The EraserMate Life

Watching the television, I saw an ad for a GelMate pen, and it made me remember, something from my childhood, the excitement of new ball point pen. You might have experienced it, you are a child of 10, and you have been writing in pencil for the most of your life because you didn’t want to be caught not being able to spell correctly, or doing your math problems, you’d make a mistake and didn’t want to have to find the WhiteOut or cross out, and fix the problem. And then, BAM! You life changes when they PaperMate introduced the EraserMate. Mine was such a shade of blue, not too bright, not too dark. It was the perfect blue and black accents to match my Batman childhood disguise. The best part, erasing ink! I loved that pen for the greater part of my childhood. I must have taken it apart a god-zillion amount of times, fingered the spring, took off the cap, unscrewed the barrel, parked it in my mouth like a cigarette to look winsome while thinking of things to write.
Pens in my life are something of a history. My first love was my grandfather’s multicolor pen. Clicking and unclicking, trying to decide which color to use, what to write, where to write it. It was like being part of royalty to have a pen like that. And the few times I was allowed to use it, made me think twice about wasting the green or red ink. They were too special to waste on doodling or nonsense. These were reserved for great observations of a young child, or Christmas lists or the drawing of toys I wanted to present to my grandparents as a subtle sales hint; robot, calculator, pocket radio, remote race car. Black and blue were saved for prose. Immediately, I hated blue, it was so common! Bic was big back then. Cheap and plentiful. But I wanted something special to match me. From then on I would seek out to write in black ink, like a real writer, or so I imagined.
But then the EraserMate came along. Blue ink. How could I love this pen so much? I could erase my poor spelling, a concession would need to be made. There was something so innocent about those days, that I missed, seeing the GelMate commercial. I used to be excited about a new pen. I used to find wonder in the world unveiling itself in front of me. My world then was of school, friends, home, and parents, not of hate and disenfranchisement. Feeling older, worrying about money, and health and the world, I want that childhood wonder and my EraserMate back.

Pants on Fire

I was at a late lunch at a restaurant with Kim this weekend. We were enjoying our time together, as of late she’s been able to go out shopping, walk around, and was getting back to normal after her two knee replacements. So as I said, just got our non-alcoholic drinks when this woman walks up to us, whom I recognize from the car parked next to us, even if she had her head buried in her cell phone, texting.

“I just want you to know you damaged my car when you carelessly got out and hit my passenger door.”

I knew she was lying, but I wasn’t she was not going to be challenged in her advanced state of anger. I am more than compensating so as not to get out of my car “carelessly.” I go out of the way not to bump other cars, it’s the way I was raised. Living in apartment complexes most of my adult life, I’m old enough to know not to damage anyone else’s vehicle, lest ye be damaged as well.

Well, I disagreed. Her voice was so sure that I was the only culprit of this dastardly deed.  She acted like how could I ever live with myself or even enjoy food from now on knowing that I was a cold blooded door damager.  After some more of me denying and her trying to convince me I suggested we walk out to our cars and assess this great injustice that has befallen her. I had insurance and was willing to swap information if there was something I was involved in.

Well, we walk out, and she points out a small dent with a scratch on front top of the front passenger door on her white Nissan Altima, on a diagonal from her mirror, no more than a quarter inch, that was already oxidizing. If we were in some tropical salt air climate instead of a cool day in Pennsylvania in February, she might have had some credence. But for it to oxidize so soon, unless heat was involved, it wasn’t going to happen within fifteen minutes from leaving the scene. Her vitriol was so strong, again, I wasn’t going to challenge her with effects of chemical composition to given the dry, cool air and time for something like this to happen.  It was so high on her car door, I was almost sure there was no way for my car to do it.

I opened my car door, and bam. The hard rubber molding that runs down the middle side of the car like a bumper first hit her car door, much lower than her scratch and about two to three inches short of this proposed  wound. The top and bottom corners of the door were nowhere in proximity to the scar. Physically, unless there was a black line running down her car door where the bumper would have rubbed off, and about an inch of car door also sawed off, there was no way for me to have done this damage.

“There is no way it could have happened. Look.  The bumper would have stopped it.”

She was not happy with this set of facts presented to her, and the Goth pixie-haired woman stomped away without a word.

