Sunday, March 27, 2011


I apologize in advance if this becomes a bit scattered in focus, but I am a bit scattered in my own focus as I write it.  I am filled with two, seemingly separate trains of thought that were both inspired by the same thing. Now you get to be the rider of those trains.  Straddle them carefully. I don't want anyone to get hurt.

As an artist  (in one form or another depending on the time of year, time of day, what I was doing just prior and the ease of expressing myself at that moment), I have often doubted the value of what we do. I forget that even though we do not actually cure cancer, to use the commonly accepted metaphor, we do help people deal with it. We have the opportunity to make people happier, if only for a moment. We have the responsibility to make people think of things other than themselves. We have the freedom to do those things in whatever voice we see fit.

Art can be a tool to express yourself. It can be a tool to release burdens.  It can be a tool of distraction. A tool of focus. And it can be a tool of social change.

Words and music have been the mode of creation that I've been consistently drawn to (pun sort of intended).  For as long as I can remember, I've been a "carrier" of words. The words in songs in particular. I've always been an avid radio listener, which resulted in my knowing the words to pretty much every song played up until 1995.  I have one really fond memory of spending a weekend at camp with my friend Michelle and her family. One night, she and I took a walk around the campsite, passing dozens of others. Everyone had a radio tuned to a different station. I knew, and of course sang every song that was on each and every one of those stations.  That night, as we were going to sleep, Michelle, always a great fan of mine, asked me to sing her to sleep. I have no idea how many songs I sang to her by heart that night.

It wasn't just songs that I would remember, either. To this day, more than 20 years later, I still have the entire commercial for Lee Press-On Nails memorized. You'd be surprised at how often something like that pops up in conversation. (Now, I'm not saying I bring it up or anything, but somehow it just seems to pop up. Odd.)  Mostly, with my friend Melissa (we've been friends since second grade).  She and I never miss an opportunity to tease me over the fact that I still have that damn commercial implanted in my brain. I imagine, if she has the distinct displeasure of saying something at my funeral service, it will probably involve Lee Press-On Nails. In natural and glamour lengths and a variety of sizes for a quick, easy fit. Press on.

In a glorious combination of music AND words, rap music came along. I know many people do not understand or like rap music. Many of them even detest it and consider it to be the lowest form of art, or don't even consider it art at all. Not me. I love it. I don't love all of it.  I am a connoisseur, after all. There is some crappy rap that saps the happy from my savvy (case in point). But there is a lot out there that is true, honest-to-goodness poetry, written by geniuses of word craft that are able to assemble thoughts, ideas and emotions in ways that not only vividly portray a way of life, but that can also cause shifts in societal thinking. Now, if that's not art I don't know what is.  So what if it also has a great beat that you can dance to? Two thumbs up!

As time went by and life got more distracting, I've reduced and evolved the words I memorize. Shifting the focus to memorizing scripts.  Or trying to write them.  I've always tried my hand at writing.  I find it so much easier to write than talk. With writing, you can stop and think and rewrite and edit and print or not print and share or not share.  With talking, that's it. You said it. You can not now "un-say" it.  I've written songs, poems, short stories, scripts, letters to no one, clever Facebook statuses.  Oh, and the occasional blog. :-)

I've tried my hand at painting. Although I'm not as bad at it as I once thought I was, I don't think it's the medium for me. Too much prep and clean up work. I prefer my mode of expression to be clean and simple.  I enjoy taking pictures but only with my digital camera.  I think I'm OK at that as well, but I don't really have a story to tell. So it's just something I do for myself.

I actually earn my living with graphic arts. In addition to being a graphic designer myself, I help manage a team of about 40 artists.  I've been doing that job for over 14 years now. 

Oh yeah… and I also went to college for music and theater, earning a degree in each. 

The point of all that?  I am surrounded by art and artists and people who appreciate art and artists pretty much all the time.

Yet, even with all of that creativity going on in my head and all around me, I still somehow have managed to downplay the impact art can have on a person individually and the importance art can have on society as a whole.  Even with the personal experiences I've had; even with the memories that are so ingrained in my psyche they will stay with me through the next life; even through being touched by and inspired by and moved by art in all its various forms; even being surrounded by art constantly,  it is still hard for me to push past the notion that art is fluff. Crazy, huh?

So, let me get to the second inspiration for writing this.

