Tag Archives: Cars

Six Things I Hate

1.  Wisest Kid Commercials. Really? Now adults are so pathetic that we can’t even pick out something for lunch or dinner?  Someone, somewhere needs to put a stop to this cultural craze that has us believing that younger is wiser.  Sometimes kids stumble upon charm…but wiser?  Honestly, we need some adults with the intestinal fortitude to step up and say, “Knock it off.  If I want wisdom, I’ll ask someone who has a few more laps around the track than I do; not someone with a fake beard who can’t even tie their shoes.”  Wise-guy kid maybe (yes, I initially thought to use another word there, but this blog is rated “G”).

2.  Donut Ditherers. You know, patrons at the local donut shop who, after waiting in line for at least ten minutes, start to think about what they want WHEN THEY GET TO THE REGISTER.  “I’d like a dozen donuts please.  One…ummm…one chocolate frosted, one glazed…no, wait, ummm…”  Fifteen minutes later (note: more than a minute per donut), the Ditherers finally leave–oblivious to the charm fest they’ve left in their wake.

3.  Movie Seat Clusterers (yes, I made up a word). You’ve experienced this.  You get to the movie a few minutes early (so that you can get some popcorn and be seated in time for the trailers).  The theater is practically empty.  But, no matter where you sit, the boneheads who come in after you, decide to SIT RIGHT BEHIND YOU!  Dozens, nay hundreds of empty seats, and they decide to SIT RIGHT BEHIND YOU!  Honestly, I know I am neither charming nor popular nor, well, any of those things that would attract a crowd.  Why oh why oh why?  And, if you decide to sit right behind me, do not compound your lack of grace by ENGAGING IN CONVERSATION WITH THE CHARACTERS ON THE SCREEN.  The people in the audience with you can hear you, and are annoyed by you, BUT THE CHARACTERS ON THE SCREEN IN THE FILM CANNOT HEAR YOU!

4.  Stoplight Micro-Millisecond Timers. It happened again today.  I was first in line at the stoplight; it turned green; before my brain (which I admit is sometimes on the “slow cycle”) could process the change in color, the Uber Intenser (yes, another made up word) behind me HONKED HIS HORN.  Trust me, nowhere in the arctic wind chill of this winter wonderland is a destination worth the stress that comes with constant horn honking and pedals to the metal.  I could understand if I’d taken to reading War and Peace at each stoplight.  But honestly, a micro-millisecond?

5.  That I hate these stupid, minor things and that I let them get to me so often. Where in the world is my perspective?  The Apostle Paul said that the travails of this world are “light and momentary” (2 Cor. 4:17).  Since he was talking about things more egregious than traffic honkers or movie squatters, I have to wonder why it is that I let the “light and momentary” become so weighty and permanent in my mind.

6.  That I do not hate the things that God hates. “Hate evil, love good,” Amos says (5:15).  Why is it that I don’t hate the injustice that plagues our world?  Why is it that so many people without Christ doesn’t bother me enough to be more purposeful in my relationships?

Perhaps you have a similar list; perhaps you don’t.  If you do, maybe we should give the trivial over to God and let Him fuel our spirits with His own concerns.  Maybe.

© All Rights Reserved. Scripture Quotations from the NIV.

Carrion Drivers a.k.a. Parking Lot Vultures

You’ve seen them; you may even be one…you know…the car driver in search of the perfect spot in the lot.  The one who will circle the lot for an hour to snag the spot just outside the drug store door so they can run that five minute errand.  The one who will “stand their ground” hovering adjacent to the spot being vacated by the previous parker; giving the “Death Stare” to any nabob utterly foolish enough to think that they were there first and that somehow they were entitled (by the parking lot squatters laws) to the about-to-be-emptied space.  

I was (in a land far away and long ago) ready to park in a spot at a Taco Bell restaurant when some Carrion Driver dispatched his diminutive son to STAND IN THE PARKING SPACE and therefore claim it as his own.  Fleeting moment wise, I did ponder the possibility of running the little, OshKosh B’gosh-bedecked animated parking cone down to emphasize that the spot was ACTUALLY MINE…but then, with my son in the car, I thought, perhaps, that would not demonstrate the most Christian response to life’s little irritants. 

Then, just last week, there was the little old lady from Pasadena (“Go, Granny Go!”) who blocked my wife’s exit from our parking space just so she (Granny) could claim it before anyone else did.  The trouble was, said little old lady WAS BLOCKING OUR WAY OUT so that not even she could gain access to the coveted spot.  It was a complete parking blockade:  we could not get out; she could not get in; no other car could maneuver around us to get anywhere at all.  I wondered what she was thinking and then I wondered why I wondered what she was thinking because she was clearly not thinking at all. 

Anyone who doubts the reality of original sin or the extent of same should spend a few minutes in parking lot observation mode.  There, unscripted (“spontaneous and unrehearsed”), the persistence of our perniciousness plays out for all the world to see. 

And that’s another thing: (with a special warning for those prone to auto nose picking…not, you know, automatic nose picking, but nose picking in the auto)…when you are in your car, other people can see exactly what you are doing.  There is no Klingon cloaking device; when you gloat to yourself and pump your fist in the air with glee because you pounced on the parking space…We.Can.See.You. 

