You Cannot Predict The Past From Future Events

I went somewhere one day and did something and met someone. This may seem a little specific, but I assure you it was not – I have rarely had a vaguer experience.

In our city I have often advised people to have a ready response for sudden meetings – because we are bound to encounter people in the street that we neither expect nor want to meet. Faced with them at a corner, knife fight, or funeral, we must say something for the sake of society, and we need to be able to do it straight off.

The first problem is recognition – now the really vile ones – the ones who have been seared into our psyche will be instantly familiar – we need not fear forgetting their names. It is the second-tier types that are the problem – the friends and acquaintances of a decade or more ago that are just becoming a little fuzzy around the edges. Combine that passage of time with a senior’s moment and you can be in real social trouble. You expose yourself for either a fool or a knave, and this can be inconvenient if you have been trying to hide the fact.

I have been known to resort to the Canadian Gambit. Saying things like ” Well, I’ll be darned! Wherever did you get to? ” in hopes that it will distract them. Or if they ask the question first I just tell them I was having treatment in the asylum. And I do it with a straight face and add nothing else to the information. You’d be surprised how people can sweat in cold weather.

Of course there is a corollary to the unexpected appearance and it is the unexpected absence. The person above all persons who you would have expected to be at the graduation, funeral, or arraignment…and isn’t. You have to be careful with this one and make a complete search of the crowd to make sure that you have not missed them inadvertently. But if they’re really not there, you can start a fox and get an enquiry going  amongst the ones who are. Where is X? Why have they not come? Is there something they do not want us to know.? Is it time to search the court and clinical records? Or under the railway viaducts?

In the end, whoever shows up, shows up, and generally the affair does not dissolve into a fist fight. If you are wise you will be closer to the door than most of the troublemakers and can light out at the first sign of knives.

Dead Cool Legends On A Dead Cold Night

There are car people and there are car people. You can separate them into different camps according to the sort of cars they favour, but eventually you have two sorts; they ones who will stay at home on a 12º cold night and the ones that will come out to a petrol station car park to meet up. You may decide for yourself which are the crazy ones.

Here is some of the cool crop:

I bugged out after my fingers froze, but the enthusiasts were still rolling in. Bless them and here’s to an early and warm spring to make the next meet a more comfortable one.

Who Do You Trust?

A better question…who trusts you?

I live within a mile radius of two petrol stations – a BP and a Shell – and have lived here since 1985. The service stations both have multiple pumps that you operate yourself…because no-one pumps petrol for you any more. You fill your tank, or run a preset on the pump, go into the station, pay, and go away. They want you to buy chocolates, drinks, fan belts and little deodorant pine trees so they make you pass by all the goodies before you get to the pay counter, but the idea is pretty much the same for both stations.

But today a new set of signs on the outermost pumps of the BP. You must pay before you pump or leave your car keys with the attendant. This suggests that they are worried about drive-off thefts of petrol. As I had pulled up to the inner face of the outer pumps before seeing the sins I philosophically pulled my wallet out, checked that I had money, and trudged to the door.

The door didn’t open. It took a half-minute of stepping back, letting the attendant see me clearly, then stepping in…and stepping back…before the lock was released.

I wondered if there was something about my car – a green Suzuki Swift – or my appearance – 69-year-old man in plaid shirt, trousers, braces, and flat cap – that alarmed her. I asked, but she said  ” No “. I paid a $ 20 bill and went back out to pump the $ 20 of petrol into the Suzuki.  So far, just a minor annoyance.

Then I observed another person rock up with an old Valiant – a lovely old Valiant with custom lettering on the back of the boot lid. Glorious car. HE got to pump his petrol before going in to pay…Curious…

Then a Chinese chap and his wife arrived in a big black SUV…and the pump was not turned on for him. He footled about for a bit then drove off unsatisfied…Curiouser and curiouser…That was probably $ 100 of petrol that wasn’t sold.

