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Cowboy R's Latest Failure

I was in truck driving school.

I hated it. I felt like I was drinking from a firehose, while keeping a plate balanced on a stick. Only it wasn't a plate, it was an anvil, which could crush anyone standing under it when it fell. And people kept insisting on standing under it and laughing at the danger.

Yesterday, we got evaluated on our ability to perform the skills they had introduced us to, so far. I failed the evaluations. I could not perform the simplest task, pulling the truck straight forward and then backing it straight back between two lines the size of a freeway lane, without touching either line with the tires or the sides of the truck.

If I had failed to do this task properly in the real world, it would have meant that I hit something with my trailer, causing potentially thousands of dollars of damage, or even killing someone.

I couldn't do it. The simplest task in the school, and I couldn't do it after a week's instruction. I'd have the instructors literally right there beside me telling me what to do, and I couldn't do it.

If, after a week of practice, I couldn't do this simplest of tasks, truck driving is not for me. I can't be responsible for a forty-ton murder weapon that I can't control.

So I'm back to being part of the unneccessariat. I'll go back to applying for jobs where I can't kill someone, and hope my luck changes soon.

Cowboy R and the Ongoing Idleness

Still job hunting. I haven't heard back from Greyhound. As long as it's been, I suspect they've decided they're not interested in having me drive for them. Since I have a place to stay out there, I've been applying for other positions in the Puget Sound area as well.

Otherwise, it's business as usual: driving my mother's friend's kid about, doing some writing, playing Final Fantasy X|V. It's life, Jim... exactly as we know it.

Cowboy R and the Collision

They say that the average person is involved in one motor vehicle accident per decade. I'd been below average in that sense for a while; the last accident I was involved in was in Raleigh, when my friend Joseph inadvertently totaled my car on I-40... and that was while I was still dating Trish, so, what... at least twenty years ago. Until Monday.

I've mentioned that I'm giving a kid a lift home from school most everyday, and that this driving is my only source of income at the moment. So Monday evening, I left the house to go get the kid. It was raining a little, and I wryly thought that I needed to be careful, because rain brings out the worst drivers, even here where it rains so much.

So, there I was, drivin' along, minding my own business. The light changed, and people started slowing down to stop at the light. And, smack... I got hit from behind by a guy driving a penis truck.

I pulled off into the nearest parking lot, and fortunately, he followed me. We each got out of our vehicles, and made sure the other person was okay. I called the police, and while we were waiting for the police, we exchanged insurance information. The policeman showed up, took our licenses and insurance cards, and disappeared into his car for a while.

I called my insurance company. I called his insurance company. I called my mother, let her know I was alright. The policeman came back, gave me a card with a number on it, and let me know that I could pick up his report at the station "later this week."

The guy with the penis truck drove away. I was having post-adrenaline shakes, and went to the grocery to get a soda. Then I drove home. The people at the insurance company had told me that I could expect a call from the local agent that night or the next morning. In fact, it was almost noon the next day before he called me, and he conferenced in my mother, as it is actually her car, not mine.

He tried to give her a polite-blow off about getting an adjuster to look at the car immediately, and she wasn't having any. I sometimes joke that my mother is secretly Mrs. Kim, and she had the guy literally stuttering at one point because he didn't know how to respond to her direct assertion that he was not doing his job properly.

Anyway, Progressive doesn't send adjusters out to view wrecks; you've got to go to them. So Wednesday morning, I took the car to the place and saw the guy. He had an intern with him, and they spent half an hour examining the car. Then he spent another ten minutes writing up the estimate. It looks like the repairs will run four and a half or five thousand.

But the guy who hit me? Hasn't contacted his insurance company. Isn't responding, apparently, to their calls. And the police report hasn't arrived at the insurance office. So the insurance company isn't ready to authorize the repair they estimated, or any other. And, since they can't be sure their guy was actually at fault, they won't authorize a rental car in the interim, either.

So... here we are. With a smooshed car, and no idea how long it's going to take to get fixed.

Meanwhile...

