Tag Archives: cars

It completed me

I’ve always had a healthy skepticism about technology. It’s not that I don’t use technology. Like many I rarely leave a room without some sort of device attached to my hand. And I’m certainly not a Luddite (although I would have been proud to be one in the day) as I spent the later part of my career (yes, I am that old) devoted to making learning online the best experience it could possibly be for those who wanted that experience. But that doesn’t mean I buy in holus bolus to every knicknack or gadget that promises to make my life oh so much better than it already is. “Cause, if I might say so, my life ain’t so bad right now. Besides, how often do you invite the latest and greatest into your life only to discover that without a millennial in the house there’s no possible way to figure out how to make it work? Sure they showed you what to do in the store. But get the thing home and without all that fluorescent lighting nothing looks the same. As for me, you can bet your bottom dollar that, if there’s an “app for that” I’ll take a “pass for that“.

It’s not just figuring stuff out that’s the problem. There’s the whole over promising thing too. Like the self park feature on my car. Pretty exciting, eh? I mean all you have to do is press this one little button and lo and behold, the next thing you know you’re on the sidewalk waiting for the car to finish up and hand you the keys so you can be on your way. At least that’s what I thought it would do. Then I find out the car doesn’t actually find the parking spot for you. It just parks the car and what’s the point of that?  I know how to park a car. The problem is driving around the corner 15 times with the false hope that someone might actually leave just at the moment you sidle up to their spot. Or waiting for the person who has been sitting in the driver’s seat for nigh on 10 minutes (n reverse, I might add) before you realize they clearly have just broken up with their partner and are now calling each and every one of their friends to commiserate about the bum and how they never should have put up with all his/her nonsense in the first place. Fellas, It’s finding the parking space that’s the real problem. When you get that one worked out, call me.

Having said that, every once in a while something comes along that’s right up your alley. Something that fits like a glove, is on target and hits the proverbial nail on the head. Like those rather spendy noise cancellation headphones that you dithered about buying and then wondered what all of the anguish was about the very first time you wore them on a five hour flight and realized you no longer had to listen to the person beside you crunching on chips or worry every time the pilot “dinged” the flight attendant. Your logical self knows she probably just has to use the bathroom but there’s that niggling feeling it could be something else and at 39,000 feet “something else” can be a little disconcerting. Best not to hear at all which makes those buds worth their weight in gold. Then there’s that new fangled device that lets you see who’s at your front door without actually having to be anywhere near your front door. If that means not having to run down the stairs to find out there’s yet another person who wants to paint my “just been painted” house then, as Martha would say, it’s a good thing. But as good as those might be, neither can hold a candle to the hi tech wonder that has recently come into my life. If you ask me, it’s not even a horse race.

As you can probably imagine I spend a fair bit of my time at a computer, much but not all, dedicated to sending and responding to emails. It’s not that I don’t like writing emails. It’s just that so often I say the same thing over and over and over again. Like me, I’m sure that you have thought to yourself “if only there was an easier way”. “If only this computer could read my mind and finish all of my sentences”. Well my friends, you are in for a very pleasant surprise! The other day as I was typing away, much to my amazement my computer started typing all on its own. That’s right! Before my very eyes it was anticipating what it thought I wanted to say and then said it. Without any help at all, it completed me. At first I wasn’t all that receptive to this rather personal intrusion. My immediate reaction was “how do I get rid of this pesky little feature which is clearly something new from those Google peeps?” After all, it can’t possibly actually know what it is I want to say, can it? The truth is, it can’t but the reality is that, most of the time, what it had me say wasn’t so bad. I could live with it. And so it was that I decided to let the computer say what it thought I should say. Rather than the other way around. Which makes a lot of sense if you are a shallow person like me. I mean if it’s willing to do the work why the heck would I not let it? In most cases what I was going to say wasn’t really all that much better anyway.

Of course as it oft does, this got me thinking.  Why just emails? Why not let the computer finish all of my sentences everywhere? I gotta say it would make writing this blog a whole lot easier and I’m pretty sure that my computer could learn to be as shallow as I am in no time at all.

Yeah. Now I’m just gonna sit back and watch that skepticism of mine fade away.

PS: Thank you to the person who left the Starbucks mug on my doorstep. Just a guess but I’m thinking it must be someone who reads this blog as otherwise it was a very uncanny random act of kindness. Gotta admit. The last time I was in Saskatchewan I don’t think there was a SB, let alone a mug dedicated to the “Breadbasket of Canada“. It is very much appreciated and a wonderful addition to my collection!

