All aboard the Group Therapy bus! Keep your hands and heads inside the vehicle at all times, please, and always remember who your Rock-A-Holic Buddy is!
We received a message from Mike on Facebook, and he shared a pretty shocking story about a school bus driver who stopped at a bikini barista stand while she was driving kids around!
The bus driver – who is female – left the doors open and the bus engine running, with kids onboard, while she got coffee. It gets worse, if you can believe that: she got back on the bus with her cup of coffee and a lit cigarette!
Mike's co-worker got pictures (he sent one to us) and they say this wasn't the first time they've seen this particular driver make her coffee stop.
Let me be clear on a big point: anyone who leaves any kind of vehicle running while they do something else is an IDIOT. That is just plain dumb behavior, and it's a thousand times worse if your vehicle is full of kids whose safety is your responsibility.
One more time, with emphasis, just in case there's any question about my position here:
YOUR VEHICLE HAS CHILDREN IN IT, AND IT'S YOUR JOB TO TAKE CARE OF THEM. ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING YOU DO SHOULD BE DIRECTLY CONNECTED TO THAT ONE SIMPLE RESPONSIBILITY. DON'T BE AN IDIOT.
I have no problem with bikini baristas, but I can certainly understand why most parents wouldn't want their kids being exposed to that particular kind of business.
When all is said and done, there is no acceptable excuse for this, but I have to admit that I'm sort of doubly surprised that the bus driver was a woman. Is it unfair for me to say that I expect a female to be smarter than this? Maybe I misunderstood all the lessons I've been learning from Oprah, but I just feel like women usually have enough common sense to know better.
(For the record, we sent the photo of this "coffee break" up to our management folks, just to be sure that we're performing all due diligence.)
How would you feel if this was your kid's bus driver? Let's hear your thoughts, people!
Hello again, friends! If you're looking to perform a good deed today, you could do a lot worse than helping out a fellow Rock-A-Holic with some Group Therapy!
We heard from Jeff, who told us about an encounter he had the other morning:
A stranger followed Jeff down the highway for ten minutes (or so the man claims), and finally caught up to him when he stopped for a bite to eat on the way to work. This man explained to Jeff that he tracked him down to tell him gas cap was open. Jeff was grateful, and thanked the man for letting him know…but he was pretty shocked when his so-called Good Samaritan asked me for 10 bucks for gas, because he'd traveled so far to tell Jeff about the gas cap!
Jeff had some cash in his wallet, but he told the stranger that he didn't have any money. That didn't go over so well, but Jeff thanked him again, and then left. Jeff's wife later said that he should have given the man some money.
What is it with some people and giving money? It doesn't come from an endless source, but I know some people who seem to think that it does, including my wife! I think it's absolutely ridiculous, personally.
Plus! Let's not forget that the "good deed" was an open gas cap. I'm sure Jeff would've noticed at some point during the day, and it's not like an open cap does serious damage.
I also find it more than a little weird that this guy followed Jeff so far. That kind of behavior tells me that this guy isn't on the level. We have some homeless scammers in downtown Seattle who try to extort money for "parking assistance" – offering guidance for meter-feeding, holding parking spots, etc. – and this situation doesn't seem too different to me.
Admittedly, I get a little lost when we move outside the world of waiters and hotel bellhops; I have trouble knowing who to tip! This is a different circumstance, but it still leaves most people with questions about "doing the right thing." I think I'd probably offer some kind of rewarding gesture for someone who really saved me from a major inconvenience, or alerted me to a safety risk that I wasn't aware of…but an open gas cap doesn't really meet the criteria for me.
I also seem to remember being raised to understand that we do good deeds for the sake of it, not the potential rewards. Am I the only one who caught that lesson?
What do you think, Rock-A-Holics? How would you handle this situation?
Come on in, gang! It's time for some Group Therapy!
We heard from Glenn, who needs some advice about his damaged laptop. This isn't a tech support situation, however…
Glenn's 9-year-old son knows that his dad's home office is completely off-limits, but he still goes in from time to time. During a recent rule-breaking visit, the son's friend spilled juice on Glenn's laptop, completely ruining it.
The kid's parents have only forced him to apologize, but Glenn is wondering if he should ask them to replace his laptop. Glenn says that the neighborhood kids are also fully aware of the rules, and should know that his office is a "no-play zone," so it's not like his son's friend was completely oblivious to the house rules.
Back in the day, this wouldn't have been a question. The parents would step up and replace whatever their kid ruined, intentionally or accidentally. That's just how things worked then, but we certainly live in a different age now.