I stood alone in the parking lot wondering what her motives in this were?  Such a tiny scratch and dent, hardly even something to look at.  It might even have been caused by a rock kicked up from the road it was so small. Why would she go through all the trouble of tracking me down when she had to know I didn’t do it?

Time to Sack Up

I haven’t been on here lately. I’ve been busy and really didn’t have anything to talk about.  Not true. Last year with the presidential campaign, you couldn’t say anything without pissing off someone. I’ve held my tongue and will keep holding it. I’m sure you aren’t interested in listening to what I think. That’s just one of the things that we will just have to keep to ourselves. Politics brings out the worst in people because everyone believes and is right on some level.

The election was swift retribution for either party. Whether the Russians were involved in some fashion is moot when more than half of electorate didn’t show up to decide who was going to hold the highest office. Why would two major parties pick candidates whom most of the country hated?  I’m sure historians will explain this in the future.

I’ve been working on Girl, Friend. It’s a fun little romp that needs a lot of work, but as of today, I’ve finished the third draft for printing. I’m hoping to pick it up for reading later at the Mifflin Writers Group.

Mariline came back from the editor. There is something so grounding as getting a piece of work back from your editor. As much as I worked on it, they found a lot that needs to be added, changed, edited, etc. I always think I’ve written the perfect book and when I get it back, it has twenty or so plot holes and all 400 pages of line edits. I can’t even imagine sending it to an agent. They would throw it in a pile with the rest of the crap. But I’ve resigned myself that some day I will write the perfect novel, maybe not this year, but I have a whole ton of years left to realize my dream of being a widely published author. I’ve tried being the hare, now I need to work on being the tortoise.

Happy New Year!

EJ

The Life of a Writer

black coffee and a book

The life of a writer is all about the glitz and glamour of the ‘life.’  We all have limos take us to our book signings just as you would imagine.  We all have private jets to take us to Cabo or Bermuda at a whim. Paris and London are just waiting for us to find out about our next book, with bated breath. Paparazzi are clamoring about our personal lives, with photographers waiting to take photos of us at lunch or dinner with the great directors, seasoned actors or Hollywood producers.  My wait staff does my laundry and takes care of my mansion. I don’t spend much time there, I’m always on the go. You would wonder how I have time to write all my books, I’m releasing twelve this year. It a tough life, but someone has to do it. I too was once a simple dime store self-published novelist, only years ago…

5:20 AM. I was laying in bed for two hours after waking from a dream about a kid telling jokes. I tossed and turned until I had to get up for my job, system engineering at a hospital.  I start at 7, but by the time I shower, shave, dress, feed the cat and kiss my girlfriend, I’m on the road at 6:15.

6:30 AM I’m standing in line in the cafeteria, at the hospital. My eyes still haven’t adjusted to the neon lights above and I’ve asked, “The usual.” Yes, I respond and head for coffee. Just the smell has started to wake my brain cells, but the time I return to the line I’ve had several sips and the partial hangover from last nights time “out with the boys” is slipping away. Amen.  I get my western omelet and English muffin (the same thing I’ve eaten for breakfast for the last 13 years here) gets covered in garlic powder and oregano before I pay.  I cover the top with ketchup in a smiley face. The two halves of the English muffin become the eyes.

6:45 AM I’m at my desk stuffing my face and drinking coffee like there is no tomorrow. I’m reading through my Facebook page for things I can post to Online Community Writers and Mifflin Writers Group. Hey, were all writers and we all deserve the chance to succeed. And when I’m famous and rich, I’ll still give back.  I check my email, delete spam. Nothing important to respond to, and I feel truly inferior. I’m planning to work over lunch on my novel, but I don’t even have a clue what I’m going to write about.  This is the scariest of times. Usually, I have some direction, at this point and am chomping at the bit for some free time to write. I’m blank.

7:00 AM – 11:00 AM. I spend time at my day job. I can’t tell you about it without killing you. It’s all HIPAA stuff and I don’t want to go to jail for giving up some protected information. I’ll just say that I’m good, and they are perfect.

11:00 AM I grab lunch as I could down the minutes till I’m planning to write. I create a salad at the cafeteria’s bar, all kinds of greens, carrots, black beans, black olives, a little cheese, croutons, and cranberries.  A scoop of Santa Fe Chicken Salad completes the meal.  Oh, and balsamic vinaigrette.   I pay and head to my desk, finish some work before the bewitching hour.

