Good Manners

Smart Phone

Hey you! With the cell phone! – Put that damned thing down in public. I don’t want to sound old, but…. I think the more ‘I’ and ‘me’ we become, the ruder and more disrespectful we become. We’re so full of ourselves that there isn’t much space left for consideration for others.

The bottom line is that unless someone is giving out their credit card information (in which case I need them to speak slowly and enunciate clearly so I can write it down), I don’t want to hear their phone conversations when I’m in a public place.

A person should be able to sit with themselves quietly for a few minutes, without having a phone. You might be surprised at how satisfying it is to be silent, or to be mindful of yourself. There are few enough phone-free zones left in the world – saunas, bathrooms, airplanes. With all the sonic and electronic pollution today, I think that we should work at creating more bubbles of silence – blessed silence.

I know I’m hopelessly old fashioned and not a big believer in multi-tasking, but I still feel that when a person is driving a car, that is all they should actually be doing:  driving the car.  They should not be texting, putting on eye-liner, eating their dinner, or stirring their coffee.  Yes, all of those things can be important, but they aren’t important enough to risk someone’s life in a car accident – theirs, or mine.  They just aren’t.

And at the risk of stating the obvious, I firmly believe that personal business should actually be kept personal.  I don’t believe that social media is the appropriate setting for family conflicts, neighborhood feuds, failing marriages, or imploding friendships.  We all tend to say (or write) things that we shouldn’t in those situations, so why make it worse by doing so in front of the whole world?  These days, privacy seems to be little more than a quaint idea, but I truly believe that not every single detail of our lives needs to be shared. 👿

 

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She Blinded Me With Science

Scalpel

I just hired a guy to stab me in the eye!  😯

It all started so innocently.  I visited my Optometrist for my yearly checkup.  I rather like it when a good-looking woman stares deeply into my eyes…. just not when she uses a quarter of a million dollars worth of equipment that looks like it escaped from a nuclear power station.

I have developed a film over both retinas, like a crinkly sheet of Saran, which blurs my vision a bit.  Worse, it contracts, and lifts the retina, changing the focus depth, especially at the fovea – the most sensitive part.  It’s only going to slowly get worse.

Suddenly, I had a referral to an Optical Surgeon in the Eye Clinic of St. Joseph’s Hospital portion of the University of London (Ontario), a 90 minute drive away.  There is a local surgeon who does this operation here, at St. Mary’s Hospital, but both my Optometrist, and my Ophthalmologist swear that the London facility, and my ‘new guy’, are the best in Canada.

We drove down for an examination and consultation – and I have seen the light – in all intensities, and from all angles.  It is important that I maintain my sight as long as possible.  The wife retains her driver’s licence, just in case, but her vision is worse than mine.  The Optometrist says that she is still a way from having it suspended for vision – and that scares the Hell out of me.  There are people out there, still driving, with vision worse than the wife’s??!  It may explain the plethora of accident-strewn intersections in this town.

An afternoon’s worth of tests revealed that this condition in my left eye is actually worse than the right, but, in the right, there is deterioration of the light receptor cells near the fovea, therefore I would get more benefit from having the right eye operated on first.

Facing having someone cut into your body creates enough mental trauma, even when it’s necessary.  I do have a bionic shoulder, and more recently, a hernia patch support.  Thinking about somebody cutting into your eye takes a bit more getting used to.

My lady pharmacist said that I sounded very matter-of-fact, when I told her how the surgeon would open the side of the eye, carefully remove the optical gel, strip off this befuddling film, and put the little 3D puzzle all back together.

Once the decision has been made, I have to accept it.  It’s not something that I look forward to, but I plan on living another 20 years.  I don’t want to have to spend any portion of it unable to read or blog, or housebound because I can’t drive.

Besides, I’ll be unconscious while it’s all happening…. 😯  And then the surgeon casually remarked that, “It’ll be done under local anesthetic.”  SCREECH!  BANG!  WHAT??!  What if I twitch?  They’ll tape and eye-patch the left eye closed, and inject something to immobilize the optical muscles.  They’re going to use one of those things from the movie, A Clockwork Orange, to hold the eye open.

eyes-2

Simulation only.  I probably won’t look anywhere near this calm.

