I haven't lived by myself very much. Growing up, there's family. In college, if there weren't roommates, there were hall and housemates. After college, I lived with a series of boyfriends and roommates, interspersed with short periods of actually living in a house or apartment without roommates. While I enjoyed these times of solitude, having all the space be my own, and the lack of psychic noise, having someone around wasn't really a bad thing.

For one of these living alone adventures, I lived in a condo I had just bought. The complex had four building and sufficient underground parking that every condo had a spot. I had what I considered the best spot: the one right in front of you as you came down the stairs from the complex, minimum distance, minimum effort.

And, maximum target.

One morning, after unlocking my car and hopping in, I noticed something wrong out of the corner of my eye. When I turned to look, I found a garage door opener sitting on the passenger seat. Now, my car had been broken into before, resulting in a few thousand dollars worth of damage, a destroyed dashboard, a broken seat, and an amazing story of my friend Dan Frumin chasing down the would-be thief down streets, over fences, around corners, with his roommates in pursuit in a police car watching the merry chase around the streets and backyards of Pasadena. A story worth telling over bonfires and beers.

This time, however, the only evidence of breakin was the remote.

I jumped out of the car, left the door open, ran upstairs and called the police. They came out, dusted the car for prints, and looked for the car jack that came with the car. Honda car jacks were (and possibly still are) the scissor jacks, which can effectively be used to spread fence bars for breaking into, oh, parking garages to steal cars. I talked with the officer for a while, becoming less and less assured that anything could be done about the attempted theft of my car.

Six weeks later, they caught the guy whose prints were on my car, in the process of stealing another car. He was part of an Asian gang from Los Angeles that were stealing cars in Pasadena where it was easier to steal them. Like a small Honda was worth that much effort.

So, today, as I was hopping into my car, I was reminded of that whole event when I turned around to look over my shoulder before backing up, and saw something shiny sitting on the back seat of my car. I sat there, staring at the 2"x3" shiny metal, thinking, "What is that?" Note the obvious level of stun in that question: there were no curse words.

I hopped out of the car, hustled around to the back seat, passenger side door, opened it and grabbed the silver object. I quickly realized it was a business card holder.

I opened it and realized, to my joy, it belongs to Mike.

Car still safe.

Mike, I have your pile of business cards.




Wronged by doing right


A year or two ago, a new health clinic went in at an empty lot close to my house. When it was approved by voters, I knew that I'd be screwed. Why? Well, just for starters, the spot would see a LOT more traffic than it was seeing (anything greater than zero is more). It would also have a larger number of traffic control signals, which mean, yep, poor timing on the signals, lots of wasted gas waiting for the lights, etc.

Even the announcement that my main doctor would now be officed less than a seven minute walk from my house didn't deter my loud and whiny complaints about this damn facility going in.

My fears have pretty much come true. Traffic has increased probably 200 fold in the morning hours. The lights are HORRIBLY timed. Drivers are morons in the area, thinking it's okay to turn right directly in front of oncoming traffic who has the right of way. Hundreds of man hours are lost waiting for the lights to turn green after waiting for the red light for the non-existant car or walker to cross the street.

Even the grocery store which had provided a decent by-pass put speed bumps into the lot, removing the only decent route to bypass the clusterfuck of the clinic exit.

This morning's commute was a perfect example of why I completely despise this new facility, and all of the lights and traffic signals and traffic and people associated with it: when I do the right thing, I get screwed.

So, there's a stop sign at the corner of the clinic's property. The commute is stop at this stop sign, turn right, go 20 yards and through a stop light that controls traffic from the clinic and grocery store which are on opposing sides of the street, go another 30 yards and turn left at the next stop light, which puts you on the major roadway which leads to an easy access to 2 freeways.

I received a (bogus) ticket at that first stop sign, so I'm very careful to stop at that stop sign within one meter of the intersection. The ticket I received at that stop sign was for when I stopped 20 feet back from the stop sign, then turned right without pulling forward first, despite it being my turn to turn right. Right.

So, as I approached the stop sign, a car was stopped at the stop sign across the intersection facing me. It stayed still as I approached. I stopped completely. The opposing car stayed still. I waited a second, two, four, six, ten. Annoyed, I started to pull forward, just as the car started to move to turn left into the intersection. I stopped, waited for it to turn, then turned right.

Just in time to see the first stop light turn yellow. Too late to accelerate through the stop light, I cursed and stopped at the intersection as the light turned red.

This light is the fucking worst light in the world.

I watched as the light in front of us, the one where I would be turning left if I hadn't done the right thing and waited for the moron in the car to my left turn left in front of me, turned green letting all the traffic go, then turn red again. I waited as the traffic from the clinic flew out of the lot, turning left and cruising through the second light. I watched as the light turned green for the people who were turning right onto the street in front of me. I watched light way in front of me turn red as a woman took 7 of the 32 seconds the walk sign allotted her to cross the street. Then I waited the remaining 25 seconds for no good reason, because there HAD to be a light at that intersection, a fucking light instead of a reasonable stop sign.

If I had just turned right, I would have saved myself the six minutes all of the waiting around I needed to do for those damn red lights. Six minutes times all the other people there, plus the exhaust going into the lungs of all those people walking into the health clinic, mmmmmm, that's tasty, and yes, my day started out completely annoyingly wrong by doing right.

My day in Kitt's car

Guest Post Blog

Kitt and I have been discussing trading cars for weeks so that Kitt can be the fourth best roomie ever and get me new rockin' tires on my car. So far as a roomie she's slightly behind Kris who catapulted me into backflips in the pool on Tuesday (but to be fair Kitt has never tried that - who knows maybe she could catapult me higher!)

So far, one or both of us has forgotten the plan and I keep ending up at work with my own car. It's starting to be a little unnerving as the gods keep sending me signals in the form of ripped rubber on the freeway (once even in my lane!). So this morning I took the bull by the horns and stole Kitt's car.

Ridiculously early I stepped out of the house with the excitement of being able to be a convertable owner for a day - too bad my perfect sexy red dress has yet to be found.

I awkwardly slipped into the driver's seat in my heels and carefully backed out of the driveway experiencing for the first time what it was like to drive before the wonderful invention of the rearview mirror.

Completely yuppied-up after a quick stop at Starbucks, I pulled into the gas station to uphold my end of the bargain for the car switch - filling up Kitt's tank. Finding the gas tank opener button was a new puzzle and not the fun kind like sudoku or LSAT logic games. Very difficult. Hmmm....good thing I had a sports car today because by this point I was running late.

So boo - Honda decided the best place to hide a gas tank button is on the doorframe, which of course is only visible if the door's open! But...yay - Honda decided it was a good idea to put a label on the inside of the gas tank with instructions on which kind of gas needs to go in the car. So I was off to work and getting very good at the km/hr to mi/hr mental conversion.

Now I've decided that the reason white collar men in their midlife crises don't get convertables to compensate, they get convertables because the only thing that keeps a person who works in an office for at least eight hours a day in a cubicle without windows somewhat sane is to put the top down and fly during a lunch break. But so much for my sanity anyway, since I'm headed to law school in a month!

The only thing that saved my rotten full-time, rut of a day was the thought of being able to put the top down and speed down the freeway, which is exactly what I did. I was falling asleep at my desk after an awesome four-day weekend but as soon as I hit 120 km/hr I was wide awake!

And then the ice cream on the cake was Kitt waiting at the end of my temporary forget-about-everything-but-the-wind fix to help me with a more permanent fix. Okay maybe Kitt could be second best roomie ever. Obviously my day in Kitt's car was infinitely better than her day in my car. Thanks roomie!!!!