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Two sides to every coin

It’s no surprise that, as a shallow person, I don’t spend much time thinking about what other people are thinking. It’s not that I don’t care about other people. It’s just that I don’t usually attempt to understand them. Nor do I think they should attempt to understand me. Because, it seems to me, that each of us comes to see this world of ours from our own perspectives and it takes a whole lot of energy to try to put oneself in somebody else’s shoes. So it might shock you when I say that lately, for reasons unbeknownst to even me, I have been devoting a bit of my time to mucking about in what I think could possibly be going on in some other people’s heads. And without trying to sound overly magniloquent, this little exercise of mine has provided me with what I imagine to be explanations for why there are people who do things one way while others do it another. Albeit in some very limited cases which I will share with you now.

For those who don’t know, I have always been a “car person” which essentially means that I really like cars. Not for what they do, like enable me to go places with relative ease, but just for what they are. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a family of “car people”. I don’t know. One brother or another was always bringing home some cute little tattered sporty number that with a little elbow grease turned into a shiny, hot machine from which they could roam the streets of our town. And my Father would buy nothing but convertibles. I mean who wouldn’t want a convertible in a country where almost 6 months of each year are covered in snow? The thing is, he knew what cars were for. Cruising down the highway on a gorgeous summer day, Beach Boys blaring on the radio, hair and cares blowing in the wind. I suppose it’s in my blood. Cars become part of our family. We give them names, take really good care of them and keep them for an extraordinarily long time. Cars have never been about practicality or “just” transportation which might help to explain why our Mini Cooper (Red Emma) is currently the “big” car in our family.

But there are two sides to this coin. For some people cars are just cars. I know this because I see them everyday, everywhere. Practical cars with four doors for ease of getting in and out; that comfortably seat four people, five in a crunch; have trunks large enough to hold all the stuff needed for a  2 or 3 week road trip; and are equipped with a few but not too many options, mostly ones focused on increased safety. I get that not everyone develops an intimate connection with the rather expensive, gas guzzling, inanimate object that sits in their driveway. I can see why any sane person would shy away from taking a trip down the I-5 in something that could easily fit under the transport truck barreling down behind at 80 clicks an hour. And it’s not everyone’s cup of tea to be sitting in the backseat hoping that your legs will regain at least some feeling once you get to your final destination. See, I get it. And I understand. We have different perspectives on what cars are about and that’s ok. For both you and for me.

I’ve been thinking about other things too. Like height. I’ve never really considered myself to be a short person but at 5’1 and a half (5’2” at my peak) I’m afraid that some other people do. The thing is, lately I’ve been noticing there are a lot of tall people around and I began wondering what life would be like from that perspective. Never having to struggle to reach the top shelf at the grocery store. Not having to wait for some benevolent soul to offer to put your carry-on into the baggage compartment. Being able to wear horizontal stripes. And then I thought, tall people must think that being short has its advantages too. Think about it. If your pants are too long you can always hem them. Too short? You’re hooped. Short people are rarely accused of looking down on others;  are very unlikely to hit their head on the doorframe and, of course, find it way easier to fit into the back seat of that Mini of mine. So you see. It’s all about how you look at things, isn’t it.

With this new found inquisitiveness I thought, what the heck, maybe I should try to better understand what’s going on in the world. Try to look at things from both sides now. So I thought about “45” and friends whose penchant for showing “strength” manifests itself in disallowing those who face the most abhorrent life conditions to further suffer the indignity of arrest, detention and most tragically, separation from their children. What could possibly be the reasoning behind taking children from the arms of their parents; locking them up in cages and admiting they may never find a way to reunite these families. Surely, I thought, there must be some justification for these atrocities. If I look hard enough I’ll discover the other side of this story. Ivanka, you haven’t said much but maybe you can help me out. Or Melania. After all, you said it yourself. Your purpose is to defend children against bullies. I suppose though, this isn’t cyberspace. But surely there has to be a better explanation other than these are the acts of a fearful, bigoted, megalomaniac that favours brutal dictatorial regimes over, well over just about anything else and who, surrounded by a bunch of like-minded people, fails to recognize the brutality of his actions. Ok, I’ve looked. There isn’t.

Damn! Must have forgot this was a shallow blog once again.

Update: He’s stopping it now. Too late. We’ve seen the pics. It happened.

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Shallow and a “Little” Scared

prairie-roads-1220316Well enough time has passed and I think I can talk about it. You know by now that, come January, we gravitate to more moderate climes. In past years we have done so using the most efficient if not, admittedly, the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation and it takes about 5 hours, give or take an additional hour or two in some airport lounge along the way. Flying may not be my favourite activity but barring extended and extensive periods of turbulence (in which case all bets are off), deep in my heart I’m pretty sure that when I board that airliner I’m going to debark safely at my intended destination. But that was not the case this year. This year one of us said to the other “so how about we drive down south?” to which the “other” foolishly responded “good idea”. Because while this “other” doesn’t mind hitting the road, especially since we are doing so in the cutest little buggy ever, she (that’s me) really only likes to drive the blacktop when the sun is shining and the roads are clear and dry. And believe me, that was not the case on any of the seemingly many days we spent making our way down to where the turf meets the surf. Which, and this is not an “alternative fact”,  made me just a little scared mostly because I happen to like being on this side of that pearly gate.

