Category Archives: Driving

Traveling Solo

So I did end up going up to Portland this weekend.  One thing I hadn’t considered was that this weekend started Spring Break.  Everywhere I went, there were college age young people, and lines to get into some of the more popular spot.

One thing I hadn’t counted on that was very new to me is that my social anxiety has gotten much worst.  I knew I was socially awkward but being surround by people in that sort of environment made me happy to get back to where I’m on detail too.

From that statement along, there are a couple things I want to say:

  1. Social anxiety: Freaking sucks.  So here I am in a city I love and have wanted to move to for a very long time and I feel like I’m drowning, floundering even, because of the sheer volume of people.  I’m already socially awkward as it is, especially lately (several months of people looking at you like what you say and do isn’t valuable doesn’t help).  I’m in a bookstore where I’m saying excuse me every few seconds because I’m looking for a book they don’t have and I’m terrified someone is going to not hear me, then get pissed off when I walk in front of them.  I didn’t used to be this way, or maybe at least I didn’t notice it as much.
  2. Touristy things: Are not for the faint of heart.  Sure, there are great things that everyone has discovered and is doing.  Don’t do them unless you don’t have any other options.  There is almost always another location that is just as cool as the one where people are standing in line.  Or has better food, like Georgetown Cupcakes vs Curbside (R.I.P).
  3. Weightloss surgery: This is where I’m drawing in a big breathe and remembering to breathe out slowly.  I’m not the same person I was when I went to Portland years ago.  I can’t eat how I used to, I certainly can’t drink like I used to, and the walking around was a lot easier now vs then.  So what’s the problem with this picture?  The problem is my mentality.  I still see myself as this big person who is taking up more space than she should, but when I was that big, I never thought I was that big.  I knew I could lose some weight, and I still could, but it wasn’t that big of a deal to me back then.  Now, and this a complaint, I have to think about food differently.  I have to think about my alcoholic nature differently.  I even have to sit at the bar differently than I used people.  I could start a conversation with people and not feel like I was being judged.  I don’t now because I’ve had several months of people’s eyes glazing over that’s trained me to not bother.  And that makes me feel like I’m not good enough anymore except to the people who I know love me, even though sometimes even then I wonder.  This is where the social anxiety aspect kicks in too, although there are a few other underlying things that I’m not going to voice until I have a long, hard conversation with a therapist when I get back.
  4. Travel with a partner!: I would probably have had more fun walking around, doing the scavenger hunt, enough the warm day, had I been with someone.  Not just any someone, but someone I wanted to share the city with, who knows that I’m crazy, and would have shared the food with me along with the experience.  Traveling by myself is great, but there is nothing like seeing the city with someone who actually wants to be there with you.

So my trip to Downtown Portland…

Lackluster?  Yes.  I still love the city.

Worth it?  Meh.  Eugene was slightly better and I only stopped there for food.

Short?  Most definitively!  I spent more time driving to and from than I actually did in the city itself, mostly because I couldn’t enjoy it the way I had before, which really freaking sucked.

Got sixteen new books out of that trip though.

Happy Monday.

Listening to:  White noise.

Reading:  The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor

Quote of the Day:  “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” ― Napoleon Hill

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Filed under Books/Classes, Driving, Vacations/Travel, Weightloss

Uber and Lyft…

Monday was the two-year anniversary of my first ever drive with Uber.  Two years…

Monday I also got an e-mail from Amazon Flex telling me I could now drive for the Rockville location delivering packages.  I have never been happier to see that e-mail and starting a different part-time job.

Why am I more excited about working for Amazon over Uber?  Oh, let me count the ways:

  • There isn’t going to be any slightly tipsy, older men asking me where all the easy women hang out on Friday nights.
  • There won’t be any college students jokingly asking me to turn up the radio because they love white girl music.
  • There won’t be any arguing about people cheating the system by putting more people in the car than the car/ride should have.
  • There won’t be anyone calling me, asking me where I am because my dot hasn’t moved in the last 30 seconds and they’ve been waiting a long time for a ride.
  • I won’t be shuttling people to the airport when they choose UberPool ninety minutes before their flight leaves, hoping they don’t end up with another passenger.
  • I won’t have to feel like the passenger’s emergency is my emergency anymore unless I choose to.

Those are just the most recent things that I’ve encountered within the last few months with Uber and Lyft.  These are true stories and while there are a lot of good passengers, I’ve been encountering more and more passengers that make me question my decision to keep driving for both companies.

