Entitled

I wonder what goes through people’s minds when they shoulder-check others just to get in front of them.  When they race ahead on the highway and squeeze in.  When they drive to the end of the merge lane just to get a few more cars ahead.  When they white line.  Do they really feel entitled?  Do people really think they’re better than others?

I’m no saint.  I drive too fast, I’ve cut people off, squeezed ahead.  I get really mad when I think people feel they’re entitled but when I do these things, I don’t feel entitled.  I try to remember that I too have not realized a lane was ending until I was at the part where it was merging.  Do people think that I think I’m entitled?  It’s almost like you can tell if they think they’re entitled.  I don’t know.  I’m not perfect.  I get it.  I’ve not white lined before but can understand that I’d rather do that than sit in sweltering heat dying.  But then again, if you can’t handle it, maybe having a motorcycle is not the right vehicle.  I’m often in a hurry and want to run the senior citizen off the road because they’re going too slow.  If I were to witness someone doing that to my mom, I’d want to kill them.  I’m not even sure I’m in a hurry.  I just like to drive fast.

I think people start to believe their own hype.  Maybe they’re a CEO or some important or famous person and they get used to that sort of treatment, so when they get around regular folk, they just don’t know how to act.

It happens every day.  People have road rage.  Others flip and beat the shit out of someone on the street.  Maybe there’s just too much emphasis on getting ahead.  Being first.

Bike Crash

I don’t think there’s anything worse than seeing a loved one hurt.  Being the good dobies that we are, we’ve been wanting to get more exercise since sitting behind a computer causes big a behind.  We went in search of bicycles and after about a month of trying on, shopping online, and price comparisons, we finally each got one.  Our first ride was last week and it was great.  It was nice to be outside and the evening after work gave us perfect temperatures and conditions for a leisurely ride to get used to our new bikes.

With the return of Monday, we hopped on right after work once again.  As we approached one section of the trail, I pulled over and asked if we should go to the left or the right.  On our previous ride, we went to the left and found a single lane trail just after a blind turn.  I was uneasy about it and expressed it to my partner.  She said that we should just go slow.  It would be fine.  I made my way slowly down the hill wishing that I could fly down it because downhills are the best part of bike riding but I was cautious.  I tapped my brakes until I got just to the corner and saw that no one was in the lane.  I took off to hurry and get to the other side before more people came.  There was a man on a bike on the other side but I was sure that he would stop, seeing us in the lane.  He crept closer and closer to the entrance as I sped through the tunnel.  There was a concrete wall on my right and a thick wooden fence on my left that separated the trail from water leading up to a dam.  Just as I got to the corner of making it through, he was at the entrance and still creeping into the single lane of the tunnel.  I quickly and sharply turned to the right so as not to hit him and thought for sure my handgrip was going to hit the concrete wall.  As I cleared both the wall and the other rider, my tire hit the embankment just on the other side of the wall and shot me hard to the left.  I recovered quickly and let a “Wooooo!”  I couldn’t believe I didn’t bite it.

And then it hit me.  Oh no.  I turned around to look behind me just in time to see my partner hitting the ground.  She’d done exactly what I’d done but had not made it.  The guy was in the tunnel when I looked up.  I hopped off my bike, laying it down on the embankment and ran back to her.  I asked if she was ok.  She didn’t say anything and kept looking herself over.  I asked again.  She said she thought she was ok and then asked why he didn’t stop.  I told her I didn’t know.  I looked up to see him on the other end of the tunnel.  He yelled “Are you ok?”  I wanted to run towards him and beat the shit out of him.  I couldn’t muster an answer and thought I shouldn’t focus on him anyway.  I asked her to bend her elbows and her knees to see if anything was broken.  It didn’t appear to be so I told her we needed to get her up.  She asked that I give her a minute but I couldn’t.  She was right in the middle of the path along with her bike.  I was terrified someone was going to come down around that corner and hit her.  I went over and moved her bike to give her a second.  I tried to help her up but was afraid to hurt her more, not knowing where I could touch.  I pulled on one of her arms and we got her up and off to the side.  A couple of people stopped but more raced by without uttering a word.  It was nice that some people were concerned.  I kept asking for bandaids but no one had them.  Everyone had ibuprofen though.  We figured we’d wait until we got home for that.  I got her some water and let her sit while I checked out her bike.  It was a little scuffed up but seemed to be in pretty good shape otherwise.  Another guy stopped and thankfully had bandaids.  He gave us three big ones.  We pulled them apart and put them on the worst spots.  We were able to get her up and walking.  I couldn’t believe what a trooper she was being.  She rode the whole way back home.  We had to stop once to fix her bag under her seat.  I just took it off and strapped it to my bike.  I’ll give the bike a once over at some point.