12:00 I open my draft of Mariline. It’s a good draft and I start reading. I still don’t know where I’m going with it. It’s not singing to me and I’m worried. I put on Radio Mozart and I let his melodies sink in. I’m adding something here and there and suddenly it’s

1:00 PM Make a backup copy of my script. I’m happy I was able to continue, but there is still so much to go. Back to work.

3:00 PM My co-workers and I break for coffee and talk about the things that are bugging us or what new in the cinema.  It’s a refreshing moment to take pause and see the duck that has decided to nest between the buildings on our way to the café.

4:00 PM I’m in my car and I’m heading home. Traffic isn’t too bad. I’m worrying as I speed down the entrance ramp, but I’ve timed it just right, I’m on and heading east.  The windows are down, and the wind is blowing what little of my hair around. 

4:15 PM I’ve gotten the mail and came home to my loving girlfriend. I want to kiss her but with all that coffee my ass will kiss the toilet seat before I kiss her.  I make up for that after I get out of my tie and into comfortable clothes.

5:00 PM Kim and I have been discussing our day and now we are deciding on food or TV.  Television wins out and the ten or so Investigation Discovery Network shows left on the DVR.  Blood, death and murder keep us occupied. I’m pulling out a bottle of Vodka and making a martini while still listening to the announcer talk about more blood, death, and murder.

6:00 PM I heat up some Smart Choice food and make a little side salad, still catching up on those murder shows. 

7:30 PM After all that death, I kiss Kim goodnight, and I go into the bedroom and read for a hour. The book in riveting and I’m really enjoying it. 

8:30 PM I fill my CPAP machine. Kiss Kim goodnight and I try to fall asleep. Audrey, my cat, decides that I’m the perfect shoulder to lay on and sniffs my ear and licks my face. Against her best efforts, I’m out cold.

2:00 AM I realize that Kim is in bed with me as I hear her groan about Audrey jumping across her pillow to get to me. Audrey sticks her bony feet it my arm and side as she settles again on my shoulder. Now she’s licking around my ear, trying, I guess to clean up the hairline around it. I’m trying to fall back asleep but there is something gnawing at me about my book. 

4:00 AM There is a scene that keeps going over and over in my mind.  I have to remember it for tomorrow when I’m working on the book draft.

5:00 AM I fall asleep.

5:30 AM DAMN!  I overslept!

That was the life of this writer not too long ago.

YIKES!

Studio stock image of miniture toy cars smashed up royalty free

I haven’t been on this website in such a long time. I tell you I’m all screwed up since the office was rained on by a 2 ½ inch water main break. So it’s lunch and I’m usually editing Mariline. I decide not to, check out my blog site and it says that the database is down. I check the system and I can see that I can get into it from SQL manager. WTF? I try to get to the login site and it gives me an error. I copy and paste the error into Google, and soon I have a solution- repair the database. It gives me another error that it can’t repair one table from the database. I freak! I have to restore from backup? I can feel the sweat exiting my pores as I try to think of options. I work in the computer field as a day job. I’ve had 120GB databases to restore at 4 AM after a repair didn’t fix and the backup failed to load. I can to this! I try one more time with fingers crossed. The web site loaded. RELIEF! I run updates and everything is back on line.

How long has it been down? How couldn’t I know?

Back To School

Children at school classroom
Children at school classroom

One of the most traumatic days in my life was going to the first day of school. I would work my way into a frenzy, unable to sleep the night before. I’d be so amped up by the time it was to leave I’d be hyperventilating with a paper bag over my lips. My mother took us clothes shopping as the lead up to the day. I’d review my choices, looking over the “new” school clothes and wondering which outfit would make me look cooler. Because I was fat (and still am for that matter) back then there were only two colors for fat people, brown and green. I don’t know why that was. Every season, the same colors were trudged out as if large people couldn’t be colorful. As soon as I was able to get out of the green/brown hell that was my childhood, I wore red and blue like as much as I could. Then there were the jeans; Levy’s were the standard. Their commercials flooded the television and if you weren’t in them, well, you were a loser. It was difficult to look cool in Robuck’s (jeans from Sears), but they were new, and it had the possibility. The hope for me was that the oversized belt I chose would occlude the label from view enough for kids to know me, and not my clothesware. Kids can be so mean at the drop of a dandruff flake. Looking back I don’t see any less uneasiness as an adult, but I’ve worked at it.