I've seen my own son (and his friend, whom we call "Coke Can Boy") damage someone else's property -- in a very nice home with expensive contents -- but the "victim" dismissed my offer to pay for it. I was sincere about doing the right thing, but I will admit that I was a little relieved that I wasn't on the financial hook for the incident.
There is a line of thinking that says you can't really blame the neighbor kid if your own child broke the rules by allowing access into the office in the first place, but Glenn did specify that the other kids are aware of the rule. It's a tricky situation, to say the least. I also can't help wondering why a 9-year-old and his buddy were unsupervised long enough to enter an office and spill juice on a laptop, but that may be a completely different Group Therapy session in itself.
Has this happened to you, Rock-A-Holics? How did you deal with it?
On the other side of the coin, have you been the parent whose kid ruined someone else's property? Did you step up and at least offer to pay for the damage?
Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders.
Sometime in July of 1955, a magical thing happened. Walt Disney's dream came true, and the gates to Disneyland were opened wide. Originally called Disneyland, its name was changed to Disneyland Park in the 1990s to distinguish it from the expanding complex. The place was and is full of glitter and romance, inhabited by princesses and princes and a mouse named Mickey.
Back then, I had the embarrassing opportunity to tour the Magic Kingdom. Yes, embarrassing. My mother insisted that I place a Mickey Mouse ears/hat on my head, which already had over sized ears, and I looked like a two-headed rat, er, mouse. I don't know what that embarrassing hat cost back in 1955—it was an original—but Annette looked a lot better in it than I did.
This blog is not about my childhood humiliations, though. It's about the children of today and the movie Frozen, which has spawned an outbreak of buying frenzy for the movie's costumes. Desperate parents are paying thousands of dollars for Elsa dresses. Yes, thousands!
This is insane! Even if parents have money to burn, they are sending their children a discomforting message about consumerism and the things that matter: They will always get what they want. Corporate retail loves this, but what if children's future careers are more barista than barrister, as happens often today, and they are confronted with disappointing choices they are unprepared to make? The VW will have to do instead of the Lamborghini, and even buying the basics might require some thought. The price of milk has skyrocketed, and gas remains volatile, making me very glad I don't need to drive a lot.
I'm not sure if my argument is more with the media marketing giants that lead us to want, want, and want until we actually believe that we need, need, need, and will spend the bread, bread to get it, or is it just part of a continuing circle? In the case of the Elsa dresses, you search, run, and beg and plead because you want to be a good parent and give to your child what you didn't have. ("Gee, mom, my friends have one. Why can't I?") I'm not condemning parents, but I do think it's feeding a circle of want that makes corporations giddy with happiness and leaves values in peril.
There will be more thoughts about these and other topics at Rambling Harbor. Stop by and give a listen.
If you're reading this blog at work, I hope you made sure your boss isn't watching! We don't want any trouble in the workplace, do we?
Today's request for Group Therapy comes from Jacqueline, who is worried that her boyfriend's boss might be interested in creating a different kind of trouble for him. The boyfriend recently got a fantastic job with a big company; this was a surprise to Jacqueline, who didn't think he was qualified enough to even apply for the job in the first place!
Some girlfriends might be proud of this achievement, but Jacqueline suspects that her boyfriend might have been chosen for non-professional reasons. After all, the boss is a woman, and only 7 years older than Jacqueline's boyfriend.
Wait, there's more! The boss added the boyfriend on Facebook, and he added her back! GASP! Now they're friends on a social media site!
(I note for posterity that the Facebook information in Jacqueline's message was typed in ALL CAPS, which means that it's pretty major, right?)
With her suspicions already raised, Jacqueline went snooping on the boss's Facebook page, and discovered that her husband looks a lot like J's boyfriend: their height, build, hair color, eye color, and even eyeglass style are all very similar!
(My daughter calls this kind of social media stalking "creeper" behavior. Make of that what you will.)
We're getting more women participating in Group Therapy, and we really do love to see that happen. However, this situation really illustrates the point that women have just as much "stuff" to deal with as men. Speaking from the male point of view, I think that the best thing a man could do in a case like this is to combat those jealous feelings and fears by being the very best partner they can be. Don't be afraid of losing your mate to someone better…just BE someone better.
(I would assume that this advice would work just as easily for women, but what do I know?)
You've heard my two cents, and now Jacqueline wants to hear from her fellow Rock-A-Holics! Do you think her jealousy and suspicions are stepping out of line, or is she justified in her thinking?
Welcome to the Group Therapy club, ladies and gents. Grab yourself a drink, and put it on my tab.
(Please note: we only serve water, and it's free. Remember to tip your server.)
