Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Tube Dude Take Two (with added missing link of video)

I love living in a small town where folks gather to celebrate local activities and businesses. Last week's Olney Community Night offered plenty of fun demonstrations as well as vendors for kids and adults -- thank you for the free samples, Olney Winery! Remember all the food and activities at last year’s Olney Community Night

Before Olney Community Night, the most recent town event I had enjoyed was National Night Out in August. What immediately drew my attention was not the crowd or fire truck or spraying hoses ...  but the glorious pink Air Dancer! Olney may be small, but not too small for a gigantic, undulating tube dude.

I've see these towering inflatables in Rockville or larger towns, but now we have them! Okay, so these tube dudes are only on the ATM screen at Bank of America's Olney branch.

But a real Air Dancer in the Fairhill Shopping Center parking lot meant that Olney made the big time, at least for one night.

That image inspired my second Modern Family moment in Olney.  Unlike any of my ten past Seinfeld-Olney moments, it reminded me of Phil and Gloria moving like Olney's Air Dancers. Check out this video (sign in) and scroll to 13 seconds in.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Down on the corner.

With my job, I have to do some traveling throughout the county. Rockville, Silver Spring, Bethesda, and even Olney. I have seen people on the corners, in the median. Mostly men and occasionally women. They may have a sign that reads Homeless not Hopeless. Or Homeless Vet God Bless. Some      may not have a sign. I came across a man on crutches with two prosthetic legs. All year round he wears shorts. The better to see his legs or lack of. On the same corner, on another day, I saw another man. He always has one of his pant legs pinned up to his waist. He's also on crutches and hobbles on his one leg. In Olney, I see folks on the corner of 108 and Georgia. Right across from the bus stop that backs to Popeye's. On the other corner, across from Five Guys is another spot. What to do? Sometimes, I may give a buck or two. You may not see the person for a few days but then they return.  I often wonder how they decide on a corner. How much could they collect? You hope it's going to.  .... what? Feed themselves and family? I know someone who handed out McDonalds bucks. They came in packs of five and could only be used to purchase their food. Either way, it can be awkward to pull up and make or maintain eye contact. Or I may pull in the lane further away. How we avoid the stare down. With autumn and cooler weather coming, there may be fewer sightings. But they're still out there. Not only in Olney.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Toilet Humor at the Self-Checkout

I've written about past adventures in the self-checkout lane (Do I Have a Choice? and back-talking machines) at the social Giant and had another one recently.

Last week, I was about to scan my groceries when I saw a huge multi-roll pack of toilet paper sitting  on the shelf in front of the scanner. Oops -- I wonder who forgot this important item.

Man at the other end of the counter was loading purchases into a bag. He must have forgotten about the toilet paper.

"Excuse me sir," I said, "Is this toilet paper yours?"

"Oh, " he glanced up, "No. I don't need to go that badly." He then chuckled as he picked up his bags to leave, "Sorry about that."

A few minutes when I almost finished bagging my groceries I heard, "Is this yours?"

I looked up and saw a woman -- about to start scanning her items -- point to the gargantuan pack of toilet. I replied, "No, I was wondering whose it is. I asked the man in front of me the same thing and he said 'no' too!"

The woman shook her head and chuckled, "Uh-oh, this is something you don't want to run out of!"

Friday, September 9, 2016

I can see clearly now, whoa.

My younger daughter needed glasses so we went to the eye doctor. She must have my poor vision genes since I've needed, although not consistently worn, glasses since fifth grade. I had a pair of glasses that were seven years old. Been having trouble reading fine print so I made an appointment for myself. Did the exam and told the eye doc of my latest reading challenges.
-Oh, sounds like you need progressive lenses. He tells me.
- What's that like bifocals? I ask.
- Well, we don't call them bifocals, they're progressive lenses.

Bifocals. So I order a cool pair of frames. Hip Ray-Bans to lessen the middle age stigma. They text me, imagine that, text me to let me know they're in. I go in for the fitting and once I put them on, whoaaaaa. Slight dizziness, eyes dilated. Oh, that's a natural side effect at first, I'm told.  You'll get used to it. Other side effects include, hitching my pants past my navel, driving ten miles below the speed limit, and referring to young people as whippersnappers. Just love my bifocals, I mean progessive lenses.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Cutting Crew

For several years,  I've been going to the same undisclosed barbershop. I usually go when the Wifey tells me it's time. It can be a couple months. It's been my experience to seek out and stick with the oldest barber in the shop and that's what I've done. ""Jack" has a similar hairline as I. Think Louie CK. It's not that much to trim and he still takes time. Sometimes it's awkward to walk in. "Can I help you?" "Need a haircut?" I tell them I'm waiting for Jack. The look of loss in their eyes. There goes a customer. Jack does his usual fine job and I tip well. The problem is when goes out of town, out of state in late May.  He doesn't return until September. I try to time it so I get a cut from him before he leaves but eventually, I have to go in. Before he leaves, Jack suggests who to see within the shop and I follow his advice. Sometimes, they are not there or free so I bite the bullet and just submit to whoever is available. It's hard to mess up my hair and I end up looking much better than when I walked in. Still, I look forward to seeing Jack and having him work his master craft on these follicles.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Are you going to go my way?

    My commute takes me to my office in Rockville. It is a little over ten and a half miles. During the summer, when school is out, I can make it there in about twenty minutes. It's a breeze. Down 108, a right on Georgia, down Randolph. In a couple weeks that will all change. The presence of the big yellow school bus makes all the difference. More people schlepping their kids to school. Actual teenage drivers. Yikes. So, it adds on up to another ten minutes. And that's OK. Kids got to get to school to learn. So enjoy your commute now and hope you enjoy your commute as another school year begins.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Good Behavior on the Road

After my daughter obtained a learner's permit, she noticed other drivers' bad behavior. "That person didn't signal," she would report. Or she would note, "That car didn't come to a full stop at the 4-way stop sign intersection", "Is that okay for that SUV to drive on the right [shoulder] and cut ahead of everyone?" and more.

One afternoon after dismissal time, I was driving on Muncaster Mill Road past Magruder High School when my daughter commented, "Oh, no wonder everyone is driving slowly ... There's a police car.”
Sure enough, a police cruiser was right in front of me. I glanced around for an accident but thankfully saw none. During this usually busy time, the scene was unusually calm. Traffic was heavy but cars were merging politely and everyone seemed mellow. No one was in a rush or tailgating anyone else.

This scene confirmed an adage I once heard: "People don't speed when police are around." I think this saying is applicable to different situations when people are temporarily on their best behavior, like Office workers don't surf YouTube while the boss is in and Shoppers don't cheat at self-checkout when a clerk stands nearby.

And now I apply this adage to a new scenario: don't speed or curse at other drivers when my student driver is also in the car.