Enough you Carrion Drivers…you Parking Lot Vultures…give it up already.  There are acres of parking available just a few yards away.  Studies on the psychology of driving abound.  Numerous theories float out there in the “PhD-sphere” on what motivates us to act so selfishly and stupidly when we get behind the wheel.  I don’t know how much truth is in any of them; I do know that, when we pursue a parking space as if it’s a divinely bestowed right, no good can result.  Our anger can burst forth like a ripe pimple…and nobody wants that. [Please hold your “Eewws” and “Yucks” until the end of the blog post.]

I once asked a fellow driver [name withheld lest I have to go into Witness Protection] if he OR she (notice my clever disguise of the driver’s gender) would have responded in a church parking lot to Parking Lot Vultures in the manner he OR she (see, consistency in my gender masking) reacted out there in the mall parking lot.  I did not get a response; well, I did get a glare which is, technically, a response (of the non-verbal but borderline-lethal-anyway kind). 

Gentle is the way; generous is the way; being slow to become angry is the way.  How can we say that Jesus–author of the call to meekness and mercy–is our Lord if we seek lordship of the parking space?  Or lordship of anything else for that matter. 

I have to go now; my parking space just opened up…why do people take so long to put the car in reverse?  Can they not see that I am waiting here?  I am VERY late for my Parking Lot Vultures Anonymous meeting. 

© All Rights Reserved.  Scripture Quotations from the NIV.

The “Not So New Math” or When Does $29 Equal $1340?

Confession:  I am not a math whiz…adding and subtracting, simple multiplication and division; those operations pretty much exhaust my math skills.  I figure (get it? “figure”?) that, if God had wanted me to be a math whiz, He would not have overseen the creation of the MyScript Calculator app for my phone.  And, calculus?  Math with no numbers?  Why oh why oh why?

But, I am also not an idiot.  Stop:  put those hands down; I know you want to object to my self-descriptor, but you cannot.  Unless, of course, you post a comment; then I suppose you can…object…that is. 

So I was mildly (only mildly; I’ll unpack that momentarily) surprised when we were at the auto dealership last night.  My car’s lease had come up and it was time to make the dreaded decisions: purchase or lease; new or used; same make and model or different.  Some people love car shopping.  I rank car shopping down there with root canals (with or without Novocain) and expressing the slime from a MRSA infection.  [Yes, I know that was a gross mental image, but it’s truly how I feel about car shopping.] 

Meanwhile…back at the car dealership.  A nice chap (The Cheerful Car Chap or CCC) was very happy to see us when we arrived.  He held the door for us as we entered the showroom (partially to escape the ridiculous cold).  [On another note:  Polar Vortex, go back to the Pole or Poland, or wherever you came from; I’m done with the subzero wind chill.]  He asked us why we were there and that’s when I produced the ad his dealership friends had so kindly emailed:  the ad for a $29 lease!  I figured I could afford a $29 lease.  The CCC inquired as to our car preference. 

I shared with him that we were looking for something a little bigger than we’d had.  The compact I had driven for three years had been great: terrific gas mileage coupled with car doors that locked and unlocked electronically (that last bit is an entirely other story); that car had gotten me around town and up and down the East Coast. 

But it was a small car and I have, ahem, “girthed up” somewhat over the last few years. [Comments about my increased girth are not welcome and will be ignored.]  So I was looking for something with more ease of ingress and egress.  The CCC took us on a test run in a larger car and it seemed to be just the thing.  The CCC showed us the various available colors and we picked one:  blue (the lighter blue because the dark blue looks kind of purple in the dark under street lights; I know this because my friend has one and I had teased him about it.  Purple is fine for many people; just not me). 

We then sat down with The CCC to “do the deal.”  That’s when came the “math surprise.”  It wasn’t a complete surprise (as I mentioned earlier).  Unfortunately I have come to expect “car dealership surprises” packed into the fine print or hidden behind some obscure link on some not so crystal clear web site. 

The “fine print” (in this case) meant that $29 was just the beginning of the math problem.  To the $29, it seems, one must add:  the first month’s lease payment, dealer prep charges, documentation fees, taxes, tips, licenses, bonuses, flea dusting charges (threw that last one in there to see if you were paying attention), etc.  Final tally:  $1340 NOT $29. 

Since I had been half expecting additional fees and the final amount was in the price range we had anticipated, we went ahead and closed the deal.  My girthness now girths itself in a roomier ride. 

But the auto dealership is not the only place where very little can mean much, much more. 

When we come to the place where we recognize our need for Jesus Christ, we realize that we have very, very little to offer: broken and sin-scarred souls and a spiritual pauper’s faith (not even $29 worth, really…and…it turns out that the $29 we thought we gave Him, had itself been a gift).  He takes our $29 then does some Not So New Math:  grace “operations” that have been performed since eternity by a loving, Heavenly Father:  He turns our measly $29 into ever much more. 

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3).

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every familyin heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:14-19).

Not bad…our meagerness being turned by God into a life that is much, much more than we dreamed possible:  wider, longer, higher, deeper.  Not bad at all for $29.

I think I’ll hoist my girth into the new car and go for a ride. 

© All rights reserved.  Scripture from the NIV, Zondervan.







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