Ponder this:

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ten thoughts upon returning to work after staycation

...in no particular order.

I don't want to go.
It's a perfect day to mow the lawn.
I miss my nap.
Next vacation day is x number of days away.
All these books are due back to the library on Saturday and I haven't read half of them!
From end of next vacation to surgery/recovery is x number of days.
I hate clocks.
I love being home so much: Is this agoraphobia?
How soon would I get tired of eating milk and crackers if I retired?
Who will be here to appreciate all this if I'm at work?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

June's Rules of the Road

I have never been involved in a road rage incident. Not even close.
Over the last several months, however, my drive to work has been increasingly frustrating. 
Now, you say, how can that be, since you live out there in the country* where, if you see fifty cars in a sixteen-mile one-way commute, it's a busy day?
I'll tell you how, after acknowledging that my gritted teeth probably have more to do with the fact that I don't want to go there than with the situations herein described, but be that as it may...

When I was a drunk, I sometimes drove my vehicle while under the influence (she admitted, shamefaced). I knew enough to scrupulously obey every traffic law and good-sense rule of which I was aware. I stopped at stop signs for four seconds ("1, 2, 3, 4"), looked back and forth several times before proceeding. I always signaled my turns well in advance.  I stayed far behind the car preceding me down the road, knowing my reaction time was, perhaps(!), faulty. I never drove over the speed limit. I became religious in my use of the car's cruise control. If the sign said "30MPH" I set the control at 30. On the interstate, where the speed limit is 65, I always always (well, mostly always) drove at 65MPH. By these methods I  managed never to be stopped for any traffic infraction and never got busted for driving while impaired.  
Those habits hang on. In particular the speed limit one. I know, within about twenty feet, give or take, the location on each of my regular routes where the speed limits change from 50 to 55, to 65, to 45, to 30, and finally back to 45, before I arrive at the office. I believe that it is efficient, as well as law-abiding, to travel at the posted speed limit.
The people who dawdle along on a two-lane, no-passing road at 45, where they could travel at 50 . . . bother me. (I'm not talking about farmers on tractors; I like to roll along behind them at a leisurely pace. That means Country to me . . . unless they're just coming back from spreading manure . . . I don't enjoy that quite so much.)
And the people who see me, three hundred feet away, rolling toward them at the prescribed 55MPH . . . why, O why, must they turn left into my lane so that I have the choice of rear-ending them or braking? It breaks my rhythm. Where that happens most often is at the mini-mart near the entrance to the interstate; there isn't enough space for me to "resume speed" on the cruise control before I make my left turn there.  Very inefficient.

Once I was following a woman through the village.  I was pleased that we both were toddling along at 30MPH, nicely spaced, nicely arranged. My right turn appeared; I turned on my directional signal. Her right directional signal went on too. She braked, slowed. And slowed. And slowed. And slowed! I was at a dead stop behind her. We were turning right!  My head dropped forward on my neck, my jaw slackened, my eyes widened, and I said to her from safe within my car, "When making a right turn, first: Come to a Compleeeete Stop." Snidely, I said that. But she couldn't hear me so she wasn't insulted. As I rolled my eyes, I caught the gaze of a man waiting to turn out of the street into which the woman and I were both turning. He had seen me, and since I was enunciating very clearly, he had read my lips and knew my frustration. He shook his head and grinned in sympathy. I burst into giggles. 

The drivers who really make me crazy are the ones who meander along varying their speed at random, now 40, now 45, now 35. I want them to choose a speed and stick to it, so I can set my cruise and stop trying to anticipate their next adjustment. They don't appear to be sightseeing, and they know I'm back there. What's wrong with them?

The state department of transportation is working on a bridge very near the entrance ramp I use. The workers have put up a YIELD sign and concrete barriers and traffic cones by the hundreds to direct everyone to merge into one lane where there used to be two, and where the ramp joins the road at a twenty-degree angle, as illustrated in "d - Tapered acceleration lane -Option 2" below. Is that even twenty degrees? It's tight, anyway.

What is irksome is that on random days, the YIELD sign is replaced by a STOP sign. Now look: it's tough enough to YIELD to somebody when we are all moving. To STOP and then start again requires me not only to use my mirrors, but to spin my head around like Linda Blair in The Exorcist. My head doesn't turn that far; I have to close my right eye and peer left-eyed over my left shoulder. Usually there's nobody coming (see * above), which makes the resulting neck sprain even more annoying.

Most bewildering of all are the big trucks. Those five-ton dump trucks that have signs on the back telling me "DO NOT FOLLOW. CONSTRUCTION VEHICLE."
If I turn onto a road behind them, how am I to get to work?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

-Ectomy, Conservation, Reconstruction, O My!

I truly don't want this blog to turn into a personal saga of trial and tribulation and/or a sucking up of sympathy. 
Howsomever, there is this great big thing going on in my head and about to go on in my life and I'm in need of a vent to the great cyberspace.  