What if my head moves?  They stick it in a padded vice.  Also, I’ll be given a strong sedative, beforehand.  Ahhh, good.  Me and drugs get along real well.  If this is anything like the time they stuck a periscope up my ass, I’ll probably sleep through it all, peacefully.

This is all tentatively scheduled for some time in the New Year.  I’ll keep the less queasy of you informed, while I can still see to type.  If the first one works out as well as we all hope and expect, they’ll do the other side 6 to 8 weeks later.  You can wish me luck if you’d like, but please don’t pray for me.  😀

Click to hear Thomas Dolby tell how it all happened.

White Cane

Alright, Let’s See What’s Left

Lefty

Well, this is

AWKWARD

In this episode of, We Hate You Because You’re Different” we look at ‘handedness’.

  1. lacking skill or dexterity.

Synonyms: clumsy, inept; unskillful, unhandy, inexpert.

Antonyms: deft, adroit, skillful, dexterous; handy.

lacking grace or ease in movement: an awkward gesture;

an awkward dancer.

Synonyms: uncoordinated, graceless, ungainly; gawky; maladroit; clumsy.

Antonyms: graceful.

lacking social graces or manners:

a simple, awkward frontiersman.

Synonyms: gauche, unpolished, unrefined; blundering, oafish; ill-mannered, unmannerly, ill-bred.

Antonyms: gracious; polite, well-mannered, well-bred; smooth, polished, refined. 4.

not well planned or designed for easy or effective use: an awkward instrument;

an awkward method.

Synonyms: unwieldy, cumbersome, unmanageable; inconvenient, difficult, troublesome.

requiring caution; somewhat hazardous:

an awkward turn in the road.

Synonyms: dangerous, risky, unsafe, chancy; perilous, precarious, treacherous.

hard to deal with; difficult; requiring skill, tact, or the like: an awkward situation;

an awkward customer.

embarrassing or inconvenient; caused by lack of social grace:

an awkward moment.

Synonyms: unpleasant, trying, difficult; uncomfortable, ticklish, touchy.

It comes from an Old Norse word that means ‘turned the wrong way,’ always with the implication of somehow being in error.

I backed into this word and its myriad definitions, from ‘maladroit,’ above. There is not a synonym above which is not negative, judgemental, and/or insulting.  The word ‘gauche’ in French, means ‘left.’  The only one that seems to be missing is the opposite for dexter/dexterous, which means right.  Its opposite is ‘sinister.’

Southpaws in today’s modern society are three times as likely to have a home or work-related accident. Everything from can-openers to computer mice are designed for use by right-handed people.  Only British lefties, driving floor-shift cars, gain an advantage.

The antipathy toward left-handed people is still surprisingly strong, and has been going on for millennia. (Most of) the Jews have been brought into the 20th Century on this issue.  Being faced with a lefty can get a Muslim’s panties turban in a knot.  If only we could get the Little Sheet-Head Arabs at least into the 9th.

If you sit with a Muslim, and cross your left leg over your right, pointing your left foot toward him, he is insulted. The Koran is strongly specific, even about which hand you can use to wipe your ass.  It also details what 1200-year out-of-date material you must use to wipe it with.  The modern, educated, observant, Muslim businessman’s washroom is liberally supplied with fresh burdock leaves.

The lengths to which some (religious) people will go, to prevent Us from becoming like Them, can be sadly amusing.  During the Middle Ages – also correctly known as the Dark Ages – Christians didn’t bathe….because Jews did.

