Three items of little or no consequence

My American Automobile Association (AAA) membership expires at the end of the month, and they've been peppering me with renewal notices, in the mail, by text, and via email. I'd ignored several, but finally clicked "unsubscribe" a few days ago.

And wouldn't you know it, today came another email from AAA. Being me, I was ready to be annoyed. How many unsubscribes must a man unsubscribe before he is truly unsubscribed? 

Apparently, the answer is one.

"Dear Douglas," said the email from AAA, "Yay for doing without a car. I am hoping to do the same."

What the what? 

The rest of the email seemed to be auto-generated, saying things you'd expect, like, thank you for 22 years of membership, we're sorry to lose your business, and all that rot. 

A human typed that first line, though. How did they even know I'd gotten rid of my car?

Well, scrolling down, I remembered. After clicking "unsubscribe" to their previous email, a box had popped up asking me why, and I'd written, "I am delighted to no longer own a car."

Turns out, someone at AAA actually reads incoming emails, and "Bruce" is hoping to go car-less, too. That's pretty cool, isn't it?

As my membership expires, I'll leave AAA a good review: We never bought their insurance (other insurance is cheaper) but AAA's basic membership is terrific. They towed our Chevy, and our previous Chevy, at least a dozen times over those 22 years, always at no charge.

But I really am delighted to no longer own a car.

♦ ♦ ♦   

In the kitchen, I was making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, when Dean emerged. The odds of an appearance by Dean go way, way up whenever I'm in the kitchen; he has a sixth sense about it.

I'll spare you most of the inanities of our conversation, as it was no different than always, but as he talked and talked and talked, he opened the oven, and took out a tray with four pieces of chicken on it. Breaded chicken, drumsticks and thighs, cooked — perhaps his variation on Shake'n'Bake.

The oven was off, though. Room temperature, about 75°. He held the tray in his bare hands, and then, though I hadn't asked, he explained: "I cooked these yesterday afternoon, let them cool overnight, and now I'll pop 'em into the microwave and they'll be an early lunch. They're very good, people always tell me. Would you like to have a piece?"

I did not have a piece.

When Dean cooks, the food tastes OK, but watching him cook is kind of a gross-out. If he drops his long-handled wooden spoon on the floor, he simply picks it up and resumes stirring. There are always ants on the shelf where he keeps his many spices and seasonings. When he's done cooking, dishes stay in the sink for a few days, and then get a quick cold-water rinse.

Perhaps I have no right to sneer, because I'm a slob, too. If I was a guy who cooked, I'd cook almost as casually as Dean does.

I'm not a professional chef, though. I never prep food that anyone else will eat, so…  watching Dean cook in our kitchen, I have to assume he's just as sloppy in the restaurant's kitchen.

♦ ♦ ♦    

My super high-tech brother loves his gadgets, and now he's using an automated cat feeder. It seals off the cat's food until a pre-programmed time, when the barrier is lifted and the cat can have dinner. And ten minutes later, it seals shut again.

Telling me this, my brother said, "The cat has learned to tell time." After a few days on the automated feeding schedule, his cat now stands in front of the machine and starts meowing 15 minutes before feeding time.

That's cute and funny, my brother thinks, but what if the machine isn't giving the animal enough time or enough food? What if the cat's still hungry when the lid seals and food access is cut off? 

My brother says he knows how much a cat should eat. Me, I don't know how much a cat should eat. That's for the cat to decide.

All the dogs and cats in my life, and there've been plenty, have had tall piles of food in a bowl, and could eat any time they're hungry. I eat any time I'm hungry, sometimes when I'm not, and I wouldn't want an electric timer blocking access to my next meal or snack.

Then again, I eat too much and too often, which is why I'm fat and always have been. Maybe a timer on the fridge would be a good idea.

But my cat? Don't be messing with my cat. She has a bowl piled tall with food, and she grazes all day, and I would never tell her she can't.



  1. Captain HampocketsJuly 22, 2023 at 3:36 PM

    >"I cooked these yesterday afternoon, let them cool overnight, and now I'll pop 'em into the microwave and they'll be an early lunch. They're very good, people always tell me. Would you like to have a piece?"


    This guy is not a chef. He is lying. He does not have a job, at least not in a restaurant. He's killing people. I want to strangle him.

    1. I'm pretty sure he has a job in a restaurant. I've ridden the bus with him, and all.

      Also pretty sure he's killing people.

      You can't strangle him, though. I got dibs.

  2. My dog only gets a measured amount of food twice a day. She's a rescue and I assume she didn't have enough food in her earlier life; not once did she leave any leftovers when she's got any amount of food.
    Also, doesn't the food start rotting if you always just top it off with new one?

    Is that a real picture of your kitchen? It doesn't look at all like I imagined for some reason. I'd love to see more pictures. :)

    1. Nope, no real pictures, ever. That's just a generic sloppy kitchen image off the internet.

      We're talking dry food, so it takes a long time to rot. When the bowl gets low, I pour a new bowl, and then pour what's left of the old bowl on top.

      I'm assuming a vet or a book told you what the measured amount should be, but still I wonder, what if the dog's still hungry?

    2. Hey brother, we're all rescues around here. Sometimes it takes a long time but, as Isaac Hayes and David Porter wrote, "Hold On, I'm Comin'".


    3. And here are Sam and Dave (I think in England) singing the song. Yeah, the audio is hard to hear (it was early '60s) but this is what STAX sounded like with Sam and Dave out front and Booker T. Jones, Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn, Al Jackson and the STAX woodwinds and horns behind them. . . .



    4. We're all rescues, but some of us don't get rescued, and in the end all of us get put down.

      Nah, that's too harsh.

      But all of us get fleas.

    5. It is inarguably a fine song, but I have never been able to hear it as anything but a song about fucking. It makes me think of a certain long-ago lady who told me to hurry up.

    6. If you hear it that way, then you do. I hear it as a song about friendship. In any case, it was written in the STAX studio in Memphis. David Porter was taking too long in the bathroom and Isaac Hays yelled for him to get back to work. David responded "Hold on, I'm comin'. About a minute later Porter burst out of the bathroom yelling, "That's it. That's the song." Isaac and David didn't know what the song was about, but they liked the vibe. So we see and hear ourselves in the song. I hear a happier message.


    7. So the song traces back to a difficult bowel movement? That's even hilariouser.

      I've always thought the lyrics beautiful, and yeah, all about friendship, if only I could eliminate the word's other meaning from my mind, but I've never made it through even a fraction of the song without naughty thoughts.

      The internet tells me the word has meant "special happy moment" since at least the 1600s, so David and Isaac must've known they were writing a double entendre. I wonder if any interviewer ever asked about it...

  3. Anon, I'm a cat person (I have 8: it's a cat house) but my sister is a dog person and I spend time with her. Free advice to take or leave behind: when you feed your pet, unless the bowl contains only dry, clean kibble (no canned food, no slobber, no moisture) throw away the old food and start with new. If you're using the right amount, you won't be throwing away much food. And you'll be minimizing foodborne infection.

    You probably know this stuff already, and I have no intention of stating the obvious. Just trying to help.


  4. I am not part of this other conversation and I sort of like it that way, but the line, "I chased a woman all the way to Texas, 'Cause posture is the comin' thing for me." sounds like the penultimate and final lines of the second verse of a country song.


    1. "I am not part of this other conversation and I sort of like it that way"

      Ten seconds of laughs, man.

  5. Is your cat fat, from the all you can eat buffet? If he's not fat it's not a problem.

    1. My cat is *healthy*.

      And not fat. When she's not hungry she stops eating. It's the damnedest thing.


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