I just watched Waste Land. One of the 2010 Oscar nominated documentaries. It follows artist/photographer Vik Muniz as he creates portraits of "pickers" in Rio Di Janeiro.  These pickers sift through garbage in the biggest landfill in the world for recyclable materials.  It is not easy work they do and is incredibly important. I highly recommend this movie and others like it.

{SIDE NOTE - The world of documentary film making has not exactly hit the main stream circuit, with rare exception, but it is so important.  These people are documenting and reporting on things that, quite frankly, should be reported on by the 24 hour news networks, but apparently there isn't enough money in it, so they feed us stuff like which celebrity went to prison or which one went to rehab. I know I'm not alone in saying, I don't care.  Try giving me something I can sink my teeth into.  Thank you Netflix for the world of film and ideas that is now available to me.}

Vik Muniz composes images out of objects. Here's a link to his website so you can get an idea for yourself -   I had no idea who he was before this documentary, but the work that he has done, especially as part of this project is really quite important.  He composed portraits of several pickers working in the landfill, laying them out, "drawing" them on a huge warehouse floor using nothing but the same recycled materials they extract from the landfill every day. The entire process was incredibly moving. Through the documentary, we learned about these people, about their lives, about how they came to work as pickers. Every story was both tragic and inspiring.  That is, after all, what makes for a good movie. What Vik Muniz was able to do for, and more importantly WITH these people goes to show how INvaluable art is.  By working with them, he was able to show them different sides of themselves and different sides of life. Through the proceeds from selling the images they created they were able to develop programs, build community development centers, including a library, and begin to really fight for the rights of all pickers.  They are actively developing recycling programs all across Rio and Brazil.

That is how important art is.

The next question I ask is - Are we doing enough here in the US? You know there are still some areas that do not have recycling programs at all?  I'm always a little taken aback when I visit my mother in Troy, NY. Her townhouse development does not recycle.  There is no incentive for people to do it on their own.  Of course, in an ideal world people wouldn't need incentive. They would do it because it's the right thing to do. But, we don't live in an ideal world. We live here. In America where we are free to do or not to do pretty much whatever we want. Inevitably, we will choose the easier option. To my mother's credit, she does her own sort of recycling by reusing things she can, and she does return bottles with deposits. So there's that.

There are also places that go to the opposite extreme. I was pleasantly surprised on a recent trip to visit my brother in Indiana, when I saw no less than 5 various recycling bins. They sort everything - paper, plastic, cans, composting materials, and glass. Residents are charged for special orange trash bags that are used for actual curbside trash. The less trash you have + the less bags you need + the less money you spend = Incentive.  There is also a recycling plant that is quite local and easy to get to. Residents bring their recyclables directly to the plant.  I think this is great. Where I live on Long Island, NY, and probably most of the US, does the standard set - glass & cans in one group and cardboard in another. We don't have to take it anywhere except the curb.  It's all handled for us.  Which I also think is great because I tend to be a bit on the lazy side when it comes to these kinds of things. If I'm being perfectly honest, I don't know how likely I would be to make a trip to the recycling plant. So, yes, I am part of the problem.

Watching Waste Land made me realize that we take many of those services for granted these days. In Rio, all of the sorting is done at the land fill, by hand.  At least they are doing something.   Now, don't get me wrong, I watch enough Dirty Jobs (Discovery channel, Tuesday @ 9) to know that the US also has it's fair share of garbage-related jobs to process what the rest of us are too lazy or complacent to do ourselves, but it isn't systematic across the entire US. Or I hope not at least.

Now, about my art, or lack thereof.  I have not known how to create art and have it make a difference. I'm starting to see that the power of words may be the most immediate and possibly the most effective tool I have in my arsenal.  This is now the second blog I've written with an actual purpose other than just telling a little story.  After my last blog, I learned that people from all over the world were reading my words. That's amazing to know. It was very eye-opening. (better get the grammar, punctuation and spelling right on this one!)

Maybe this writing thing might turn out to be my true medium after all. The one that enables me to not only express myself, but to help others be inspired to express themselves or to try and make a difference.  I have always believed in the power of singular actions creating greater outcomes. Maybe this is how it's done.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I'm American, too!!

I just heard a statement on Real Time With Bill Maher by republican strategist, Mike Murphy, that I thought was so offensive I needed to write about it immediately. It was said in the middle of a conversation and not much attention was paid to it. Bill Maher did visually react to it. You could see he took exception, but since the conversation was in full motion, he never had a chance to officially address it.

