Interstate 95 and I got to know each other a bit last weekend.
Madison and I fought through massive downpours from Charlotte to the Georgia-Florida line. Hurricane Joaquin churned well off the East Coast, but his thuggy thunderstorm friends decided to bust out a few windows in the Carolinas all the same. We turned off onto 95 and heard this from the GPS:
“Next turn, 542 miles.” Interstate 95 lasts a while.
It changes, from the stretch in South Carolina where you see pickups with lots of mud and deer stickers and South Carolina Gamecocks logos, to the stretch in Georgia where you see pickups with lots of mud and deer stickers and Georgia Bulldogs logos.
You also have a stretch in Florida where you see pickups with lots of mud and deer stickers and Florida Gators logos.
It’s a racetrack. “It feels like I should have a video game soundtrack station on Pandora right now,” I told my co-pilot. I found myself speeding even, switching lanes and channeling my inner Juan Pablo.
Right around Coco Beach, the trucks diminished, but the race conditions did not. I dug in against Lexuses and BMWs and sports cars I couldn’t identify. One dude cut clear across all lanes in front of me, forcing me off into defensive mode.
“!@#%!” I yelled, and Madison asked if I’d give him the finger.
“No way,” I said.
I might be Carolina tough, but I’ve also seen Miami Vice.
1. Why did they invent the car horn?
To identify you as a target motorist for pissing off the wrong guy.
Cars have had horns for about as long as they haven’t had horses. In the early 1800s, a car horn was a dude on foot who waved a red flag and blew a horn. Some innovating genius said, “hey, what if we put the horn on the car?”
By thate 1800s, car drivers could pick from bulb horns, whistles and bells.
One particularly assertive model, known as the Godin, carried the slogan “you press as you steer and your pathway is clear.”
Did you know:
- One early 1900s horn, called the Sireno, had a noise range of one mile.
- A 1968 joint study by scientists from the U.S. and Canada revealed men are more likely to honk their horns than women.
- You can buy a Dukes of Hazard Dixie air horn on eBay for $42.99.
2. How do you become a babysitter?
Tell people you’re available to babysit. Parents desperate enough will take you up on it.
Care.com outlines 13 easy steps to becoming a sitter of kids, totally legit. For ages 14 and older, care.com connects you with parents in need of babysitters. The site even has a pay calculator to determine what to charge.
I babysat many kids back in the day. My favorite family was the Welchs. Their two boys were so chill, I think they ate one carrot stick each (a baby carrot at that!) and were in bed by 4:45 p.m.
I’d stay up and listen to their parents’ Huey Lewis and the News records for the next seven hours.
When they got home, the mom would sway back and forth with a buzzed smile and hand me a wad of bills. On my way out, the dad would say, “hey, don’t let me forget to pay you!” and start rummaging around in his pockets.
He didn’t even care when I said his wife already had paid me.
It was like getting a tip on a restaurant tab you’ve already added 18% to.
I definitely recommend the rouge route, kids.
3. Does Wonder Woman have her own movie?
It’s coming, and I hope it has a rogue element to it, too.
CinemaBlend.com says it’ll be here in 2017. Gal Gadot will play Wonder Woman, aka Diana Prince, not that soccer coach we had for a minute. You know the one.
Nothing against Gal, but these would be my finalists to portray the toughest woman superhero:
JAIMIE ALEXANDER | The Blindspot star is bad-ass enough for the job. This South Carolina native portrayed a warrior goddess of Asgard in Thor.
EMMA STONE | Despite her affinity for hellish kids show iCarly, Emma would be perfect as Wonder Woman, going from redhead to raven. She’s my favorite Spiderman love interest ever.
STANA KATIC | She could redeem herself for falling for another writer in the TV show Castle. If not, I’ll bring in a wild card, Bianca Kajlich, who was poor like me until she landed on Rules of Engagement.
4. How often do you have to do jury duty?
Not often enough.
I say this not out of civic pride and enthusiasm to serve my community, but because of the day of relaxation. Each time I’ve served, I haven’t been as much as called into the next room for vetting.
Instead, I stayed in the lounge area, a collection of comfy stadium seats and coves for laptop use.
