Friday, February 22, 2013

The Top Four Most Inconsiderate Habits of Train Commuters

Thousands, if not millions, of Americans use a train to commute to work. For those who do venture into a tracked car for your daily commute, this entry is for you. It is the top four most inconsiderate habits of train commuters. 

#4 Riders Who Must Ensure Their Bag is More Comfortable than a Fellow Commuter
You board an almost full train full of join in on a great scavenger hunt for one of the few remaining places to sit. Few things are more annoying than seeing somebody sitting comfortably and, in the seat next to them, their bag taking up a perfectly good seat that was ergonomically designed for a human (to be generous), and not so much made for carry on storage. And this inconsiderate person won't bother to move his or her bag to his or her lap because...well there really is no reason why other than they are inconsiderate. Even if a senior citizen with a cane and oxygen tank stands before them, they just can't be bothered to move their bag from the seat to their lap. 

#3 McDonalds Eaters
You walk into a train car and the smell hits you right away--that typical McDonalds smell of fried fats, oils and sugars. And the first waft sort of makes you and the rest of the train car hungry. Who can resist the almighty power of the french fry? But then, five minutes pass and the McDonalds odor makes its typical transformation into that putrid, dirty grease gas smell that stinks up the entire car. These inconsiderate people know this is going to happen, but they still bring that bag with the golden arches on it into the train anyway. The rest of us leave with a coat of grease on our faces.

#2 Wide Sitters
You enter a train, see an open spot next to a perfectly normal-sized human being. You sit. But you feel cramped into a small space and small because said human being has not done the things that considerate people do when somebody sits next to them which include: tucking in ones elbow; scooting a bit to the opposing end of the seat and tucking the nearest knee in closer to the other. Rather this person sits like he's plopped down in a lazy boy and you're just an added armrest. It's as if you're a ghost and they had no idea another person was there. 

#1 Smoke Walkers
You get off the train, eager to get to your destination. Up ahead of you, somebody is stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, looking down. But the, you see a plume of smoke rise above his head. Oh no. You just got behind a smoke walker--a person who insists on smoking upon first chance after leaving a train. With every step you take, you do not breath in the fresh, McDonald's grease-less air; rather you not only suck in the second hand smoke that is coming from the end of the cigarette, but also the smoke that has traveled through the smokers lungs and back out into his trail. You get to your destination smelling like an ashtray.

Have one to add? Post it in a comment below.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Five Not-So-Obvious Things I Enjoy

Well, I stopped writing blog entries, because I assumed nobody was reading them. And I'm pretty sure my assumption was correct. However, I feel the need to stimulate the writing muscles these days, so I thought I'd get back at it with another entry.

I previously did a series of blog posts about things that annoyed me. Well, looking back at that, it's a bit negative. So, I thought I'd be positive this time and write a list of 5 not-so-obvious things I really appreciate. I'm avoiding the obvious posts here--as it should be assumed how much I appreciate my wife, daughter and family and friends! Listing such things would not be very interesting nor funny. And I am here to amuse. So, let's get started:

5. People Who Pause and Listen for an Answer When they Ask You "How are You?"
We have this strange custom of asking people how they are doing after we meet, but many times, people don't actually stop to listen for an answer and respond to it accordingly. This isn't because people are generally rude--mostly it stems from the fact that nobody really does give an honest answer so in the interest of time, we assume the response is going to be of a positive nature. Imagine if you said "how are you?" and a a stranger responded, "Horrible! My back is killing me. My nephew is getting into trouble and I can't stand this weather!" It would catch you off guard, wouldn't it? 

But I do appreciate the people who ask and pause with that beat of sincerity that says that it wasn't just a obligatory or rhetorical question--but rather, they genuinely care what the response is going to be. I just hope they won't mind me going on about my trick knee.

4. Cheese. For making the blandest tasting stuff taste good.
Cheese. People love it. But think about how important it is. A pizza without cheese is just a hard disk of bread with some tomato sauce dumped on it. Think about how great broccoli is when cheese enters the mix. What would go best with wine?!?! And there are so many cheeses out there! A trip to the Whole Foods cheese counter is like a culinary trip around the world. Cheddar from a small farm in Ireland. Hard Parmesan from a village in Italy. And so on. Cheese is fantastic.  Heck, even American cheese tastes good when it's melted on stuff--and I'm not entirely sure American cheese is really cheese. Same goes with the powdery stuff that makes Kraft Macaroni and cheese. So, there you go. Even stuff that is pretending to be cheese is tasty--that's how good cheese is!

3. Breakfast with the Beatles on WXRT on Sunday Mornings
If you're not a Beatles fan, then you must have something wrong with your ears. But when it's Sunday morning, you're in the house working away at making breakfast or doing odd chores, what makes a great soundtrack for those moments is a bunch of random Beatles songs and covers playing in the background. Beatles and Sunday mornings just go together. 

2. S-Curved Roads (Especially Those that Slope Up or Down)
Admit it. When you get to a cool looking S Curve, you get a little excited inside with a feeling like you're about to slalom with your car in a Grand Prix race. For whatever reason, the act of pitching left, then right (or vice versa) is just fun. If it wasn't so much fun, they wouldn't use this shot in every car commercial ever. 

1. Waking Up Thinking You Only Have Minutes Until Your Alarm Goes Off--Only to Discover You Have Several Hours Before You Hear the Alarm Go Beep
We've all done it. Wake up with that little streak of panic or dread that you'll have to get up very soon. You feel like you've slept all night and the sun is going to rise very soon. So, you roll over, swinging your arm towards your alarm clock in a preemptive strike to prevent its sonic boom--but what do you your eyes see? It's only 1:45 AM and you have several more hours to sleep. It happens so rarely, but when it does it's like a bonus night sleep. (FYI: the opposite event of this is know as work sleeping, whereby you dream you are at work all night, only to wake up and go in for real--which is like a mental double shift.)