A Day in the Life, 2014 Version
Looking for a world that’s rational? Travel off planet.
Let me tell you about my last 24 hours. Spoiler alert: don’t expect to find anything too surprising in what follows. There were no cataclysmic events, just garden-variety bizarre occurrences.
I do have a point to make, however, about the loopy existence we now all take for granted.
My wife and I started yesterday’s workday early, driving to a small sports club near our home that has an indoor swimming pool. About once a month, I like to squeeze in a few laps before my usual responsibilities kick in.
After completing about ten lengths of the pool, I noticed ˗ out of the corner of my eye ˗ a lady enter the chamber from the side door. That wasn’t unique in itself. There were already three other people swimming with Donna and myself.
But something else did catch my attention. She was carrying a large-sized cup of coffee in a paper holder and kept it with her when she climbed in with the rest of us.
I’ve never seen that before. I suspect it’s a formula for disaster.
In this instance, I’ll never know, since I left soon afterwards to go back home and drive two of our children to their classes.
We arrived on time and I dropped Ted off at his high school. As I was exiting the property with Tammy still in the van, another parent, who had been behind us only a second before, letting out his daughter, swung into the left lane and sped past ˗ in the driveway.
I guess he was in a hurry. Far be it from me to stand in his way!
Back out on a suburban street again, I came to a four-way stop. There was another driver at 90 degrees to me who had arrived first, thereby gaining the right-of-way. Which would have been fine, except she was pre-occupied with brushing her teeth.
I don’t how that was supposed to work. I can only assume she’d purchased a mobile spit bowl off the Internet.
Tammy was then successfully deposited among her girlfriends at another school.
During the remainder of my drive, I was twice forced to negotiate around and between cordons of not-so-tiny orange and black-striped construction pylons. They do serve a useful and important purpose. They’re meant to keep us out of harm’s way.
Nevertheless, by impinging on the natural flow of traffic, they can create confusion and, at a minimum, demand more concentration.
But that’s not the biggest issue. I don’t know whether it’s the same in other jurisdictions in the U.S. and Canada, but in my home province of Ontario, there are construction pylons (a.k.a., “cones”) everywhere these days. They are ubiquitous.
Toronto seems to have them on every street. So does Bradford. Likewise, Barrie.
I’ve been asking my friends who travel by car more than I do about other sightings. Because I work in the construction industry and should be pleased to see activity proceeding wherever and whenever possible, there’s a certain word I don’t like to use.
Regrettably, though, I don’t know how else to say it. Apparently there are also cone “infestations” in Peterborough, London and numerous other locations.
May I make a suggestion that would render such objects friendlier?
Someone could make a fortune by manufacturing durable “skins” to place over them, with more seasonally-appropriate coloring. Red, green and white stripes would turn them into winter holiday “canes” rather than cones.
I’m going to skip over my day spent at work. That’s quite a different compartment, with its own set of vicissitudes that don’t need exploring at this time.
One incident stood out at lunch. The background news on the radio in the sandwich shop across the street from my office was featuring the story of another celebrity who has joined the ranks of those with private lives that are likely polar opposites of their public personas.
Rather than sitting down to eat, as I’d been planning, I ordered take-out.
After quitting time arrived and I was on my second drive home, I noticed a teenager on an adjacent sidewalk rising up a slight incline, wearing roller blades. It didn’t register immediately, but he wasn’t pumping with his legs.
How could that be? A Google search when I reached my destination revealed that an enterprising firm is now making battery-powered skates. How cool is that? I’ll have to get a pair.
Have I mentioned it was a Friday? As a family, we decided to go to the movies that evening. At least I knew what to expect. For each of us, the cost of popcorn and a soft drink would be more than the price of the ticket.
Having a few minutes to kill before the start of the movie, we walked next door and entered the local outlet of one of the nation’s biggest book-selling chains. After a few minutes of browsing, I noticed that one-third of the floor space was given over to selling clothes (mainly scarves and socks), pottery and candles.
There was no denying how nice the place smelled.
On the third drive home that day, after watching the movie, we once again traversed several pylon mazes.
Movie-thoughts morphed into TV-thoughts and I was reminded that in the early years of the show Saturday Night Live, a recurring routine followed the laughably awkward attempts of the Conehead family, from outer space, to fit in here on earth.
I couldn’t help speculating that maybe their offspring have proliferated and are now living among us in plain sight.
If you, the reader, are younger than a certain age, perhaps none of the foregoing will seem in any way odd.
To a somewhat older crowd, however, the wobbly progress of our planet along the space-time continuum induces alarm and wonder in about equal measure.
Speaking of space aliens, at least there’s this to be said. We may be inadvertently rendering ourselves immune from invasion.
What clear-thinking intergalactic warrior race, if it had its druthers, would ever want to subjugate, and then be forced to administer, humankind?