T.I.L.T. Things I've Learned Thursday IIIVI

It's somewhat fitting, at least to a guy as enthralled with numbers and probability as I am, that my 36th Things I've Learned Thursday falls less than a month from my own 36th birthday. It probably means nothing though, because numbers don't always have meaning.

* We're always the people we were in elementary school, high school, and college. Our formative years are just that, the years which form us. This is not to say that we don't grow beyond our own pride and/or insecurity, beyond whether we were a popular kid or an unpopular one, a smart one or a dumb one. But these early roles are our foundation, and the root of any decision we make. And while this level of self-awareness is important, looking back in order to move forward, the greatest strength we might overlook in our arsenal is the realization that we are not alone in this. Everyone around us has his or her own core. If you can recognize who a person was, where he or she came from, you can better understand how to reason with that individual. It's not always easy, but if you look hard enough, you can see who you're really dealing with. After that, no argument is insurmountable.

* Somewhat related to my first point, my mom is starting to see living with my aging father as being akin to having another child. It's not that he's losing his facilities or that you can't reason with him. It's just that some of his common sense is waning, and his impatience, always a part of him, has now become exaggerated. He easily gets in trouble if no one is watching him for a long enough period of time. Anticipating the arrival of the oil guy to check our tank, and having too much free time, he decided to clean the basement on Tuesday afternoon. Apparently, upon finding a mysterious piece of plastic on the floor under the oil tank, he broke it in half, and immediately came upstairs to complain to my mom because his hands were now sticky. What he didn't realize was that this object was a glue trap which my mom had been successfully using to eliminate the Camel Cricket population down there. She couldn't understand why he'd pick something up without knowing what it was and break it, let alone why he didn't remember she had traps down there. She told him there was another one under the stairs; hopefully he remembers. Meanwhile, it took a while to clean the glue off his hands, and she later discovered the sink handle was sticky too because he had touched it. It's like me as a little kid all over again. And on Sunday, when we got home from the Fall festival, I left my ticket on the kitchen table. Within seconds of leaving the room to tell my mom where I put it, I heard ripping sounds. “I threw it away,” called in the old man, overhearing me start to tell my mom it was on the table, “You didn't want it, right?” So I've learned not only to keep an eye on my dad, but to not leave anything in his line of sight when he's bored and/or in a cleaning mood.

* It is very difficult to shop for my parents, but it's especially difficult that their wedding anniversary falls in the same month as Halloween. I decided to shop for them on Wednesday night since the anniversary is this weekend(along with about 4 or 5 other things on the busiest weekend ever), but I kept getting distracted by ornaments and costumes. For once, I don't know exactly what I'm going to dress up as, although I have it narrowed down to two or three ideas. It all depends on what props I can find, and which items will be the least disruptive to my normal appearance. As for my folks, while I thought I had a great idea with buying them an air conditioner, which they desperately need, at a time of year when they'd be more affordable, I found that every store I went to was only selling heating fans and room dehumidifiers. Foiled by seasonal merchandising! So I had to settle for a gift card in the amount of an air conditioner, and then the usual assortment of snacks, movies, and puzzle books.

* Intersection traffic cameras are dangerous. I already got a ticket once last year while driving my dad's car. Months after the fact, we got it in the mail along with a picture of our license plate and how many tenths of a second had elapsed after the light turned amber and I was in the intersection. Since then, they've multiplied across Long Island, and though there was a list of locations and many are obvious if you know where to look, it's easy to forget. On my way home from shopping on Wednesday night, I waited at an intersection to make a right turn. There was a car in front of me, and the driver opted to turn once the light was green, even though turning on red was permitted. I followed, and suddenly there was a blinding flash in my rearview mirror. At first I thought I had some kind of seizure, but realized it was the flash of a camera. The thing is, I wasn't doing anything wrong. I was turning from the side street. But now I'm worried that, from the camera's point of view, my car was in the intersection after the light had turned red. How could they distinguish if I drove straight ahead, or turned from the street with the green light? The still image would only show the back of my car. And if that's the case, that's pretty tough to fight, and a pretty crummy way for officials to make money. I'd almost prefer a running video camera to the still image, since that would show where my vehicle came from. I guess there's nothing I can do now but wait, and hope I don't get a picture and a fine in the mail in a few months.

* My sarcasm seems to grow exponentially in relation to my facial hair. I tend to act cockier whenever I have a goatee.

* Endings are inevitable, and should not be feared. I think the fact that we're mortal, or that entertainment is finite, makes us appreciate what we'll eventually lose even more. People, of course, can't ”Jump the Shark” like a television show that has been on for too many seasons. We might grow tired of each other, or fall into a routine, but we'd know something was missing when that other person was gone. Realizing the inevitability of death doesn't take away from the sadness when it does eventually happen, but there's some strength to be drawn from the removal of the shock and surprise. Most of the time, we don't know when an ending is coming. It's great when we can prepare and get things in order, but life and fate are in the hands of a higher power. A smoker might live to be 100. A jogger might get hit by a bus while only a young man. Real life doesn't come with a countdown clock, so be prepared....




Blogger b13 said...

They actually have video and people to review all infractions. If they see that you came to a COMPLETE stop and then proceeded to turn. You may never get a ticket in the mail. Here's hoping...

10/07/2010 9:25 AM  
Blogger MCF said...

I definitely came to a complete stop. There was another vehicle in front of me, so I had to wait until they turned. They didn't make a right on red, but turned after the light was green. I then followed, heading West, and made my turn going North. Then I saw the flash in my mirror, so now I'm wondering if they'd think I was going North all along and went through the light, or could see that I turned from the side street. I think being in the intersection after the light changes is what triggers the flash; I was just concerned that they could discern where I was before I was in the intersection. The fact that there's video is a little more reassuring.

10/07/2010 11:02 PM  

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