Is It Possible to Slow Down?

You probably know my story—but if you don’t, click here, here, and here.

Last night, I was supposed to be meeting my musical comrade in arms. The two of us have a history that dates back to Lisbon High School and him patrolling the outfield behind me during our championship baseball season in 1979, when I was flinging the baseball real fast towards home plate. We also experienced two basketball seasons where we posted identical 1-17 seasons back-to-back.

Of all my friends from this era, Dave has remained as fixated (if not more so) about music (mainly rock) as I am. He listens to it, stays current, and since February, he’s been getting me out to shows more frequently.

Speaking of back-to-back, we saw The War on Drugs at Portland’s State Theater Monday night and last night, it was X. Dave almost didn’t make it, however.

Driving home from work in South Portland, he was rear-ended in Falmouth, along what’s become a notoriously dangerous stretch of I-295. The state has even lowered speed limits there as a way to prevent accidents.

The affected vehicle, a 1997 Saab convertible he calls Bambi II, was a nod to Dave’s penchant and vehicle preference. He had another similar vintage that he was planning to use as a parts car. However, last night’s crash means Bambi II is headed to the scrapyard.

Dave’s okay. He could have been killed. In fact, there was a fatality not long after an SUV plowed into the back of him, sending car and driver into the median and up against the guardrail on the opposite, southbound side.

I received his message just as I was parking in downtown Portland. He said he was fine and would be “riding in with Leo, meeting up at Port City in time for the show.

We know that ever-increasing speeds lead to accidents. Yet, some states are promoting driving faster.

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My Car Let Me Down

I was looking forward to Wednesday night. Not because I was planning a night on the town, nor was it a high-end date night at one of Portland’s finer restaurants, either.

Wednesday wasn’t even my “day off”; that happens to be Tuesday nowadays—me with my five variant shades of work. After knocking out six hours of financial coordination at the credit union, I was off to umpire in South Portland, at SMCC. The night was comfortable, especially with the school’s ball field situated, overlooking Casco Bay.

What was the source of my anticipation? A night when I wouldn’t be beckoned while being on-call at the funeral home. I’d finally have a night where I could finish my game, drive home, eat dinner, have a beer or two, and somewhat approximate the normal end-of-the-day experience of most Americans.

Instead, JBE1, aka my 2008 Ford Taurus, had other plans. He would choose Wednesday night to shed his serpentine belt and offer a glimpse of the night ahead.This was foreshadowed while we were tooling along Broadway in South Portland, headed towards the college. A red battery icon began glowing, while a message of “check charging system” commenced flashing across the car’s instrument panel. Continue reading

Life’s Lesson Plan

This has been an interesting week. No two days were the same. Come to think of it, the routine and boredom that were part and parcel of the days occupying a seat in a cubicle farm are long gone. I also don’t miss working for people I couldn’t stand.

That’s not to say that life always comes up roses in the free agent economy. August began with a great deal of optimism and the herald that things were trending in the right direction. Then, a major car repair on Tuesday chewed up a week’s worth of income and I was reminded once again that life (at least the life of a freelancer) is always going to present a bumpy ride now and then.

This is what I tweeted on Tuesday.

A successful #freelancer becomes comfortable with ambiguity, is able to juggle/prioritize, remaining the same during feast/famine.

I felt like I captured 2015 from my perspective in less than 140 characters. Twitter-rific! Continue reading

Taking care of your customers

Tires are important–they are what keeps your car in contact with the road and the basis of a smooth, comfortable ride.

I rely on my tires a lot. When you put on in excess of 20K miles a year, having your tires at peak performance is essential. I’m also a stickler about how my car rides.

This week, I’ve noticed some tire “chatter” that wasn’t there before, especially at highway speeds in excess of 65 mph. Today was the day this week when I had a window of time to take care of my tire issue; otherwise, it would be another week, at least and I’d start to get a bit annoyed knowing that something wasn’t right with my tires. Continue reading