It’s been raining here all day; periodically very hard. I was supposed to go flying tomorrow, but between this rain (which is supposed to carry over into tomorrow) and mechanical problems on the aircraft I booked,that isn’t going to happen.

Sometimes I wonder what exactly other people go into video rental stores to do. I go to video rental stores because I want to rent a video. Typically, this process involves going into the store, selecting a video,and waiting in line for about ten to fifteen minutes, until I can pay and leave the store without setting off the alarms which always go off anyway. In a perfect world, I would enter the store, select a video,approach the counter, pay, and leave the store in a bit under five minutes of elapsed time. However, my efforts to approach this Video Rental Utopia are continually thwarted by people who seem to go into video rental stores for other reasons than video rental. Inevitably, by the time I’ve selected a video for my viewing enjoyment, the line is ten people deep. At the counter, there is one person who apparently came into the store thinking that he or she could: open a checking account, buy two gallons of fat free chocolate milk, pass a counterfeit twenty dollar bill,brush up on their Italian, get some free child-care, and heck, pick up a video while they were at it. The clerk working the counter is insufficiently trained to explain to this person that they have entered a video rental institution, which does not currently offer all those services. The misguided individual, let’s call them Counter-Hog, then engages in a long tirade about calling the manager, their third cousin who’s a lawyer in a city half a continent away, and the Better Business Bureau to right this terrible injustice. This forces the clerk use diagrams,multicolor pie-charts, mind-altering narcotics, and detailed economic analysis to try and get the point across that all this particular institution does is rent videos. At some point, Counter-Hog becomes ready to begin the video rental process. However to begin the video rental process, he or she must overcome several other problems: his or her sub-standard understanding of U.S. currency and his or her inability to understand the hesitation of the video rental firm to rent Counter-Hog yet another video when he or she already has $48 in late fees. So, there I stand, waiting to transact approximately one minute of business with the video rental firm, watching this whole drama go on and on, time after time. That is why Pay-Per-View will eventually kill the video store.