Friday, November 2, 2007


All of a sudden, cab meters suck. With the proposed drop rate and the $1 rush hour surcharge, I could actually pay about the same rate for a ride into Dupont. Last month, I did the fare math here. The Washington Post estimates that a one mile trip would be about $7 and a 2-3 mile trip would be about $10.33. I think I'll just get my exercise and budget an extra 20 to 35 minutes to reach close-by destinations.

Metro wants more people to use SmarTrip because it saves them money. I like the SmarTrip in theory, and our household owns three. The trouble is that the microchip inside the card shifts around and sometimes spontaneously stops working. Mr 14th & You was instructed by one Metro employee to flex the card while scanning it. This sorta works some of the time. Despite the advice we currently have two busted SmartTrips and one that I call the G-spot card. I suppose one day I will make it to Metro Center during business hours to rectify the situation.

Council member Jim Graham annoys me. He has never once passed up a single press opportunity, and I am now tired of hearing him talk, especially since he frequently has nothing useful to contribute.

Apparently the DC Council has decided that the Greater Southeast Hospital takeover deal might not be so great. Some Council members say that they were not given adequate information about Specialty Hospital's finances. It's their job to find these things out. And if the city's CFO raises a red flag, delay the vote instead of kvetching about it later.

I welcome GW and Georgetown students to DC. It's great that they have fun here while spending whatever money they have left after tuition payments. I also like the friendly student staff at the West End Trader Joe's. Yet some students are so distracted by shopping with their 4 roommates or talking on their cell phones that they form giant embolisms in the narrow aisles during peak shopping hours. I am about to promote having the inept shoppers confined to their campuses.
The following are issues for me only because I am silly enough to own a car in the city. I therefore acknowledge my culpability in these situations:

While I was driving on Wisconsin Avenue in Cathedral Heights this afternoon, an ambulance passed down the street. Both of the traffic lanes were packed with cars stopped at a light. I always thought that it was not just my job to yield right of way to an emergency vehicle, but to get the hell out of the way -- turning down a side street or pulling into an intersection if I could safely do so. My spot in traffic just isn't as important as the life of someone who may be critically ill or injured.

Traffic in the adjacent lane had nowhere to go, so I pulled into the curb lane to make some space for everyone to move over. No one got out of the ambulance's way. But what I found really heart warming is that a car tried to prevent me from merging back into traffic once the ambulance had passed. I was signaling and gently pulling into the traffic lane, but she inched up and tried to block me. Losing patience I gunned it and cut the other car off while waving a middle finger. Then I looked in my rear view mirror I saw that I had just flipped off an elderly woman. Is it bad that I feel no remorse?

I drive a manual transmission. If you want to get within two inches of my rear bumper while stopped on a hill, that's your choice. If I then deliberately let my clutch out slowly, that's my choice.

The Sears Tire and Auto shop at Montgomery Mall is beyond awful. I got a flat in Chevy Chase so I limped into the closest shop possible, theirs. The tire salesmen try to cross sell you on a bunch of pointless services, bleeding you $15 at a time. Right now I am in the midst of a three month battle to get them to replace decorative lug nut covers (little hexagonal pieces that fit inside the centers of myhubcaps) that they lost. After promising to order the covers and install them, today Sears suggested that I 1) go to the dealership, 2) have the dealer order the parts, 3) return to the dealership to pick up the covers, and 4) then take the receipt to Sears in Bethesda for reimbursement. After that suggestion I had an out-of-body experience which I believe resulted in me expressing displeasure by calling the sales guy a "pain in my a$$."


astraea said...

I refuse to ever go to that Sears for tires. They tried to fleece me on 2 tires a few months ago. I went up to the Gaithersburg WalMart and paid less than half their price for the same tires.

Anonymous said...

Quick tip - You should make sure your smartrip cards are registered before you try to get Metro to replace them. Mine stopped working completely, but because it wasn't registered, they made me buy a new one instead of replacing it for free.

Mr. 14th & You said...

Thanks, Anon. That's a good tip--and right on point, too. Our experiences with getting Metro to replace malfunctioning SmarTrip cards and fare cards has been less than satisfying.