They show movies in the county courthouse. And have a nice pool table. The jury duty lounge is a lot like where I work, actually. Last time, I went ahead and finished the game of pool I found myself wrapped up in when they announced we could go home.
Your local federal court can summons you once every two years. So too can your state. If you’re lucky. And they have lounges like my county does.
5. Do you always listen to NPR?
Always. Except for when I don’t.
I tune in NPR whenever I’m in the car. There’ve been exceptions. I personally protested the way WFAE reported on the Randall Kerrick trial recently. I didn’t like how news reports included race only when doing so could incite.
I’d hook up my smartphone and cue up Pandora, then.
I’d prefer Paul McCartney and Wings to unbalanced reporting. I gave up even Pandora. Memories and lyrics being especially tough to take. I turned to the Pandora station for relaxing yoga music, which calmed me – and began to put me to sleep from the inside.
(Calling up Illusions continuous mix helped a little, but … )
I’m now listening to NPR again, every time I drive. I listen to Pandora music, with lyrics and music and everything. (Otis Redding’s “Stand by Me” plays as I write this). We cycle around to the good stuff, eventually.
If you stay sharp and keep your GPS aimed right, you’ll be all right.
So won’t you stand by me?
Love NPR and Nikki Sixx. I don’t hate jury duty. Babysitting was fun.. play with the kiddos…would have done that for free. Don’t tell the parents.
I wonder how many posts combine NPR and Nikki Sixx. Jury duty even without the perks is our civic duty, isn’t it?
I know, I enjoyed my babysitting gigs. I wasn’t much older than some of the kids I got paid to watch.
Probably not too many posts combine. When I was first selected, I told the court I was a former LE student but that I could be fair. I hoped that would get me out. It didn’t. Civic duty…yes.
I’d love to know all the ways people try to get out!
Move out of state. I was summoned in MI as I was moving to IL. I called the court and told them. I even showed proof of my new addy. I was summoned in IL. It was horrific. We sat in a room while watching bad tv. Then at 4pm we were finally called in. This guy was brought up. The attorneys and he danced around for 15 minutes because the guy said he could not be partial. They let him go.
I think we need nationwide jury duty reform. My complaint was I hoped they’d buy us a nice lunch, too. And maybe cocktails after.
Glad to see you back home safely after dealing with riff-raff in BMW’s 🙂 I’ve been called up for jury duty once but didn’t have to do it because I was a single parent with three children under the age of eight. I wouldn’t mind doing it now, because in our state days 1 to 10, all jurors receive $104.75 a day, or $523.75 a week. From day 11 onward, the amount paid increases to $235.65 a day, or $1178.25 a week, if you’re employed. Which is actually a pay rise if your normal job pays you less. If you’re unemployed, it stays at $104.75 which is much more than my current income.
I’ve done my share of babysitting in the past and been paid for it. These days, payment doesn’t enter the equation when you babysit your grandchildren 😮
They also had to deal with me, Lyn! I kind of can’t wait for my next jury duty summons, honestly.
That’s incredible, that pay. That’s better than some people’s jobs pay!
I would love for my dad to be here to ‘babysit’ my kids … I wonder how much they’d get away with when it comes to him (that I didn’t as a kid!)
LOL they’d probably get away with heaps. I know I did when I was a kid. My Nana spoiled me rotten. I have a plaque on the wall that says, “Grandchildren are your reward for not strangling your kids.” You feel a freedom you didn’t have as a parent 😉
I’m glad to see this kind of grandparenting still exists … sometimes I see evidence of otherwise!
I’m on the car Mon-Fri for 15 miles and 35-45 minutes each way to school and back. Some days it feels like 542 miles – especially when folks are putting along talking on their cell phones. I listen to news talk or NPR, except when they do the pledge drive – love their stories that give background to what’s happening in the world. But some days, I plug in my iPhone and jam to tunes – the other day it was the Easy Rider soundtrack – I didn’t even care if bozos were ahead of me on the road! Have a great weekend and I’ll be reaching out to you soon.
I know the struggle brother – all told, getting the kids to school and me to work, it can be well more than an hour. That’s like more than half of Diane Rehm’s shift.
