramblings of a sleep deprived tired person.  I don’t know how this happened, but there has a been a cricket (Actually a very LOUD cricket!!) somewhere IN MY BEDROOM all week long!

Of course, he (she?) waits until I’m snuggled cozily in my bed in the dark before he starts the deafening chirping while he sings the song of his people.  My cats are oblivious.  My human co-inhabitants have their bedroom doors closed and aren’t bothered in the least.  As for me, I might as well punch holes in my eyelids and go lie down on a train track for all the sleep I’m getting!

Any useful suggestions for getting rid of my new roommate would be greatly appreciated.  Or perhaps, just like yesterday’s post, karma is getting even with me for teasing my fellow blogger, Mark Bialczak, about his recent unwanted house guests (first a gopher then a skunk!).

{{Mark, please take the pins out of the voodoo doll now.  I’ve had enough, thank you.}}  😉

Thank you again for listening my late night rant.  Sweet dreams…


At the Sound of the Tone…

I remember the first answering machine I ever saw.  My uncle bought it for my grandma one Christmas in the early 80s.  It was the kind that was huge, had a plastic “wood grain” finish, and housed two cassette tapes — one for the outgoing message and one for the incoming messages.

Nowadays, of course, most phones have digital voicemail.  Even the answering machines that are left are digital now.  The few that aren’t have only one tape, and it’s one of those micro-cassettes, and those are generally only found at thrift stores and yard sales.  My point is that the widespread use of machines to take telephone messages has been around for decades.

That being said, my pet peeve today is when people refuse to utilize them when they call me.  Everyone who knows me well, knows my position on this.  I refuse to be a slave to caller ID and spend time scrolling through the phone every time I come home only to guess who each number might belong to and what they want.  The entire reason I have an answering machine is to save me from having to do that.

Another reason I have an answering machine is that I work from home.  My machine has the option to push lines one through four, depending if a person wants to leave a message for my business or for one of the occupants of my house.  I run a photography studio, so there’s a good chance that I’m either with a client or I’m busy Photoshopping and can’t be bothered.  When I’m not doing either of these things, I can almost always be found writing or editing something I’ve written.

Yet, despite my complaints, my friends and family frequently ignore my request, and they call and hang up, then call again, because they assume I’ll eventually answer the phone that way.  Not gonna happen, people!  Yes, it is a huge pet peeve of mine when people refuse to leave a message when they call.  And an even larger pet peeve when they call back repeatedly, expecting me to be available if only the phone rings longer when they never even left one message in the first place.

Call once.  Leave a message.  Do not be vague.  Be detailed with the message.  Whether you think so or not, I have a busy schedule, and there’s rarely a time that I leave my home that I don’t have messages to sort through.  Sometimes business clients call, and I have to call them back.  Sometimes bill collectors call, and I have to deal with them.  Sometimes photography vendors call, and I might want to respond to them.  So after all that, hearing a dozen hang-ups that leave a loud and annoying buzzing sound on my answering machine, and a few “It’s me; call me back” messages with no further explanation, I’m sorry, but it doesn’t sound important, so I’ll probably not call you back.  When you do that, it just makes me think you must want something from me.  If you’re calling just to check in and see how I’m doing, then say so.  Not only will it make me feel good, but it’ll also make me think a lot more highly of you.

And while I’m on the subject, I also can’t stand when I call someone and leave a detailed message, then they call me back and ask what I wanted.  I tell them I left everything on their voicemail, and they respond by telling me that they didn’t listen to it, but only checked their caller ID and noticed I called.

Okay, if that’s the case, there’s almost always an option to turn your voicemail off.  Better yet, say so on your outgoing message, and tell me not to bother wasting my time, but that your phone has most certainly captured my telephone number and you’ll call me later to discuss whatever it was I called you about.

I guess what all this boils down to, is that I consider my time valuable, and I don’t want to waste it either by guessing who called me and why, or by calling other people and doing as their voicemail instructs and taking the time to leave them a message that they never listen to.

Okay, I’m done with my rant.  At the sound of the tone, please leave me a message.  BEEP!

So do hang up calls annoy you as much as they do me?  Or are you one of the people who boycott leaving messages?  Are you one of those people who never actually listen to their messages and rely solely on caller ID?  Do you remember the answering machines with the dual cassette tapes and fake wood grain finish? 

Look Out!

I already know that I’m walking on thin ice with today’s pet peeve.  But please hear me out before you get angry.  One thing that irritates me on the road is when I see a motorcyclist with a “Look Out For Motorcycles” sticker…  Wait!  Let me finish!… and that same motorcycle is weaving in and out of traffic!

Unlike when I lived in New York and motorcyclists only cycled a few months out of the year, down here in Florida, there’s never a time that motorcycles are not prevalent.  And at least four times a week, if not more often, I witness motorcycles speeding, whipping around cars, passing two lanes by driving on the yellow line, riding on the shoulder when traffic is otherwise stalled, or commencing in any number of other unsafe activities.

