No, I’m not writing about Congress (and there are even more reasons since that article was written), though goodness knows I could be. What I am writing about is the apparent wholesale abandonment of driving sense on the part of the motoring public. No, no, I’m going to through bicyclists and pedestrians, too. Holey moley!
This past June I whined on Facebook about an incident that happened while waiting to turn left into our driveway, which is on a busy road. I was on my way home from work and waiting for oncoming traffic to clear before making the turn. I was on the bike, having made sure to flash my brake light a few times while slowing and had both my brake light and left turn signal on. Just as traffic clears, this lame-brain on a BMW touring bike goes by ON MY LEFT, cigarette dangling out of his mouth, Hawaiian shirt flapping in the breeze, and no helmet on his empty head. I give him the horn; he gives me the finger. Fair exchange, I guess, but WTH?!
This morning I’m also on the bike, second in line to cross a busy intersection that’s one lane in each direction on each leg (so no right turn lane, no left turn lane, just one lane). The car ahead of me has its left turn signal on and has to wait for someone coming straight across who must have imagined another lane. Meanwhile, there are vehicles in the oncoming lane with their left turn signals on. I want to make sure the car ahead of me has cleared so the drivers on the other side of the intersection can see me when I cross the intersection to keep going straight. I’m owning the lane and, six-foot-four plus the silver helmet, plus the hi-viz, high contrast XXL jacket I’m wearing, I’m not hard to see but this knucklehead right behind me just couldn’t wait and passes me on the right just as I’m beginning to cross. Once more with the horn, and a few morning pleasantries. Did I really have my face shield open when I said that? Oopsie.
The photo above is not the actual Boeing 777 carrying Lindsay from Los Angeles to Hong Kong on her way to Thailand, at least as far as we know, but it might as well be. Three years ago we were waiting to hear that she had arrived safely in Africa. Now, after getting her messages that she had arrived in LA from Boston and boarded her flight for Hong Kong, we have to wait about another twelve hours before we can reasonably expect to hear from her again.
With all three of our girls away, either at school, or way away, as in Asia for the next six months, we officially have an empty nest (just don’t tell the cats). This opens a new chapter, some of which I don’t expect to be markedly different from the previous, but which presents some of its own opportunities. I suspect it will take a little while for us to establish a new rhythm, a new pattern of life with mostly just the two of us again after more than twenty years with children of various sizes in the house.
Meanwhile, Lindsay has picked up her blog again, and we can expect to hear all kinds of interesting things about life, work, and travels in Thailand and other parts of southeast Asia.
In the latest battles of the bird feeder wars between humans (i.e. me) and gray squirrels (i.e. them), the skwerls definitely have the upper ha- um, paw, greedy little cusses that they are.
I honestly don’t know, perhaps in a fit of impending middle-aged softening of the head, but a few years ago I started hanging a bird feeder or two. Joking (or not) aside, I like to see the various birds that come out – chickadees, blue jays, cardinals, other little birds I haven’t identified, since I’m not a serious bird person. We also have bunches of mourning doves that hang around, which I also don’t mind but they’re not as much fun to see as the others. The one I really don’t like to see, though, is the bushy-tailed gray vulture a/k/a the gray squirrel. They make a mess, they scare off the real birds, they hog the bird seed (especially the sunflower seeds), and they destroy bird feeders. So far we’re 1-for-4, with the latest in our arsenal being the Brome Squirrel Buster Mini. Without sounding too violent, though, I was thinking about something with an anti-squirrel missile launcher, but they seem to back-ordered or something.
After watching “Raccoon Nation” on Nature a few weeks ago, I wonder if our efforts to thwart squirrels is having the similar, unintended consequence of creating a race of uber-squirrels. Yikes, there’s a thought.
More Highlands highlights. I’m sure the photo, as amazing as it is, doesn’t do the real thing justice. Still, that I know someone who was there and actually stood there to take the photo makes it that much more real.
Is it the hardest part? Sometimes, I guess, though dealing with what you’ve been waiting for may be harder, depending on what it is. Seems like we’re always waiting for something – the phone to ring, a letter (a what?), the outcome of an election, an occasion or holiday, or some other event – so you’d think that we’d always be in that tension. And so we probably are, though we experience it more acutely at certain times. Like after hitting the “submit” button on a college admissions application.
It’s time for Puerto Rico to become the 51st of the United States of America. It’s time to put this particular remnant of American colonialism to rest and give the millions of citizens of Puerto Rico a full voice, the full benefit, and the full responsibility of statehood. Of course, this begs the question of what to do with other territories, like Guam and the US Virgin Islands, to name only a couple, but their populations are vastly smaller than Puerto Rico’s. In fact, if Puerto Rico were a state, it would rank between Connecticut and Oklahoma by population. I can’t imagine Nutmeggers or Okies being willing to settle for second-class citizenship; why should Puerto Ricans? And in the wake of the most recent election, though we have many other issues – like the fiscal cliff – to deal with, now seems to be a as good a time as any to have a broader discussion about what citizenship really means, not just for the residents of Puerto Rico, but for all of us.