Now people are going to tell me there are lots of things to be scared of that are much worse than driving in the rain, ice and snow in a tiny little car. Like spiders. Lots of people seem to be afraid of spiders. I’m not sure why. To me spiders are just little creatures, with lots of legs, who make quite lovely and intricate homes for themselves. Ok, I suppose they do use those homes to catch unsuspecting other bugs who unwittingly venture into their webs and, I imagine, quite unceremoniously become delectable morsels to be enjoyed for a late night repast. But unless you’re my friend Wade who has chosen to live among some of the more treacherous members of the species, you’re probably not going to suffer any harm from an encounter with that Daddy Long Legs who decided to take up residence in your basement. Certainly (and this is from my perspective) it’s not worth stomping out his rather precarious life when we know full well that doing so will no doubt result in the proverbial downpour I’ve mentioned above. At least you won’t find me making that trade-off any time soon.

Then there are clowns. I’ve mentioned this in the past but that’s no reason not to include them here. Some people are afraid of clowns. So much so that there’s even a name for it. Coulrophobia. You can look it up. This fear I kind of get. Let’s face it. There have been some pretty scary clown like figures around in our time. Like the Joker. Not the nicest guy and unless you are a superhero of some sort, probably not one you want to bump into when taking the garbage out at night. And more recently, those people who for some unknown reason decided it would be a hoot to dress up as creepy clowns and scare the bejeezus out of little children.  But let’s put those aside for a moment. Most of us encounter clowns under happier circumstances. Like at a birthday party, or the circus, or even at the rodeo, which, if you ask me, has much scarier things going on than clowns. These are happy clowns. They do tricks, hand out balloon animals and generally do their best to make people laugh. Given the choice, I’d rather watch a clown slip on a banana peel than find myself sliding my way through a sea of black ice.

Ok, I know. There are plenty of people in this part of the country who will tell you there are way scarier things than spiders or clowns or even driving in the rain. The fellow who has taken hold of the reigns in this neck of the woods seems to have sparked a whole new level of fear amongst the people. In many cases they are scared because they don’t really know what he will do. Then there are those who are scared because they do know what he will do. Certainly women are scared they will lose control their bodies. Immigrants are scared they will have to leave the country they love and call home. The LGBTQQIP2SAA (I do my best ot be inclusive) are scared of losing the rights they fought so hard to obtain. Some people will tell you they are scared that they will no longer get the facts but rather something called the “alternative facts”. Others think the “real” facts will be scary enough. Everyone is scared about how the world will react to the policies that are designed to keep America great again. You don’t have to hit me over the head. Millions of people right across this world of ours are marching in the streets to let us know just how scared they are. I can honestly say that, even though I’m a shallow person, it has become quite clear to me that at this moment in time there is no shortage of things to be scared about. 

With that said, I’m starting to think that maybe driving in the rain and snow isn’t so scary.  I’m also starting to think that perhaps I should be more than just a “little” scared.

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Sometimes we have to say “goodbye”

Once again you’ve been wondering where in the world I have been. Usually it doesn’t matter where in the world I am because no matter where that big bird in the sky takes me I always have my trusty computer by my side for the sole purpose of writing this blog. And playing games. But here’s something I may not have mentioned in the past. Not only do I pride myself for being shallow, I am also brutally honest. Well most of the time. So you should believe me when I tell you that while I have been a little busy lately the truth behind my rather prolonged absence is that I’m having some trouble coming up with things to write about. I suppose that’s not surprising because it’s been two years now and I am a shallow person. How much do you really think we have to say? At any rate, I’ve come up with something so here I am.

We bought a car. Now for most people that’s nothing to write home about. Or certainly to write about in a blog unless it’s one of those blogs about cars. Which this isn’t. But for us, buying a car is an RBD! (Really Big Deal!) Because you see, it’s not something we do everyday. Or every decade for that matter. Over all of the years we have been buying cars (and that’s quite a few) I can count the number we have bought on one hand. Along with a couple of fingers on another. And since I actually am counting we’re talking seven cars over five decades. Most of the time we have two parked in our garage at once. At least one of our cars lived with us for almost twenty-one years while our current boarders have clocked in twelve and fourteen respectively. Suffice to say, for us walking into an automobile dealership is akin to travelling to a foreign country. Bluetooth? Lane assist? Nav what? We simply don’t speak the language. Hence the RBD.