Let me set it up for you…
Mr. Murphy made a statement about something, saying that most Americans felt a particular way about an issue. It's actually irrelevant what that statement was. It's what came after that matters. The audience groaned with a clear voice of disagreement with the first comment. Bill Maher made a gesture, pointing out that they disagreed. The representative then said, "This is LA. Not them. The real America." Implying that people living in LA are not real Americans. What???

Now, I've heard these sorts of comments before. That those of us that live in and around NYC or in and around LA (for some reason other major cities, like Chicago, are never included) are somehow less American; less patriotic. What gives these people the right to say that? What makes them think that we are less concerned about this country, are less invested in its success, in its ideals, dreams, values?

How am I, we, not supposed to be offended, insulted, even angered by this? What is it that these people feel defines a "real American"? I can't help but find this extremely confusing and disheartening and deeply insulting. How can millions of people be flippantly discredited as true Americans simply for the fact that they live in a major metropolis? Or that they've been to college? That one really blows my mind. The term "liberal elite" is often thrown, hurled at city dwellers as an insult. For some reason, smart people who have gone to college and have chosen to live in areas with lots of other smart people have now become the "anti-American". Can anyone explain it?

Why has it become a bad thing to be educated? To have ideas and ideals that challenge our society and attempt to set a higher standard of understanding and giving and knowledge? That is a completely backward way of thinking. Shouldn't we WANT to become smarter? Shouldn't we WANT to seek higher levels of knowledge and understanding? I thought we were all striving to be better? Each generation should be smarter and more understanding and more tolerant than the one before. That is certainly the trend that's been developing up until this point. Now, all of sudden, it's anti-American to be smart.

So, let's break this down some. Let's try to examine what some of the differences may be that would lead one to believe that people in the cities are less American. (It makes me a bit nautilus each time I read, hear or think that).

City folk are college educated.
City folk have learned to live alongside many other cultures in relative peace.
City folk don't drive.
City folk are creative and self righteous.
City folk wear black and dress fancy.

Country folk are not college educated. (not exactly true, is it?)
Country folk often live great distances from other people. Mostly people of the same race.
Country folk drive trucks.
Country folk are industrial and hard working.
Country folk wear plaid and dress for work.

The real problem is that no matter how much I list what makes up city folk or country folk, we are all individuals. We are all completely different and yet exactly the same as each other. Everything is a stereotype. These differences are hardly true.

Just because we don't live on a farm, or maybe we don't own guns, or don't wear the American flag and maybe choose to drive cars that get good gas mileage, does not mean; I repeat DOES NOT MEAN we are any less patriotic.

The way I see it, the people who are accepting of others viewpoints and are open to conversation and debate, to ideas and moving forward, and unity and service to country are absolutely real Americans. This country was founded on the basic premise of live and let live. That's why our ancestors came here. They wanted to be exactly who they wanted to be without the fear of prosecution for doing so.

When you live up to that, then you are a true American. When you can accept others for who and what they are, then you are a true American. When you live your life for you and let others live theirs for them, then you are a true American.

Our country has been through many trials and many hard times. We have continuously become better, more understanding people as a result. We are generally growing to be more tolerant. It's not easy, but we're getting there. There is still a tremendous amount of hatred and bias, but it is no longer the norm. At least it hasn't been, but over the last few years, it's become more and more acceptable to hate. Conversations with a true give and take dialogue have disintegrated. No one listens. They just talk AT each other.

But I digress.

It's easy to make generalizations about people and to label people with quick definitions. That sort of thing can only get you in trouble.

However, with 100% certainty, I can say all of this about those of us that live in (and around) NYC and LA - We believe in our country and want it to prosper. We serve in our military. We vote. We are going through the same difficult times as everyone else. We are struggling to pay our bills. We are the working poor. We are homeless. We are jobless. We don't know what we're going to eat next. We have children to support and parents to take care of. We can't afford health care either. We don't want to be told how to live. We want our freedoms, too.

As far as I'm concerned, that makes us just as American and just as patriotic as anyone else. No?

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

What did the razor heads do to you?

Have you tried to buy replacement razor heads lately? I've been trying to buy them for probably 2 months now. I kept on thinking that I wasn't looking hard enough for them or that they were always sold out when I got to the store.