Irish Humor

St. Patricks

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, you get a dose of Irish humor. It would have been posted on Saturday, the actual St. Paddy’s day, but I’m still a little green around the gills, and just recovering from a Guinness hangover.  😉

  1. When the Irish say that St. Patrick chased the snakes out of Ireland, what they don’t tell you is that he was the only one who saw any snakes!
  2. His wife had been killed in an accident and the police were questioning Finnegan. “Did she say anything before she died?” asked the sergeant. “She spoke without interruption for about forty years,” said the Finnegan.
  3. Pat and Kieran were getting ready to go on a camping trip. The first one said “I’m taking along a gallon of whiskey just in case of rattlesnake bites. What are you taking?” The other one said “Two rattlesnakes!”
  4. Seamus do you understand French, I do if its spoken in Irish
  5. Two farmers were driving their tractor down the middle of a country road. A car comes around the corner brakes hard to avoid them, skids, tumbles twice and lands in a field. Jimmy says to Eamonn, It’s just as well we got out of that field.
  6. Two drunks coming home, stumbled up the country road in the dark. “Faith, Mike, we’ve stumbled into the graveyard and here’s the stone of a man lived to the age of 103!” “Glory be, Patrick and was it anybody we knew?” “No, ’twas someone named ‘Miles from Dublin’!”
  7. Twas the Irish what invented the pipes, you know, and they gave them to the Scots as a joke. And you Scots haven’t gotten the joke yet!!”
  8. One night I was chatting with my Mum about how she had changed as a mother from the first child to the last. She told me she had mellowed a lot over the years: “When your oldest sister coughed or sneezed, I called the ambulance. When your youngest brother swallowed a penny, I just told him it was coming out of his allowance.”
  9. I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory.
  10. 42.7 Percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.
  11. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.
  12. If at first you don’t succeed, then skydiving isn’t for you.
  13. Honk if you love peace and quiet.
  14. Remember, half the people you know are below average.
  15. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
  16. He who laughs last thinks slowest.
  17. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
  18. I intend to live forever – so far so good.
  19. Borrow money from a pessimist – they don’t expect it back.
  20. If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?
  21. Support bacteria – they’re the only culture some people have.
  22. Love may be blind but marriage is a real eye-opener.
  23. If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.
  24. Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.
  25. For every action there is an equal and opposite criticism.
  26. Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of cheques.
  27. No one is listening until you make a mistake.
  28. Success always occurs in private and failure in full view.
  29. The hardness of butter is directly proportional to the softness of the bread.
  30. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.

I’ll be back on Wednesday with the regularly scheduled A To Z Challenge – X. I X-pect to see you there.

Flash Fiction #151

Car Accident

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

DRIVING INSTRUCTOR

Well…. The air bags worked!

EVERY! DAMNED! ONE! OF! THEM!

yes dear

That was like the Bouncy Castle at the State Fair. We’re lucky to be alive.

yes dear

Kiss your fishing trip with the boys, to Minnesota, goodbye. We need a new car.

yes dear

Didn’t I tell you not to drive so fast??

yes dear

Didn’t I say that it’s not a go-kart – like when you were a teenager??

yes dear

You’ve driven home this way a thousand times. Didn’t I warn you to slow down for that sharp bend??

yes dear

Hummph, husbands!! Like raising another kid!  🙄

***

Another dose of PURE FICTION marital relationship for the Friday Fictioneers….  Because we all know that there is not a husband alive who would drive too fast or recklessly after being carefully directed by a loving wife – and there is not a wife who would so castigate a husband for a little fender-bender like this.  😳

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

 

‘17 A To Z Challenge – T

Challenge2017

letter-t

You just know that a darkness-loving troglodyte like me would be fascinated with being underneath things, and by;

TUNNELS

With tunnels and the like, I am intrigued not merely with the fact that I am under, but what (specifically) is over.

At a place in England, it is necessary for a narrow-boat canal to cross a river. It does so on a multi-arched aqueduct.  It is fascinating to see photos or video of a west-bound river steamer passing directly beneath a south-bound canal boat.

When we had tired of going from Windsor to Detroit, or back, on the big bridge, and driving above ships in the river, I decided to try the tunnel. While it’s a little more distance, back then, the connection to I-75 was quicker and easier.  I never worried about the tunnel collapsing, but it was interesting to think that I might be driving directly under a 1000-foot-long lake freighter.

When we used to go to Niagara Falls, down at the other end of Lake Erie, I took the opportunity to return home via a tunnel under the Welland Canal. It’s possible that I drove under that same freighter from Detroit.

