For the last two weeks, I have contrasted the news I was supposed to care about with the news I did care about (good stuff here and here). I hope to continue this important current events throw out (as opposed to round up), but I cared so little this week about what other people were talking about that I never listened. I’m pretty sure there was some general outrage, hypocrites calling out other hypocrites, and maybe a story about a celebrity or zoo animal. Weather may have been involved as well. This means you’ll have to make your own list this week of three things you heard too much about. Insert here. Now, here’s what was memorable to me, an ugly citizen of the double bypass heartland.
And, while we’re at it, let me encourage you to also list three things that were meaningful to you this week. We can compare notes.
LOCAL NEWS/GENERAL OUTRAGE: On Monday, my wife and I went for a walk. It was one of those evenings when the weather provided everything that was needed and discussion of the temperature and low relative humidity wasn’t just small talk. It was pleasant. Walking in it felt good. I’ve heard that weighted blankets can be calming, but I’m too claustrophobic to have twenty-pounds of anything on top of me. I have to sleep with one foot peeking out of the covers as an ancillary breathing tube as it is. (And, yes, I know that I can’t breath through my foot. Tell my mind that.) I’ll settle for just the right amount of air pressure, like on Monday. It provided an experience as close to sleepwalking that I can remember.
As we made our way up and down streets in the neighborhood, pausing only briefly to make fun of and commiserate with our friend Casey who was trying to start a flooded weed eater, I couldn’t help but notice a couple things that I will probably ponder for some time (newsworthy): 1) So few people walk anymore that the sidewalks are becoming bumpy lawn extensions in places. Roots break the cement from below and the tenacious grasses burst forth. 2) Many people (generality) must hate their grass so much that they punish it instead of mow it. So many extreme haircuts. Maybe people are trying to behead moles when they mow. Of course, there are others that are growing hay in case farm animals are once again needed in town. I’m not a suburban lawn snob by any means. I think grass is generally a bad thing to grow. But, if you grow it, mow it. And with love. (See? Outrage.)
SORT OF LOCAL NEWS/HYPOCRITS CALLING OUT OTHER HYPOCRITS: I actually don’t remember any of this happening near me this week, but I do remember something of the opposite. I was involved in an interesting conversation at the bar about tipping in foreign countries. During the summer a number of camp counselors, mostly from Europe, descend upon my local bar during the weekend evenings. They are a fun batch who love dancing, drinking, and singing karaoke. They know songs no one has ever heard of. Often they have to be warned not to drop their pants during certain songs, which seems to confuse them. Apparently, it is a cultural difference. Another of those differences is tipping. They spend, but they forget to tip, since America is one of the few places on earth that subsidizes workers in this way. The conversation had no anger in it, so it wouldn’t fit in the national news. It was basically a brainstorming session on how best to politely inform them that they should tip the bar staff. I’m thinking that if the UN were in a small town dive bar, there would be more agreement in the world. Whatever fights that would occur would be over in a few minutes, and bad decisions could always be blamed on alcohol.
REALLY LOCAL NEWS/A CELEBRITY OR ANIMAL STORY : The cat, Chauncey, may be discovering porch life. Our primary form of summer entertainment is porch sitting. If you’re unfamiliar with the custom, I’ll explain it. You sit on the porch and look at stuff and talk about other stuff. Sometimes a person drives by and waves. Sometimes a person drives by, stops, and chats out of their car. Sometimes a person gets out of a car and sits on the porch with us. Other times, no people are involved at all, so squirrels provide entertainment and company.
We don’t bring out a guitar like Andy Griffith did on his porch, but the spirit is the same. Actually, on our porch the spirits are stronger. Maybe that’s why sometimes people stop in. Despite the company and the good views, Chauncey has never found it to be an interesting place to sit. Perhaps it is too busy and unpredictable for him. But, this week, I caught him sitting on the porch by himself, watching the world go by. I think he may be enlightened soon and join us for the rest of the summer. He’ll be sharing stories, greeting guests. Maybe he’ll take up the guitar.