Friday, March 27, 2009

Day 14 - Emission Testing

Several of my waste products have been scrutinized by "the man". I would love to leave it at that in order to create some mystery:
I imagine a Constant Reader: Woah, what could that mean? I will lose sleep waiting with anticipation for the awesome continuation of this humorous tale.

Unfortunately, the story is not that good.

Waste product number one comes from my tail pipe. A few weeks ago I received the dreaded "VEIP" envelope from the motor vehicle administration. (My most hated of all administrations.) In Maryland, we receive these no more than once every two years, and the registrations are supposedly selected at random. Somehow, I have been "randomly" selected every other March since owning my car. Under the guise of eco-friendliness, the state charges $14 to test vehicle emissions. Being a resident on Planet Earth (at least most of the time), I am a willing participant in environmentally friendly initiatives.
Not to fear, Constant Reader, for this does not stop me from complaining:

One, the program is slightly inconvenient for a lucky schlep like me who owns a new-ish car that starts every day and generally gets me from point A to point B unless I am thwarted by user error or mapquest snafus. The program can be grueling for those who own old junkers (i.e. the working poor). If the car fails the test, the owner must pay for repairs up to $200 before the state will accept that the car is just a pollutant-spewing beast.

Two, we all know the state is only doing this to make money, and they are just tickled to find a worthy cause. Environmental programs that might actually cost money stand on the wayside.

Three, the test (for cars made after 1998) consists of a guy attaching a reader to the computer and...reading it. My mechanic can't do this? I have to drive 40 minutes to the "conveniently located" official VEIP station? Whatever. To be honest, I can't think of a better solution.

Waste product number 2: my pee. I officially accepted the job offer with KCI Technologies on Wednesday! I start April 3, assuming there are no issues with the mandatory drug test.

Oddly, despite being absolutely certain I should pass both of these tests, I was struck with fear. All sorts of things crossed my stupid mind, but I made the prudent decision to do no internet research before going to the designated pee-collector. (We all remember what happened when I researched hemorrhoids...) Thank goodness I learned my lesson. Knowledge would have only increased my paranoia. According to research done today, a whole slew of things can cause false positives for drugs: liver or kidney diseases, any over-the-counter cold medications, certain vitamins, and, of course, poppy seeds. I haven't taken any cold meds (they make me a little loopey - oh, and I don't have a cold.) I don't think I have liver or kidney disease, but I do get a lot of urinary tract infections. Could this be close enough? As for the vitamins, I have been taking them all in excess due to my wacky Caveman Diet. Eeek!
I do take issue with the poppy seeds, though. I have seen scientific evidence presented before my eyes on Mythbusters that the number of poppy seeds required to create a false positive is huge. I would have to be drinking them by the cup full. This being the case, it is probably safe to assume that all these other things are hogwash too. Good logic, eh?
In reality, further internet investigation has shown that false results on drug tests are most often caused by poor laboratory standards. The lab I went to required that I wash my hands before peeing into the cup, not flush the toilet, and that I watch the technician pour my pee into a test tube. I then had to initial the tape on the tube to indicate that I watched this process. Yucky. I am very glad that the profession I have chosen does not require direct interaction with other people's bodily fluids.

Today, I think it is safe to assume that I have passed both tests. The emissions guy gave me a readout from the car's computer and told me I passed. The pee girl hasn't contacted me, but I gotta think no news is good news on that front. So...I think it's safe to say it: I have a job!!



Maureen said...

Hmm, what's the reason for not flushing the toilet? And congrats on the job! Does this require a cross-country move?

CaraBee said...

Congrats on the new job! KCI is a great company, I'm sure you'll love it there! I'm surprised, though, that you had to take a drug test to work there.

I agree with you on the emissions testing. I wonder how much dreaded emissions are spent getting to/from the "conveniently" located testing stations and in waiting, car running, for a half hour for them to get to you.

Danielle Mari said...

Ha! Congrats! On all three: job, car, drug-free-pee.

They pulled me OUT OF CLASS to go pee right then and there. It was all very cloak and tagger... I guess they didn't want us to be able to cheat somehow. And to make things even more humiliating- I had to pee (and not flush) in the kindergarten mini-toilet. I asked if I would get an "I Peed!" sticker like the "I Voted!" sticker they give you... no dice. In fact, I am certain that my question caused them to wonder just how accurate my negative reading might be.