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Friday, March 17, 2017

The Writer's Life 3/17 - Luck of the non-Irish

Here's the gist of an article from Yahoo's Odd News that should interest writers particularly. It has been edited by yours truly: A federal appeals court is keeping a lawsuit alive in which dairy drivers are seeking more than $10 million in overtime pay. It concerns a Maine law that states overtime compensation doesn't apply to the "canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of" foods. The basis of the suit is the fact that there's no Oxford, or serial, comma after the word "shipping," which lawyers claim means "packing for distribution" and not simply general "distribution." The court sided with the drivers. I guess the spirit of the law doesn't matter in this case. I imagine that across the nation lawyers are combing legislation for such loopholes, and chances are they will be found.

The weather finally moderated, which led to a dilemma - did I dare move my car from its parking spot? Since my usual book nook, which gets about only two hours of sun per day, is iced over, I would have blocked pedestrian traffic if I'd set up shop there. It wasn't a difficult decision, especially since the forecast calls for a mix of rain and snow tomorrow. After three days on the shelf, I couldn't let such a beautiful day pass without selling books. Two-fifths of the space in front of the Chase bank at Bay Parkway & 84th was lost to a pile of snow. That left room for only three vehicles. Fortunately, a van pulled away from the lead spot within 15 minutes of my arrival. Although the alternate side regulation was suspended, meter rules applied. I used my NetSpend debit card, which now holds about a third of my income tax refund. I've used a lot of it at that device, which I don't trust enough to use a real credit or debit card. The thing doesn't even take quarters, which frustrates the hell out of people. Anyway, in my mind, I'm using free money. That spot is bathed by the sun practically the entire day. The frozen snow had softened considerably. I shoveled out a long swath for my display, and lanes on either side of it so no one would complain I was blocking the sidewalk. It was warm enough so that I didn't need my winter coat. A teenage girl immediately made the gamble worth it, selecting a large hardcover book on science. Then flame-haired Natasha came along and overpaid for two thrillers. That covered the pizza I planned to buy for supper. At my recommendation, Johnny bought The Five Fingers by Gayle Rivers and James Hudson, a Vietnam War saga I'd recently read. He'd just purchased a metal shovel. His car had been hemmed in by the work of the snowplows. As soon as he left, a huge SUV pulled up. As the young mom was pulling her toddler daughter from the back seat, she noticed the display. Ten minutes later she returned with her mom, speaking Spanish. She pointed out my picture on the back of A Hitch in Twilight. I doffed my glasses and said: "Aqui esta." She bought it. Then Bad News Billy showed and gave me a St. Patrick's Day gift. He's half Irish. My sincerest thanks to these kind folks. When I returned to E. 13th, there were no open spots, of course. I shoveled away the slush at the first stretch near the corner on the right hand side and backed my Hyundai into it. The passenger side wheels are about a foot higher than those of the driver side. My plastic shovel couldn't make a dent in that long block of ice. Still, it beat driving around like an idiot, hoping someone would pull out of a better option.
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