Thursday, July 9, 2009

The downturn of America

Articles like this one make me angry:

Squeeze Inn sued by disabled woman

Published Thursday, Jul. 09, 2009

Aficionados say the burger sold at the Squeeze Inn is perfection, the consummate marriage of bun, ground meat and melted cheddar cheese.

But a woman has filed a lawsuit in federal court, saying the one-time coffeehouse with 450 square feet of space is anything but perfect. The suit alleges the kitschy confines break state and federal laws protecting the rights of people with disabilities.

Among the allegations:
• Parking at the Squeeze Inn is not accessible to disabled people, nor is the main entrance.
• The inside seating area, which has about a dozen stools, does not have accessible tables.
• The outside seating area is hard to navigate and lacks adequate floor space for wheelchair use.

Kimberly Block, who filed the suit, could not be reached for comment. She is described in the suit as a person with limited use of her legs. The suit alleges she is being discriminated against in violation of California law and the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

The suit asks the court to require Squeeze Inn owner Travis E. Hausauer to make fixes and award an unspecified amount in damages. Hausauer could not be reached for response.

For years, the Squeeze Inn has been named to lists of the best burgers in town. Business has soared this year since the Food Network featured the Squeeze Inn on its popular "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" program with host Guy Fieri.

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Having visited this burger joint, I do realize that it is not handicap accessible. It is in a former coffeeshop, and is TINY…there isn’t hardly room for non-handicapped persons to move around inside.

My problem, however, lies in this woman’s lawsuit. She is suing and asking for the owner of the Squeeze Inn to update the restaurant to be handicap accessible. Okay, this seems reasonable. However, the suit then apparently goes on to ask the court for “an unspecified amount in damages.”

Why is this woman asking for damages? I see no reason other than to make herself rich. She was not hurt during her visit to the Inn. She was not slandered. As far as we know she was not ridiculed (and if she was, I’m sorry, and that's unexcusable, but at the same time, everyone is ridiculed at some point in their life...that’s a part of life).

I get so angry when things like this happen. Have we really become a nation of people who sue others as a way to earn our living? This woman could have a very strong lawsuit just asking for the restaurant to make ADA changes. Does she really have to go as far as to seek money?

I wonder what her day job is, or if she even has one.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

À bientôt, Facebook…

I’m tired.

I’m tired of manically checking Facebook on my phone to see if someone has updated their status. I’m tired of logging in on my computer and wasting hours looking at pictures. And so I say, later, Facebook.

It’s not goodbye forever, but for now.

When I first jumped on the MySpace band wagon oh-so-long ago, I loved being able to find people I knew and look at their pictures. I could see what they’d been doing with their lives, look at their kids, their houses, etc. For a person like me who loves to see how people live, it was heaven (not a stalker, I swear). After awhile, I got sick of MySpace…it became so cluttered! Everyone had music, backgrounds, blinking things, flashing things, etc. It was so busy, I couldn’t take it. I didn’t check my page for months, and finally just took it down.

I went to Facebook after many friends told me they were using that site instead. It was great! It was clean, uncluttered, and so much more professional. Plus, there were so many people on Facebook that I hadn’t seen or spoken to in years! It was great to catch up with these people.

I found myself checking Facebook more and more often as more friends either joined or just found me online. I downloaded the Facebook app on my phone and checked it all the time. Then I got mad or frustrated when I’d check and nothing had happened…in five minutes! How could no one post any updates in five minutes!? That’s plenty of time, I thought to myself. I needed to calm down.

Then I noticed that checking Facebook on my phone was one thing; I didn’t ever spend too much time in one sitting on my phone, because it’s convenient, but it’s not the most user friendly app. When I get home from work, I usually have no desire to turn on the computer. Sometimes, though, I’ll log in to Facebook on my home computer…and waste HOURS looking at pictures of friends, then looking at friends of friends, then random people who knew my friends. I’ll sit there, mesmerized, as the hours pass. And as I struggle to tear myself away from the screen, I’ll realize how much time I wasted, and I’ll get mad at myself. There are so many other things I could have been doing besides looking at pictures of people I don’t know!

After awhile I started noticing parents of friends were joining Facebook. That was a little odd for me; I see Facebook as a site for friends…once parents join, it makes me feel more restricted. What does my status say? Was I too descriptive/negative/offensive? What are they going to think of me?

Next, I found family members online! Not my brother and his wife, but cousins and second cousins and distant aunts. This was great – we have a large extended family, but I don’t get to see many of them very often (even though quite a few live in the same town…actually one lives about a mile away). I always see at least one second cousin when I go to get my hair done; they always seem to have the appointment after mine, but that’s about the only time I see them. So I had fun adding those relatives as my “Friends” and catching up on their lives (although then I got depressed…cousins who seem so much younger than me are of drinking age and are graduating from college).

Through all of this, I began to feel less enthusiastic about Facebook. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I have a rather addictive personality. I develop addictions for many things, Facebook being one of them. I was addicted to checking it and reading people’s statuses, but at the same time, I was sick of reading what everyone was doing, every second of every day. Some people update their status seven, eight times a day – and I’m guilty of that too! I find myself sitting somewhere, bored for a minute, so I whip out my phone and update my status. But really, who cares if I’m at Music Circus, or if I had coffee today, or if I’m at work. After awhile, I don’t even care.

Then there are the negative nellies…not those people who may have had a bad day and need to vent, or even those who aren’t feeling well and just maybe need to get that out there. I’m talking about the people who either consistently have nothing positive to report on, or those who continuously update their status with sad, dreary, or depressing remarks about the current situation in your life (there’s two types of those people: 1) those who are open about whatever is going on in their life, in which case everyone knows what their status refers to; and 2) those who update their status with cryptic yet depressing remarks but only share what is going on in their life with their close friends, even though the rest of the world can read their status. The first type I’m okay with; the second type bothers me, because I wonder what is going on, if this person is okay, yet I feel like I can’t ask them because clearly they’re not ready to share their story with the rest of the world.). I think that right now, everyone has troubles, and so I’m sorry, but I’m tired of reading about everyone else’s. It doesn’t mean I don’t feel for you, it just means that I too have negative things in my life, yet I am trying to be positive – and it’s hard to be positive when you’re reading negative things all day.

So, I’ve decided to take a break from Facebook. I am not taking down my page completely for several reasons: 1) maybe I just need a short break before the desire to read about others overwhelms me again; 2) I have a lot of “Friends” I’ve accumulated and I don’t want to have to find them all again; and 3) every once in awhile I might feel the urge to check in for a quick minute without going hog wild and spending hours online.

In exchange, I’m going to work vigilantly to update my blog more often. They may be short blogs, they may be long, they may be specific or totally random, but I will definitely put more info here so you all don’t miss me too much on Facebook. For now, adios!