I was late for work this morning. It was my own fault: I dilly-dallied in front of the computer, reading weblogs for far too long. I stood in the shower for even longer. I went out to re-arrange garage sale stuff. By the time I got in the car, it was 6:35. (Typically I leave the house by 6:30; the latest I've ever left before is 6:32.)
For some people, being a few minutes late for work isn't a big deal. For me, it means $50. At Custom Box, we have an incentive (the Tony Incentive) whereby if an employee is on-time every day during a pay period, he receives a $50 bonus. It sucks to be a minute late because you were surfing the web.
My drive normally takes me exactly half an hour. On a good day, I can do it in twenty-nine minutes. On a really good day, I can do it in twenty-eight. I'd never done it in twenty-seven. Could I possibly make it to work on time this morning?
(When reading this next section, it's important to realize that I am generally a speed-limit driver. I typically exceed the speed limit only under special circumstances.)
I sped down River Road doing seven miles an hour above the limit. I sped through Oregon City doing ten miles an hour over the limit. I hit my ten-minute checkpoint in eight minutes (something I've never done). On 99E, between Oregon City and Canby, I cruised at fifteen minutes over the limit (which is normal for everyone else, but not for me). I hit my twenty-minute checkpoint in Canby at seventeen minutes. In fact, I made it to the far side of Canby, my twenty-four minute checkpoint, in twenty minutes. Awesome! I sped the rest of the way to work, pulling into the drive at 7:01 — a total trip time of twenty-six minutes! Best of all, I punched in with a minute-and-a-half to spare. My $50 bonus is safe. For now.
Over in the flotch I've posted a link about personal revenge for everyday annoyances. The article in question explains how people vent their frustrations with modern life through all sorts of clever, creative (yet petty) vengeance.
Here's a typical example. When you order drinks, pizzas, or what-have-you, you're often given a choice of size: medium, large, or extra large. Some people — myself included — refuse to play that game. We'll often order small drink (or pizza or what-have-you). That's an example of petty personal revenge.
One of my favorites is the story of the fellow who hated junk mail. He filled pre-paid reply envelopes with as much heavy material as possible ("small strips of sheet metal" !!!) and sent them back. Sure, he probably only cost his victims a buck or two each time, but it gave him a tremendous sense of satisfaction.
I, too, take petty revenge for everyday annoyances. For example:
- When a big corporation changes its name, I continue to call it by its old name. For example, when US West changed its name to Qwest — most likely in a bid to escape the reputation for terrible service that dogged the company — I continued to call it US West. Stupid, I know, but it makes me happy.
- I spend time and energy disputing every nickel and dime that I am overbilled. I understand that, in theory, it's not worth my effort, but it's an important moral thing to me. If these big companies fuck over each of their customers for a couple bucks a year, that's a hell of a lot of money.
- When a company or organization with which I have a moral dispute orders boxes, I charge them extra. For example, when Right to Life ordered boxes from us, they paid twice what a normal customer would. If a (non-major) customer is particularly annoying, they pay extra, too. (With big customers, we suck it up, even if they bug us.) We call this extra charge the AHC — the additonal handling charge. It's really the asshole surcharge.
- I am wholly intolerant of telemarketers. I hang up on them. I berate them. I string them along. I set the phone down and walk away, leaving them to talk to dead air. I swear at them. Yes, I know there's a human being at the other end of the line, but I really don't care. The "other human being factor" is precisely why telemarketing works; telemarketers prey on your unwillingness to be rude. Well, fuck them. Telemarketers are a scourge, and whatever I can do to annoy them is a victory. (Several times I've had telemarketers call me back and chew me out for my behavior. You know what? If I'm able to piss off a telemarketer, I've achieved a dominating victory.)
- The one semi-dangerous thing I do is this: Many intersections have multiple turning lanes. For some reason there are certain intersection at which a majority of drivers ignore this. They'll be in the inside lane and try to turn to the outside lane. This is illegal. It's also dangerous. I make a point of turning from the outside lane just so I can lay on the horn when another driver swings wide. Again, I know it's stupid, but I do it, and I derive satisfaction from it. (Portland intersections at which this commonly occurs: the 217N exit at Greenburg near Washington Square, the Front Street S exit to I-5, the turn from Burnside E to 99E S, etc.)
On this day at foldedspace.org
2004 — Matrix Revolutions Because I have too much free time, here are my real-time comments regarding the The Matrix Revolutions.
2003 — Books and Balls In which I discuss the difficulty of selecting a book-group book, and I exalt at the arrival of the latest soccer season.
2002 — Microcassette Recorder A couple of weeks ago I purchased a microcassette recorder for Computer Resources. My memory is poor, and sometimes when dealing with clients it's difficult to get everything they say down on paper. The microcassette recorder is meant to be a sort of memory backup.