Lauren is a Rock-A-Holic who doesn't let her relationship status keep her from flirting with guys at the bar, and letting them buy drinks for her. She recently spent 45 minutes drinking with a strange man (on his dime) before mentioning that she was in a committed situation. The would-be suitor wasn't too happy about this; he bailed out immediately, and told Lauren that she'd been leading him on. He also said that he wouldn't accept that kind of behavior from a girlfriend.
Naturally, Lauren isn't sure if she's doing anything wrong.
I can appreciate the fact that Lauren reached out, told her story, and is now looking for opinions from her fellow Rock-A-Holics…but I'm not sure if she's going to appreciate my feelings on the matter.
Personally, I think there's an implied social understanding when a woman allows a man to buy her a drink in a bar; it creates the hope of a possibility for something beyond acquaintance. If you're in a relationship, I think it's best to put your cards on the table at the beginning of the game. You could almost reduce that down to simple common courtesy.
I'm not saying there's a reasonable expectation of something physical happening because a man buys a drink for a woman, but can we agree that most people don't engage each other in bars for purely platonic reasons? It's not a Sunday Social.
Is Lauren doing anything wrong by accepting drinks from guys in bars, and talking to them for an extended amount of time before telling the truth? Oh, and she hasn't told her boyfriend about the guy who felt she was leading him on…but she wonders if she should.
Howdy, Rock-A-Holics! You wanna hang out? We could try some Group Therapy together, if you're into that…
Kevin and his girlfriend are both in their early 30s, and they've been together for a couple of years now…but she recently confessed something that has left Kevin in a state of shock. The girlfriend admitted that she was in a 5-year relationship when they met, and she dumped the guy when she and Kevin "started hanging out."
(My first question in this story: What does "hanging out" mean, exactly? Friendly get-togethers? Pants or no pants? It's so hard to decode the terminology these days.)
Kevin's world has been a little bit rocked by this revelation. He's bothered that she kept a secret from him, and he's worried that she might do the same thing to him.
I'm pretty sure that the majority of all relationships end up one of two ways: you're either together forever, or you don't earn your tenure. Even when the outcome falls into a grey area, it still comes to one of those two conclusions.
Is it worth the concern that Kevin's going through? Objectively, this girlfriend really only broke up a previous relationship in favor of Kevin. It's never good to lie, or keep secrets, in a relationship…but could she be the rare leopard that changes her spots? Furthermore, does she earn any points for being honest about it, even if it took her a little while to get there?
Have any of you been through this? Can you offer Kevin some advice?
BONUS HONESTY POINTS: Are you, or your partner, a reformed cheater?
Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders:
Music of the 1960's and 1970's was saved on an odd piece of recording equipment, the 8-track tape. Formally called Stereo 8, it was cutting-edge technology. April 11 was National 8-Track Day, but you can still celebrate by paying tribute to the Beatles and the White Album, their first record on 8-track (and I think it's fair to say, if you have that 8-track it might be worth a pretty Penny Lane.) Jackson Browne gave a nod to the technology of the time in "Stay," as you might recall. But alas, the great 8-tracks, as well as cassettes, are no more.
Something else that has all but disappeared from our landscape, smothered by mp3, is the good old-fashioned record store selling vinyl—touch me, feel me, play me. There is nothing like holding an album; feeling the groove, so to speak. Of course, there are still some record stores, fun dusty places where an audiophile can go on a treasure hunt and maybe find that lost piece of vinyl from childhood. When I moved from a very large place to a very small place I was forced to sell off over 300 mint-condition albums to the stores that bought and sold used records. I discovered there is still a big market out there for collectors of vinyl and also saw that vinyl is making a comeback and for good reason. There is no sound like it, and it's another cause to celebrate. The seventh annual Record Store Day is April 19.
Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders:
Like most kids, I grew up in the custody of my parents. I call it custody because wherever they went I was mostly obliged to follow. After several attempts to escape at ages 1 and 2, I accepted the fact that I would be held hostage until at least the age of 18. Please don't misunderstand. My parents were extremely good and caring people, and I was never abused in any way, but we traveled a lot. I have often joked I was not sure if we were government or mafia. Now I'm not sure there is much of a difference, but my dad was government.
Traveling can be a great learning experience and I am so grateful for all the places I got to see, but here is the issue. You settle down in one place with one school, some friends, and most of all your favorite radio station. Then whack, wham, it's time to travel on. You find a new school and make new friends, but half way around the world, where is your favorite AM station playing all the hits of today?
In those days it was all AM and stayed that way until that wonderful underground purveyor of songs longer than three minutes, FM, came along. FM radio killed AM radio, at least for me, and in 1979, "Video Killed the Radio Star." Like all the other tracks on that Buggles LP, the theme was promotion of technology while worrying about its effects. I have a love-hate relationship with technology and still worry about technology and its effects on us.
