National Unsubscribe Week: Sept. 28 – Oct. 5

The air is a little cleaner, a little lighter in my house this week. I’ve been taking an extra minute or two when I hit my inbox to unsubscribe from the dozens of email lists I seem to be populating.

Like you, I am flooded each day with mail I don’t read, don’t often care about, and don’t want. The reasons are varied. Sometimes I actually DID sign up for this incessant advertising. Sometimes I didn’t realize I was signing up. Sometimes I signed up for one thing, not realizing I was also signing up for dozens of other things. You are probably in the same pickle.

So this week, each time I open my inbox, I”m taking an extra minute to open any message I might normally skip. I consider the source for a moment and, if I decide I don’t need this, I scroll all the way to the bottom of the message and search for the unsubscribe link. I’m doing the same thing for messages in my spam folder and in my trash folder.

I am enjoying this lighter, freer feeling so much that I have decided to declare next week, Sept. 28 – Oct. 5, 2014, as National Unsubscribe Week. I’m inviting everyone to take an extra minute or two each time you visit your inbox during the week to scroll to the bottom of any message you would normally skip, and click the unsubscribe link. Your inbox will be smaller, happier, easier to get through and your email address will become less of a commodity to those who distribute your information for a fee.

Scootered Out

I will begin this post with a piece I wrote about a month ago, but never posted.

I sold my Mercedes.

I loved that car. It was a SLK320 – a two-seater, hard-top, convertible. It was older – a 2004 model – but it had less than 60,000 miles on it and was the deluxe, ‘Designo’ model. Beautiful! Drove like a dream and turned heads, it did.

But then there was that brake job. Oh, it was a major brake job, master cylinder and all . . . $3,000. Much as I loved the car I drove in fear of the next failed system, the next breakdown. I’ve read enough about families devastated by catastrophic medical bills; I didn’t want to be one devastated by catastrophic Mercedes Benz repair bills!

So I put it in autotrader.com and it ran for months. I priced it fairly . . well, it was considerably less than I paid 18 months prior . . but still $3,000 over Blue Book. Like a home seller at a listing appointment, I figured it would just be a matter of a few weeks before a drunk buyer would show up having just won some kind of lottery and just dump the cash in my waiting palms! Needless to say, that didn’t happen.

Finally, as my ad neared its anniversary date, I cut the price to near book value and suddenly there was a buyer from Utah, flying in with a cashier’s check!

And then, I was a one vehicle guy.

My only transportation was my 1997 Jeep Cherokee Country (the majorly upgraded model), also a gem with less than 100,000 miles on it. I love the Jeep, too, but it gets, like, 15 miles to a gallon, which can warp your perspective when gas prices top $4 a gallon! I decided I needed something else.

So . . . I bought a scooter. Really! A Honda PCX 150. It’s red and beautiful! I looked at Vespa and there’s no denying the chic appeal there, but this little bike makes sense. It’s powerful, gets up any hill quickly, maneuvers like a figure skater, and has gotten no less than 90 miles per gallon in its first 1,000 miles! It’s perfect for zipping around town, running errands, even shopping. It has this nice deep trunk that is roomy enough to accommodate a lot of purchases. I also carry a big back-bag for times when I exceed the storage capabilities. Since I bought it 2 months ago, I have barely used the Jeep.

My scooter is freeway legal, but I’m not. What I mean is: no way I’m gonna take this little thing out there with all of those maniacs! I’ve become a master at finding the way between point A and point B on surface streets. This past weekend I traveled more than 100 miles out to Ramona and then Santa Ysabel and back, mostly on twisty two lane roads through the hills and mountains. It was a delight!

Ok: that was the month old part. This is today.

Last Thursday – September 11 2014 – I was out for a late afternoon joy ride. I rode through the Park and then downtown. I turned up 5th Avenue for a quick look at the Gaslamp District. I crossed Broadway in the left lane of that three lane one way street, headed North. There was a black Toyota Tundra, King-Cab next to me. We were going about 30 miles per hour.

As we got to B Street, I caught a glimpse of movement in my peripheral vision. I saw the driver yank his steering wheel to the left and then, first his headlight and then the grill of the truck were bearing down on me. He had decided to turn left from the center lane . . . and I just happened to be in the way.

I remember grabbing both brakes as hard as I could . . . I heard a woman scream. Someone shouted h My God!’ And then I was in the street, the bike on top of me and two men were anxiously looking down at me.

‘Brilliant Move!’ I bellowed, ‘Making a turn from the center lane!’

They moved to help, taking the bike off me and walking it over to the curb. I hobbled behind. I knew something was wrong with my foot, but the after-accident adrenaline was powerful enough to mask any pain.

By the time I had gotten to the curb, I surmised that the two men were passengers in the Tundra. ’Who was driving?’I asked. They looked nervous and didn’t answer. I tried again. ‘Who was driving the truck?’

t is over there,’one man said with a choppy accent, pointing to the truck now parked at the curb. A man sat inside, behind the wheel.

‘Quien! Quien estaba manejando?” I shouted. Neither answered.

Feeling my foot begin to ache, I took a seat on the curb. A woman came over and offered me her card. She’s seen the whole thing and was offering to help as a witness if it became necessary. I asked her to please write down the license plate of the truck on the back of her card. She did.

There was a policeman in my face asking what happened and if I was ok. I tried to stand, but couldn’t. An ambulance was on the way. Soon I was on a gurney and loaded in the back of the red vehicle.

The policeman was in and out with a question here and there and then we headed to the hospital: Scripps Mercy.

The ER was overflowing there, so when my friend arrived, we left and went to Kaiser, where I have my health insurance. I figured, why create another layer of billing and potential haggling about who pays for what? But if Scripps was overflowing, Kaiser was flooding. People everywhere.

It took 6 hours to get in and out. My foot was broken in at least 3 places. I was put in a temporary cast and set up with and Orthopedist today.

Turns out three breaks was an understatement. My mid food – the bit between the ankle and the toes – was shattered. I have lots of breaks and lots of little pieces floating around in there. It’s the kind of break they usually correct with surgery, stitching all of the pieces back together. However, my pieces are too small for that. Fortunately, they are lined up pretty good so I am now in a hard cast for 4 – 6 weeks.

So, back to that scooter I love so much. No promises yet . . . but I think, when it gets out of the shop . . . I’m selling it.

I was incredibly lucky in this accident. And I haven’t been able to get the image of that truck heading for me out of my mind. I keep playing it over and over. I think I was getting a message from the beyond and I believe I will pay attention to it.

Motorized two wheelers are fun, efficient and in many ways superior. But car drivers are crazy. They really are. It’s not safe out there without a few thousand pounds of metal around you.