Wait a minute! I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “I thought she liked cars!” “Small, foreign ones.”  “How can this be?” “What kind of enthusiast drives around in a twenty-one year old car?” Well therein lies the problem. I do love cars. So much so that once I get one I don’t want to let it go. I know that for some people cars are just a few thousand pounds of steel and rubber (with a hint of plastic depending on your taste). Transportation, plain and simple. But give that hunk of steel a name and a birthday and now you have a horse of a different colour. Now you have a relationship, a bond of sorts. A new friend. Which explains the longevity. I mean who gets rid of a dear old friend just because they get a little rusty or find themselves with a dent or two? Well, to answer that rhetorical question, every once in a while we do. Because sometimes we just have to say “goodbye”.

Now this outpouring of affection may seem a little strange coming from the shallow gal but keep in mind that we’re talking about a car here. So I’m comfortable with it. We’re pretty sure we’ve found a good home for our “Little Fella” which makes us all feel just that much better about the whole thing. And now we wait, just a little anxiously, for our new arrival, a red and black Mini. Or as our mini loving friend DB would have it, a Bini. Unfortunately it will be a few more months before our new friend pulls into her (his?) new home, but we’re nothing if not patient. Besides, I figure it’s going to take us just about that long to come up with the perfect name for our shiny new friend.

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Things That Irritate Me (Part 2)

carandbikeI made my bed so I’ll have to lay in it. It wasn’t much of a leap really from “stuff I don’t get” to “stuff that irritates me” and clearly I have managed to close that gap. Before I go on though, I have a confession to make. In my last post I believe I may have suggested that I could be “5 foot nothing and just shy of 105 pounds”. Well that’s not exactly the truth as anyone who knows me knows. It’s easy to see that, even in my bare feet I hug 5 feet and two inches. Slightly more problematic though is that “105 pound” thing because what would have been more accurate for me to say is that I would like to be just shy of 105. Which is why I’m back in that basement of mine sweating it out on the treadmill each and every night. Now it’s not being on the treadmill in and of itself that irritates me because, to be honest, it’s not a bad place to do a little thinking. And in some people’s homes it’s also a not a bad place to do a little watching, but not in my place. You see, in my basement there still exists a 27” flat screen TV. I’m not talking LCD, or LED or even Plasma. There’s no HD or surround sound in my basement. Nope, just a 27 inch, CRT flat screen TV which I’m sure you might still recognize if you bumped into one. And when I’m trying to get through that last kilometer for the sole purpose of shedding two (ok maybe three) of my extra pounds, I find watching that TV mildly irritating.

But not as irritating as the times when I’m driving down one of our roads paying close attention to the speed limit because in my city of choice, they have a nasty habit of playing “guess how fast you can go on this block” and I just hate getting my picture taken. Almost without fail, some yahoo (that one took some thinking) in what they think is a hot car, decides I guessed wrong and takes advantage of the opening to whiz past me most often on the inside lane, likely to make sure I’m paying attention. To cement his (well it usually is) superiority, he’ll subsequently cut in front of my car with just inches to spare. Now you and I both know what’s going to happen next because as kids we all read the story about the tortoise and the hare. He’ll weave in and out of the traffic for the next four blocks or so while I carefully make my way along the blacktop, and we’ll both end up spending about a minute and a half waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel to turn green. Which, I am pleased to say, will irritate him way more than it will me.

Before I go there’s just one more “thing” to check off this list of mine and I do so at my own peril. But I’m putting my cards on the table ‘cause this one’s important, so listen up. By now you’re aware I have a deep seated belief that it’s not only important to know who you are but to be true to your convictions. Let’s face it, that’s not always the easiest thing to do but if the shallow gal can, well anyone can. I’ve said it before, and I’ll very likely say it again, I love my car but I know not everyone shares my enthusiasm for the horseless carriage. And because of that, I don’t mind that the road has been divvied up for those of you who prefer a non-motorized form of transport in an effort to minimize your carbon footprint. Don’t get me wrong, I reduce, reuse and recycle whenever I can. But when you hop on your ride, here’s the question you need to ask yourself. Are you a pedestrian or are you a vehicle because you simply can’t be both. You see, when you pull up beside me in the “right turn only” lane the only assumption I can make is that you, like me, are going to turn right because when you’re on the road you obey the rules of the road. When you don’t, well that’s not just irritating, it’s downright dangerous. So let’s make a pact. I’ll watch out for you if you watch out for me and we’ll both come out of this ahead. Because the alternative isn’t going to go well for either of us.

Well that’s that. The end of the “things that irritate me” series. I can’t say I’m sorry because, this whole exercise has been a little intense and the subject is, quite frankly, starting to irritate me.  Makes me think it’s time for this shallow gal to get out of that bed. Besides, to tell the truth, it’s starting to feel a little lumpy.

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