In some cases, technology can be a good thing, and this is one of them. Now if you find you have become a gypsy, there are no worries about losing your favorite radio station, and I do mean radio. Say you left New York headed for L.A. In the middle of the New Mexico desert you can still hear your favorite station live on the radio from the Big Apple. Internet radio and podcasting have been around for a while, but now it's going to be in your car wherever you go. Radio is no longer local. It is truly worldwide. The Internet is the future of broadcasting.
More about this and other musical high notes, including thoughts on a great movie, 20 Feet from Stardom, in the podcast. Come ashore and give a listen.
Group Therapy is all about Rock-A-Holics helping Rock-A-Holics! Let's see if we can give some quality advice to one of the faithful!
Chris is 21 years old, and he's looking for some help with his current relationship. He dated his ex-girlfriend for about three months, but broke it off with her because he didn't feel like the relationship was going anywhere. Chris also describes her as "crazy", but we'll reserve judgment on that particular score.
Chris didn't leave the previous relationship empty-handed, though. A mutual attraction between Chris and his ex-girlfriend's sister has now turned into a full-on relationship for the two of them. This pairing is only a few weeks old, and it's been moving along very well…but the new girlfriend is worried about hurting her sister by going behind her back.
So, here's the big question from Chris: Should he and the new girlfriend make their relationship known to the world at large (most specifically, the sister ex-girlfriend) immediately, or wait until things have developed to the point of "serious relationship business" before revealing the truth?
I don't necessarily think that Chris is a bad guy; although I'm sure he'll run into some folks who might choose to judge him harshly for this particular life choice. Without knowing more about the women at the heart of this matter, I'm not sure I can give a definitive answer…but I actually don't know if this is something he needs to worry about. Sure, you want to handle people's feelings with care whenever you can, but this might not end up being a huge deal.
Of course, I could just be way behind on my "bro-codes" and "sis-codes" right now. If someone has the latest version of the Man-Woman manual, please let me know. I've never actually owned a copy.
We're turning it over to you, friends. What advice do you have for Chris?
Today's session of Group Therapy has put me in the mood for a song. Come on, Rock-A-Holics, you all know this one:
"Bad boys, bad boys, what'cha gonna do? What'cha gonna do when they come for you?"
We might have to change the famous COPS theme to call out the bad girls, depending on the evidence we hear from Marissa, who reached out and is looking for some advice. Marissa once spent a night in jail, and she's not sure if she should tell the man she's involved with.
Marissa's situation wasn't exactly a small matter: she spent the night in jail for a DUI. She's 27 years old, and has been dating her new guy for a month…so how important is disclosure of the penalty she paid for a serious lapse in judgment?
I feel like most women are very detail-oriented when it comes to a partner's past, but men tend to divide issues into very black and white columns. Marissa insists that she doesn't drink and drive anymore, but a DUI can definitely carry a special stigma. Don't get me wrong; I believe in letting actions speak louder than words, but if this was my girlfriend, the possibility would almost certainly be on my mind every time she goes out drinking.
Personally, I think Marissa should leave the past in the past, and focus on being wiser in the future. Let's hear your judgment on this case!
BONUS HONESTY POINTS: Have you ever confessed a criminal past to a partner, and how did they take the news?
Everybody pick a partner and head out to the dancefloor! It's time to shake your stuff to the sweet sounds of Group Therapy!
(I'll be over here by the punchbowl. You don't want to see me shaking my stuff. Seriously, folks…)
Today's topic comes from a Rock-A-Holic named Michelle, who is having a disagreement with her man. Michelle likes to dance, and she thinks like she should be able to dance with another man – even in a close, sexy way – without it being considered cheating. Obviously, Michelle's husband isn't falling in step with her point of view.
No two relationships are exactly like. It takes two to tango (pretty good, right?) when you're a couple in a committed situation, and that means both parties have to reach a mutual agreement about the parameters of the relationship. Some folks are comfortable with a bit more freedom, and extension of trust, while others like to keep things under lock and key when it comes to interacting with others outside of the partnership.
I think it takes a lot of personal strength to loosen the reins a bit, and let your girlfriend or wife explore something like dancing with another man. On the other hand, there's something to be said for the willingness to say, "Hey, I'm not okay with this."
It's a balancing act, like so many aspects of a relationship. Once the conditions are stated, it's up to both parties to understand and comply with those mutually-agreed-upon terms. That's what a partnership is all about.
Sexy dancing with another man is something that most men would probably have a problem with, even if we're not willing to admit it. Personally, I think that "H.R. Rules" might be an excellent way to keep a relationship functioning within (relatively) normal parameters: if you wouldn't behave a certain way with someone in a work environment, then don't behave that way with them in the outside world, either.