A couple of weeks ago, I finally located them in one drug store. They were behind the cashier. I had to describe the ones I wanted. She (yes "she") had no idea what I was talking about. "The Venus refills. I see the 8 pack, do you have the 4?" I only want the 4 pack because these things are really friggin' expensive!! Usually around $8 or $9 for the 4 pack. SHEESH! I'd go back to disposables, but I can't take the knicks.

She had no idea what I was asking her for. She kept on pointing to the some other model. "No, the green one. Venus. 4 pack." Maybe, they're like salesmen. She did keep pointing to the more expensive and technilogically advanced razor, The Intuition.

I gave up and did not buy any refills that day.

I went to the supermarket. I could not find them. "OK. Maybe they're sold out", I told myself. I went back about 2 weeks later at a different time of day. Still couldn't find them. I saw all kinds of other refills, but no Venus (not even the 8 pack).

I tried another drug store a few days later. I found them. They were in the back corner under protective custody. They were locked up behind plexiglass. I did not have the time nor the patience to investigate further.

I gave up and did not buy any refills that day.

As you can imagine, I really needed to shave at that point!!

{Although I love the image you all must have just conjured up in your heads of 3 inch long neatly braided leg hair and "man-pits", I will clarify - I have been shaving, just with a slightly less than sharp razor. It's almost like rubbing the hair off.}

I finally went back to the drug store this last weekend. I located the captive refills. I inquired at the pharmacy counter as to how one goes about acquiring said refills. I was instructed to wait in the area where they are imprisoned and someone would be along to help me.

So, I stood next to refills.

Have you ever been in a car with someone and had a really, really hard time finding a parking spot? You finally find one, but for some reason you can't pull in right away. You, the passenger, get out of the car and stand in the middle of the available spot until the driver is able to pull in. You stand there, just kind of hovering, hoping no one will ask what you're doing. Waiting. Slightly anxious. You keep looking down the street. "Are they back yet?" ..... "What about now?" You look away to try to look like you're not really looking. "How 'bout now?" ... "Now??" Eventually, they come and you are completely validated in your waiting.

Well, that's pretty much what I felt like while I was waiting for this guy to free the refills.

So, the guy came down the aisle and unlocked the plexiglass. I told him which one I wanted. He got it from the shelf. I reached out my hand to take it, and that's when the final indignity happened that made me want to write this.

He then proceeded to say, "I will walk it up front for you."

I blinked my eyes very firmly, kind of shook my head, and said "Uh, OK". I then had to follow him up to the register. I wasn't even done shopping yet!!!! What if I wanted to think about my razor purchase for a few minutes more. What if I wanted to upgrade from the Venus to the Intuition? I no longer had that option. I truly felt like I had done something incredibly wrong. Like I was playing baseball and it went through the neighbors window and he was escorting me back to my parents for a beating.

{sorry for the poor grammar. it's just an emotional vent}

Once we got to the front of the store, he actually put the refills at the register. He didn't even hand them to me then. So, now I'm forced to use that register. What if the other one was faster? Too bad , sister, you're stuck with this kid.

I asked why they had to do that. At first, he said he didn't know and that it was corporate policy, but when I pressed him a little further, he mumbled something about stealing. I said, "I could steal a whole handful of eye liners and make-up much easier." His response, again, was not quite clear, but it involved something to do with "studies" they must have done.

I repeat my initial question to you - Have you tried to buy replacement razor heads lately? If you have, then you know how big they are. Even the smaller 4 pack that I purchased is at least 3 inches wide by 5 inches tall by 1 inch deep. If I wanted to steal them, where the hell would I even put them once I've weasled them out of their plexiglass prison??

I just don't understand. Make-up is much smaller, easier to steal and just as, if not more expensive.

Who is stealing razor refills???? If it's you , please knock it off!! You're really ruining it for the rest of us who just want to shave.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Commisurate With Me

I made a mistake, a HUGE mistake, that I will be paying for, literally, for years.

A couple of months ago, I was gathering information on line about various credit recovery programs.

One website (Credit Solutions) asked for contact information and stated that someone would be contacting me. That was it. There was no other information to obtain from the site and nothing else they wanted from me. I submitted my number.

