Interstates, Blue Highways and Taking the Road Less Traveled

I can make a metaphor out of anything, and road trips are my best fodder.

Most places that you go in this country are reached fastest through the interstate system.  Our vast system handles more than “one trillion person miles” per year. So suffice it to say that we USE our interstates here in the land of free and the home of the brave. But they don’t yield much adventure, actually. Or novelty. Things look the same in many ways from that big,

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Love, Loss and What An Ex Kept

I’m a cynic about calling in to radio shows to express myself on the air. I don’t know why my opinion matters, and even if it did, I can’t imagine I’d ever get through the digital equivalent of a lit-up switchboard. Why bother, really?

So when I found myself pulling my car over to the side of the road recently to call D.C.’s MIX 107.3, I was surprised. I didn’t know the depth of loss I felt.

The topic was “things you gave your ex that they kept when you broke up.”

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Shlumpadinkas and the Intimidating World of Retail

Recently I went to a foreign country, AKA a major-name clothing store. Okay no need to be coy; it was Lord & Taylor. I’m not a shopper (okay, I need to be kidnapped, blindfolded and led in wearing a straitjacket). But this time I did go under my own steam because I am wearing the same shirt every day, because L&T is near my house, and because there was a sale.

And people, this is a bizarre experience if you don’t do it regularly.

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Boring is the New Special

One of my mantras is “Give me a random Tuesday over a holiday any day.” Which is a grammatically strange mantra, now that I think of it because you can’t really have a Tuesday any day; it has to happen on — well — a Tuesday.

What I mean by that is that “normal” suits me.  “Special” is less compelling. And a corollary of that is that normal can be special. Simply because it’s so normal. Or it’s glorious in its normalcy.

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It Takes All Kinds

Living in a biggish city, I love the variety of people that I encounter. How fun it is to have cross-pollination of the various worlds we inhabit; I do love that.

I often think about juxtapositions among my nearest and dearest. The fact is that within a week’s time:

  • I could have visitors who prefer  Bircher muesli and visitors who prefer Lucky Charms.
  • I could invite over the friends who grew up working picking fruit for pay in elementary school and those who counted their debutante year as the hardest “work”

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The Influence of Pearl Fryar: Topiary Bringing Joy

Many of you have seen the movie, A Man Named Pearl.  If you haven’t, do.  It’s about a man who had no idea of the limitations of topiary art, so he just started pruning and hacking and created a kingdom to behold.

But better yet, hie thee down to Bishopville, South Carolina, as I did recently, and check out Pearl’s yard yourself.  It was positively inspiring, especially for fans of Dr. Seuss.  I don’t know that Pearl claims any inspiration of Dr.

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Truth or TMI?

Let’s say you run into an acquaintance who — naturally — asks you how you are. When is it okay to say how you’re really feeling — even if the answer is “I’m feeling sort of blah” or even “I’m ecstatic because I got a raise?”  When is it better to just say something polite and move on — vs. expressing what’s actually on your mind?

For most of us our conversational baseline is “How ya doin’?” followed by “Fine” or —

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You are what you read.

Ok, I admit it… I used to spy on people.  I fancied myself a regular Harriet the Spy, and I even had a spy route. But I was only 10.

When I matured, I knew that spying was wrong… so I gave it up. And took on “observing.” Same behavior, different label.

I don’t go into anybody’s private business. I don’t read mail that’s not for me. I don’t do dumpster-diving for financial information.  I just pay attention.

And one thing I’ve noticed is that you can tell a lot about somebody by what they read.

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Live vs. Televised

I almost never watch television. People sometimes wonder what I DO with myself without watching shows and sports on television. I love to read; I love to explore; I go on road trips; I like to go to museums and galleries and hang out with friends and do puzzles and cook and — well, frankly — sit in silence.

The American way is to go into one’s home in the evening and watch things, often with alcohol in hand and often alone.

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