Saturday, February 11, 2012

Taxi Etiquette

Being that I do not own a car I often find myself having to rely on hired transport to get to and from such places as work, school, the mall etc. I will go out on a limb here and assume that the majority of the Trinidad and Tobago population uses public/hired transportation on a daily basis and this assumption often leads me to wonder why there is such an absence of taxi etiquette.
In my opinion Taxi Etiquette (TE) is a combination of having awareness of yourself as well as having an awareness of your fellow passengers (as well as the driver) and respecting all who occupy the vehicle. These acts of respect and awareness include; keeping your body and luggage to yourself at all times, being mindful of how your actions will affect others in the vehicle and last but not least personal hygiene.

When travelling (by myself) I usually opt for either sitting in a single seat (maxi) or the front seat (taxi) but seeing that I was running late for work this morning I hastily jumped into the empty back seat (the front seat was taken) of a non-air conditioned taxi (another note in it self). Soon after a man came in and sat in the back with me and as we proceeded to drive off another woman came into the taxi as well. This left me sitting in the middle. The man who sat to my right passed his TE test with flying colours as the woman to my left failed.

To begin, I think I should mention that she was middle aged and over weight. This frustrated me as she seemed not to care that her handbag, right arm, right breast and stomach all sat on the left side of my body. This irritated me as the atmosphere was already humid. When I could no longer take her elbow digging into my hip I politely looked over and mentioned that she was causing me slight discomfort. After a bit of attitude she removed her elbow and jammed herself to the door (as she should have done to begin with).

But wait! It gets better! She received a phone call which she insisted on attending to via speaker phone and talking louder than she needed to. I would assume that this irritated the driver and prompted him to raise the volume of his radio to a ridiculous level which caused me to immediately develop a headache (which lasted for the rest of the day). I was more than grateful to come out at my stop only to reach in work to realise that I was smelling like a fried frog... HOW DEPRESSING.

So moral of the story, when using public transportation be mindful of others by keeping your arms, legs, breasts, luggage, body fluids and body odour to yourself!

How to be the Perfect Valentine (on a budget)

So its the month of love and as valentine's day approaches I have been thinking of some budget friendly ways to make your special someone's heart beat just a little bit faster.

1. The pen is mightier than the dollar - why not take a few minutes to list all the things that you love about your valentine? Let him or her know why you love having them in your life. This tip will work wonders especially if you are not the lyrical or writing type because your valentine will appreciate this gesture so much more! And... It's free! Hand written letters are more personal and carry more meaning but if you like you could get a little more creative and do up a letter or personalized card on your computer which you can then print, roll and tie with a ribbon or string.

2. Be Betty Crocker - baked goods taste so much better when they have the secret ingredient love! Make brownies or cookies (or what ever you are good at baking) from scratch! OR go buy a box of betty crocker mix! Either way, the fact that you got up off your ass to go to the grocery to bake sweet deliciousness, especially for him or her, will just melt your valentine's heart. You can even take it one step further and make those brownies or cookies into hearts with the use of a simple cookie cutter. If you don't have a cookie cuter you can use a knife to cut out hearts or words OR you can write heart felt words in icing.

3. Use your utensils - if baking really isn't your thing why not attempt to make his or her favourite meal? You can also google romantic dinner (or lunch) recipes and try your hand at something new. If you really cannot cook up a storm I am sure that your valentine would appreciate it just as much if you were to simply serve them a delicious bowl of macaroni and cheese! Believe me when I say IT IS THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS.

4. Hand in hand - very few things are more romantic that a moonlit stroll. Why not go meet your valentine at their house and take them for a relaxed stroll around their neighborhood, or on the beach or even anywhere that is convenient but safe. While on this stroll hold hands and talk about the times you have spent together, pick a flower off a nearby tree and present it to him or her, sit on a park bench and look up at the stars. Try to limit the amount of attention you pay to your phone and focus on your valentine. He or she will surely appreciate your gift of time!

5. Be eco-friendly - instead of buying him or her flowers why not pick flowers? And I don't mean standing on the pavement and stretching over into someone's yard trying to yank a few branches off their tree before someone sees you! If you don't have flowers in your own yard, why not ask one of your neighbours who do. I am sure that they will love to sponsor you a few flowers. Bundle the flowers together and tie them together with a bow. You can also make your own vase by cutting off the top of a plastic bottle (a gatorade bottle is a good guideline for size) and then wrap the bottom half of the bottle in coloured cellophane paper (clear gift wrapping paper). Fill it with water and put your flowers in. Don't forget to add a little card!

6. Make it a wonderful world - as always it is much easier to find budget friendly store bought gifts for girls! Why not get her a $20 or $30 gift certificate from wonderful world? Almost any girl would love this, and even though $20 may sound cheap, TRUST ME, she WILL be able to get something for that price that she will truly like. Am I right ladies? This is a wonderful alternative to buying flowers which will wither away in just a few days.

7. Make it a public affair - this tip will depend on the type of person your valentine is. DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE ATTEMPTING THIS. I am sure that absolutely nothing will make your valentine feel more special than if you were to hand deliver specially made brownies, cookies, lunch, a gift card, hand picked flowers and/or a love letter to them at their place of work. THIS is guaranteed to get you some good loving! Lol just kidding... But you never know. Either way, this will let your valentine know that you are ok with letting others know how much you care about him or her.

8. Be friendly - this is probably the most important tip of them all! REMEMBER valentines day is not just about the person you are in love with, it should also be about the people you care about, such as your friends. Pay special attention to these people who have been there for you through thick and thin, especially those who may have ended relationships recently. All tips above can be modified to suit your friendly needs but the best tip to suit this would be to bake some cupcakes and pass them out.

I hope that I have been helpful in giving you some good budget friendly ideas to make this valentine's day special for you and yours. Remember valentines is not about how much money you spend but for spreading love.

Happy Valentines Day!!