The other website (Care One) was quite a bit more detailed. It had a form to fill out asking about my financial situation, bill amounts and various other information. I have been to other websites in the past that asked for detailed information like that (ie - Progressive Insurance), so I didn't really think too much of it. I just assumed that they needed the information in order to create the most accurate estimate, allowing me to make the most informed decision.

That was the mistake. I assumed.

I did not learn of this mistake until several weeks later when there was a rather large amount of money debited from my account. Or at least it was attempted to be debited from my account. You see, I did not have enough money in there to accomodate this payment. I did have some money that was allocated for other bills. However, when this large amount hit, it initially deducted the couple of hundred I had, bringing me down to a $0 balance. That's right, folks - ZERO. Can you guess what happened next?

You got it. The other bills that were hitting at the same time bounced. A total of 3 to be exact. That's a grand total of $90 in overdraft charges. UGH!

In the meantime, Credit Solutions had called me back. I was discussing my options, possible plans and payments with a very nice woman. She was extremely helpful. At that point, I had to tell her that I wasn't going to be participating in the program she was offering. I felt like I was cheating and had to break up with her.

Before I had a chance to call Care One to find out what was going on, I received letters from my credit cards stating that they had accepted the deal Care One had offered, and my accounts were officially closed. Bye Bye cushion. That pretty much made it a done deal. No backing out now.

Of course, in the confusion of this whole situation, I apparently missed a payment into my overdraft protection. That was cancelled, too. Bye Bye cushion. UGH! UGH!

I had not bounced a check or a payment of any kind in over 5 years, probably closer to 7 years. I used to have horrendous credit. It took me almost 10 years to clean it up. Almost 10 years to be in a reasonable financial spot. In the past 3 months, and all because of that initial debit to my account that I was not expecting, I have been overdrawn around 10 times!! At 30 bucks each, that's a lot of money!!

I have no one to blame but myself. I must not have read the Care One website information thoroughly. I made the huge mistake of thinking that for something this big in a persons life that a company as prominent as Care One would have a procedure in place whereby you would actually have to sign something. You know, actually agree in writing to give these people ultimate control over your financial future. That's what Credit Solutions did. They sent me forms and papers and estimates for me to review, sign and return. Nothing was going to move forward until I signed and returned those papers. Why would Care One not do the same thing???

Here I am, now 3 months later, still trying to recover from the initial devastation, and the whole just keeps getting deeper. I can't back out of the program. Or can I? What good would that do at this point, anyway? The damage has been done. These past few months have effectively ruined my financial future. I know that someday, it will all even out and things will get back to normal, but I don't want it to be someday. I want it to be now! I think I've waited long enough. I've paid my dues. I want to be part of the world of financial freedom. I am so tired of not being able to do the things I want to do because I have no money. I'm tired of hearing myself talk about having no money. I'm tired of living paycheck to paycheck. At this point, it's even worse than that. It's actually day to day, hoping that some other bill won't hit today and create another overdraft fee. (Of course, one did, by the way).

I'm not writing this for people to feel sorry for me or to feel pity for me. I just needed to get it off my chest. I needed to put it out into the universe and see what happens.

So, I guess the moral of the story is - Researcher Beware!

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Spider Diaries - part deux

2 days after I made a new 8 legged friend on my way to work, I had a dream. It wasn't anything earth shattering or revolutionary. No, it was just a simple dream with one simple story line.

In my dream...

I am sharing an apartment with someone. I have no idea who, but there is another person there. I think it's a female.

I am sitting around (probably watching TV, if my dream self is anything like my real self) wearing shorts. My legs are exposed. I look down and catch a glimpse of something dark, just visible on the under side of my right thigh. I crane my neck around and twist my leg forward to see what it is. AGH! It's a spider! A big, hairy, tarantula-like, black spider. I say "tarantula-like" because it was kind of flat. Tarantulas are generally round in the body. This one was flat. I guess it was more like the fake ones you get in CVS that hang from the ceiling.

I immediately flick it off of my leg. It flies a few feet away, and I stand up and jump in the other direction. Of course, this being a dream, the spider disappears. I still feel like it's around, but it's no where to be seen.

To my left is my roommate. She is looking for something in our entry closet. I have no idea what. The mail lady comes into the apartment. She is carrying a box of mail. She pulls out a packet of envelopes that are rubber banded together. She says, "This ones for you" and hands it to my roommate. She pulls out a second bundle for me. She looks back in the box and says, very matter-of-factly, "And, who ordered the spider?"

