Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Mammas, don't let your babies grow up to be lifties.

I just wanted to touch on the two thoughts that were really running through my head this morning on the way to work. First, has any one of you read much of J.D. Salinger. I am in the midst of finishing up his story "Seymour, an Introduction" and could not be happier that--through all my procrastination and distraction by shiny objects--I have finally gotten around to this gem. Now, when I say "gem" I am not referring to it as one of those blockbuster, turn your life around, stories. Rather, it is exactly the kind of rambling, go nowhere, story that I can someday see myself actually writing.

Ostensibly, this is the opening chapter to a man's story about his deceased brother. However, in the offing there are so many tangents and digressions that the author is able to cover a great deal of literary ground. It is a story about family, brothers, child-stardom, intelligence, and a great many other things. Beyond that it is the scattered nature of the writing that makes it so endearing to me. If you are at all interested in reading books of any sort, I would highly recommend this one.

Also, this morning, I got stuck in the variety of construction traffic where there is person at the beginning of the work area with a sign on a stick. This is not at all a completely surprising occurrence. When one lives in a semi-rural community where two lane highways are the norm one gets used to such things. Actually being stuck was not the problem for me today. The problem centered around what to do with your eyes when you are the first car in line. As I was passing the people stopped and waiting to head in the other direction I noticed that the lead vehicle in the line was occupied by a gentleman reading a newspaper. I thought this to be an ingenious and convenient solution to staring at the flagger with the sign--which is where my eyes are invariably drawn. Honestly, you can only half-smile so many times at a person who is destined to solitude while spinning their little sign all day. After a while you just want to settle into that solid far-off stare that lets the time simply drift away when you are in such a situation. But that is just not possible when you are confronted by the eyes of the person in whose hands the rest of your day squarely rests. Who is to argue if they just never turn their sign around? What's to stop you from having to sit there all day? It's a thin line between fake-nice-through-the-windshield and sitting in your idling car for hours on end.

A secondary thought comes to me, as I type. What is up with the over-exagerated arm gestures these people give you once they do let you go? They wave their arm out and around themselves in an broad arc and point you to the lane you are supposed to be in. Is this for the people who, after having shut down their brains for the wait, might have forgotten that you are not supposed to drive over the person in the bright orange vest? Or, perhaps, it is for the individual who upon getting the little orange "slow" sign after having stared at the "stop" side for too long will floor it into the line of oncoming traffic waiting their turn. I don't know, maybe they are just worried about their cones. People could steal the cones! I would never do such a thing. You're going to have to trust me on that, because I have lost the keys to the trunk of my car.

-A.R. Leith

Quote: "The world needs ditch-diggers too, Danny." -Judge Smails

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