Thursday, November 3, 2016

Houston, Pt. 1: Traffic

If Sisyphus's punishment was to push a rock up a mountain for all eternity, mine would be to sit in Houston traffic.

I leave for work around 6am, and have an 8.1 mile commute to work.  At 6am the traffic is already standstill.  What takes 15 minutes in no traffic takes twice that long, or longer.  At SIX O'CLOCK in the morning.

This is what I have found is the cause:
It is the result of a complete lack of consideration for oneself or anyone else.

The people here are nice, for the most part. I've sat down at an entirely empty bar and the next person to walk in sat down directly next to me and just started talking like we were old friends.

I assure you, though, that man got into his vehicle later and did one of these things (because they're things I've only seen Houstonians do):
1. Texted and drove (or Facebook'd, Instagram'd, online shop'd).  I don't mean glanced up and down at their phone and the road.  I mean barreling down the highway at 70mph with their phone directly in front of their face.
2. Made a right turn from the left lane
4. Was on a highway and merged across 6 lanes in one motion
5. Exited the highway at the last moment, causing other drivers to slam on their brakes, barely missing barriers, even though there is ample signage for miles before an exit even happens
6. Drove a car with one or zero functioning brake lights
7. Didn't use a turn signal
8. Didn't use a turn signal and had no functioning brake lights so no one behind him knew what was happening
9. Honked his horn at someone not turning right at a red light, despite there being a "No Turn on Red" sign
10. Wanted to cross a multi-lane road in his pickup truck that's pulling a trailer and blocked all lanes going one direction while he waited casually for a break in traffic going the opposite direction- and no one in the stopped traffic became visually or audibly upset
11. Didn't want to wait in traffic to get to an exit so he simply drove off the side of the road
12. Drove an absurdly large truck despite never having to need to haul things and holding a job that has him sitting behind a desk 60 hours a week
13. Threw all of his trash out the window on the highway
14. Decided he wanted to be in a different lane than he was in and without signalling or waiting for a safe break in traffic, kind of just threw himself into the next lane over, nearly hitting four cars somehow
15. Wanted to skip traffic and so drove down the shoulder until he met a bend in the road and had to slam on his brakes because oops there was a cop on the other side writing someone else a ticket but now he's stuck because it's standstill traffic and so he got a ticket too
16. Came to a complete stop on a highway to let other drivers using the on ramp merge
17. Hopped on his horse and trotted down the grassy medians all the way home

There's no shame in Houston.  The horn honking happens at the wrong times.  The horn honking happens when one driver wants the other to stop being in their way whether it's in keeping with traffic mores or not, not as an attention grabber (as in, "You're about to crash into me!" or "The light has been green for more than 5 seconds and you're still stopped!").  If someone cuts off another driver in traffic, there's no horn or rude gesturing.  There's no swerving and dipping through traffic just to cut that person off for cutting off you first.  There's no yelling locally grown insults.  People need to know they've done something stupid so they can learn to not do that thing ever again.

People. Need. Shame.

What is the Texan equivalent to Philly's "jabroni" or Pittsburgh's "jagoff"?  There isn't one, because people don't shame each other here and so folks keep on being awful and inconvenient and annoying.

Someone has to teach these people to salt the snails.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Case of the Mondays, Part 1: Nick Names

I don't like nicknames.

My parents painstakingly combed through lists upon lists of names and finally settled on the one they would ultimately give me.  And then every asshole with a mouth thinks it's alright to rename me something else.

My name is Hilary.  It is not Hil, Hils, Hily...


I'm sorry if three syllables is too cumbersome, but it is my name and that's what I prefer to be called.

There are exceptions, of course.

  • My parents can call me whatever they want; they named me, they can rename me if they would like.
  • My boyfriend, because I find everything he does adorable.
  • Small children, because their little mouths can't form the sounds that make my name.
I'd rather be called something completely wrong than be called a shortened version of Hilary.


Friday, March 6, 2015

Three Things

First thing.
I'm obsessed with my puppy.
She is a six month old Beagle/Basset mix.  In this picture she was littler than she is now.  There are a lot of really great things about CreamCheese.
  • She is cute
  • She can sit when commanded to do so
  • She groans in her sleep and it's so adorable it breaks my heart
  • She likes me most of the time
  • She looks good in pictures, so I can post them on various social media sites and make everyone jealous
  • She goes bananas for peanut butter
  • She's very sweet
  • She's dumb as rocks
  • I love her so much

Second thing.
Great-Grandma Celia's Rice Crispy Treats

1 cup of clear corn syrup
1 cup of peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 cups Rice Krispies cereal

Melt the corn syrup and brown sugar together until the sugar is dissolved. Add the peanut butter and swirl it in the sugars until melted and a big glop of light brown sticky.
Add the cereal and stir until coated (it'll Snap, Crackle, and POP). Press into a baking dish until cool. Cut apart. Eat all of them in one sitting.

