Friday, February 25, 2011

It seemed reasonable at the time....


I was pulling out of the gas station (where I had waited 10 minutes for a pump)(the gas was a 'reasonable' 3.24, causing quite the queue)...

The pumps are lined up perpendicular to the road. One enters on the right, passes pump after pump, then exits on the left, through the same access point.

The access "in" and "out" lanes are divided by hatched yellow markings.

Perhaps I was a tad testy from the wait and the cost of a tank of, apparently, pure gold...

I was in the left hand exit lane, WITH my turn signal on.

On reflection, that probably was what confused my fellow driver.

As I wait for the traffic light, a car pulls into the yellow hatched area next to me.

The two gentlemen appeared to be cheerful - they were tapping and nodding to the strong bass beat in the 'music' blaring out their open windows.

I rolled down my window and said "Hi! I'm in the left hand lane with my turn signal on - what are you guys doing?" (I may have been affecting an British accent - substitute "What are you good men about this fine morning?" if you like that version).

The passenger on my side jovially slaps the arm of the driver, who glances at me and says "Sorry". I think some other words followed sorry. I'm not sure. Something about a batch of something. I suddenly realized I should be declared clinically insane and rolled up my window to avoid further self-incrimination.

The light changed and, with the delightful enthusiasm of youth, the man slammed the car into gear and sped off, tires screeching.

What a pleasure it was when we BOTH pulled into the adjacent shopping center.

In a serendipitious coincident, I had JUST been thinking about parking farther from stores in order to get more exercise. This new plan of action allowed me to avoid running into my new friends.

I have been driving two hours too long in Miami.

I beep, for goodness sake - all the time.

The light changes: beep, beep, beep.


It's time to get on the bike - for the environment, for the economy, and for the good of South Florida humankind.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snow Bound?

Watching the forecasts for the BIG SNOW...

Interestingly, a friend recently let me read letters she'd written to her father to describe her experience during Hurricane Andrew. I am very alarmed at the thought of a hurricane. We have all the protections - house is built per latest code, hurricane shutters, and generator. However, when a hurricane comes, we close the shutters and the house is sealed in absolute darkness. We have to listen and guess what's going on outside.

I do not like the thought of this one little bit.

Snow storms don't frighten me. As long as we're not on the road, I like hunkering down in the house, lighting a fire, watching the beauty of the snow. It's easy to marvel at something from the inside of a cozy room. AND if the power goes out, the basement stays decently warm. And there's always blankets and layers.

I'll take a blizzard over a hurricane any day!

My kids had so much fun in the snow.

Chris and his friends used to dig snow caves and build snow forts and stay out for hours. The girls loved it as well - snow houses and snow tag were their specialties.

While it seemed in the later years Barry's travels guaranteed he'd miss snow shoveling, we had a GIANT snow blower he'd purchased in Michigan. I'd attack the driveway with the behemoth and wonder WHY we did not pay a service like most every one else in the neighborhood. Typically, it's not so cold after a snowfall, so there was kind of a peaceful seduction to methodically cleaning off the driveway (if you could get pass the roar of the engine and the gas fumes).

In a hundred little ways, I know I'm getting older. Here's one - I have at least one clear memory of the snow of 1967. My dad cleared the walks and drive, and then dug steps up the sides of a MOUNTAIN sized drift next to our back door (who knows how high it really was - I was only 5!), and we spent hours climbing up and sledding down across the yard.

I also remember 1979. It seemed we were out of school every other day. SNOW DAY! SNOW DAY! SNOW DAY....until I'd had enough and was ready to get out of the house and back to school and friends. Kirk was down at college, so Kim and I had to clean the driveway. The side piles reached over 3 feet high.

When I was teaching, snow days regained their allure - I swear, teachers are more excited by the idea of surprise free day than the students! The first year we were in Miami, a tropical storm headed our way. Turns out, "HURRICANE DAY!" is as exciting to students here as snow days are up north. If I remember, the day off never materialized, and students were desperately disappointed.

Not me!

So northern friends, lift a cup of cocoa with me - I think I will have tomato soup and grilled cheese for lunch, the perfect tribute to a winter day.

Midwestern to the core -