Upon arriving, you would instantly know the class bully. He was the kid who had your friend in a headlock trying to get his lunch money. Somehow the teachers would be looking away, as if on cue, like the rest of the class, trying not to become involved in the incident or become the brunt of the next misdemeanor.  Then, there was the pretty girl, who pretended she didn’t know she was beautiful, but there were all these boys around her like drones in a honey colony. She was over made up to look like a contestant in a beauty pageant (or she fell into her mother’s makeup case and forgot to wash).   She would parade herself and her court wherever she’d go. The only thing missing was the trumpeters to announce her arrival.

Friends were very few and far between for me and I understood why. Trying to navigate the popular waters is a difficult time. You don’t want to be seen with the unpopular folks, cause that could cause negative repercussions. Being the pariah is not fun, but being just outside of the circle looking in at the clique you were part of is even worse. At least as a pariah you know you are going alone. Being a once-upon-a-time part of a group looking in seems even more pathetic.

I was neither popular nor part of a clique. I ran an independent campaign. There were some friends that I’ve kept in touch with since my early days of education. I value their friendships.   I cheer for their successes and am saddened for their losses. If anyone would have told me I’d have Facebook to know when my classmates are getting their colonoscopies, well I wouldn’t have joined. But it great to see all of their children’s smiling faces as they ready for their time at school. I hope their parents haven’t told them all they did when they were a kid, but I’d love to tell them.

Forks

Close up view of a kitchen table fork isolated on a white background.
Close up view of a kitchen table fork isolated on a white background.

The place where I work is a large institution. We have three different cafeterias, in which you can have everything from a sub sandwich to rotisserie chicken to pizza straight out of the oven. It’s a state of the art facility with many unique procedures that have patients driving for hours to get here. In my department, we stay up with the latest and the greatest technologies to support the folks above. We are, literally down in the basement with the facilities management and a morgue. And in this state of the art facility there is one epic fail. Forks!

At this time, you will say that we should be using metal utensils that are washed and sterilized to save the environment. And you would be correct, but as the majority of us, we use their plastic forks. Being here for 13 years, I’ve seen some changes. Once the forks were located in the same type bins as the metal counterparts, sometimes they were just in big old box, where anyone could reach in, touch, sneeze or other things to the other utensils prior to you getting one. Perhaps they thought that was too convenient for employees to get to. Perhaps they were losing money on forks. With the advent of the “new” cafeteria, we got new plastic utensil dispensers.  These monoliths are meant to dispense one utensil at a time, which is great for most people when it works within its operating parameters, but now, after a year, they’ve become worn. Beaten. Some of them now eject two or three fork utensils at a time.

Having two or three forks thrown at you is disturbing.  I think of that scene out of Carrie, when she uses her powers to hurl knife projectiles at her mom.   Most people, shocked, go into a trance and leave the secondary objects lie on the counter, never to be used. After all, who would pick up a fork or knife strewn a counter? Why was it left there? What bacteria has collected from sitting on that hard marble surface? Did it touch the floor? Why didn’t someone just throw it out? How do you know something didn’t just use the damn thing and miss the waste basket?

There are too many questions to ask.   Forks all over the place. It’s like going into a fork battle ground, like those pictures from the civil war with dead bodies all over. I think I should see Abraham Lincoln standing next to the ketchup dispenser reading his address with a solemn face, and top hat in hand to his heart.

These forks have givin’ their all and they must be recognized. Ejected before their time, they lie here as a reminder of once was. Every time we visit this place we should say a prayer, for the brave utensils that made the ultimate sacrifice. This is holy ground.

 

I can almost hear a cafeteria worker crying softly throughout his speech, as she cleans the counter tossing them gently into the waste bin and then reloading a magazine of forks into the dispenser. The magazine empties again and the cafeteria worker loads another. “Is there no God, here Sir?” she says deep in her chest. Sad eyes. Weakened arms as she loads another magazine, and then the forks are gone again. Cleaning the lost souls from the marble, and wiping down with lukewarm water and germicidal bleach solution with a disgusting cloth. Her shift over and she walks home. “We lost many, but it was their finest hour.”

Elevators

-- they are part of a modern building interior
— they are part of a modern building interior

There is one sure thing in life other than death and taxes, and it happens to be Newton third law of physics, in essence, what goes up, must come down. As one meme that I saw this force does not apply to toilet seats. This is definitely true, in the world of elevators, and why I’m concerned at the two that are at my work.

