Step Carefully

Some days it’s a struggle not to be a cynic.  I usually choose to see the glass half full and to believe that most people are kindhearted.  As a daily walker, however, I’ve observed some drivers behave aggressively when they are hidden behind the tinted windows of their cars.  Surely, they’d be more polite if we were face-to-face in a grocery store pushing shopping carts.

I’ve learned that if I cross the street in a crosswalk, I’m not much safer than if I run for my life mid-block.  It’s apparent when I hear an approaching engine roar, some drivers like to intimidate me into hurrying across the street.

In an effort not to disrupt the flow of traffic, I try to time my first step off the curb so I can make it across the street without interfering with the next passing car.  I’ll even dawdle with my back to traffic away from the corner to indicate that I’m not ready to cross.  As the last car on my side of the street goes by, I step off the curb.  Occasionally, the driver on the far side feels compelled to stop—the overly-polite driver—whom I waive on.  I’d rather pass behind him.

There are a variety of drivers:  the extremely cautious driver will spot a pedestrian at the curb a quarter mile away and begin slowing immediately; the hurried driver doesn’t slow until he’s sure the walker will not have cleared his path; the rude driver will show his true colors when the pedestrian has had just enough time to step up on the curb, when he roars by to show his frustration.  Most drivers have better manners.

Not to bash older drivers in general, but I’ve seen several white-haired drivers lately who have not stopped behind the limit line—the first line of the crosswalk—even though they have clearly seen the pedestrian coming.  The thought bubble over their heads could say, “I see you, youngin’, but I was here first!  You can walk around my back bumper.”  The pedestrian has the right to the crosswalk, regardless of seniority.

A curious moment occurred the day I saw a man hurrying across the street in the crosswalk, either misjudging the speed of the approaching car, or the driver having sped up.  In the walker’s haste, his baseball cap blew off landing inside the bicycle lane.  The driver slowed slightly for the walker; then aiming for a direct hit, she ran over the hat.  One could only wonder why she felt so compelled.

I still believe in the basic goodness of my neighbors, but some give me pause.

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Have you ever wondered…

How hard would it be for the installer of toilet paper dispensers to put them at shoulder level, a foot in front of the commode, instead of next to your hip?  How many times have you sat in a public restroom and had to bend over, until your chest is almost on your lap, to reach up inside the poorly designed plastic box, whose opening is only about eighteen inches from the floor?  All you can do is keep turning the roll around and around, hoping the end will magically appear.  Occasionally, the considerate person before you will have left the end dangling, perilously close to the dirty floor.  The quality of the paper is too thin and scratchy, a separate issue, but contributes to its inaccessibility.  If you have carpel tunnel, forget it—you’ll never be able to wrench your wrist enough to find the end of the roll that’s laughing at you each time you miss it, as you spin the cylinder. While visiting a handicapped stall, I was pleased to have the choice of two dispensers—one whose opening was below my knee so the paper hung almost to the floor, maybe to entertain a child, while the other easy-to-reach toilet paper holder was mounted so that the paper fell loosely at eye level—perfect.  Now, how ‘bout a step up to two-ply?

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End of the Day


How many sunsets have you watched

Waiting for tomorrow?

How often are you in the past

Overwhelmed by sorrow?

Would you really do things differently

Given what you know?

Or can you sit in peace today

With just that golden glow.

 Printed in Poetry Place

Redwood Writers April 2014 newsletter.

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Attack of Menopause


There has been an attack of menopause in this house. It tends to contaminate everything, including relationships, kindness, tolerance, memory, and sense of humor. For now, this house is temporarily quarantined so that most of the contamination is restricted to the kitchen and the bedroom. The “chill pill” is available to all occupants, and must be administered immediately upon being infected by the effects of menopause, otherwise, not only the sufferer but the recipients may also experience intolerance and loss of sense of humor.

For instant relief of symptoms step outside, breathe fresh air, and know that this too shall pass.

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