My mother was talking to her niece, and her niece's nephew (who would be... my first cousin once removed? I think?) had recently gotten a job driving for Greyhound, despite his criminal record. And so I looked at the website, and they're not hiring for drivers in Knoxville. They're hiring in Nashville, and Memphis, and in Charlotte, but not Knoxville. Actually, looking at where they have driver positions, I suspect that they have hubs, and Knoxville isn't one. There's a station here, but I don't think any routes originate or terminate here; they just stop on the way to someplace else.

But... two of the places they do have driver positions available are two places I've been thinking about moving to for a while: Portland, Oregon; and Seattle, Washington. Now, I don't know that I know anyone in Portland, but I have friends in the vicinity of Seattle, witchofnovember and kit_ping, and of course, Kit's husband nicodemusrat.

So... I'm applying to Greyhound, and hoping they'll hire me to drive out of Seattle.

So nothing is settled, anywhere in my life right now. But maybe soon.

Answer for question 4586.

Have you or will you buy tickets for tonight's Powerball drawing (currently estimated at $475 million for the jackpot)? What's the first thing you'd do if you checked your numbers and saw that you'd hit "the big one"?
You just reminded me to go out and purchase a ticket, so thanks.

I keep a list, actually, of things I would do if lots of money abruptly came my way. A scholarship fund at Pima College and / or Northern Arizona University for men going into nursing, with preference to veterans. A library of sustainable technologies and the skills required to use them. A multi-discipline school of the sword. College funds for the red-headed cousins and their little brother.

But I think the import of this question is, what's the impulse thing, the "Woo, I have money!" thing that I'd do? The nature of the word "impulse" suggests that I don't know, and it could very well end up being hookers and blow... but knowing me, it would probably be an Indian Scout motorcycle, or something equally on the edge of practicality.

Cowboy R and the Journey into Darkness

First of all, I have not yet seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I would therefore appreciate the holding of spoilers clear of me for a few more days.



About 1977, I was living in Northern Arizona, in a town so small, it didn't even have its own grocery store. Groceries were a half hour drive away; movies, an hour. But my mother wanted to take a trip to do some research in Salt Lake City, so off we went to The Big City. While we were there, we stopped to see a film called Star Wars, because we were both big Science Fiction fans (and still are, though we have a small disagreement about how good a writer Isaac Asimov was). After we saw the film, my mother drove all over the City, to different Burger King restaurants, so that I could have all the promotional posters they offered... a full set of four.

On Monday, my mother and I will be going to see the sixth sequel to that little film. While I don't anticipate driving around to Burger Kings (mostly because I haven't heard that they're offering a poster series for this one), I am happy to be seeing the film with the same person who enjoyed that first one with me, lo those many moons ago.



I'm still unemployed. I talked to the lady from Knox 911 the other day... when I handed in my application packet to her a couple of months ago, she mentioned that she'd just hired a group, but she was still a few dispatchers down, and might be hiring again when these completed training. Well, as I say, I talked to her, and she was very brusque, and basically slammed the door on my hopes there.

I was talking to an old friend of mine (possibly my oldest friend, actually), dorinda2212's little sister, the other day. She's working emergency dispatch in Houston and moving up... she was talking about how she needs to take a class in Spanish, and then she's going to apply to move into a training position. She says they're nine dispatchers down, and hiring.

There's a part of me that's strongly tempted to put in an application, (and, always presuming I get hired) toss some clothes in a duffle, and go crash on her couch until I can afford to get my stuff from mom's house. But:
  1. I don't currently even have a functional vehicle.
  2. I really don't want to do another "jump in the car and move with the stuff that fits in the car" style move, even if I had a functional vehicle, which see point the first.
  3. If I were going to put in an application and move in said fashion, I think it would be to somewhere in the Pacific Northwest (PNW), not to Texas. I don't think I want to live in Texas.
So. I'm sending applications / resumes out to things here in K'ville, and hoping someone decides I'm what they're looking for. In the meantime, I'm watching TV, and sleeping strange hours, and occasionally spending some of my small stash of money doing something like buying unfiltered apple juice and then accidentally smashing the jug and spilling the juice all over the garage. Because that's so much fun.