For the last month, they’ve been tagged as out of service at least once a week. Sometimes it has been several days they were out of service. Sure I could go down to another building and ride that one, which is older than FDR, and takes longer to traverse the five floors (4 plus a basement) than an old person with a walker, a pacemaker, and glasses thicker than a Coke bottle takes to cross a sidewalk.  I suppose the other option, God forbid, is to take the stairs, but you know with the advanced arthritis and stenosis in my spine, walking up or down a flight of stairs puts a lot of pressure on my numb feet. I know, WAH WAH!   I should just suck it up, but why should I have to! You are missing the POINT! The elevators!!!

So they’ve enjoyed plenty of services this month, and I’m concerned. I don’t know if you are as freakishly as claustrophobic as I am, but sometimes getting into an elevator I become aware that the walls are coming in. If I’m not wrapped up in some part of the novel I’m writing and don’t stand in the center of the cab, my mind starts to squeeze body into something from a horror movie. Most times I only have to travel one floor, but I’m feeling like Luke, Leia, and Han in the Empire’s trash compactor. I’ve never screamed. I’ve tried to remain dignified, but my mind is like being in Club 54 on acid, popping, flashing, and swirling around in a circle until we all fall down.

These new issues make a simple ride into another type of hell. I’m spinning the roulette and wondering if I’m going to be lucky ones when the elevator decides to stop working. Then the game begins. I can remember one time that I was in the elevator with my co-worker, heading to the second floor, when, the elevator shot to the Attic, I didn’t even know that the elevator has letters? Like a rocket we raced to the top, then we fell back to the ground floor, and then we shot back to the top again. The two of us glanced at each other’s faces, permanently with our jaws locked on the floor and our eyes turning back in our heads. At some point in this pogo stick ride, it stopped on our floor and we jumped out before it changed its mind. I walked cautiously down the stairs for the rest of the day and hid in my cubical hoping the elevator gremlins didn’t find me.

So here I’m sitting, wondering when these elevators will be back in service.   It’s not the wait, it’s more wondering what is causing them to be out of service.   Is it something simple like the a light went out on the button panel or they are needed for testing how long it takes to get from the bottom to the top, or some poor co-worker fell four stories in a free-fall and had to be pried off the floor of the cabin, and environmental services had to bio-hazard sterilize the interior.

Maybe I don’t want to know.

A Month Without a Bloggie-cause

tropical beach nature landscape with white sand at summer
tropical beach nature landscape with white sand at summer

There are few things in my life that I like better than not working. One of them I’m sure you can guess, but I won’t be that obvious. I spend a month without feeding you on any of my bullshit and I see that you’ve taken the hint. The fact that no one is checking in on my website proves that don’t love me anymore and I’m OK with that. My voice comes out in for everyone out there, not just for you elitists. On the other hand, you know I love you all, within reason, after all I do have a girlfriend, you know. Back as far as 600 B.C., in the writings of Sappho, a Greek poet, there is an expression, “Never bite the hand that feeds you.” And so it goes I must feed on your love and not bite.

I spent the month editing my book Mariline trying to get it out my developmental editor, which I did before I went on ‘vacation’ on the 22nd. I put vacation in quotes, as I didn’t really go anywhere. Some might even say, ‘staycation.’ I had some fun, eating at my favorite restaurants, singing karaoke, and sleeping till 7:30 am or sometimes in the afternoon. If I were on a beach somewhere, I would be doing the same things. I guess the only difference is I’m missing the hammerhead sharks, used syringe needles and sand, which I could get anywhere. It was a freedom. Mostly it was a freedom of work which had grown into a six-headed hydra. It kept me from my love of writing over my lunch breaks and causing my blood pressure to rise like a Fourth of July rocket.

I also had the pleasure of aging a year. Forty-seven is not for the faint of heart, I’m telling you from experience. I really didn’t expect my back to feel so crazy all at once after I gained a year. I feel it was lying in wait, just for the clock to tick past 12 AM EST on the Twenty-third. Genetics is a bitch.   I can’t see my parents in the same light now. They have done this to me (and my brother too), and now I must get back at them anyway I know how. “What was that you need help with your walker? Sorry, work keeps me chained to my desk. So sad!” I’m not that bad really. But in my heart of hearts I’d like to be.

