shortly before we were instructed to go out, get drunk and make each other pregnant.
break out the tissue and the condoms.
i've got a triple date with conor oberst, aidan moffat and malcom middleton.
I'm here to end the suspense about traffic school.
firstly, there was indeed a dashing young man in my class. a dashing young frenchman. sure, he was at times an irritant, and he had a vastly overblown perception of his own sense of humor, and he asked the instructor if one could be ticketed for "having the sex in the car," but he was fine-featured with an enticing smile and a charming way of saying, "you sound so very smart when you speak." though, admittedly, i'm generous with my affections when it comes to people who compliment me on my intellect.
secondly, and perhaps most importantly, traffic school really wasn't so bad. the class (officially called "cheap weeknights comedy," interestingly, because i could see five movies for the same price, and unless one of them was rat race it would be funnier) was about what i expected: drivers' ed, but with older students. there were other major differences: no real curriculum per se, but simply a tendency to direct the conversation toward matters of the road; the instructor was much younger (looked about 70, whereas my drivers' ed instructor had to be wheeled in on a contraption marked "DEATH BED"); and the most surprising distinction -- more cooperative students.
i went to traffic school armed with notepad and pen, prepared to write down every single thing i could poke fun at later in conversations or web log entries. this i did, and don't even get me started on the mumbling truck driver, but i found that in a class attended by people only there to clear their records so that they could go back to their speeding ways, the conversation was remarkably courteous, at times interesting, and quite often very funny.
a man named bill was a sub-contractor who drove blood and body parts between here and LA every day. he regaled us with stories of his last four rear accidents (all within the past year) and with tales of traffic law breakage to which the rest of us could merely aspire. "back in '70 i was merging onto the freeway at a cool 120 mph, swerving around the corner and into the arms of the highway patrol -- and when they'd gotten me to the shoulder and come around to the side of the car, the hitchhiker i'd picked up said, 'i don't want to get you in trouble,' opened his trenchcoat, and pulled out a bag of pot!"
the mumbling truck driver (i said i wouldn't get started, but it's impossible to leave him out) gave us about three hundred and fifty tips for driving in front of, behind or near 18-wheelers, and i don't doubt that my newfound bible of knowledge is but a drop in the ocean of near-truck driving etiquette.
the instructor told terrible, terrible jokes, which i won't recant -- suffice to say that one involved dead chickens, their orphan chicks and foster farms.
there were the usual pitfalls to any 20-odd group of adults. there was the man (unfortunately seated beside me) whom i'd clearly bewitched and transformed into an oogling, drooling mess with eyes permanently affixed to my body. there was some very dull discussion of previous traffic offenses committed by students who were apparently proud of the bench warrants for their arrests in other states. most frustratingly, there was the group in the last row -- eerily reminiscent of the too-cool clowns of teendom -- which used the entirety of each four-hour class to bitch and bemoan the awful, horrid, really TORTUROUS punishment the class inflicted upon them. this was more than a bit bewildering to me, given that not only is the option of traffic school, the option to clear one's record of one's traffic offensives, something ultimately to be thankful for, but furthermore, since these juvenile excuses for grown people were ticketed in san diego county, they had at their disposal the option of taking the course by video or on the internet and thereby avoiding the PAIN and GNASHING OF TEETH they were caused here.
not that i was so annoyed that i wanted to turn around and tell them to shut up and stop behaving like spoiled children. or that i did. no.
but on the whole, it was harmless. on the whole, it gave me more to laugh about than complain about. the worst i can say of traffic school is that it took eight of my hours away. better that than my insurance dollars.
katekinks: ah, the burden of intellect
staaaaaaan: if only i didn't win every time i had an argument with myself.
things i wanted to yell yesterday in my frantic rush to get to traffic school on time:
- to the SUV with all the UK and england stickers: they can read in england, yes? are you not even from england but simply so obsessed with the image that you haven't bothered to become a literate driver? to the point, are you then aware that the speed limit is 45, not 25?
- to the man in the miata: i could pick up your car and throw it. get out of my way. don't look pointedly at me in the mirror like that, asshole. your car looks like minnie mouse's foot.
- to the woman walking her dog in my neighborhood: i understand that my careening around that corner at 12 miles per hour might have been frightening for you, because you were only going about 3 miles per hour and because my car is so much bigger than you, and that must be scary. but you have to understand that my car is able to go much faster than your legs, so 12 is actually a bit slow for me. the "whoa, slow down" motion from you is therefore TOTALLY FUCKING UNWARRANTED.
- to the city of san diego: wow, thanks for designing the traffic lights at busy intersections to be ultra-sensitive to the presence of cars in the left turn lane, so that it's possible for a girl to drive down the street and hit every single light when it's red because cars facing the opposite direction want to turn. also, thanks for making the exception to that the design of very busy intersections such that the light is completely insensitive to drivers in the left-turn lane, even in the total and utter absence of ongoing traffic for over a minute, so that it's possible for a girl to sit in the left-turn lane for a good two or three iraq updates.
