December 18th, 2004

i'm ready for my close up mr demille

Murphy's fuckin' law

Location: HOME!!!

Everything that could possibly have gone wrong in the past two days has done exactly that:

1.  My backhaul from Colorado was supposed to have been ready Wednesday night at midnight.  When was it ready?  4pm Thursday.

2.  At 5am on Friday morning while gettin' it across Iowa, I was treated to a flat tire on the trailer.  I had to backtrack to Des Moines 20 miles to get it repaired.  Time lost?  Three hours.

3. After finally arriving into the Chicago area on Friday afternoon and dropping the load, there were no empty trailers for me to take from the drop yard.  No problem I thought, I have to go to the terminal in Indianapolis anyway for a few odds and ends, I'll just grab one there.  As added precaution, my dispatcher gave me another location in Indy to look for a trailer should there be none at the terminal.  There were none at the terminal and none at the second location.  Night/weekend dispatch managed to find me one at yet a third location, but I still wasted an hour hunting for an empty.

4. Twenty minutes from home and an accident on the Bluegrass Parkway has traffic stopped in both directions.  Time sitting on the freeway twenty minutes from home?  TWO HOURS!

If everything had gone right I would've been home by noon on Friday.  Instead, I got home at 4am on Saturday morning. Ahhhh, trucking.

I think this will effectively terminate my idea of spending some time in NYC on Sunday... I just have too much crap I gotta get done around here tomorrow and still make it to Boston by Monday.

A number of years ago, whilst attempting to save what was left of my marriage at the time, I was introduced to the Meyer-Briggs personality inventory.  For those of you familiar with it, it turns out I am INTP.  There are many characteristics unique to each personality type.  We NT's tend to be a little obsessive about language, in particular the precision of it.  This is certainly true of me.  In addition to my tendancy to not mince words and often being guilty of reaching for just the right word in conversation, I think about language and the way it is used constantly.  A couple of weeks ago, while visiting with my dear friend justamy (she being an INTP as well) I mused on the inadequate array of words we have for the location of the toilet, particularly in public locations.  In the past weeks I've spent even more time thinking about it, as well as an expression that bugs me.  Bear with me, and you will see what I mean.  I apologize if this seems George Carlin-ish of me, but I can't help it.  I think he may be an NT, too.

The problem I have with the location of the toilet is that, in American speech, we do not have an adequate word for it when referencing it in a public location.  The two most commons terms we associate with this location is "bathroom" and "restroom".  "Bathroom" is perfectly adequate when using it in the home, for there is certainly a bath located in them. However this is not the case in a public setting. Of course, there are some "bathrooms" in the home that do not have baths and we call them "half baths", yet another completely inadequate term.  If you own a home with 1.5 baths, you actually own a home with 1 bathroom and 1 not a bathroom. 

I loathe the term restroom, yet I have to use it because there is no suitable alternative when referring to that location in informal settings.  You don't go there to rest... perhaps to be relieved, but not rest.  All of the alternatives we have are either too silly, too pretentious, or too coarse for every day, informal speech.  Silly?  Well, "the loo" is pretty silly...  so is "latrine" and "potty".  Pretentious?  Where to start?  There's "the facilities", "the lavatory", or simply "the toilet" - no one says "I'm going to the toilet".  I have to admit "wash room" is a bit on the border, but I still think it sounds way too formal and pretentious for every day language... it sounds like something you would read in an office memo.  And then there are the coarse synonyms like "can", "john", "crapper", and "shitter".  I guess these are fine in certain informal settings, but not every day informal settings.  Years ago I knew a guy who had a very coarse, non-verbal means of expressing his intent.  He would turn to the side to prevent a profile view of himself.  He would cup his hand loosely in a palm-up fashion and place it about a foot from his crotch then flop his wrist downward, as if laying a salami on a table. 

You know what expression bothers me?  This one used to bug me when I worked in the service industry, where you are always presenting something to a customer.  Anytime you give something to someone and you feel verbal acknowledgement of that transaction should transpire, what do you say?  You say, "Here you go."  When you think about it: 1) it has nothing to do with the action and 2) it makes no goddamn sense anyway.  "Here you go?!?!?"  Taken literally, I guess this means that they ("you") may commence ("go") in this location ("here").  Which I guess makes a little bit of sense in a convoluted sort of way.  And since it occured two sentences ago, why can't the English language have an acceptable plural for the second-person pronoun "you" rather than redundantly using the third-person plural pronoun "they"?  This is precisely why atrocities like "youse" in the Northeast and "y'all" in the South came into existence in the first place.  But I digress.

An alternative of this expression is uttered if you feel you are being particularly helpful in a situation and your help signals both the beggining and end of your contact with that person.  This is, like, when a stranger drops something and you pick it up for them or you hold the door open for someone you don't know.  You say, "There you go." This carries the slight connotation of "I gave this to you to be helpful, now I'm finished with you."  You may now commence, but not here... there, somewhere, anywhere, just not here.  Of course this isn't literal but figurative.... kinda like how Fredo is dead to Michael Corleone in The Godfather.  Basically, you have done your duty to give something to someone, but now, you're dead to me.  Our relationship has finished since I have done this for you.

Worst of all is when you are helping someone who is somehow inferior to you, usually due to being either very young or very old; like helping a little kid tie his shoes or helping an elderly person up from their seat... you make it that slightly condescending "Therrrrre we go".  The change in the pronoun is a bit sinister, overtly implying that it could not have been done without your help ("we"). If you feel like being over-the-top condescending, you change it to "Therrrre we are!"  Your magnanimous help didn't just get them going, apparently their very existence was not possible until you intervened.