So did you miss me? I’d like to think you did. I’m readying my ego for the developmental editor’s report. I need to bank up all the positive things I can so I’m not too devastated. Getting rejections is the life of a writer. I look at other authors and wonder if I could go through so much rejection without being discouraged. I know my first musical, No One Give a Damn, was prostituted out to some places, all of which said no. The only positive from that was one that kept the pilot light burning. The letter and I paraphrase because it was twenty years ago, said that he liked it, but it would be too hard to produce.  I guess that keeps me trying. I never thought I would have written a book, but after two I continue.

I started working on Trinkets, a screenplay I wrote that I’m changing to a book. It’s a serial killer who uses geocaching locations for hiding body parts. I thought about this years ago when a friend of mine was going to one of these locations and almost fell down a well trying to get to the geocache box. That started the brain moving. And the rest, they say is history.

I’ll try to keep up more with these little posts. I know how you like to read them. There are a lot of topics I’d like to cover, but I don’t want to alienate any more of you. Yes, I am a chicken.

Talk to you soon.

Tips

Portrait of young waitress in white blouse holding a tray
Portrait of young waitress in white blouse holding a tray

I am a good tipper. In fact, I find it hard not to give someone a 20% tip. If you are my bartender and make a good drink, gosh, you might just be able to retire. I understand how hard it is to wait on people. I was an employee and a manager for several years at a local Arby’s before I went on to real estate, secretary, PC support, and then on to network/systems administration. People can be disconcerting. People can be downright arrogant. Moreover, for some reason they think they are always right. NOT! However, when the waiter or waitress is just rude for no reason, I would like to know why. I bring this up because of several occasions recently experienced.

 

Kim and her daughter were having lunch at a local restaurant. They perhaps had the gall to order from the all-day breakfast menu at 11AM that caused the older waitress to becoming enraged. She threw their food on the table, and making little mouth ticks and rolling her eyes. Kim first thought that she was having a bad day, but later observed her being extremely polite to everyone else. Between Kim and her daughter, they agreed and walked out without leaving a tip. I do not know that I could do that, and does the waitress really learn from that?

 

Kim and I were at this restaurant about 7PM, a castle looking building located on what used to be a private country club.  The Berks Jazz Fest was playing in the bar room, and we were enjoying being just outside the doorway, getting a measured amount of music just enough to hear but still being able to talk. We waited fifteen minutes, for the waiter to show up, a talk and a gawky teen who appeared to be scared of his own shadow. He took our order, drinks and food and disappeared. We waited and grooved on the slow and fast metered beats and then our food came out with the manager. She set down the food with our questioning looks. “Did you order drinks?” Yes. Back into the bar room she went, and got an iced tea and my martini. “If you want any more, get me, it is on the house.” Then the waiter brought out water glasses, and a tray of bread, excusing profusely. OK, I thought. New guy. First time. I get it. He apologized. The food was good. He got his 20%, but we have not been back.

 

The third incident was at another restaurant. Kim and I arrived at 5PM and were seated quickly. Our friend Alison joined us. The waitress was quick with our drinks, and we waited for food. It was a transitive time. I get it. I watched at help showed up and quickly took their positions. The floor manager came over and apologized for the wait. OK. We at the bread and drank our drinks and eventually the food came out. It was good. We finished and waited. I saw our waitress deliver food to other tables as it came out, and she was busy. However, there were times when she was jawing with the manager or the other waitresses, and totally ignoring my trying to flag her down. We waited 30 to 45 minutes before Kim stopped one of the other waitresses asking for her help. Again, the manager comes over and apologizes and hands us the bill. Didn’t ask if we wanted more drinks. Didn’t ask if we wanted dessert. Alison asked that the bill be split, which he did not. He went back and split the bill. Still our original waitress did not come over, totally ignored us. I am still scratching my head. What did we do? If it was not her table and she was covering, why wouldn’t she continue with it? I do not know. I gave a tip, less than I would have and noted on the bill that it was less because of being ignored.

 

What happened to customer service? I like to go out when I can, and I do not like to feel like I am an inconvenience to the server. I do not care what shit is going on in your life, you are there to do a job, and if you do not, or if you are rude then maybe you should not have it. I must say, Kim and I were out this weekend without incident, reminding me that these incidences are the exception instead of the rule.