Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Thursday Thirteen #230


1) "Would you prefer smoking or non-smoking?"

2) "Do you have a pay phone?"

3) "The Walkman ate my cassette tape."

4) "The picture tube blew."

5) "I got this with Green Stamps."

6) "Be kind. Rewind."

7) "Operator, get me the police."

8) "I can use a paperclip to eject that floppy."

9) "Here comes the milk man."

10) "I need a new needle for the record player."

11)  "Adjust the rabbit ears."

12) "I have to defrost the freezer."

13) "I hate how it tastes to lick a stamp."

Can you add any more?

Please join us for The NEW THURSDAY THIRTEEN. Click here to play along, and to see other interesting compilations of 13 things.


This meme is no more. And yet I persist in answering the three questions it asked each week. Stubborn, ain't I?

• What are you currently reading? Wake by Anna Hope. I just picked it up, so I can't vouch for the quality yet. But it's about three women in London, 1920, "dealing with the aftershocks of World War I and the impact on the men in their lives."
• What did you recently finish reading? The Cracker Factory by Joyce Rebeta-Burditt. Written in the late 1970s, this book about an alcoholic housewife's stay in a sanitarium ("The Cracker Factory" of the title) is very dated. First of all, everyone smokes. Patients, doctors, everybody! I was a little concerned about the hospital giving possibly suicidal patients matches, but beyond that, I couldn't get past how awful that hospital must have smelled! And then there was the "you're like OJ Simpson" reference, which at the time meant graceful and efficient.

Still, I enjoyed the book. It was funny and very compassionate toward its characters, even the ones it was hard to like at times. I became rather fond of our heroine, Cassie, because while she was clever and very funny, she was also very flawed and in some ways quite ordinary, which made her easy to relate to.

• What will you read next? I think I'll return to my own private library. That's how I stumbled upon The Cracker Factory. I wonder what forgotten gems are hiding in my den!

Well, that was a first

Since I don't drive, I take cabs all the time. It's unusual for a week to go by without me in the backseat of one taxi or another … either because public transportation doesn't go to where I'm headed or it's not safe at that hour or I've cut it too close.

Yesterday something happened to me while taking a cab that's never happened before: My cab driver refused to leave me alone at the address where he dropped me off.

The Comcast customer service location nearest my home was only 5 miles and 15 minutes (in traffic) in distance but a lifestyle away. I knew the neighborhood had a bad reputation, but I didn't realize how bad. Or how well deserved.

Here I was at an office building in a strip mall at 10:00 on a sunny Tuesday morning, and the cabbie said, "I will wait for you here for half an hour. No charge."

I told him not to worry about it, that I had my cell phone and would call for another cab when I was done.

"No cab driver will pick you up here. I'll wait for you. No charge."

I went into the service center, saw the line, and ran back out to the cab. "There's a line," I said, "you should go."

The cabbie gave me a small, chilled bottle of water to drink while I waited in line, told me he would go out on another call, but would meet me right here. "Do not worry," he said.

I wasn't worried. It was cold but bright and sunny morning and I couldn't see any harm coming to me in this standard-issue strip mall (though, come to think of it, all the other storefronts were abandoned). But he was insistent. So he drove off (without my having paid him a cent yet) and came back just as he promised and drove me home, charging me $28 for the round trip.

This morning I checked the crime stats in that neighborhood and it's sobering. Statewide in Illinois, there are 38.1 crimes per square mile. In this neighborhood, there are 389 ... more than 10x the average.

So I'm grateful to my over protective cab driver for taking such good care of me (and for the bottled water)