Saturday, August 14, 2010


Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m. I walked out of my office to go and see the children in one of our programs. They would be going home in 15 minutes and I hadn't yet had time to see them. As I walked along the paved passageway I heard "Pa-pow-pow." Instantly after I heard the screeching of tires and simultaneously I thought, 'gunshots, a car backfiring, it is going to crash on Robert Miller Drive.' I ran to the fence which afforded me a view of the hilltop leading down to Robert Miller Drive. Down below I saw cars slowing on either side of the median strip.I saw two young guys running into the back of one of the apartment buildings just below Birmingham Drive. I realised there had been a shooting and I ran back to the office to tell them. I heard sirens. I ran in to tell my colleagues what had happened. The office manager and another staff member came with me back to the fence. We saw police cars. One of the buses which was to transport the children drove in and told a program director the road was being cordoned off because there had been a shooting. Everyone was told to leave and go home in the opposite direction to the 'incident.'

When i got home I looked this up on the internet, but nothing came up. There was nothing on the news that night and nothing in the paper the next day. It was like it had never happened, but it had, and those shots were still ringing in my head.

I remembered about a year ago leaving the office one afternoon. On Hilltop Drive, just in front of the fire station a terrible accident had happened. Several cars were crushed in opposing directions over the road. People were trapped inside. There were onlookers, it was awful. The only good thing was it was right outside the fire station, but obviously it had been a very bad accident and several people were not going to make it. Shaken, I got home and looked for news reports. Nothing, nothing at all, not on the internet or the news or in the papers. The next day the office manager, who had left five minutes before me had also seen it, so I knew I hadn't been hallucinating.

So, there was a shooting, someone, or a few people, had been shot at. They probably didn't die, which is why it didn't even make a brief paragraph, but someone's son/daughter/father/mother has been badly hurt. I am writing this for them.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Another Rant

Oh dear, I am becoming a raving ranter!

I won't even begin to discuss my experience with U-Verse. Suffice to say that customer service has really deteriorated in this country. When I came here 30 years ago I was very impressed by the efficiency of customer service. Okay, I had come from Israel which is not known for its high level of customer service, but still, things worked here, quickly. When they didn't, one could call or go into an office, have a word with a manager, and everything worked again. It was astonishing to me how smoothly things ran. I cannot say the same now.

One thing that has not changed is the variety of meaningless choices. When I first came here I wrote about the baffling amount of choices; from ice cream flavors to telephone styles. (If you are interested, my essay on this subject is accessible through my website,

30 years later, and I have never become used to the choices, but mostly it doesn't bother me like it used to. However, the other day I went to buy dental floss at CVS. I liked Longs, and although CVS is almost the same, it is different, and I don't really like it, however, that was what was nearby. I went into a small CVS and walked to the teeth aisle (it is not called that, but you know what I mean.) Just dental floss, that is all I wanted. I stood in front of the display of products. Waxed, non waxed, satin tape, broad floss, narrow floss, dentist recommended floss, expensive floss, cheap floss. Once again I found myself baffled, unsure of what to buy, just as I felt 30 years ago when confronted with salt, tea, ice cream, water (WATER!!!!!!!!) bread, milk, yogurt ..... oh help. This time an elderly gentleman was on his knees perusing the toothbrush display. He looked up at me and said "they just don't make the ordinary toothbrushes that fit our toothbrush holder at home anymore. I cannot find an ordinary handle." I smiled in an "I know exactly what you mean fashion." Three months ago, in this exact same spot I met another elderly gentleman looking for a regular toothbrush, which is exactly what I was doing at that time. Neither of us found anything.

I was already flustered because of my experience with the wireless services, robotic machines, and robotic humans. I decided I had enough floss to last me a while and walked out without buying anything.