It was hard to think that I could’ve prevented the crash.  If I hadn’t pushed us to squeeze through, it wouldn’t have happened.  I don’t know what the guy on the bike was thinking.  I was sure that he returned later but couldn’t say for sure.  He was with a woman then to whom I’m sure he never mentioned that he was the one that caused the accident.  It just keeps going through my head that it’s not right, not fair.  I can’t let it go.  The bikes were her idea.  She’s been so excited about riding and then she wrecks her new bike.  And let me just say that bikes are really expensive these days.  The bike is ok.  It’s just the premise.  I see her sitting there, bleeding and hurting and it hurts me.  She’s ok.  She has road rash on her knee.  We thought there might be bone exposed but we think it’s just really deep in a few spots which is making it white whereas the rest of it is red.  She has several gear punctures on the inside of her leg.  I thought for sure she was going to need stitches.  Those are what we put the bandaids on but they stopped bleeding.  We have to work on them some more tonight because it appears there’s bike grease in them.  She has a few abrasions on her arms and two fingers on her left hand are really swollen and hurting from bracing against the boards.  She thought she was going swimming so basically stopped herself with her hand after her handle bar grip hit the concrete wall.

I want to fix it.  Make it like it didn’t happen.  She says she wants to go riding again.  I believe her since she rode all the way back home.  I just hate that image in my head of her sitting there.  It’s like a horror movie replaying in my head.  I think we’ll stay in tonight.

Deep Down Inside

Going through all of the edits for my book have been eye opening.  I started one round and noticed another change I needed to make.  That led to another and then another.  I didn’t think I was ever going to finish.  But I did.  We’re reading through it one last time before sending out to publishers.  The changes coming in from my personal editor (aka spouse) seem to be dwindling which is great to see.

Over the past few days, I’ve been reminded again and again that no matter what, an artist, which I’ve realized being a writer is, must continually perform their art.  I read an article that offered the challenge to writers of writing every day.  Every day.  When I first read it, I thought, that’s just ridiculous.  I can’t write every day.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I want to write every day.  It nags at me if I go too long without doing it.  In fact, it’s why I wanted to do yet another blog.  I’ve even started thinking of my next book.  I want to get it going and I’ve not gotten my first book through the process.  It almost doesn’t matter.

Over the weekend, I had an appointment in the city.  Afterwards, we had lunch and then went to The Walt Disney Family Museum.  I love Disney.  I love the premise, the man, the parks.  Everything about Disney makes such sense to me.  I was excited to go to the museum since I’d not been there before.  It was larger than I expected but there were two things that hit home to me.  In one of the interviews, Mary Blaire, one of the Disney artists, who also has an exhibit at the museum, was talking about drawing.  She said something like, there were three things that she did each day.  She would take care of her home, take care of her family and draw.  It was followed up by Walt saying that the artists had to draw, draw, draw.  It was all of their passion.  Each person there loved to draw, did it every day and you could see and hear the passion in them.  I likened it to writing.  It painted my own picture that perhaps I’m meant to be a writer.  I’ve always felt it deep down inside and am excited that I feel like I have a new direction in life.  I could be a writer.

Finally, the last inspiration I had over the weekend was that Disney doesn’t make movies for children or adults but for people to find, if only for a little bit, the goodness and unspoiled kindness that we each have from our beginning and to revel in it and maybe feel it again if we’ve not for some time.

On a scale

I was watching a TV show the other night and had a thought which progressed into a night later and another show.  The person on the first show was talking about a 360 degree action but for some reason, instead of picturing a circle, I thought about a calendar.  Then it hit me, if a circle is 360 degrees, wouldn’t it make more sense if we have 360 days in a year?  It would certainly simplify things.  My partner argued with me that one is based on mathematics and the other on gregorian, phases of the moon and things like that.  I came back with them both being based in science.

Then just a couple nights later, I was watching the weather and I went right back to the same simplification theory.  They were talking about an EF4 tornado that hit earlier this week.  It made me wonder why we basically use a 10 point scale for so many things but none of them are related.  For example, the Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF) rates a tornado from 0 (little damage) to 5 (catastrophic damage).  An earthquake’s damage is determined by the Richter magnitude scale.  There’s not been a greater magnitude earthquake than 9.5 so you could say that we could probably use a 10 point scale and still be ok.  If it’s more than 10, is it really necessary to say it was an 11?  The damage will be so catastrophic that I don’t think it would really matter.  Even the terror threat scale is based on 5 levels so is there really a need to have so many differentiating scales?  Even when taking surveys, which every receipt that’s given these days has one, it’s based on a 10 point (or less) scale.

Maybe it’s time we simplified our lives a bit and started combining some things.  I know I could use a few less things to remember.  I think that’s just age though.

With so many Europeans begging the US to go metric, I wonder how this theory would fit with that.  Hmmm.

