Thursday, April 26, 2007

In Particular

I blamed my cube mate for getting me into the particular habit of using this one particular word to particular excess. When writing a any particular essay, if a particular word is repeated particularly often, i'd look it up in a thesaurus and consider a synonym. When speaking, there's much less editing, and any particular word that comes to mind comes out of the mouth.

But this particular word isn't my cube mate's fault, or at least, not exclusively. It seems to have infected many people. I hear it in podcasts. Live interviews, that is interviews without a script, seem to be filled with this one particular word.

I've not looked it up in a thesaurus. I know a synonym that fills the same purpose. Silence. Read this again, but skip that one word each time it occurs. Does it still make sense?

Friday, April 20, 2007


OK, so it's been a year, and i've calmed down. More or less. Last year, the City of Southgate, MI, issued me a speeding ticket. Fort Street is a three lane in both directions boulevard - which is to say that it is divided by a grass median. I pulled onto the street by making a right turn at a light. I then crossed two lanes to get into the left most lane. That's when the bubble lights went on. The officer claimed that he clocked me doing 37 MPH. There were two conflicting problems with this. First was that in the distance i had just traversed from a stop, my car doesn't get up to 37. Second, was that, well, so what? This street has a 45 MPH limit, at least. The fact was, i wasn't pushing it. I had gone to the far left lane because the business that i was to visit had an odd address, suggesting that it was on that side of the street. I'd need to be closer to that side to avoid missing it.

But crossing two lanes of traffic is suspicious. I didn't cut anyone off, or pass anyone, but there was other traffic, and that's that. The officer was not swayed by my story in the slightest.

I wanted a day in court, but when i called the number for the court on the ticket, i was presented with City Hall voice mail hell. There was no entry for the court. I fumbled for a few days, trying to figure out what to do, and realized that the deadline for paying the fine was coming up. Screw it, i'll just pay the fine. Well, they don't accept checks, there's no address to go to to pay in person - which leaves a credit card. That can be done by phone, but for an outrageous surcharge. Perhaps someone better at bureaucracy would not be found guilty as charged with no evidence, and no representation, guilty with no chance to be proven innocent.

I went back to Fort Street, and verified that my car can't accelerate to the speed quoted by the officer in the distance available. I drove around and found that the speed limit is 25 MPH. But in neighboring towns, this same road indeed has 45 MPH and 50 MPH limits, even though the business strip density is identical. So this strip of road has an arbitrarily low speed limit, coupled with high enforcement. I wouldn't call it serving the public, i'd call it milking the public.

There's a clear message that Southgate was sending me, and in the past year, i've taken it to heart. It says, "We don't want your business". I haven't been back. And it is clearly too bad for those businesses. Thousands of dollars lost.