Reconciliation Day is past, a precursor for Thanksgiving, which has now also slipped by. One excuse for a paid day off work is as good as the next. Everything I have to say on reconciliation is taboo so I’ll keep my squeaky, politically incorrect pie hole to myself. That’s statement enough.
I talked with a lady from Peru this past weekend and when I asked about concessions for First Nations people there, she simply smiled and explained that eighty percent of the population is indigenous and human rights were questionable. No-one is entitled to anything simply for showing up and if you can prove you deserve special rights and are somehow superior to anyone else you’ll get special considerations. If we pull down some pants I’m confident we’ll find similar plumbing as other folks, and that’s regardless of what gender you’d like to be…today. Meanwhile, life down here in the Last Nations is getting no easier. Ho! But, we’re all equal and nobody gets extra cake.
I recall Gary Larsen’s ‘Boneless Chicken Farm’ and I’m thinking about the ‘N Rocking B’ cattle ranch (Non-Binary for short) How big is your herd? One steer! I once heard a military chaplain describe ultimate evil as the “destruction of innocence.” I am enraged at learning children go to school now to be questioned about what pronouns and gender they’d prefer. How dare you? Life is confusing enough for wee children without that sort of madness. Now go ask your mother what gender he is. Children are everyone’s future. Treat them with respect. Believe what you want, good on you, but don’t demand anyone else swallow your slippery pills.
Meanwhile, when the afternoons are warm and dry, I wobble off to improve my motorcycling skills. So far I’ve come home every time with my head where it should be and both wheels beneath me. An online motorcycle course admonishes motorcyclists to consider themselves prey and everyone else predators. I think that’s right. At least now I have the power to zoom away from tailgaters. There is no feeling like being able to see only the corner of someone’s grill immediately behind your back at over 90kph and you can’t get away. Motorcycles also magnify how quickly things can go wrong. A blink or a glance away can become a nasty error. How motorcycle racers operate up around 200 mph is an admirable but dubious skill. Most of them die on a bike. Zoom, gone. I’ve learned already to stop to admire the flowers or any view. Staying alert to the road is a full time job and the view in my mirrors is as important as looking ahead. I will also admit that being a senior involves operating with not-so-sharp skills (if I ever had any) anymore. That awareness is the first skill in staying alive.
In our little town there is a four-way-stop intersection at the top of main street. You enter the street on the bottom end by manoeuvring around the entitled folks arriving and departing the local Him Tortons temple, then navigate your way through the roundabout framed with four pedestrian crossings. Next comes the gauntlet proper, the main street. It climbs uphill and is loaded with several more cross walks, which few use. Folks meander out from the curbs anywhere except on the crosswalks or launch themselves from the curb without bothering to look.
I once almost wiped out our resident movie star as she and her mom launched themselves from the curb while deep in conversation. Visiting drivers, and perhaps residents, may stop in each intersection to view what’s of interest up the hill on that street. And to balance things there are those who zoom past stop signs in a rolling right turn without bothering to look to their left. Of course angle parking on a hill is a challenge for some, while others enjoy u-turning into a spot on the other side of the street. That seldom goes smoothly. A few days ago a huge motorhome was parked downtown in one of those angled spots and had the lane blocked while they probably stood in the lineup outside the “World-famous bakery.” On the other side of the street a delivery truck from Penguin Meats was doubled-parked in front of our local butcher. I wanted to ask the driver, “ So who eats all the penguins?” Other folks back out of their parking spot from behind one of those jacked-up testosterone trucks in a single car-length lurch, often indignant that you didn’t slam to an instant stop and heave your keys out onto the street.
Finally, you arrive at the four-way stop. The protocol is as simple as it gets, first come-first go, pedestrians crossing considered. Some folks however (Note that I didn’t say OLD) arrive in their geezermobil with windows rolled up tight, geezer goggle sunglasses on (Regardless of the weather) Covid mask in place, sometimes beneath a broad hat and wearing surgical gloves. They glare out at the world while pondering their next move. They may sit in their sterile bubble while trying to direct the movements of their fellow motorists. *#^^^! just play by the rules thank you.
Then along comes a chunky, obstreperous old fart on his new-to-him motorcycle. Rmmn, rmmn, old rumble bottom hisself. Watching from the sidewalk are bewildered tourists and God-botherers attending their rack of religious literature, roadmaps to heaven. They smile munificently out on the fray where folks have apparently ascended beyond the primal instinct of fear. “I shall fear no evil, especially my own.” Ladysmith, where everyone is on a hill.
Every town is alleged by its locals to have the worst hospital, police, fire department, schools and…drivers. But struth, I’m sure we’re among the finalists. Yet, have you ever heard anyone declare what a poor driver they are? Ladysmith is self-acclaimed to have the best main street in all of Canada. Uhuh! It’s a gauntlet!
“Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.” Albert Einstein