Five On The Street

I’m back to a regular schedule at work, until end-of-the-month overtime comes around again. My boss told me I shouldn’t get stressed about the backlog. (She knows me and my work ethic too well.) She also expressed concern that I’m going to get fed up with the current workload and leave. (That made me feel good.)

After I arrived at work this morning, I walked over to our self-serve cafeteria for some breakfast. It wasn’t until I got to the empty coolers that I remembered about the “unscheduled emergency repairs” last Saturday. All the perishables had been removed because the electricity would be out for at least 12 hours. (It’s always good to know exactly when unscheduled repairs will happen, so you can remove the perishables.) So, no breakfast sandwiches or muffins. There was dry cereal, but no milk to put on it. So, I skipped breakfast.

I’ve started reading Machine of Death again. That’s the book we received at the NorWesCon gift exchange last December. I’d put it aside to concentrate on Peril in Paperback.

Machine of Death is an anthology of short stories with a common theme: A vending machine has been invented that will accurately predict how a person will die. It won’t tell you when you will die, however – only the method. The catch is that the cause of your death is not always what you think it will be. For instance, the card that spits out of the machine may say only “PLANE CRASH”. So, you avoid traveling by air, and you stay away from airports, only to be killed when an airplane crashes into your house.

I’ve finished the first three of the thirty-something stories. Those first three stories have each dealt with the reactions to the prediction – not the death itself. In one story, the popularity of the machines has hurt the life insurance industry. If you know you’re going to die of a terminal illness, why you insure yourself against sudden death? In another, high school cliques have formed around the nature of the prediction. The cool kids are those going to die in violent, action-filled deaths. The weird kids are the suicides. And the unpopular kids are the deaths from illnesses.

It’s a fascinating book, so far.

On my ride home this evening, I noticed that the Pronto bike-sharing station at Bellevue and Pine is gone. (I fairly sure I saw it there this morning. I was on that side of the bus, so I think I would have noticed it.) I hadn’t really thought about until then, but it makes sense that lesser-used stations would eventually be removed. Or, it could also be a space-use permit issue. I did a quick internet search for “Pronto station removed” when I got home, but couldn’t find any information about it.

As I walked home along Summit Avenue, I saw a parked car2go. As I approached it, I saw that someone was in it. As I passed it, I saw that the person inside had just picked it up. (The central display screen was asking for a cleanliness report,) On the next block, I saw a second car2go. There was someone in it, too, also just picking it up. As I continued on, a car2go drove past me. I figured it was one of the two I’d seen earlier. Then I saw a third car2go parked on Summit. No one was in that one. It’s rare to see three cars2go parked in our neighborhood, so close together. But then I saw a fourth and fifth one. I’m sure they were all reserved, and probably all gone by the time I got home.

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