For those who have been away from civilization for some time, I thought I would give a little reminder of life in a place where there is still some measure of common sense and sanity:
I work for the railways in a major city in the US, with my home terminal in the downtown area. My 150 square meter home is located 40 km away in the suburbs. Since I work an evening shift I have the ability to sleep in as needed, and since I was struggling with some kind of mild virus over the past couple of days I decided to rest a little longer this morning. A gentle, fresh, clean breeze blows through my bedroom window, with the only noise coming from an occasional train blowing its whistle for a railway crossing about 300 meters away (something that does not bother me). Finally, my dog wakes me up, I let him out, then feed him and start my day. My morning starts with taking a number of vitamins and herbal supplements, and I wash it down with cold water from the faucet—never thinking about whether the water coming out of my tap is safe to drink.
A phone call comes from the franchise operator of a Chick-Fil-A restaurant. For those unfamiliar with Chick-Fil-A, it is a fast-growing fast food chain that serves the best chicken sandwiches in the world. Anyway, the franchise operator called me in a response to a complaint I filed through their website; I was recently at one of their restaurants and ordered a chicken sandwich without a pickle, but instead of preparing me a fresh sandwich, evidently one of their workers simply took an already-prepared sandwich, removed the pickle, and served it to me. I was quite disappointed because it still had a mild pickle taste. So in response to my complaint, the franchise operator called me to apologize, told me that the incident made for a good teaching session for their employees, then she informed me that they will send me a coupon for a free meal in response to the inconvenience. Given the highly-competitive nature of restaurants in the US, I know that the caller’s apology was true.
It’s a beautiful late summer day with slightly unseasonably warm temperatures—a perfect day to take Fletcher for a long walk. I’ve owned a small airplane for over 20 years, and I keep it in a hangar at the local airport about 1 km from my home. Fletcher loves going to the airport because of the open fields that allow him to romp and run. As we walk along the sidewalk on the way to the airport, I notice a small amount of trash strewn next to an electrical transformer–which is quite an unusual sight here–so I make a mental note to remember to bring a small bag the next time I walk that way so I can tidy things up. The dog and I go to my hangar, I get what I need, then we walk back home.
I’m trying to drop a little weight, so I would normally hop on my bike and ride the bike trails at the local forest preserve (county park) for about an hour or so, but I have to take a raincheck on that because I have some business to do before starting work. I am a Locomotive Engineer by trade, my triennial federal recertification (licensing) is coming up, and I need to go to a company-appointed doctor to get an eye exam and hearing test. So I look at the paperwork the railroad sent me and find the address of an occupational health center which is along my way to work. I leave for work early, zip down the expressways at an average speed of 100km/h, then stop at the health center. Ugh, there are a lot of people waiting, and the receptionist, after apologizing, informs me that it may be 1-1/2 hours before I can be seen. Gosh, I do not want to wait that long, so I leave, noticing on the paperwork that they have another office I can go to which is closer to downtown.
Good for me, that office is nearly empty, so after filling out the necessary paperwork, they bring me right in for my eye exam and hearing test, and I am out of there in about 45 minutes.
So I get to work and park my vehicle, and since I an almost an hour early, I decide to walk over to the downtown state Motor Vehicle office because I need to obtain a copy of my driver’s license records. Total time to obtain my driver’s record: Less than 5 minutes, and that time included the the elevator ride to and from the 10th Floor.
With all my business done, I settle down for an uneventful evening at work.
I roll back into my driveway a few seconds after Midnight, and since it is such a beautiful night I decide to take Fletcher for a longer-than-normal midnight walk. As we walk through the local community park, we pass by the newly-constructed playground, then I stop and look up at the starlit sky, draw a breath of clean cool air, and think that, just 2 years ago, I was going to give all of this up—my airplane (my biggest earthly love is flying), my nice home, a career that I absolutely love, and many of my personal belongings—then move to the Land of Imbeciles to live with the aswang who, along with her family and every other family that knows me over there, only see me as a Sugar Daddy and an ATM who they have used and abused in the years I had known them.
Thankfully, my lobotomy reversal was a successPublished in