I pulled away and parked in the adjacent shopping centre car park and observed the next few transactions. Some people were compelled to go inside before being able to pump petrol, and some were let through to the keeper, as it were, and could pump before paying. But there was no distinct pattern to type of car, colour of car, colour of driver, or any other criterion that would have been observable at the attendant’s window.

I was a little incensed over this discrimination at first, but now I am more intrigued as to the process of selection that is involved. What is it that triggers the attendant to demand payment beforehand rather than afterwards? Is it related to the car? Is it related to the ethnicity of the driver? Is it related to the ethnicity of the attendant? Is it related to the sex of either driver or attendant? Is it related to the time of day? BTW this was all broad daylight in an affluent suburb.

No answers yet, but I shall continue to investigate. I have a full petrol tank right now – I went over to the Shell station after this experience and did the rest of the filling. THEY don’t require you to pre-pay, leave keys, or swear allegiance to anyone  – they just sell petrol. When I have used up this lot of fuel I shall try the BP again to see what they do. I am hoping for a definite pattern that can make for a workable hypothesis.

 

Buying The Dream

Going to a car show is a little like being a psychiatrist; you see crazy people hear a lot about their dreams. Or, perhaps that should be changed – you see a lot of dreams and hear about crazy people. Sometimes there are couches involved.

Whichever approach you take to it, a car show is also a commercial affair – even in the simplest open park affairs there will be someone selling something. Insurance, ice lollies, or Isotto – Fraschinis. Or in the case of hot rod shows; spare parts, wheels, black tee shirts, and paint jobs. And also, apparently, the hot rods themselves. And I don’t mean just the owners who have put a cardboard sign of whatever price ONO on their half-finished project – the WA hot rod show had some pretty complete items for sale.

The sellers that caught my eye were a commercial firm of automobile retailers who maintain showroom premises in  two suburbs. One of the showrooms is not too far from my home and has been an auto site since before 1964. It used to sell Morris, Austin, and Wolseley – then Saab and Volvo – and now is given over to exotic cars from all sorts of makers. I don’t know if there is a new-car agency in it or not, but considering the nature of the vehicles it offers, it hardly matters. This is all enthusiast big-money stuff.

I’m not qualified to talk about big money, as I do not have any. Very few of the people I know personally do either, though I have met some people through my former employment that might. Or then again they might not…I remember meeting a high-roller and high-spender in the 1970’s that proved to be financially and morally hollow. Best not to go back to those memories nor speculate about current people.

But I can sort of wonder about who the customer for the yellow Chevrolet pickup that you see in this post will be. It was a noticeable feature of the Xoticar display, and for good reason; it was darn near perfect. Maybe it was entirely perfect – I did not get to see it driven in or out. But from the look of the finish I am willing to give it the benefit of the doubt.

The pictures and the sales board tell you as much as anyone could about the car, but the real questions remain unanswered. Who built it? How much did they sell it to Xoticar for? What can they tell us about the bits inside that make it go? Why did they sell it to Xoticar?

More. Who is the target customer?  Are there target customers for turn-key rods and customs as much as there are turn-key customers for sports cars and any standard vehicles? Speaking as a turn-key driver of a small daily-driver hatchback I can see where that is a perfectly valid model for normal transport, but I always associated rods and customs with people who built their own.

More, still – I associate rods and customs with people who design their own as well as build them. Tastes can be as variable as the wind, and the idea of buying someone else’s taste – or dream – seems strange. What if they did not do it the way you wanted? Would you have the courage to break it down again and build it differently? Or would that be like overpainting a picture in an art gallery?

And who has $ 94,888.00 dollars to play cheque book hot rodder? I’m a bit cynical about the 888 in the price because I live next door to Leeming and Winthrop, and the doors of my hatchback show it…but have my neighbours taken to rodding?

Will we see a flurry of moon disks and lakes pipes on the BMW and Mercedes? I tremble to think.