The pledge drive can be tedious, especially because I’m a listener but not a giver.
Definitely reach out. I’m embarrassed to say that i remember we talked about a post a while back, because I’m afraid my deadline has come and gone. Let’s talk.
I am so with you, as it is Paul McCartney and Wings here any day for me, as well and add in a little of John, George and Ringo, too if need be! But still too bad you don’t live closer as one of the Facebook groups I belong no joke someone just asked if anyone knew a cheap babysitter to watch their kids for date night. Seriously, would have so hooked her up! 😉
“Band on the Run” gives you a lift and mellows you out, JH. My girls are champion babysitters without all the certifications, even. They’d be up for it!
I hate traveling down I 95 especially all the way to Florida! It’s closed now due to the flooding I heard. Glad you all made it back safe and sound!
It just felt like a video game, which was fine with me. The flooding is still wreaking havoc on that beautiful state, Rena.
We saw some of the devastation driving home. The Broad River looked like an ocean.
Your jury duty summons sounds much nicer than any I have endured. We get fold out chairs and no TV, shoved in a tiny room with little to no air circulation. Made for a long, long day.
My life as a teenager was the the neighborhood babysitter. I made good money that supplied pounds of penny candy to my friends at school back in the day.
Someone just asked me the other day if I ever listened to NPR? Is it bad that I have NO idea what it was until they explained it to me. I like to live under a rock. 🙂
It’s posh, for sure, Tiff. It doesn’t even feel like you’re held against your will. I kind of hated to leave.
Gosh, I never shared a penny of what I made as a babysitter. That was for albums and Star Wars figures (I was in that tough transition between little kid and teenager then.)
You’d love NPR. Even if the programming sucked, just to get away from morning radio shows and car commercials would be worth it.
I’ve never served on a jury, but any money received for serving (not counting meal per diem) has to be turned over to my employer if I don’t want to use my vacation time.
It happens to be I have extra time on the books, so if it happens I will use my leave and take the money and run.
Satellite is what saves my sanity on my commute (up and down I-95, actually). I would resort to eating ramen noodles-only from now on if that is what it took to pay that bill. Well worth it.
I remember that rule now. You’ve got the plan, though. What station do you tune in on satellite?
I can’t listen to NPR without falling asleep. That is NOT a boast. Shame on me.
I’ve never been called for jury duty. Knock on wood, please.
I did many years of babysitting, but it was way before Care.com was even a twinkle in someone’s eye.
I can’t read without falling asleep. That’s not a boast. NPR can keep me awake – even when I’m sleepy.
We managed to babysit back in the day without too many headlines, didn’t we?
I have only been called for jury duty twice. I assure you there was no lounge type atmosphere and it was quite unpleasant. I’m okay if I don’t get called again. I did some baby sitting back in the day. There was only one family where it was a one-time thing because the kids were that bad 🙂
I’ve only been twice, and can’t wait for go No. 3. I wish every courthouse could feel like a posh grownup daycare, Janna.
What’d the kids do? Is it in a post? Should it come to me in an email?
When I rode motorbike I had a BMW driver pull up alongside me on a stretch of highway, smile then force me into a huge swathe of gravel on the opposite side of the road. %$#@! and (*&^$%# I’m not allowed to do jury duty being an ex policeman. Baby sitting? I was the live in baby sitter for my younger siblings, even when I started work I had them on weekends. It is possible to hate your siblings for a period of time.
Kind of evil if you ask me mate – it wasn’t the same bloke who rubbed your face on a stucco wall, was it?
I can imagine the babysitting bit sits in a post somewhere for you, mate – written or unwritten.
Evil indeed Mate, I think the driver ended up in my first book. No, it wasn’t him. The baby sitting sits in a place marked, ‘I missed out on all the chances with girlfriends until I left home.’ No girl wants to talk to you when you’re pushing a baby in a pram, caring a toddler on your shoulders and arguing with a brother 6 years younger than you. It kind of knocks the gloss off.
and yet, a dude walking a puppy becomes an instant prince in the eyes of lovely women. Go figure.
I know, it’s crazy and believe me, at the time I would have traded them for a puppy.
You might have had to toss in your wristwatch, mate.
…and a set of steak knives.