Cowboy R and the Fictional Girls

I'm at the phase of unemployment where I'm awake at strange hours of the day. I thought about watching some anime, but I am fed up with things set in high schools, or about the joy of first love, or... yeah. I'm kind of anime'd out. Last night, I watched Jenny's Wedding, which is that rarest of all things, a lesbian love story with a happy ending. Alexis Bledel plays the love interest, though she's barely seen... it's really about Jenny's coming out to her family and the drama that causes.

But Alexis Bledel always makes me think of Gilmore Girls. I discovered the show in its second season, and have loved it deeply ever since. But... I tried to share it with Summer, and we watched the first season together, and she really liked it, and that... flavored my feelings about the first season. So tonight I decided that I need to reclaim the series for myself. I loved it before Summer, and I need not to let her take that away from me, no matter how much I miss what I thought we had.

I once tried to base a prominent NPC in one of my cooperative Star Trek fanfic games on Suki St. James, Lorelei's best friend and chef. She's not the kind of character I'm good at writing, though, and she soon migrated mostly off-screen and became much less scatter-brained. And I don't know where I'm going with that, other than illustrating my love for the show.

In time, I'm sure I'll remember things other than snuggling up with Summer on the sofa to watch episodes. I'm working on it.

Cowboy R and the Status Quo

It's another Moanday, so I thought I'd drop some words into the electronic ether.

I'm still unemployed. I'm doing the dropping resumes at people who advertise they're hiring thing, and they're doing the not responding to me thing. I'm not doing anything useful with my time; I should, but I'm kind of depressed and lacking motivation to do anything but lie in bed and play video games.

Was kind of thinking about Asimov's laws of robotics the other day. His first law is "A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm." I've been wondering, though, if we wouldn't be better off with robots having a more Jainist approach to the question of doing harm. Of course, if they did, that might make it difficult for me to have a hamburger, and I like hamburgers.

Cowboy R and the Renewed Failure

So, I'm unemployed. Again.

It started with the tooth. I could say a great many words about the new phone mine; about the failures of their HR staff to get ready for incoming people, but I won't bother. What's more important right now is that they had a draconian attendance policy. Technically, they could have fired me for having missed three days over the tooth going bad, but they put me on final written warning instead.

Then they put me on a special queue answering questions for a particular client. This particular client had different rules than the general run of clients. One of those rules is that you can't talk to people's spouses about the medications they're taking, unless written permission from that spouse is on file.

So yesterday, a guy called in whose wife has dementia, and he's managing her medications for her. And I didn't check to be sure the documents were in place; I just helped him manage her medications. Well, you know how you always hear the voice say "this call may be monitored for quality or training purposes?" They pulled that call to monitor my quality.

So, an infraction that would normally have resulted in a written warning, because I was already on the final written warning, got me "terminated." So here I am. Unemployed again.

Came home, sat down to watch some Orphan Black. Played some DC Universe Online. Took a nap. Stared into the abyss.

Answer for question 4539.

If you were going to ask someone to marry you, how would you do it (or how did you do it if you already have)? Would you plan a Big Special Thing to surprise them, or would you keep it simple?
Three years ago, I was planning to ask my girlfriend to marry me.

We'd watched Gilmore Girls season one together. When Max asks her to marry him, Lorelei says that they can't get married just to stop an argument. That there should be a thousand yellow daises, and a horse, though she wasn't sure what the horse was doing there. When we watched the scene, my girlfriend said emphatically, "Exactly!"

So I called around to the places no more than an hour's drive from our house that offered horseback rides by the hour. Did any of them have a daisy meadow nearby? In fact, one did. So my plan was to take her out for a ride, and get the guide to pause in the daisy meadow, and propose to her there. At the time, I figured the answer was certain to be yes.

Of course, then she dumped me. So apparently, there was a signal somewhere I missed.

Cowboy R and the Haps

Tired. Didn't sleep well. Don't want to go to work. Going anyway.

It's life, Jim. Exactly as we know it.