The Engine Light Conundrum

My check engine light came on yesterday.  A big red exclamation point popped up next to it. The car started to chug like a truck instead of a Prius. So I decided it would be okay to drive home.

The only thing I knew about check engine lights came from Big Bang Theory.  Penny drove her car with it on for seven years before anything bad happened. Turns out comedy sitcoms aren’t the best place to get auto advice. What you’re really supposed to do is stop or say goodbye to your car.

I got lucky and made it home okay. When I learned how serious it was, I threw a fit like Basil Fawlty (look it up). At one point, I shook my finger at the car and said, “You’d better keep going for the next five years or I will waste you myself!”

When I called AAA to get it towed, my Mom had to gently remind me that people wouldn’t want to help if I acted like an asshole. Then, after I heard our membership expired, I told her I was going to use my old card as target practice.

Eventually, I managed to grit my teeth and be pleasant. But it was hard. I recommend saying thank you way more than you need to.

To sum up:

  1. When the check engine light appears, pull over and pray.
  2. Don’t panic (do as I say, not as I do).
  3. My battery is broken and it will cost me $2,500 to fix.
  4. Shit.

car pic 2

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Protesters on Parade

To celebrate Earth Day, I joined protesters across the world in a “March for Science.” People even turned out at the South Pole. My mom and I marched in Olympia, WA. Like most Washington days, it was cold, wet, and mucky. A fellow protester said it smelled like wet dog. People showed up anyway.

Walking down the street with everyone seemed like a parade. We dressed up, played music, and even had a spot of sunlight.  It lasted five minutes and felt fabulous.

People used their creativity. The organizers sold pink knitted hats that looked like brains (they’re cuter than you’d think) and one woman dressed up in a bee costume. FYI— bees do 80% of global pollination. No bees, no food.

Without science, we wouldn’t have many advances we consider necessities. I don’t know about you, but I’m quite fond of clean water, electricity, and medicine. One speaker, Rep. Laurie Dolan, is only alive today because of science. She had multiple myeloma and needed two bone marrow transplants.  One sign, carried by a mother, said, “I enjoy my kids not getting smallpox.”

Worst of all for a nerd like me, without science we would have no science fiction. Movies about pod people wouldn’t exist.  The apocalypse genre would vanish.

Unless, as we stop listening to science, we get a real apocalypse.  Protesters on Parade

Big Mouth, Little Penis

I got catcalled as I was leaving my car yesterday: “You damn fine.” Acceptable responses to that would be “You damn rude,” giving them the finger, or a swift kick to their (tiny) balls. I did none of those. I get my best comebacks a few hours after I get picked on. I’m not alone. According to Stop Street Harassment, 65% of women get street harassed.

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened to me. At work, I accidentally clicked on a virus that filled my monitor with porn. I had to throw my jacket over my computer so my co-workers wouldn’t see a screen full of vaginas that looked like alien venus fly traps. What’s worse—one of the IT guys who was supposed to fix it kept making jokes about how I was a dominatrix.  The Huffington Post says that one third of 18-34 year old women have been sexually harassed in the workplace.

One non-profit, Hollaback!, made a viral PSA video of a woman being harassed 108 times as she walked through Manhattan. One guy followed her for five minutes. Harassers—we are not your property. You have no right to our space.  Your behavior will have consequences and not only to the women you’re molesting.

Look what happened to Bill O’Reilly.

Funny Moments in Non-Profit

Non-profit is not only rewarding, it can also be delightfully odd. One of our computer programs represents donors as a penguins sitting on a melting block of ice. When they stop giving, the ice melts and they fall into the water. Here’s a list of my weird experiences in non-profit.

  • We use some strange jargon. Our database labels some donors “recaptured,” like they’ve escaped from the zoo.
  • One of our constituents, people/organizations, in that database is a whale. My boss sent in a donation in honor of “J2 ‘Granny’ Matriarch of J Pod’ and all honor/memorials have to be constituents (don’t ask me why) so….
  • A guy came in off the street and took our newspaper, flinging 75 cents on the counter as he ran out the door. This meant I didn’t get to read the funnies.
  • During a chamber of commerce meeting, I heard one political candidate say to his aide “any mic time is good mic time.” This is depressingly true.
  • Snaffling up the left over candy after the Christmas party. Is that caramel? Why yes it is.

I’m grateful for these experiences. The make me look up from my computer, scratch my head, and smile.