The End of the Lump was not the end, it seems.
It's all about margins and, like real estate, location, location, location.
Benign is not, it turns out in the surgeon's parlance, the same as benign in my world.
There is More to Come.

I have choices. Two. In order to prevent a change of the mildly odd cells to something far more worrisome.
"A little bit more off and radiation," or "all off and no radiation."
The choice seemed very simple to me at first. And then I began to gather information. Being uninformed about this stuff is not to be desired, but ignorance surely is more blissful.

When it comes right down to it, what do I need the thing for?
I keep thinking of analogies...if I had a "questionable" fingernail with a chance of eventual invasion to my whole arm and body, I would have my finger removed without blinking an eye. And I can get along without this particular mound of flesh far more easily than I could without any of my fingers. 
D Day (the D standing for either further Discussion or Decision) is on June 24.

Friday, June 11, 2010

One of those chance conversations

I gave my signed "do-whatever-you-will-to-me-and-I-will-hold-you-harmless" paper and the string of address label-size stickers to the receptionist and followed her direction to have a seat in the waiting room. Everyone had spaced themselves from each other so that my choices were limited to less personal space than I otherwise might have taken. 
"I love that shirt!" the lady to my left exclaimed. "And I have one just like it. I got mine in Florida!"
She looked like Mrs. Santa Claus and spoke with an endearing slight lisp and a wisp of a southern accent.
"We love color," I said. 
Giving a quick look down at her bright pink print t-shirt, she said, "Oh yes, we do."
"My nephew's getting married in August and you should see the dress I'm going to wear. It's good it'll be outdoors . . . if it were indoors, I'd make everybody blind! The brighter the colors, the better I feel!"
We chuckled together, flamboyant kindred souls.
"You know, three years ago my granddaughter got married on top of a mountain in the Rockies. I wore a biiiig round (arms reaching toward her feet and sweeping from front to sides) turquoise skirt and a brown shirt."
"With silver jewelry."
She thought a minute, looking back into her memory. "Yes." 
The groom's grandmother had worn turquoise and brown as well, she said, and "Wasn't that a coincidence? I think my granddaughter told them, so we'd match, but she said she didn't. ("didn't" in a high tone, with a slow side-to-side headshake) We hiked a mile and a half up this trail to get to where they got married. A Jeep could go only so far. And they had snacks up there at the top for us. Afterward we went to this . . . they'd rented a hacienda! and oh! it was wonderful! The food! I think his parents have money," she confided. "They owned a ski lodge."
"Well, that would be the place to own a ski lodge," I said.
"Oh, they had sold it by then, but they have quite a lot of money, you know. But they're the nicest people . .  . you would never know. They're just as friendly and down to earth!"

The nurse came and called her in to see the doctor.
"And here I am, flappin' my mouth, just like always." She got up and started to leave, and stopped. "It's been nice talking with you."

What a pleasant prelude to a doctor visit.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ah, the sweet air of Freedom

I am feeling Not Inspired.
Not wordy.
But I have these thoughts today.

After having spent some years in suburbia, where:
  • if I went out to lie down on my grass at dusk my neighbor watched me as she cleaned her kitchen sink, wondering why a person would do that;
  • all the women felt bound to leave the house only when the hair and makeup and accessories were perfectly placed;
  • nobody danced down the aisles of the grocery store on a Saturday morning, even if it was good ol' 1970s dancing tunes;
  • a person would be hard-pressed to find hair on any head over the age of thirty that was the color that nature, time and God gave them;
  • one walked in one's yard only on pathways that were perfectly edged and bordered by impatiens or hosta;
  • the old tires alongside somebody's garage were a constant visible source of worry to the neighbors;
  • outdoor gatherings required tents and powder-coated lawn furniture instead of canvas seating that guests unfolded from their cars...

I am, every moment of every day, glad I live where:
  • people drive, unashamed, trucks that have the rubber stripping hanging loose from the wheelwells, flapping in the breeze as they roll down the road;
  • vehicles wear the dirt they pick up on the country roads until a heavy rain washes them clean;
  • women go to the store, to work, to wherever they want to without makeup, unaccessorized, without, if they choose, some articles of uncomfortable underclothing;
  • I can swing up on the Kubota early on a Saturday morning and mow the lawn before I shower and get dressed;
  • dogs and cats can go out the door and move around their environment at will;
  • I can look at the horizon at almost any point during my daily life and see trees and sky and no buildings;
  • I don't hear traffic noise or jake brakes or car alarms or boomboxes or neighbors' children or anything but the sounds of me and mine;
  • people have real conversations with strangers as they pass in the supermarket or sit in waiting rooms;
  • I can wear to work the same sneakers I wore (with my nightgown) to mow the lawn;
  • people like what they like and allow others to like what they like and don't worry about how the other guy keeps his house or his vehicle or his yard.
To the Happy Suburbanites out there, it must sound like Hell.
For me, this is Heaven on Earth.