Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Hot Air, Move It!, -and- Long-distance Charges May Apply

Hot Air - flatulent-chair lawsuit backfires
Move It! - 82-year-old woman cited for crossing street too slowly
Long-distance Charges May Apply - man gets $218 trillion phone bill

It began raining last night. I continues today. The rain is fairly light, but it is constant. We have been fortunate, however, compared to other areas of Northern California! Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency yesterday in seven northern and central California counties. Many reservoirs in California's Central Valley are groaning at full capacity, and at least 10 more days of rain are forecast for the region.

Schwarzenegger had already declared a state of emergency for California's levee system in February, a step that freed up about $103 million for repairs to 24 flood-prone sites. In the declaration, Schwarzenegger wrote that "extreme peril to the safety of persons and property" afflicted the counties of Amador, Calaveras, Fresno, Merced, San Joaquin, San Mateo and Stanislaus.

You may recall the tale of the confused woman who appeared at my office in error two weeks ago. It was a Monday morning, and as I opened my office door, she followed me in and began ranting that I had failed to keep an appointment I had made with her for Saturday. I explained to her that I was not open on Saturday and her appointment was obviously made elsewhere. This morning, she reappeared!

"Remember me?" she asked. "Yes," I replied, successfully creating the similitude of a smile. "Well, I'm back!" she said, with unwarranted enthusiasm. "I see that," I replied. "In what manner might I be of service to you?" "I'm still having problems with my computer. Whatever you did didn't fix it, so you can fix it again and this time do it right, and don't even think about charging me any more, cause you shoulda fixed it right the first time!"

With great effort, I managed to explain calmly that she was in the wrong office, reminding her of her previous visit. She appeared to grasp this concept fully and said, "Well they didn't fix my computer right. Can you fix it or not?" "I recommend that you return to where you had the previous repairs done," I said. "Well, I'm here now, so can't you just fix whatever they didn't do right and send them a bill or whatever? I already paid them." "I have made my recommendation," I replied. "Now, if you will excuse me, I must begin my day." "Well, thanks for nothing!" she said. "I won't forget this!" "Prior experience with you belies that notion," I said. She disappeared into the morning rain.