Believe me, I’m all about safe driving.  I’ve shared with you before, when I was a paralegal, it was my job to catalog and file the most gory accident photos, so I’m quite familiar with how horrific carelessness can be.  Additionally, I’ve personally known people who have died on motorcycles.  However motorcycle drivers need to use caution as well.  Some people might even go as far as to say that the cyclist chose to ride a dangerous vehicle, so they knew the potential for risks when they signed on.  I’m not even saying that.  But I feel like the inordinate amount of stickers that warn auto drivers to look out for them is supposed to let the cyclist off the hook if there’s an accident.

Once when I was seventeen, I was driving somewhere, roughly 30 miles away.  I had to take the interstate to get there.  My car at the time was a Dodge Charger, and it had locks that were in the middle of each door and twisted rather than the kind that stuck up out of the door and you pushed down.  You also could not lock the passenger door by simply pushing a button on the driver’s door.

I was driving roughly 60 MPH along the interstate, minding my own business, when I happened to look in the rear view mirror and saw a motorcycle weaving in and out of cars behind me.  The driver (who I would guess was near 30) was beating on car windows as he passed people, and laughing wildly.  Something in me told me to lock my doors NOW!  I had a difficult time reaching over and locking the passenger door and rolling the window up (manually) as I drove, but no more than two seconds after I got the door locked and the window up, the motorcyclist sped up to my car.  He looked in and started beating on the passenger’s window.  I screamed which caused him to laugh wildly.

He stayed with me like glue for over five minutes, beating on my window and yelling and laughing at me.  I was terrified!  A couple of times he tried yanking on the door handle to get it open.  Thank God I locked it!  I tried slowing way down, but he just slowed with me, literally hanging on to the side of my car and laughing the entire time.  I tried speeding way up to the point I felt as if I would soon lose control of the car.  I looked in the rear view, and the cars behind me had all slowed way down (I’m sure to stay away from this dangerous jerk!) and were nowhere near me any longer.  Of course this was the late 80s (a/k/a/ the old days before cell phones), so there was no way I could summon help.  I was crying and screaming hysterically the entire time, and I think that just made the dude more intent on terrorizing me further.

At one point, we went over an overpass, and I actually considered swerving and forcing him over the side, which could have killed him, and frankly could have injured me as well.  I’ve been in other dangerous situations both before and after this incident, but there has never been another time when I actually seriously considered taking another human life.  But despite being so scared, I at least had enough sense to realize something:  I knew if I did that, I’d have to stop and wait for the police, and that if by chance he wasn’t dead but only injured, he would likely kill me with his bare hands while I waited.

So as I screamed and tried to maintain control of my car, it was a full six minutes before he got tired of me and rode up to the car in front of me and bullied them.  My whole body shook as I tried to calm myself down enough to get to where I was going because there was no way I was going to pull over long enough to regain my composure.  So I maintained a steady speed and tried to suck back all my tears, and I witnessed the maniacal motorcyclist reach in the window of yet another car and pull out a woman’s purse and hold it triumphantly over his head before he sped off yet again.

Ever since that day, I never got into my car without first locking the doors, and of course, nowadays cars automatically lock when you reach 10 MPH. (And speaking of that, maybe someday I’ll tell you about one or both of the times someone has forced their way into my vehicle, which were also terrifying.)  But at any rate, yeah, every time I see a “Look Out For Motorcycles” sign or sticker, and/or I see cyclists weaving in and out of traffic, I relive that horrendous experience in my head, and it makes me angry with the irresponsible motorcycle drivers who act like they’re impervious to the law as well as the rules of the road and proper driving etiquette.

So to be clear, I have absolutely no problem with motorcycles and cyclists… who obey the same traffic laws that I do.  And, yes, I will look out for them.  But they also need to look out for themselves.

Talk to me:  Do you ride a motorcycle?  If so, do you obey traffic laws when you ride?  Have you ever witnessed a motorcyclist doing anything like what I described above as far as messing with cars?  What would you have done if you were me?

Sneaky Drug Dealers

As many of you know, I normally try to be lighthearted and humorous to counteract some of the intense subjects about which I write my novels.  However, when I decided on my blog theme this month of being about pet peeves, I knew I’d have some intense or maybe even controversial issues on my list.  So, in order to keep a good balance, I’ll be including some of my sillier pet peeves.

Today’s pet peeve shouldn’t bother me nearly as much as it does.  But I can’t stand television commercials for prescription medication!  Thirty years ago, such commercials were unheard of.  Physicians actually did their job and knew what to prescribe.  But now, since the media is calling for me to know the difference between certain medications and for me to be informed enough to tell my doctor what I want, then why does my medical visit cost more than ever?  I don’t know who to be more irritated with, the medical field or the pharmaceutical companies.

Furthermore, do you ever look at the fine print for the side effects that some of these medicines produce?  To cure your heartburn, you may experience symptoms of migraines, dizziness, fainting, bad breath, bloody diarrhea, suicidal tendencies, sleepwalking, seizures, or spontaneous combustion.  Sure, you could die, but by golly, your heartburn isn’t what will kill you!  Yeah, sign me up!

If these medications produce such horrid side effects, then how is it that the FDA approves them for human consumption?  It seems to me that until they get these possibilities under control, these drugs should still be considered as being in the test phase.

Talk to me: What is your least favorite television commercial?  Have you ever suggested a medication to your doctor based on one you saw on TV?  Would you refuse a prescription offered to you by your doctor in favor of one you saw in an advertisement?