This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. Quadrupled. Honestly, you can't possibly make too much.
You might also try the chocolate puffed rice cereal, but I like my treats pure to Celia's vision. She must have been a good lady.

Third Thing.
I am in desperate need of some sort of miracle hair product that will change my hair from straw to golden threads of silk.
Any suggestion is welcome.  Please help.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

I Almost DIED Last Night

You read that right: I almost died.

Not to sound dramatic or anything.

It snowed last week or maybe it rained, but in any case the yard has become a patchy ice rink.
CreamCheese gets a burst of energy in the evening and if she's not chased around for a little while she never falls asleep.  I took her out and we ran around for approximately 45 seconds before I slipped.

I fell harder than I have ever fallen before.  My hip hit the ground first, then my knee, then ankle, then shoulder, then FACE, then knee and ankle again.

I hit my FACE on the ground!  Like some common face hitter!  My money-maker!  My pride and joy!  MY FACE!! It bounced!  That's how people die!

I tried to get up, but couldn't move.  Puppy excitedly jumped on my near-lifeless body, attempting to lick my face (oh, my face!).
After a minute of rolling around, stunned and very cold, I managed to get to my feet.  My entire right side wasn't working, but I had to get back to the house.  It's the last time I walk out the door without bringing my phone; it would have been hours before anyone missed me and came looking.

I dragged myself to the house, shrieking "INJURY" repeatedly, hoping someone would appear with a wheelchair or maybe some crutches.  No one heard me and no one came to my aid.

When I got back into the house I moaned a loud and pathetic "OHHHHHHHHH!", which was at last acknowledged and my mother came to me at once.  I was sat down on the couch and brought enough ice packs and pain relievers for a squad of injured Me's.

I woke this morning, and the coffee smelled better, my shower left me cleaner, the birds sang more sweetly.
Those are the sorts of things us people who almost died recognize.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Part Of My Job Is Haunted

I often think I'm being spooked by something.  I've cut off all ties to the Blue Room at my parents house, because when I'm in there it feels like I'm being watched and if I lay there long enough without intervention, it feels like I'm being breathed on and then touched.    I don't shower in the upstairs bathroom at their house, because when I'm in there it also feels like I'm being watched.

I don't know what the spooks want from me, and I'm not sure if I believe in them, but I sure do feel weird sometimes.

At work I have to go to the owner's house to fix his computers and things.  He lives on an old farm that has 3 historic homes on it.
A few months back we were looking for a laptop, so my coworker and I looked around one of the houses and it was eerie to say the least.  I imagined Civil War soldiers, bloodied and dying, being treated by the house wenches.  I imagined most of them died and now haunt the basement.

I went there last week on my own and I met a different kind of spook.

I actually saw this one.

I was working on the computer with my back to the room.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw a dark figure walk to the other side of the room.  She was a woman and had her head tilted down, hair covering her face.  She rustled in a bowl of candy.
I turned around and she bolted toward the bathroom.  The door slammed and then it went silent.  I worked on the computer for a while longer and then left.

She didn't come back out of the bathroom.  She made no noise.  There were no candy wrappers.  No trace of a car that she might have come in.  I haven't any idea who it was that I saw, but I guess she had a hankerin for some sweets.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Things To Complain About, part 3

My favorite person is in Argentina right now, or maybe Chile.  It's not fair because:
1. I miss him.
2. I want to go there.
3. He shouldn't take trips without me.

4. I don't have a bottle of Noble Vines red blend OR a wine uncorker to soothe my sorrow.

Mostly just 1-3, though.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The First Heartbreak Isn't Soon Forgotten

I have always been a dorky little person.  When I was a kid this was manifest in my fascination with rocks and minerals.  I had a field guide and would pore over its pages in fascination and wonder.  My dad gave me a piece of pumice he'd found in the pocket of a new pair of jeans.  I spent a lot of time thinking about how cool rocks were.

I would beg to go to the Discovery Channel Store, and once there my dad would give in to my sad eyes and let me pick a polished stone to add to my collection.  Obsidian, amethyst, quartz, tigers eye, I had it all.
I would come in from playing outside with a handful of rocks for the collection.  In hindsight they were probably chunks of concrete or macadam, but they were exciting nonetheless.  I remember one in particular that was triangular and had three layers :white, brown, white.  It was my peanut butter sandwich rock.

During these early childhood years I spent all of my playtime with the twins across the street.  We would play in The Jungle (a cluster of trees in their yard), which was down by The Crick (often ran neon orange from runoff from the University).

I remember vividly the actions leading up to my first betrayal.

I found a stick in their yard that was Y-shaped and perfect for a slingshot. They weren't happy that I took it, but I did.  "Finder's keepers!", I said.
The next day when I went outside to take inventory of my rock collection, my clear plastic bin of rocks was missing.  They were GONE.

Later they told me, smugly, that they had stolen them in the night and dumped the entire collection in the crick.  A revenge dump of all of my dreams because I took a stick.  I was devastated and was never able to rebuild my collection to its former glory.  Still bitter, and not a geologist.