Cat lovers, cup quotas, and bad Ohio drivers

by Natalie Dee

I live in Pennsylvania and have visited your home state of Ohio quite a number of times. While cruising through Cleveland one day, I noticed Ohioans blocking the intersection on several occasions.

Since you’re in Ohio a lot more than I am, do you find Ohio drivers to be generally worse than average, or did I catch you guys on a bad day? Maybe there are just more blockable intersections in Ohio because the ground is flat and the roads are straighter than Pennsylvania’s? Just wondering.



Oh, whatever. The worst drivers I’ve ever seen were in Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh to be exact).

The fact of the matter is that people always think people in other states/cities drive worse than they do at home. That’s because, as a visitor, you’re not familiar with your surroundings or the local traffic patterns. The locals are perceived as crappy drivers because they’re trying to go about their daily business in their hometown, zooming around streets they know like the backs of their hands, and you’re a tourist driving apprehensively and getting in their way.

Ohio drivers are distracted and mad and impatient, but so are the drivers everywhere else. Anything beyond that is just you being antsy about being in an unfamiliar place and not knowing where you’re going.


My dad’s cat just died and he’s pretty upset. He lives alone, and he doesn’t seem too interested in finding a girlfriend. I’m not sure if it’s bad for him to be so alone—I don’t want him to get depressed or anything.

I spend time with him, but I can’t live with him. Do you think I should suggest that he get another pet? Should I wait a little while before suggesting this?



It would be fine for you to suggest that your dad get another pet, but give him enough time to mourn the loss of his old cat before telling him you think he should get a new one.

Sometimes people get new pets immediately after their old ones die, but if your dad really liked your cat, he might not be ready for a new one right away. It is OK if your dad feels a little depressed and lonely now—his friend died, and he’s getting used to the fact that he/she is gone. Wait until he’s feeling a little better about it, then make the suggestion. In any case, your dad will be fine. Just because he lives alone and isn’t interested in dating doesn’t mean he’s destined to be unhappy.


I like to have friends over quite often and, as a polite hostess, I offer everyone something to drink. But if I have a large group over there are lots of glasses to wash and clean up afterwards! How many people should be over in order to make getting out the plastic cups appropriate?



I think that bringing out plastic cups is appropriate when more than seven people are having drinks or when you have more people needing drinks than you have matching glasses, whichever comes first.

You don’t want to let people use every single glass you own, because cleanup is a real drag. Why should casual get-togethers be stressful? And you wouldn’t want to be enjoying drinks with your friends and have one person wonder why everyone else is drinking out of glasses but they’re drinking out of a giant plastic Batman Returns cup from Taco Bell.


I have a problem. My boyfriend of almost four years is acting really weird. He’s quiet and moody all the time and does almost nothing but play videogames and watch Stargate.

He used to be funny and affectionate, but now he seems totally disinterested in our relationship, even when it comes to sex. I feel like he doesn’t even want me around. He acts nice around our friends, but that’s about it. If I try to make him happy, it just seems to push him farther away.

Do you have any suggestions for making things better? Any ideas would be appreciated.



Uh-oh. It sounds like your boyfriend has gone all nerdy on you.

Seriously though, if he’s acting like a dick, and is not fun to be around/affectionate/nice to you/whatever, you need to talk to him and get this problem taken care of ASAP, or leave him. He’s not your family; the fact that you’re in a relationship is not some kind of binding obligation. If you are in a relationship, and it does not make you feel good, then you need to take care of the issue or get out of the relationship.

Try talking to him and see what he says. It’s possible he doesn’t want to be with you anymore and he’s just too chickenshit to say anything about it. Maybe there’s some other issue he’s not telling you about. The thing is, if you don’t talk about it, things will never get any better. Some behavioral change on your part isn’t going to do anything, especially since you don’t even know if it’s anything you’re doing that’s making him act weird.

A relationship with no communication, no sex, no affection—and no interest in even spending time with the other person—is not a relationship. It is two people staying together by force of habit or fear of being alone. If you can’t talk to him and get him to treat you better, you need to leave him and find someone who can at least meet the basic requirements of being a boyfriend.


An ex-boyfriend of mine recently came out of the closet. I was his last serious relationship, but he casually dated other women after me. Did I make him gay?



Probably not. I mean, I’ve dated some pretty heinous dudes in my day, but I still like guys pretty well. I imagine it would be difficult to change someone’s sexual orientation—those kinds of things tend to be set the way they are.

It’s more likely that he was (gasp!) GAY WHEN YOU WERE DATING. People do funny things when they’re still in the closet, like have heterosexual relationships. Hmmm.

Natalie Dee is a Columbus-based artist and writer whose work can be seen at To Ask Natalie, e-mail

(c) 2001-2006 Natalie Dee. Images and text on may not be used in print, online, or other media without explicit written permission from natalie dee. Read the FAQ for contact information.