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September 14, 2008

I'm commandeering your outlet! ...please?

September 14. Day 76.

so tired... asked for something electrically oriented, but i am too tired to write it... spent the whole day in the car, driving from maine to boston. i'll fill this in tomorrow morning, or else i'll fall asleep at the keyboard.



A few days ago, I dreamed I bought a motorcycle and then experienced tremendous buyer's remorse. It was red and pretty sleek, and I paid around 8 grand for it. Once the transaction was complete, I instantly had two thoughts:

Why the hell did I just buy a motorcycle? I don't need a motorcycle! I don't WANT a motorcycle!


Why didn't I negotiate?? How will I show my face again on The Daily Asker?!!

And that, dear reader, is the first and only dream (so far) I've had about this experiment.

As for yesterday's asking:

I was driving down the New England coast, as you know, from northern Maine into Boston. About halfway there, I realized I really needed to make some phone calls and check the directions, but my cell and laptop were out of batteries.

I stopped at a Dunkin Donuts, but it didn't have any plugs. Drove by another fastfood place, but it was closed. Then, spotted a McDonald's.

Now, as much as I may have loved their Happy Meals growing up, it's not my practice these days to go to McD's more than once every few months, let alone twice in the same vacation. But desperate times, you know...

I spotted the plug, which had a child safety blocker, so I decided to check if I could use it. Maybe it wasn't working?

"Excuse me, is there a problem if I charge my phone really quickly in that outlet? I'll order something, of course."

The young lady manning the register, Kayla, dropper her jaw like I'd approached her talkin' Mexican.

"Can I use your outlet?" I tried again.

"Umm, let me check with the manager. K, cum'ere! They wanna use the plug." It was more of a complaint than a request.

The manager, Kaycee, thought about it for a few seconds before she gave her verdict. "They can't do that."

Now I was having trouble following. The restaurant was empty. The plug was available to the public, as it was in front of the counter (not behind it, or in the kitchen, or somehow difficult to access). It was blocked to protect children, I presume - a member of whose group I was not. I was a traveler asking for a few minutes of cell phone juice so I could get on my way.

Of course they had every right to deny me. But was it logical? Was it friendly? Was it American?

I decided to do something I rarely have the guts to. I pulled rank. Kaycee and Kayla were at that precious age when Crisco foreheads begin to mattify and summer jobs turn full-time for those without the prospect of, or interest in, secondary education. Around 18, that is.

I figured that with a decade or so on them, I could at least sound like I had some authority.

"There's no reason for you not to let me use that outlet," I said calmly but firmly, in the closest thing I have to a patient mom voice. "Now, I'm only going to use it for a few minutes, because I do need to make an important phone call. Is that fine."

"I guess it's okay," Kaycee conceded, no longer interested in asserting her managerial hegemony. Or perhaps I had simply convinced her that whatever dangers lurked before had evaporated like the alcohol in her misty hairspray.

Gained: Internet access, directions and a phone call to confirm housing for the night.

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