The biggest bonus:  Guaranteed amount of money within a three hour time block.  The rideshare services are great, but the market is saturated with drivers so making money these days working the same hours I used to is harder, meaning longer hours, more wasted gas, and a lot of frustration.  I’m not fully about that life anymore.

I don’t do drunk D.C. either because I have gotten too many prank Uber Ride requests, especially in Georgetown.  Baltimore is slightly better because there is no carpool services there yet, and depending on how Saturday goes, I may work there Saturday night.  Hopefully I won’t have to though, thanks to Amazon.

We will see how it goes tonight and tomorrow.

Wish me luck!

Listening to:  The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Reading:  The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett and The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente

Quote of the Day:  “Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.” ― Harry S. Truman

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Managing Expectations

I had a few things happen to me personally over the weekend.  They weren’t bad things just annoyances that are still hitting me today.  When I came in this morning for work, I was talking to a friend about them, and about something else too.  I forget the exact words, but we ended up talking about managing expectations.

See, I have expectations for things in my life.  When things don’t meet those expectations, I get upset.  Normal human reaction, especially for someone with control issues.  Here’s how all this came up though.

My expectations for this weekend:

  • Make between $300 and $500 this weekend ridesharing.
  • Finish at least one book that I was reading/listening too.
  • Walk seven/eight miles.
  • Pick up the remaining things needed for vacation.
  • Post two videos: One wrap-up video and one book tag video

One… One thing out of those actually happened.  The others were partly done or not done at all.

My expectations for life:  That people are open enough that my lifestyle shouldn’t bother them.

I’m gay.  I get that there are people out there that don’t like gay people, aren’t okay with, etc.  I hadn’t really met any of those people.  I’ve met people that don’t agree with my choice to not have children (at one point I did, but now I have three.  I’m good.).  I’ve met people who make comments about my day job and how I couldn’t make it in the private sector.  I’ve met people who wouldn’t even say “Hi” to me because of my size.  I’ve met people that I didn’t feel comfortable telling I was gay to while they are stuck in a car with me.  So my expectation I guess had become that more people than not are okay with my lifestyle.

Yeah, no.

I was talking about my son going to Marines this past week to a couple from NC.  When I got asked if I was a nervous wreck, I said, “No, but his mom is.”  *Confused looks*  “But you said ‘your son?’” “Yes, my wife has three boys, so that makes them mine too.”  *Subject change*

Needless to say it was awkward after that confession.  I did it to myself by being proud of my relationship and our son.  I stopped talking so much after that trip and just drove.

I’m waiting to hear back from my application for Amazon Flex so I can give up rideshare driving.  Between that instance and people abusing the system (UberPool and Lyft line are for two people per trip.  Please stop trying to get away with 3 or more people.  Please order the right vehicle for your party, too.  OMG, the horror stories people…horror stories–See this upcoming Wednesday’s post).  I liked the money but I’m over the people.

Sigh.  Come on Sunday!

Listening to:  Human by Raggin Bone Man

Reading:  A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness and The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Quote of the Day:  “There’s a certain grace in accepting what your life is and embracing all the good things that have been – but there’s still an expectation of good things to come. Not necessarily what you expected.” ― Emmylou Harris

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Filed under Advice Column, Driving

Patience and Determination

This past week, I have been driving around like crazy.  It’s not been easy and I’ve spent almost 30 hrs on the road in the last week.  It should have been more.  I didn’t imagine this being a full-time job when I started it almost two years ago.

What I did imagine was getting further along in my career to where I wouldn’t have to drive around to make ends meet.  I set myself up for this though so I shouldn’t be complaining.

Determination to have a different life will always get the better of you.  When you are satisfied with the status quo, you stay where you are.  Some people are happy just surviving.  They aren’t doing much else with their lives, but they are happy for the most part.  There are days sometimes I wish I could be satisfied with a simple life, or in my version of things, the bare-minimum American dream.

I have always found the American dream to be a sham.  The big house with a white picket fence, a dog, a cat, two kids, a husband… I have already failed at this one since I’m gay and won’t be having any kids anytime soon.  But my wife wants that dream so I’ll patiently and determinately give it to her because it makes her happy.

Roots are not something I have ever wanted and/or needed.  Connections with things and homes don’t leave much space to move around for work or to have a somewhat vagabond-ish life that I had dreamed for myself as I had gotten older.  I used to joke on my dad about his wanderlust.  Looks like I have a version of that bug too.  Being married with kids and responsibilities has gone a long way to making sure that bug stays tucked away in a “What if” part of my brain.

