Defensive Driving

“Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth.”  – Erma Bombeck

Last year we finally quit working and retired. And since that momentous decision I’ve become too familiar with a certain recliner and a TV remote.

At some point it struck me that I was turning into a marshmallow. My mind was stagnating. Giving in to the years. Slowly but surely getting really old.

I needed to get a job. Something to occupy my mind and give meaning to life. Something to make me think.

Long story short, I signed on with a medical transport co. They deliver old and/or indigent patients to doctor appointments and other medical services.

A really important service.

Before they put me behind the wheel, they had to make sure I was not insane, a good driver, and could actually walk, talk, and communicate.

To this end I had to pass a DOT physical, a defensive driving course, and a communication test. Got to be able to walk, talk, and drive.

So I took and aced those tests. Actually I really fooled them on the sanity test but that is another chapter.

Now folks, I’ve been driving for over 50 years. Good driver. No accidents. A few tickets many years ago. I know how to drive defensively.

This is what the defensive driving course taught me. I’m not as good as I thought. I’m as good as anybody and better than most. But still, I’m kind of an accident about to happen.

So, I’ve changed. Now I really focus while driving. And marvel at just how many people don’t.

I think everyone should be required to take a defensive driving refresher course every 10 years or so.

There are just too many dangerous people on the road. You see them. You know what I’m talking about.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

“Driving is a spectacular form of amnesia. Everything is to be discovered, everything to be obliterated.” – Jean Baudrillard

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A Mystery

“You don’t throw a life away just because it’s broken a little” – From Seabiscuit

 

Time alters most relationships. One’s experiences, health, environment, personality, the fickle fates and fortunes of life, all contribute to our view of everything.

I recall the various relationships I had with my Dad as the years slipped by.

As with all things, the tenor changed with the years.

I began to realize that he was merely a flawed human being who did the best he could with the hand life dealt him.

I would like to believe that he felt the same towards me. I think he did.

I was 57 when he died.

He would have been 100 next year. Me 76.

I wonder what our relationship would have been then, had he lived.

Don’t know why I’ve been thinking about that lately, but I most surely have.

Kind of a brain teaser to imagine the possible machinations.

It will forever remain a mystery.

 

“Nature makes boys and girls lovely to look upon so they can be tolerated until they acquire some sense” – Willian Lyon Phelps

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Chatty Runners

“No one is normal”

I’m not a gut wrenching, hard core, in your face exercise fanatic.

At my age and given my current health, I exercise slowly. Take my time. Smell the roses.

Exercise should not be torture.

So………….I stop and rest. Often.

And observe. Listen.

The basic groups of work out enthusiasts on the trail are:

Bikers.

Runners.

Walkers.

The runners suffer as they pound the turf and laboriously slam their tortured mass towards some objective.

Sweat pouring out of every pore – muscles screaming for relief – faces reflecting various stages of agony.

Yet they push on as if some diabolic entity is driving them.

And then there are the CHATTY RUNNERS.

These people are amazing. They run in pairs and engage in conversation while their bodies scream for oxygen.

How do they do that?

As they pass by, I catch snippets.

“My brother told me that his wife likes to …………….”

“Did you hear that Martha is having an affair with…………”

“My professor said that God is……………………”

How can they breathe, torture their bodies, and gossip all at once?

Oblivious to me, they move on.

Hey…………..wait. What about Martha?

Bastards.

“It was as if striving had entered his bloodstream” – The Bat by Jo Nesbo

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Father’s Day

“My greatest achievement in life,

and I’m still trying to achieve it,

is to be a wonderful father to my kids”

Bo Jackson

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24 Hours

“The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will” – Chuck Palahniuk

In the last 24 hours we experienced a 4.4 earthquake – watched a historic, exciting Triple Crown winner – and our President flew to Singapore for a conference with NKO leader Kim Jong Un.

And then, in the 23rd hour I had the great fortune to meet Danielle. She was walking her pet Opossum on the trail. I had to stop and talk to her.

She was very open, quick with a warm smile, and engaging. Turns out she is a 2nd grade teacher in Tulsa as well as an animal rescuer. You guessed it – the opossum is a rescue.

You never know what you will learn from an encounter. Danielle informed me that:

Opossums don’t carry rabies.

They live about 3 years in captivity and less in the wild.

They eat tons of ticks every day.

And, they are wonderful pets.

So be nice to opossums. They are good guys.

We shook hands and continued on our separate paths. Danielle moved about 5 yards away and stopped. It was nice meeting you Bob she said.

Danielle – The pleasure was all mine.

God, I’m a lucky guy.

I think that my favorite animal is a baby possum, or a joey. The face of a really little joey is so divine – so, so gorgeous.” – Mem Fox

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THE ZIPPER

“Can’t be afraid of death. Only afraid of the pain you go through to get to death”

Today, May 30, Gaby and I celebrated 50 years of marriage, to each other. Consecutively. Not someone else. No combination of several others. Just us. Don’t know how, but we did it.