1440 New Customers For You Each Day

Think of it. Every day there are 1440 new customers available to make your business a success*. And the best part is you do not have to pay marketing research organisations or social-marketing firms to access this bonanza – these people are provided by Heaven for you. We have the solemn word of one of the most successful marketers of the 19th century on this.

You may be thinking that your business might not fit into the demographic, or target planform, or mimeographed list on the local IGA notice board – and that as a consequence you will miss out on connecting. You need have no fear – it does not matter what you are selling, or giving away with a small charge for shipping and handling – with 1440 new clients each day – and that includes Sunday – you cannot fail to make a profit each and every day

It doesn’t matter whether you are selling sanctity or saccharine – whether your scheme involves animal, vegetable, mineral, or morality – you will find a mental string that can be plucked. Once it begins to vibrate, their money loosens and flies out of their purses and wallets. And once it flies your way, all you need is a fish net to scoop it up.

Often, just a simple paragraph will pluck enough of these mental strings to set up the sound of a full orchestra. Try this:

Are you worried about your children being exposed to secret black government helicopters spraying mind-altering GMO gluten trails in the ionosphere? Are your chakras accessing enough ancient vibrational conspiracies by the secret society – and you know who we mean…Are muslim Methodists taking over the air compressor at your local service station? Well, write in NOW for the book that they could not suppress. $ 39.95 plus postage, handling, and taxes ( slightly higher in Washington State and Mississippi ) will free you from your dependency on Big Parsley forever. You owe it to your grandchildren. And they have debt collectors to see that you pay.

Are your strings vibrating? Sounds like Berlioz on speed, doesn’t it? Well we can put you onto this same gravy train of gravitational unified energy fields – and if you build the fields, they will come. Some of them come several times. And you can purchase full HD video of it. Who said marketing couldn’t be fun?

*  One born every minute…

 

 

 

 

It Is No Good Crying Now – The Fuse Has Already Been Lit

I often wonder why we do the things we do. Oh, I’m pretty clear about why we use the toilet and the wash basin for their separate functions – a few experiments in reversing the process cleared that up. But why we quietly accede to the things that the world throws at us is still a mystery. Take my bank.

I changed to the bank I use now because of their open-door policy on Saturday. I was involved in 9:00 – 5:00 trade all week and Saturday was the only time I had to go and do the necessary banking of paycheques or withdrawal of weekly money. The bank had a branch in the local shopping centre and it all seemed set fair for the future.

The future arrived with me in retirement ( yay!) but still with weekly or monthly transactions to do. The bank suggested that I do everything on-line…then made sure that by ignoring such common financial instruments as cheques, that I was forced to their will. Then they boarded up two of five teller’s windows at the branch. Then they installed an imperious concierge at the branch to tell us that we needed to do all our transactions through the ATM*.

We – and by we I mean the older patrons of the bank – still preferred to wait in line to see a teller to make sense out of the business. The last visit to the place left us standing there – 10 of us – for upward of three-quarters of an hour while the only two tellers in the place worked frantically. I was fortunate – I could peel off out of line after 20 minutes and make use of an ATM to do my job – after it had been refilled. But that left all the other poor ( rich ) old people shuffling forward one at a time…

Time to look at the other firms and forms of cash cacheing. Time to bid the computerbank farewell. The fuse is lit.

* Sometimes it is worthwhile sticking around just to see it get funnier. The imperious concierge was behind the teller’s cage with an ” Employee in training ” badge on while we all waited in line. He was not doing well at all…

Just A Cattle Shed Full Of Old Cars…

Just another day yesterday at the hot rod show.

Nothing to see but hot rods, bikes, custom cars, and pinup girls.

Nothing to listen to but hot rod rock and roll music.

Nothing to buy except car parts, tee shirts, model cars, insurance policies, wheels, tyres, paint jobs, etc.

Nothing to eat but food and nothing to drink but booze and coffee and choc milk.

Nothing to do but take pictures of cars and talk to car people.

I wonder if today will be the same?