It costs a lot of money to dig a road tunnel, especially through rock. Most of the American Interstate system, at least in the eastern mountains, goes around them.  One exception is I-40, from Knoxville, Tenn. into North Carolina.  There are two tunnels within a few miles – but only if you’re travelling East.  If you’re heading West, at one of the tunnels, the divided highway hangs along the side of the mountain.  Being in the tunnel there, only means that you’re under pine roots and raccoon shit.

Skyline panorama

We came through Pittsburgh one time, following the Interstate down the edge of the river, 30/40 feet higher than the water. I-376 suddenly crosses the river, and plunges into the side of a 150 foot stone cliff on the other side, and doesn’t seem to come up for air until you’re almost into Indiana.

It’s one thing, especially at spaghetti-junction highway interchanges, to be driving underneath other cars or even big transport trucks. On the west side of town, the Conestoga Expressway passes under not only several surface streets, but the main railroad line, so I’ve driven under trains.

To accommodate our new street-railroad system, two of the major, downtown streets have been excavated under the rail line, so I’ve had even more opportunities to drive under trains. A couple of blocks from the daughter’s place, there is an old, shallow underpass, where I’ve often driven under trains.  I try to be sure that, when I drive under something, I can get all the way out the other side.  Despite signs warning of “Low Underpass,” a couple of times a year, THIS happens.

Tunnels

There’s an underpass like this, somewhere in the States, that’s so famous that it has its own website. With a name like ‘elevenfootsix.com’, you can access it and watch live video from a traffic-cam, or access archived footage and photos.

At least twice a week, some big-rig, or local delivery truck like the one above, rips the top off and gets stuck. There must be a Ryder truck-rental agency upstream, because every second truck is a (now-damaged) Ryder.  It’s (almost) amusing to watch RVs swoop under it, but peel off roof-mounted canoes or air-conditioning units.

I have finally driven under an airplane. One day, coming around the Expressway, on a sunny, cloudless day, suddenly I was in a shadow, and then out again.  What was that??  Ah….a 20-passenger commuter plane, heading for the local airport.  But it’s mid-afternoon, and the sun is off to the west, so I wasn’t directly under it, merely in its shadow.

All that changed on my most recent drive to Ottawa, to visit the Grandson. The highway goes past a Canadian Forces Airbase, and there were two big military transport planes angling in for a landing, 45° ahead and to my left.  Can I?  Can I?  I hope!

The first one crossed the highway and went to final approach.  A minute later and a mile further east for me, and lower and nearer for the second….VOOOM!  I went right under him!  When a C-16 cargo plane passes 200 feet above you, there’s no mistake.  The sonic vibrations pounded me and the car.  I could see his nose out the passenger side, while his tail was still on my driver’s side.

Small things do indeed amuse small minds. It’s better than being under suspicion, under investigation, under the influence, under arrest, or under a misapprehension.  What things would you admit to being under?   😕

***

By the way:  Happy New Years guys.  The best of good wishes for the coming year, and thanx for your ongoing company and support.  😀

I’ll Drink To That

Beer

Two old Irishmen were sitting at the local pub
drinking a few beers. So Paddy says to George,
“George me buddy, ol’ pal. When I die could you
pour a couple of beers o’er me grave?”

George says, “Why certainly, but could I strain
it through me kidneys first?”

***

A cop is staking out a bar for drunk drivers. At
closing time, he sees a guy stumble out of the
car, trip on the curb, and fumble for his keys
for five minutes.

When he finally gets in, it takes him another
five minutes to get the key in the ignition.
Meanwhile, everybody else leaves the bar and
drives off.

When he finally pulls away, the cop is waiting
for him, pulls him over, and gives him a
Breathalyser test.

The test shows he has a blood alcohol level of 0.0.
The cop says, ‘How is this possible?’

The guy says, ‘Tonight I’m the designated decoy.’

***

A Brit, an Irishman, and a Scot go out to a pub
and order 3 pints. They each find a fly floating
on the top of their mugs.

The Brit pushes the glass aside, and demands another.

The Irishman says, “Get out of there!” and flicks
the fly away with a finger.

The Scot picks up the fly with his fingers, gives it
a wee bit of a squeeze and says,
“Alright, spit it out now, ya little bastard!”

***

Drive carefully: 90% of people in this world are
caused by accidents.