Tense

Just when I thought I was on my way with the book, when it was ready to go, we’re finding even more edits to make.  I’d read that 3 rounds of edits should be made before sending off to publishers.  We did one round of edits and being impatient, I wanted to be done thinking it was good enough.  I was really excited to start the next round.  I did send out two queries to two different publishers to see if they’re interested.  I’m waiting to hear back from them at least.  Some only require query letters to start the process so I figured at least I could get that part going.  Most, however, want the first 3 chapters or 50 pages (which is the first two chapters of my book).  We decided to take a shortcut and edit just the first 2-3 chapters again so we get those sent out with more queries.  It then takes the publishers 3 months to read it and get back with an answer if they’re interested in representing it.  I’ll have 3 more books worth of content by the time I get the first one published.

Anyway, the reason for additional edits is because we’re finding I change tenses a lot.  A lot.  It’s very hard to write about things in the past that still apply to today.  For example.  “I love to cook”.  That’s very true and also very relevant to today but since I’m writing about it in the past, it should really be “I loved to cook”.  I’ve been itching to edit the book myself, which is what is supposed to be done, but Chris has cautioned against it.  I have a tendency to back peddle thinking that everything I’ve done is shit.  Many things in my life have been tossed in the trash because of it.  She’s afraid I’ll just delete the whole thing and then have to hear me cry about it for the next many, many years.  I think it’s important that I give it a review though.  I thought if we both do the first three chapters, then that would be three total edits.  While making the tense edits, I found that I wrote “I think” and “I guess” a million times.  Of course “I think”, it’s my book!  Ugh.  Just about all of those have been removed.  It was pretty simple.  “I think she was upset” changes to “She was upset”.  It was pretty much the same with “I guess”.  “I guess she was mad” changes to “She was mad”.

While removing “I think” and “I guess”, I found that another tense issue was using “This” instead of “That” and “Don’t” instead of “Didn’t”.  Aarrggghh!  It took me all day yesterday to make the first round of edits.  Today will be this next round, changing this to that and don’t to didn’t.  Hahaha.

My plan is to copyright the work once I finish the edits.  I’ve really struggled with it because I want it to be the best it can be before I do that but it takes 3-5 months for the copyright to come through and if I wait until we’ve finished the whole book again, it’ll be another 2 months on top of that.  And it just doesn’t make sense to send out my book to publishers and agents without some sort of protection on it.  Anyone could read it, take the idea/premise or even the actual pages and run with it for themselves.

Such a long process.  I better get to it.  I need to be reading now, not writing.

There can be only one

But that’s not really true.  I’m flipping through TV channels when I see U.S. Open.  Oh, good, I love tennis.  I’m so much better at watching it than playing it so I hit the button in the guide to take me to it.  What’s this?  Golf?  No, no, no!  I don’t like golf.  I mean, it’s ok.  I have nothing against it, I’m just not in to it.  Now I’m disappointed.  I think back to the days when I was a kid when my mom and I would watch Bjorn Borg, Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King, John McEnroe and Andre Agassi.  Mama bought us tennis rackets so that we could knock the ball around a bit on the weekends and get some exercise.  But I continued to watch as I got older.  I loved Martina Hingis and Jennifer Capriati.  Then Amelie Mauresmo came along as did the Williams’ sisters, Andy Roddick and Nadal Rafael.  I even went to a U.S. Open (Tennis) match in Flushing Meadows, NY one year when my partner got us tickets from a co-worker.  It was awesome.

I’m sure Golf has its fans too.  I see the final shots made on the news and see the hordes of people standing around so there is interest.  So why not call them something different?  There’s no Stanley Cup of Baseball or World Series Football.

I wonder who came first – Tennis or Golf?  That’s who should hold the title of U.S. Open.

For today, since there’s no U.S. Open Tennis on, I’m stuck watching reruns of The Matrix while I do more, more, more edits to the book.

Empty Handed

Have you ever gone into a store looking for something specific only to find that they don’t have it?  You end up wandering around for a little while trying to find something else that you might need or want so that you can make a purchase.  After awhile you decide there’s either nothing you can convince yourself to buy or you just don’t want to spend the money on non-sense so you decide to leave.  As you approach the exit, you know that every security camera in the place has started to turn to focus in on you.  You double-check to make sure you didn’t accidentally pick something up and forget that you were carrying it around.  Nothing in your hands.  You try to relax.  You’ve done nothing wrong, yet you feel the guilt grow and know that you have no reason to be guilty so you try even harder to not look guilty.  The closer you get to the door, the faster you walk, making a conscious effort to look side to side to see if there are security guards approaching but not wanting the cameras to pick up on your suspicious movements.  You reach into your pocket or purse, pull out the car keys and hold them up in plain site to show that you aren’t stuffing anything away, you are just removing your keys.  As the auto doors open, you cross the threshold and exhale.  A smile appears on your face as if you’ve gotten away with something but there’s nothing to be gained.  You hop into your car and head to the next place on your list to find the ever elusive item you’re in search of.