Grateful, sure, but just a few complaints first

I have a Facebook friend who is using this Thanksgiving month to
consider all the things she is grateful for. Each day there is a
new status update: she’s thankful for her husband, for her faith,
for her friends.
I have a Facebook friend who is using this Thanksgiving month to consider all the things she is grateful for. Each day there is a new status update: she’s thankful for her husband, for her faith, for her friends.

That’s so wonderful and heartwarming.

I’m going to use this column to complain.

First of all, the elections. Really, you thought it was okay to vote against Measure A? But you passed Measure B? Are you universally dyslexic, people of Santa Clara County?

As my husband put it, “Fix the potholes but screw the kids.” I think we get so suspicious of these initiatives that we think there’s a secret agenda behind each one, but Measure A was just about kids. Helping kids. With full citizens’ oversight.

Kids can’t choose what family they’re born into, and it’s just plain bad luck that some wind up in families that can’t afford proper care for them. Plus, making sure all kids get immunized means less danger for your child.

Next, PG&E’s smart meter. This meter measures when (to the minute) electricity is used, not just the total volume like the current meters. This means PG&E can charge more for peak hours usage. So what are the peak hours? Wouldn’t you think this valuable information should be right on our bills? I also spent a fair amount of time on their website, without being able to find it.

If I’m only supposed to run my washer during certain hours, tell me what hours those are! And by the way, the smart meter discriminates against those who must run heat or air-conditioning during the day, like shut-ins and families with small kids. The ghastly news is some people have had their bills triple since the smart meter came to “visit.”

Next on my hit list: restaurants that don’t accept credit cards. Let’s face it, we’re becoming a cashless society. More often than not, I’ve got nothing on me (muggers, take note: I am so not worth it and I know ju-jitsu). The other day, a restaurant in San Jose announced its policy post-meal, and we had to drive around for 20 minutes trying to find an ATM since my GPS was addled.

The most egregious local example? Our dear ranch on the other side of Mount Madonna that shall remain nameless but here’s a hint: it’s like gizzard and ditch combined. Their on-site ATM asked a substantial service charge of me, and then so did my bank, and therefore I ended up paying something like $10 for a piece of pie … and this isn’t Manhattan. However, big props to the ranch because it was deeeeee-licious.

Next complaint: People who park facing out. Why do you do this? Seriously, please post in the comments section online and explain to me what the benefit is. When I see someone stop in the parking lot, I assume they’re waiting for a spot, but then suddenly this big red-lit caboose is heading towards me. It’s disconcerting, and accidents happen when people do things you don’t expect. It’s a good method if you’re a bank robber and will need to pull out in a hurry, but otherwise I’m puzzled.

And speaking of driving: People who don’t put their kids in a carseat get my goat. I’ve heard there’s a growing culture of disregarding this important safety measure, such that someone was embarrassed showing up at a friend’s house because her kid WAS in a carseat. In a collision, children’s little, low-weight bodies just take to the air. Just picture the sad, horrible flight out of the seatbelt (if it’s even used), over the front seat and through the windshield. It’s completely preventable.

Finally, lest we forget, it’s illegal now to talk on cell phones while driving.

Any time I notice someone doing something stupid, I look at their cheek: there’s the hand, holding the phone, and the mouth going talk, talk, talk. Even worse are those who are texting. What’s next, wedging your laptop between you and the steering wheel, and updating your Facebook account? With how grateful you are you haven’t killed anyone yet?

Well, ’tis the season to be peevish. But just so you know there’s gooey goodness where my heart should be, I’ll direct you to my new favorite website, No, it’s not about George Lucas’s student film. It’s a site where a delightful, funny woman posts daily thank-you notes to the inanimate and sometimes the intangible.

Here’s a recent one: “Dear Rain, Thanks for ruining my copy of Moby Dick and providing a great excuse to get the Kindle. XO, Leah.”

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