The spider pops up in the box, propping himself up on top of the rest of the mail in the box by putting his legs on each side of him. He looks around at the three of us, jumps out of the box and starts running around the apartment.

My roommate jumps into action. She manages to trap the spider in something that eventually transforms into a Pringles can. I then jump into action of a different sort. I start searching for people who want to adopt a spider. I put a posting on Craigs List. I start calling people I know. Of course no one I know wants to take a spider. Every couple of minutes I look into the Pringles can to make sure the spider is still there. He is.

I continue my hunt for someone to adopt this furry thing. I look back into the can and in one single move, he whips around, looks at me and smiles. And, not just any smile, either. It's a huge toothy, cheesy grin - the kind you make when you want to exaggerate the point of smiling. He also gives me bug eyes (no pun intended).

Now, I have this big, black, hairy, flat tarantula spider looking at me with the goofiest of faces. In that one moment, the spider became quite endearing. I immediately fall in love with it. I have now accomplished my mission - I found it a home. Mine.

The next day, I was telling my cousin about this dream. She tells me that she had almost the same dream the week before. WHAT THE....?????

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Spider Diaries

I just had a conversation with a good friend about blogging. I shared my insignificant reservations and he told me just to do it. Of course, he's right. Just do it. So, I'm just doing it. And, what better topic to start off my first blog with a delightful little story about spiders? It is, after all, Halloween Month!!

Here is my little story....

Wednesday morning, I got in my car to head for work. As I backed out of my driveway, I noticed a spider on the outside of my windshield. I chuckled a little and told him it wasn't really such a good idea to hitch a ride with me. Being a spider, and not really understanding English, he stayed right where he was. Oh well. His problem.

As I drive down my block, the spider smartens up slightly and crawls under one of my wiper blades. I congratulate him on the smart move. He stays safely hidden away, guarded from the g-forces of car travel, under my wiper. That is until I get on the highway. As I pick up speed on 135, approaching 50 MPH, he decides to emerge from the relative safety of the wiper blade and travel to the center of my windshield. Clinging to the glass, he manages to make it a good 6 inches while I am now traveling around 55 MPH. He forges on like Admiral Byrd on an expedition to the South Pole. Talk about an adrenaline junkie!!

Now, I am having a full on conversation with this spider. I tell him to go back under the wiper. He doesn't move. Then I realize... he can't. The g-forces are holding him in place. He's plastered to the glass. Legs splayed in eight crooked little directions.

Of course, I was laughing hysterically at this poor little thing. He had no idea what he was in for when he woke up Wednesday morning. I'm sure he was just looking forward to a nice peaceful day of web building and bug eating. Maybe, he just stopped off on my car for a little nap on his way to one of the many spider havens in my backyard. ("Spiders in my Backyard" is a story for another day. And no, it's not a metaphor.)

I'm still traveling along 135 approaching 60 MPH. He's still holding on. I'm now very impressed with his strength and tenacity. I begin to approach my usual cruising speed of about 70 MPH. I can't believe it! Still holding on. I'm watching the spider and not my speedometer. I'm starting to feel an affinity for this thing. I don't want him to flip off of my windshield and go tumbling backward into traffic behind me. I imagine him getting hit by each car - flipping up and over only to be hit by the next car and the next. It's horrible. I want him to make the whole trip with me. Then I see one leg lift up and start to flap around in the wind. A split second later, a second leg. Oh my god!! He's going! "Good bye, fair spider! You gave it your all!"

I look down. I'm doing 75 MPH! Apparently, 75 MPH is the official breaking point of spiders clinging to windshields. I feel bad instantly. Guilty of some nonexistent crime. "Spider Flipping"? "Murder by Wind"? I slow down to about 65 MPH. His legs stop flapping!! PHEW. He's safe. He'll make it. I'm so relieved.

As I drive through the neighborhood near work, I slow down . My new friend is still with me, still clinging for dear life, but with all 8 legs planted firmly on the glass. I'm doing about 15 MPH as I come around the 2nd to last corner. I look at my new friend, and he has turned himself around to face me. He's staring me dead in the face. I feel him swearing at me, "WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT ABOUT?!?!?" Of course I apologize. (as if I actually did anything wrong)

I tell him to stick around and I'll drive him back home later. By the time I came out for lunch, he was gone. I guess he wasn't up for a second ride on Nielsen Airlines.