Patience, though, keeps me stationary just as well.  Without patience, the need for instant gratification hits hard.  It’s definitely a generational thing, where I want something and I want it now.  If I don’t get it quickly, I stop working towards the goal and then when I think about it again, it’s too late or has lost the luster it once had.

Patience is definitely needed when it comes to getting the house we are trying for; determination is the only thing keeping me from walking away from it.  Determination to prove to everyone I can do this adulting thing and that I can finally get with the program to reach a lifetime milestone.  Well, that and $3,000 in earnest money (a DMV standard from those I have talked to about it.  Most other states require less.).  That’s too much money to just throw away, when building it back up would take six more weeks of me trying to kill myself.

Isn’t life grand?

Listening to:  The construction going on outside.

Reading:  “Uprooted” by Naomi Novik

Quote of the Day:  “Doubt is a virus that attacks our self-esteem, productivity and confidence. Faith that you and your life are perfectly unfolding is the strongest vaccine.” ― Sean Stephenson

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Filed under Advice Column, Driving, Finances, Goals

Saturday Night

I have been driving people around for a while now.  It’s not an uncommon situation:  When someone asks me what I’m doing at night/on the weekends, I’m driving to make money.  June saw me with no car and no extra cash for things.  Needless to say, things were, and are still, a little tight.

That’s why I found myself driving around trying to get to my monetary goal on Saturday night.

My last ride of the night was a young man in relative terms.  I don’t often work the drunk crowd; it’s my scene and I’d rather be the person drinking, not the DD.  Anyways, this guy is slightly wobbly and I’m like this is going to be a really irritating ride.  I picked the young man up; he was headed to the opposite of the Harbor.  His first comment was, “Take whatever route gets us there.”

In the following 20 some minutes, I found out a lot about my passenger.  Former Marine and he was dealing with a heartache.  His girlfriend of several years had a skewd view of a relationship.  We both agreed that a relationship is about spending time with each other.  On top of that, he had started setting up roots for their future.  He had moved to the area, bought a house, and had a decent job…He wanted the works everyone over 30 is supposed to want.  After serving his country and doing several tours, he deserved that.

What pissed me off was here was someone who had fought for our country who deserved to have his dreams come true.  Four years and newly single when all he wanted was to be happy with the person he saw his future with.  We kept talking about how nice it would be to have someone to come home to after a long day who loved you.  Her argument was that he seemed like he wanted Little Suzy Homemaker.  After talking to him, I didn’t get that impression at all.  Of course this was only over 20 minutes of talking to this guy while he was slightly intoxicated.

As an Uber Driver, what gets talked about in the car is supposed to die there, unless it’ an argument with the top dog of the company.  However, this guy’s story stuck with me all weekend.  I wanted to say something prolific about how we treat veterans like crap.  I have seen so many homeless vets and vets like my dad who hasn’t had anything good happen in couple years.  Maybe it’s my guilt of not being there for my dad right now, or when he needed me a few years ago.  I haven’t gotten past what I didn’t do when it would have been so easy to just help, and now it’s way too late to do anything about it.  Whatever it is, this young man’s story had me wanting to end my shift and grab drink just to continue the conversation.  I don’t get many passengers like that.

If you have military personnel in your life or know any military personnel, please say “Thank you” and hug them.  Start a conversation with them and see how they are truly doing AND LISTEN TO THEM.  Take them out for a nice day out and remind them the positives of what they have/are fighting for.  Help with what you can, even if it’s babysitting so they can have some time with their partners.  Most importantly, love them.

 

Listening to:  “Lydia” by Highly Suspect

Reading:  “Uprooted” by Naomi Novik

Quote of the Day:  “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” ― Vince Lombardi

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Filed under Advice Column, Driving

Time Sucks

Today is a question day.

Question #18: Which activities make you lose track of time?

