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Monthly Archives: June 2014

…Walk in the Heat & Humidity

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The ubiquitous ‘they’ are all the time ‘saying,’ aren’t they? Sometimes I get to wondering — who actually said in the first place? And why did ‘they’ make it their life’s mission to keep on repeating it?

Still, they say that a dog is “a man’s best friend.” How long has that been the case? Have dogs ever been reviled? Disdained? Hung from the rafters? Well, it turns out, yes, they have. You can read about it here. Who knew??

I’ve been a dog lover since I can remember. I’m more a fan of the big dogs. You know — labs, shepherds, boxers, danes. The ones I’ve known have been extraordinary friends to the families who give them homes. The humans tolerate the slobber, the hair, the occasional indoor accident. The humans praise and scold and scratch the pups behind their ears. The humans feed and water and shelter and reward good behavior with savory treats. The humans make soft comfy beds for the dogs (okay, they probably buy these). The humans exercise the dogs, get them harnesses, leashes, collars and even coats. After all, friends don’t let friends down.

Until today.

It’s a bit warm this mid-June morning — 83 degrees at 11:00 a.m. with a steady 10 mph breeze rustling the leaves. (I really should have been a meteorologist). “Let’s go for a walk, Jack!” I said to the pup, as I do most mornings around here. He pretends to not want to go (it’s because he’s still a bit freaked out by his harness, used for his neck’s protection as he goes at speeds and directions that I can hardly match), but he loves every minute of it. He zoomed along at his usual pull-my-arm-out-of-its-socket speed until, without warning, he spied a shady spot of grass, and laid himself down.

“What the heck?!”

I guess I didn’t account for the humidity, hovering around 67% and apparently too much for the dog.

I can't go anymore! It's too hot!!!!

I can’t go anymore! It’s too hot!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, what’s the dog’s human supposed to do with that? We were still three-quarters of a mile from home, for cryin’ out loud! He might be my ‘best friend’ and all, but I’m not carrying home 68 lbs of dog because he’s hot!

But he was hot. When we finally made it home (I used my sweetest, cajoling voice to encourage him, and not my brute strength, because I do have a little bit of one and none of the other), Jack beelined it to a safe, cool spot:

I'm so embarrassed -- my tongue is 18x larger than my mouth!!!

I’m so embarrassed — my tongue is 18x larger than my mouth!!!

 

Proving a point we’d all do well to remember: Friends don’t let friends take a walk in the heat and humidity. Especially the best friends, apparently. Sheesh…

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…Stop in a Roundabout

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Disclaimer: I have an ever-so-slight case of road rage.

Remember learning to ride a bicycle? Remember the taste of freedom it gave you? The wind in your face and a song in your heart? The endless laps around the drive, the block, the town you grew up in? Oooohh….

Remember learning to drive a car? Remember the freedom feast you enjoyed? Windows rolled down and the radio blaring? The endless miles around the town, the countryside and the nation you grew up in? Ahhhhhh…..

Cuts and scrapes. Fender benders. Flat tires and speeding tickets. Man (woman too) and the wheel. By design (the circle), endless; by function (travel), rich in possibility. The freedom of the open road, only hindered by an empty tank, was easily remedied by a stop at Mom’s lunch table or the local Amoco station. Until the invention of this:

The Roundabout, or as I like to call it, The Symbol of Stupidity

The Roundabout, or as I like to call it, The Symbol of Stupidity

 

 

“What’s so problematic about a roundabout?” you ask.

I’ll tell you.

 

 

 

 

 

But first, a history.

‘Roundabouts’ (called ‘rotaries’ or ‘traffic circles’ too) have been around for centuries. No. Really.

Piccadilly Circus in London (ironically, a Square)is a traffic circle. Of course, it’s also known to represent the ‘mysterious London vibe,’ whatever that means. It’s been around (HA!) since the eighteenth century (and I do mean the 1700s).

A rather famous 'roundabout'

A rather famous ’roundabout’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paris’ Arc de Triomphe has a nice, Napoleanic history. Any pic reveals that it sits midst a ’roundabout.’ I’m gratified — in some strange, American way — to discover that Parisians may not have gotten the memo about NOT STOPPING in a roundabout.

The City of Lights boasts a rather famous one as well...

The City of Lights boasts a rather famous one as well…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In their defense, signage, apparently optional, is sorely absent:

YIKES.

In the US, the roundabout features prominently in the District of Columbia — you know, the nation’s capital. FYI: DC refers to these as ‘traffic circles,’ and holy moly, the city is full of them. I wouldn’t have guessed this, but Utah boasts many a roundabout (you can’t make this up, folks) and, well, I could go on, but I’m rather sick of my mini-research project on the cursed things.

Mind, I have every confidence this road design feature renders intersection navigation a breeze, all evidence in Paris to the contrary. Now,while the traffic circles in London, ‘the District,’ Utah, and even Alaska perhaps run smoothly with a little help from DOTs, BMVs, road signs, and the like, the situation in the Hoosier state remains dismal. Licensed drivers get behind the wheels of their trendy SUVs, manly pickup trucks, white service vans, understated luxury sedans, ancient but faithful Hondas, sporty BMWs, and ‘swagger wagons.’ They drive with relative ease around the ‘loop,’ the county road, the city street. And then, at the height of afternoon traffic — when workers are rushing home, parents and kids are heading to the ball fields, and shoppers give up the hunt — they converge on the roundabout. And promptly STOP.

WHAT THE HELL?!?!?!?

Can you just drive, already?

Can you just drive, already?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suddenly, grown adults who’ve been driving for years and presumably manage to run their homes, their children, their employment, and myriad other responsibilities with at least modicums of success, fail utterly to manage a safer and speedier means of navigating a motor vehicle through a modified intersection.

I can’t understand it. And so, I rage, not against the ‘dying of the light,’ as Dylan Thomas suggested so poignantly. No, no, no. Instead, I rage against all the people whose friends needed a bit of help in learning how to drive, but no one bothered to lend a hand.

That’s what friends are for, right? We rode our bikes together — little posses of mad cyclists exploring the small town world. We drove around on Friday nights together — perfecting our ‘cool’ and dreaming of the future. FREEDOM!!

But when life’s highway gets congested — when we’ve got jobs and deadlines and kids and mortgages and places to be — we have no freedom. We can’t even pretend for a moment when we take the car for a spin and reminisce about the open road and the wind in our hair. And why? Because no one got the roundabout memo, which clearly states, “friends don’t let friends stop in a roundabout.”

Was this really necessary?

Was this really necessary?

Napoleon may have had grandiose plans for the Arc de Triomphe. And yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s still standing there. But Napoleon also had his Waterloo. Something about stopping in a roundabout, perhaps?

Don’t let it happen to you.