- to the designers of atm envelopes, or just envelopes in general: had to use paper, eh? just had to use material thin enough to give little cuts on things its edge swipes too quickly, like the lips of a girl in a hurry? yeah.
and that was just on the way to traffic school. to be continued...
i'm about to leave work, drop by my apartment to pick up a book, and head to (ominous timpani roll, please) traffic school. in november i was doing 90 on the 73 passing newport beach, and a chp officer pulled me over.0
side note: i totally passed an integrity test when this happened, something i'm way too proud of because, really, it shouldn't be exceptional to be honest. he asked where i was going and why. i told him the truth: "i'm driving to hermosa beach to get away." that week, my life had fallen apart in a few ways, and i needed distance. the officer inquired: "did someone hurt you?" i paused. (yes, i thought to myself, but not the way you're thinking, officer d. bradshaw. i wondered how much an innocent, whimpering "yes" would save me in fines.) i replied, crestfallen: "no."
so i got a ticket. officer bradshaw reminded me, repeatedly and condescendingly, "you were going 89, but i only cited you for 85." gee. thanks, pal. and now i'm going to traffic school so that the ticket won't mar my otherwise spotless record. (there are more stories to detail how that record shouldn't really be spotless, but that's for another time, at another campfire.)
in washington, where i grew up, traffic school doesn't exist. once a ticketed driver, always a ticketed driver. so in that sense, i'm grateful that the option exists for me. but i can't help feeling bitter. one reason for this stems from some bureaucratic chaos -- their fault -- that i had to deal with. for another reason, the 73, where i was driving, is a toll road. that means i paid $3 to drive on a wide, roomy highway, empty of the traffic i would have found on the interstate any old bugger can drive on for free. the way i see it, i paid for the ability to cruise up the coast as fast as i damn well please. and i'm punished for the exercise of my freedom by being charged $135 for bail (like i was arrested or something. hmph), $30 for the ability to use the traffic school option (again: thank you *so* much), and $30 to actually attend the damn thing (though i was assured that "it's done in a fun way!")?! that's like "liberating" a country and then letting anarchy make its fearful grip! (oh, wait.)
i want to keep a cheeful face, though. this class will be full of speeders like myself. hot guys speed, right? only the bone-headed, macho ones? shucks.
- i'm not the hurt-myself-for-beauty type to begin with, but i nonetheless have a profound appreciation for the following: a lazily comfortable outfit that happens also to be a smashingly stylish one; and a zero-work-involved hair-do that happens also to be a flatteringly cute one. when the two coincide, like today, i'm ecstatic (except that my skin has become quite dry in places, and severely dry skin on the tip of the nose is about as aesthetically pleasing as a large red pimple).
- krissa (whom i've a newfound affection for, having now chatted with her a bit rather than just admiring from afar) called the picture at left a "lovely strange jeans-image." that's it, on the button. a lovely strange jeans-image. i don't recall, now, how i decided to use it; i do remember finding it and thinking, "that's enjoyable. a bit kitschy, perhaps, because let's face facts, it mostly says 'I LIKE MEN' and 'I AM TRENDY,' but enjoyable."
subtlesubtexts are what prompt some occasional consideration, on my part, of a new image. okay, a lot of consideration. the problem is, i have very little talent in the way of pictures, images, logos, and the like. i thought of self-portraits. but i couldn't stand to see a humongous picture of myself every time i viewed the page (sickeningly often). i thought of scenic panoramics. duh: boring. i thought of... all right, that's it. see? no creativity!
so hitherto i've simply ignored what to me has become less lovely and more strange -- almost an eyesore on what is otherwise an increasingly precious little kate-fingerprint on the web.
but all that is about to change! no, i haven't found some hidden well of artistic thought. i was just thinking, "yum, i like strawberries. they're so sweet and good," and that became the brilliant idea behind the new image. i emphasize: there is no imagination involved here, only my taste for fresh fruit. hope you like it. if not, well, it probably won't last longer than those denim-clad lads.*
but if you've any ideas for something better, please do share!
*don't think that krissa's comment provoked this change. as i explained, it was long in coming. i'm flattered by krissa's, um, flattery, and the timing is simply a coincidence.
now that a magnanimous steve w. has taken the time to pry more deeply into this blog's source than even i, clearly, was willing to do, and as a result you can see each and every precious post i've ever published, i am able to say something i've been wanting to say all weekend.
which i totally forgot.
but i was called "alluring and irascible" and compared to annie oakley, so that rocks and all. also, a child in the neighborhood has obviously discovered a piano, and that amuses too, until the point at which it makes me want to stomp and scream and weep. but that comes much later.