Wrong Way Willies

After getting lost, making a few wrong turns, I learned to appreciate Australia’s many roundabouts. Never thought I’d ever say that.

Because I’m older, I’ve never learned to completely trust electronic devices. For that reason, there were many arguments over GPS directions–which seemed incorrect to me.

Several times I was right. The most glaring example, early morning Thursday, on the way back to Melbourne airport. GPS threw in an unexpected exit from the inner city freeway. I followed it through, because I was tired of arguments with my spouse.

GPS sent us to Crown Casino at six in the morning. How this was connected to Melbourne International Airport, I’ll never know. I suggested entering Hertz Airport Rent A Car, and everything got back on track.

Australia was a mixture of the familiar, and the unfamiliar. McDonalds restaurants were everywhere. Not a surprise, they had them when I was previously in Germany. Burger King restaurants, were called Hungry Jacks.

There were no Wal-Marts. Although, there were K-Marts and Target stores.  No Dollar Stores, no Poundland stores–like in the UK.  There were “Rejects” stores.  Which may have been off-price merchandise stores?  I liked no-tipping in restaurants. Tips and all taxes were included in meal prices. You paid by table number, no waiting for restaurant checks.

Weather nerds will appreciate that circulation around low pressure systems was clockwise. Circulation around high pressure systems was counter-clockwise. Water circulated clockwise down drains.

I concluded, that If I lived in my daughter’s neighborhood, which was on a hillside, I would be much healthier. Going to and from the mailbox and trash bins, was quite a workout.

I’ll miss the unique local bird species–parakeets, cockatoos, and kookaburras, that hung around mornings and evenings.

Tuesday Afternoon

Day after tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. I’m ready for it, as usual. Our trip to Australia next month is my gift.

Random references to Tuesday in culture, poetry, and song: Moody Blues, “Tuesday Afternoon,” Rolling Stones, “Ruby Tuesday,” Sixties actress, Tuesday Weld, from the “Beach Blanket Bingo” era.  Tuesdays child was “full of grace.”  Pity poor children born on Wednesdays that were “full of woe.”

How am I today?  Thanks for asking. I’m not bad for a rainy, drippy, Tuesday.  For the record, I wasn’t born on a Tuesday.  I was born on a Saturday.  Need I say, “Saturdays children worked hard for a living?”

Organization, Please

It’s a good thing one of us is better organized. I’m more of a “go with the flow” type guy–unless things get too far out of control.

My wife is doing federal and state income taxes today. Something she seems to enjoy doing, and gets totally caught up in the process, till the very end.

Me, I would go H&R Block, or one of the other well-known tax preparation firms. Receipts for the year would be stashed away in a shoebox. Not a filing cabinet, but it always worked.

Not that I’m complaining, because the opposite–complete disorganization drives me berserk. I find it hard to understand those that seem to be on their own timetables, march to their own drummers,

Good Vibrations

I’m in a catch-all bad mood today.  There’s no logical reason for it.  Because of that, I’m trying to think positive thoughts.  “Two negatives don’t a positive  make.”  Didn’t Newton say that?

When the Beach Boys, Pet Sounds album came out, I was a teenager and completely bummed out. There weren’t any Good Vibrations to be found anywhere.  It was such a departure from anything done before.  Weren’t the Beach Boys about fast cars, surfing, and California girls?

I almost gave up my Columbia Record Club membership.  Those subscribed to Columbia Record Club knew, it was nearly impossible to unsubscribe.  They’d send more LP’s–I’d listen, like them, and continue.

There weren’t a lot of surfer dudes shooting the curl in Midwestern lakes and creeks.  Side B, the last cut, “Caroline No,” expressed how I felt at that time–and a little of how I feel today.  Sending out Good Vibrations on a gloomy, gray day.

 

Good Days

“Have a good day, until somebody screws it up for you.” What kind of negative greeting was that?  This was a twisted, Murphy’s Law curse.

In other words–have a good day, but be wary, because negative things were bound to happen.   When negative things happened, boo birds of unhappiness, chirped, “See, I told you so.”

When working in sales, positive benefits were emphasized, negative disclaimers mentioned, but de-emphasized.

There has to be a reason to get up in the morning. And, for me, that is thinking positively.

Not that negative things weren’t possible, just that, I didn’t choose to dwell on them.

 

Another One-Horse Town

The most important businesses came in pairs. Two gas stations. Two grocery stores. Two churches.

A grain elevator, pharmacy, funeral home, bank. post office, and an elementary school–summarized the rest of my home town.

All of it surrounded by farms, farm fields full of maturing crops in summer

The countryside reminded homesick immigrants of former homelands.

In my father’s lifetime, some of the older generation spoke with foreign accents.

It was another dying, Midwestern small town. Not that I cared or noticed, growing up.

My mother was an elementary teacher, in the next town to the south. Father, like my grandfather, was a farmer.

The majority, upon graduation from high school, found employment elsewhere.  Some carried on the tradition of tilling the rich farmland.

I couldn’t wait to get away from tiny, Chesterfield–population 300, and shrinking.  Everybody, with their busybody selves, in everybody’s business all the time.  Now, I appreciate the simplicity of small town life–and it’s gone forever.

Waiting

Waiting for the washer to finish spin cycle. This is holding up breakfast. Newer machines with computerized controls are convenient, but more complicated.

This is not about perils of technology, rather about waiting. How many hours does an average person, in a lifetime, spend waiting?
Waiting for everything. At the doctor’s office. In traffic congestion. At the airport.

A fair assessment would be, that at least, half of our lives are spent waiting.  Most of the time, there’s not much we can do.  How we react to waiting–with impatience or calmness, is our choice.  What we do with that time, determines whether or not it was wasted.