  • Writing.  I can easily lose track of time when I’m typing away at a scene I really like.  I just keep going until I think of something else for another part of the story, questions I want to answer within that chapter, or the scene plays out to the end.
  • Cross-stitching. Going through the thread and the patterns help me get lost when I need something patient to do.  I will admit that it takes a while to complete because I find myself stopping every so often and putting to the side, especially when I’m in school.
  • Reading.  Books are my best friend when I’m on the train or stuck in traffic.  Some books pull me in and I want to keep going until I done with them.  Other books take a while to get through, not because the story is bad, but that I find other things to do with my time other than read them.  American Gods or Eat Pray Love are a few of those books for me.  American Gods because it makes you think about what immigrants brought to the new world as far as their beliefs and superstitions.  Eat Pray Love was because I didn’t want to have to sort through my feelings like Liz did.  Now, I don’t have to sort through them as much because I’m in a different “place” in my life.
  • Binge Watching. Since Netflix started doing streaming and I found some shows that I used to watch and loved, binge watching while cross-stitching is a thing now.  I haven’t watched Netflix in while because of work, school, and training.  I do remember I’m almost done with Ghost Whisperer and Once Upon a Time.  I finally finished watching Haven.  Out of all of series I’ve seen, there have only been two series I’ve watched with really satisfying endings:  Haven and Lost Girl.  Neither left me wanting more so if you need recommendations for binge-worthy shows, check them out.  I’m waiting to see what happens with Grimm  Good thing I’m almost ready to start a new cross-stitch pattern now that I’ve sorted through the books to donate, sell, and read.
  • Ubering.  I’m adding this to the list because I can easily spend ten plus hours driving people around over the weekend.  I’ll tell Ray I’ll stop work at a certain time and then I look up after a few trips and it’s closer to that time than I would have liked.  Nights where I’m up almost 22 hours straight mean I’m stopping somewhere on the way home to nap.  I don’t often do it over the week because when I do lose track of time, I suffer the next day.  Getting up at 4:30 a.m. after you get home at 11 p.m./12 a.m. isn’t as easy as it used to be.
  • Social Media. This is another one that’s easy to lose time with.  Pick a reason for any of the time sucks like Facebook, YouTube, or Pinterest, and you’ll hit the nail on the head.  I use YouTube for music and following a few different vloggers, among the “how-to” videos and the Super Carlin Brothers.

I should probably mention I used to be a gamer and that helped me lose track of time.  I haven’t played a game in a while.  After about an hour of playing, I would quit.  Might need to do a game run though just to get rid of some frustration waiting for softball to start.

What are some things you do that make you lose track of time?  Let me know because I could always use new ideas and things to check out.

Listening to: Beauty and the Beast Broadway Soundtrack.

Reading:  Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop

Quote of the Day: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” ― Maya Angelou

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Filed under Books/Classes, Cross-Stitch, Questions, TV Shows, Uber, Writing

Rocks in the Glass…

This morning, after parking my car, Ray sent me a message:  “Let’s guess what this is.”, followed by a picture of a chip the size of a nail head in her windshield.

We went back and forth for a few minutes before I called her and talked to her about it.  We both found it slightly funny and were happy it was just a chip and not a crack.  She agreed to pick up a repair kit on the way home and have one of the boys take a look at and hopefully fix it.

When I hung up, I couldn’t get past the comparison of how pebbles were annoyances, the highway life, and the car a person.  So I did what I do best:  write.

Take any measure of things that can hurt, maim, or damage cars like bugs, pebbles, stones, other cars, mud, etc. and make these the things that people go through in life.  Bugs could equal things that are minor annoyances that are easily dealt with by car wash and some elbow grease.  Stone and other cars, to me, would be deaths and losses since these can do the most damage to your car.

Cars are people, not literally but stay with me.  We all only have one car to get us from point A (birth) to point B (death).  We follow a road (Life).  Sometimes, we are alone on that road, coasting through stop signs and around curves that make up our experiences.  Other times, we have other cars around us, sharing our experiences and then taking another route towards their own destination.  This isn’t much different from the game, Life, a kid’s game I think we have at the house still.

Back to the rocks.  I got “hit” with a metaphysical stone that broke my windshield this week that I wasn’t prepared for.  I was cruising along thinking that everything was one and that I would have passed one of my classes with a “C”.  I could handle a “C”.  What I wasn’t prepared for was the “D” that popped up in the gradebook.  Talk about a blow.  I was eight classes away from graduating with my Bachelor’s and I’ve been at this now for a little over three years.  Now, I’m up to nine classes and a potential switch in my degree program.

For me, that stone and broken glass takes time to fix.  It may not seem like it shouldn’t have done much damage and in the long run, it probably hasn’t.  In the short term though, it has made me stop and think about what I really need to do outside of school right now, as I wait on the side of the road for someone to help me repair the glass.

Have a great Friday.

Listening to:  The sound of my typing.

Reading:  Written in Red by Anne Bishop

Quote of the Day:  “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius

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Filed under Advice Column, Driving, Writing