Ask a Dilettante – Controlling the Remote, Getting the Boot, Voting is Good for You

Who should have control of what we watch on TV at home – my roommate, whose TV it is, or me since I own the house?

Assuming your roommate is paying rent and thus contributing money toward your mortgage payments, he/she retains control of the TV. You’re getting a long-term payoff with those rent payments while your roommate is only getting an immediate need fulfilled. Yes, shelter is important – one of the big three – but the payment of rent puts your house partner on more equal footing with you. In other words, you don’t get to lord around the house in an open robe and a Speedo taking control of your roommate’s stuff as you wish.

If your roommate isn’t paying rent, then you must be talking about your spouse or your mother. Either way, the remote stays in their hands and out of yours.

How many unpaid parking tickets can one rack up before getting a boot on one’s car or having said vehicle towed?

According to the City of Houston’s website, your ride can get the boot after three or more citations are past due (over 104 days). Getting your booted car freed can cost nearly $500 (including a $50 “notification fee” in case you’re too much of a dumbass to realize what the big yellow thing attached to your wheel is), so it would be worth it to pay your tickets on time.

Is there any other mechanism, besides years of shitty government, to get folks to realize that voting is actually important?

Most Americans are non-plussed by the typical pool of elected officials we have to choose from and are therefore not that interested in voting. With so many candidates who are variations on the same theme, we often talk about having to choose the lesser of two (or more) evils. It pisses us off, and it makes us not that excited about voting.

At least there are some interesting options for the upcoming Presidential election. We have more to choose from than the typical old white guys. Maybe that will make a difference. Maybe that will be the start of a new trend, where candidates start looking like the people who live in the place they claim to represent. Or maybe people will just concern themselves with American Idol and consider that their civic duty.

If only we could get Kelly Clarkson to run for office…

[This column originally appeared in its entirety on Houstonist.]

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