Sunday, August 12, 2018

About texting while idling, and a few other not-idle thoughts

I'm glad to be able to be out on foot and into the natural world a lot these days. My doctor says, "just keep walking," experts say it's objectively good for you and the Japanese have incorporated it into national health care planning.

I'm lucky that I don't have to get to the office any more, and that I live near parks and trails and the Lake Michigan shoreline.

Here's something else that's also good about being on foot to the market or the ATM or the park: getting there means talking to complete strangers.

Most people will return a simple "hello" or "how're you doing?" with an equal greeting. Folks love to show off their pets - - "good dog!" - - and their children and you get to relive that part of your life when you had your kids out in the stroller, and people out for a walk said, "now that's a cute baby."

A few more observations before I get to something of a larger point:

*  You can learn things from the complete strangers you meet when you're on foot.

When I said to a woman walking a gorgeous white dog, "nice French poodle," she good-naturedly informed me there was no such animal because poodles originated in Germany. My bad.

And a neighbor down the street last week told me that the tall sunflowers we'd all been watching grow so tall in her yard were actually created to survive our cold winters, and she'd get me the variety's name.

*  On the other hand, being on foot does have drawbacks, and I don't mean just getting caught in a downpour because you forgot to look at the weather radar online. 

Like dealing with motorists who'd rather you stayed inside.

Aw we were on the way to Lake Park today, a driver turned left towards us at high speed into a crosswalk today which we'd half-crossed. Literally, halfway. No lie.

I put up my hand, half to wave hello and half to say, 'here we are,' but he accelerated and backwards we jumped. And trust me, my jumping days are over.

I know the law says we had the right of way, but we didn't fight him and his large Chevy SUV that he'd converted into a long, loud middle finger for it, but motorists need to learn that people on foot should be able to finish their steps across the street and continue living on towards a more natural termination.

*  And not to pick on motorists, but I see a lot of texting and Facebooking while idling these days. It's better than texting and Facebooking while driving, but, really, what a thoughtless release of air pollution and waste of fuel.

And I'm not talking about people who pull over to take a call, or deal with an emergency. I see motorists of all ages sitting in their parked cars on our street staring into their cellphones for 10 or 15 or more minutes straight.

There are roughly 275 million vehicles in the United States. If this is a regular practice of one-tenth of one percent of the owners of those cars and trucks, that's the routine creation of an equivalent, voluntary traffic jam for no other other reason than obtuse laziness.  

*  So to continue this bit of Andy Rooney-inspired 'get off my lawn' blogging, here's a little experiment. 

If you can swing it, walk into a park or on to trail

and see if you can get to where you do not hear a single mechanical sound. Meditate on that a bit, then pay attention to just how truly ear-splitting just one passing car or truck or motorcycle can actually be.

You can see why spending even a few minutes every day or two or ten could be therapeutic, and why we have public parks in the first place, and why we should take to the barricades to preserve them.

*  Which brings me to a frequent topic on the blog, the proposed golf course aimed for a privately-owned, soon-to-be cut, filled and scraped nature preserveand acreage within the adjoining Kohler Andrae State Park, below. That very spot, says the former park superintendent.

Now imagine you are hiking in the park right there, or jogging like this runner where the golf course maintenance building is set to be erected and operated

(both photos courtesy of former Park superintendent James Buchholz)

and you encounter golf course vehicles on the road to and from the privately-owned two-story building. 

That's seems wrong to me, and that we know, and need to do better.

What do you think?

No comments: