Archive for July 9th, 2008

A Tangent About Gas…

I think it’s crazy how many people will grumble about gas prices (which, amazingly enough, is not really a water cooler conversation). We, as a nation, are drivers… it’s part of the American psyche. That I understand, and it is a very simple concept, but gas has gottin freakin’ expensive at $4 per gallon (point of reference: when I started driving in 1994, gas prices ranged from about $1 to $1.25). I’ve slowly been curbing some of my driving habits, thanks to owning an SUV (which now serves more as a utility vehicle, instead of as primary transportation).

What kills me, though, are the folks that will sit, idling, in a car while in a parking lot. I fully understand wanting to get out of the office, and the car is a great place to get away from it all… I’ve read, and even taken naps in my car during lunch, but why sit there and let the engine idle for that long. Hell, I don’t even sit and idle when I’m going to be waiting and unspecified amount of time for someone (I’ll sit for, maybe five minutes, then I kill the car if I don’t see any activity coming my way).

Honestly, I don’t even see the point in keeping the car running while talking on a cell phone, after pulling in at the house. If you are home, why stay in the car to begin with? It goes back to the same point…

The point I’m making, is that people can bitch about gas prices, or people can sit in their cars and let them idle… but the people cannot do both…

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Walter Moment…

I’ve mentioned before (here) that I think that Jeff Dunham is hilarious… MC and I picked up copies of his DVD specials the other weekend, while visiting her parents. Watching the whole routine flow together is much (much) better than just watching dubbed versions from YouTube. Natch.

For those that are unaware of Dunham’s characters (what kind of rock have you been under? Really, mine was in a granite quarry, I think, until a couple of months ago, so what kind is yours?), there is one of his staples that is named Walter. In one of his specials (Arguing with Myself), he introduces his segment with Walter by saying, “We all know someone like this.” And we do… actually, I think there’s a little Walter in each of us. He’s the crotchety old man that seems pissed at the world – a Mr. Wilson (from Dennis the Mennace). Walter Matheau before he found Sophia Loren (watch the movie)… you get the idea.

I’ve taken to calling my crabby episodes “Walter Moments” because of that, and I recently had one while here at work… which I recount below.

All day long I answer phone calls – some people are easy to understand, and some are not. Some are a well-spring of information, willing to offer up epic upon epic recount of their family (or personal) history without even knowing, really, who they are talking to. Others, however, are quite the opposite.

I received a call for the OB/GYN office, where the patient wanted to leave a message for a nurse to call her. “She was supposed to have been calling me since last week, and I haven’t heard nothing.” (Yes, that’s the kind of language I get to hear all day… as an English major it really grates me, but I digress.) I offered to take another note (since there was no “open” document at first glance, showing that a nurse was working on anything for the patient), and when I asked what it was regarding, the patient refused to say anything, just that she wanted to talk to the nurse. Eventually, the patient said, “Forget it” and hung up. (Side note: I ask because it’s required, not because I want to know the intimate details. It’s all about prioritizing calls – if someone just sees “has questions” or some other generic statment with no supporting details to prepare for the call, they are less inclined to worry about it, compared to a message that has four lines of information – it’s called human nature.)

I looked down the chart and saw the note from her previous call. There was still the “would not specify information” issue, but I was looking more for the nurse notes. A nurse had tried calling, a couple of times. The numbers that had been provided – rang back as “No longer in service.”

“Moron,” I muttered as I read that information. Walter would be proud.

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