Through the day we reminisced the many and varied moments we shared through the years.

One very painful and embarrassing moment I can’t shake is the time I challenged THE ZIPPER.

It was a warm spring day in Memphis, Tn. Circa 1977.

A carnival had come to town. A young man’s fancy and an old fool’s folly.

David, 6 or 7 at the time, heard about it and wanted to go in the worst way.

Seems he had heard about this really neat ride called THE ZIPPER.

He really wanted to ride it. And I, being the macho father that I am, wanted to go with him. Just to show him how it’s done. You understand.

His mother wasn’t too excited about the idea and would only acquiesce if we agreed to wait for at least 2 hours after we had lunch. Didn’t want us getting sick so she said.

Get serious woman. Men don’t get sick I said. We shall ride the beast and conquer it I said. I beat my chest for emphasis.

David and I raised our fists as we thundered out the door, our veins pumping with testosterone. To conquer the beast. Make a manly statement. Women. What the hell do they know?

A short drive and there it was, the carnival. We parked. We got tickets. And then, we sought out the monster. Suddenly …….. THE ZIPPER.

It seemed to mock all who would challenge. We watched and listened as it screamed and moaned through gut wrenching gyrations. Medieval torture.

I may have winced. Not sure. Probably just gas. But David, no fear in that boy. Just eager anticipation.

Let’s go Dad.

Yes. Yes. Of course. Let’s do this. Wait. David. Are you sure? Yes, of course you are. Just checking.

We rode that beast for 60 sickening seconds before I relieved my gut of that tuna fish salad I had for lunch. Just 45 minutes ago.

David didn’t fare much better.

On the drive home we vowed to NOT TELL his mother. We crossed our hearts and swore to keep our secret forever. Because you know, Momma would never let us forget it.

And I would be in the dog house for months.

Arrived home. Gaby asks how was it?

And David blurts out…….DADDY THREW UP BUT I DIDN’T.

He always was a Momma’s boy.

“There may come a day when I really need to lie, and then it might be handy if you think I’m honest” – The Thirst by Jo Nesbo

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A Living Thing

“‘I am’ is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language. Could it be that ‘I do’ is the longest sentence?”George Carlin

Have you noticed how some people are giving life to inanimate objects?

They like to say things like:

The toaster now lives under the sink.

Or

The car doesn’t live in the garage anymore.

You get the drift.

Assigning human value to inane objects.

Just another example of the usurpation of the English language by well-intentioned but misguided souls.

What if you heard one refer to the toilet bowl living in the bathroom?

Wow. Would I have fun with that?

Wait a minute. You have a living toilet bowl? And you actually sit on that thing for disposal purposes?

What if you catch it on a bad day? Consider the possibilities when you place your naked butt on the face of a living object.

Seems to me you need some serious counseling.

“Justice is no kind of absolute. It’s subservient to wonder” – Clandestine by James Elroy

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A New Friend

“If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” — Will Rogers

Made a new friend on the trail today.

This is Carol and her good looking Standard Poodle Jessica.

I love Standard Poodles.

“If your dog is fat, YOU need more exercise.”

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Royal Wedding

“We’re quite a reserved lot, the British, but when we go for it, we really go for it” – The Prime Minister

Ann set her alarm for 3 am to watch the Royal Wedding. I was up so I joined her. Generally I’m not into the Royal family. Fact is, I don’t understand the British obsession with royalty but there it is.

I do love pageantry though. And in that sense I loved the wedding. Nobody, and I mean nobody, does pomp and circumstance like the British. The uniforms, the esthetic venue, the majestic horses, the tradition and the history. Wow.

And then there was Meghan. In the moment, she was the most compelling. She absolutely stole the show.

She was right and just.

Sharing this beautiful event with Ann made it a special moment in time.

“There’s no more important decision in life than who you marry” –  Brad Paisley

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Eye Candy

“Hiking is a bit like life:

The journey only requires you to put one foot in front of the other…again and again and again.

And if you allow yourself the opportunity to be present throughout the entirety of the trek,

you will witness beauty every step of the way,

not just at the summit”

After months of intimacy with my recliner, I reached the conclusion that if I didn’t get up and engage in some form of exercise, I would become a marshmallow. I began slowly and gradually worked up to a mile every day.

It’s never easy but I manage with frequent breaks. And I can feel it in my legs. Even my breathing has improved.

I’m no longer a full size marshmallow. More like a mini-marshmallow.

I meet other huffers and puffers, just like me, along the way.

They come in all shapes, ages, colors, genders, and oddities.

I find the diversity of this bunch surprisingly interesting.

I shrewdly study each as we pass on the path. I try to peg them as we all do with each other. At least I think we do.

Here are a few of the types:

Eye Candy

Dog Walker

Old Guy (my category)

Eye Candy

Couples

More Eye Candy

Stay tuned for more tales of the trail.

“We don’t stop hiking because we grow old –

We grow old because we stop hiking.”

 

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