Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Good Times

I've been thinking a lot lately about little memories I have from my childhood. Just random things that have nothing to do with anything, but that make me smile when I remember them. I thought I would share some of them here.

There was the time that I typed a paper on my brother's computer. It was the first time I'd ever used a computer, and I hit "return" at the end of every line, like you would with a typewriter (yes, I'm that old). Brian had to teach me that the computer wraps the words itself. Then he fixed my paper for me. I wonder how long it took him to go and backspace all of those "returns" out of there. Hey - thanks, Brian!

Once, when I was a teenager, we performed a tricky Chinese Fire Drill in Rose Park. (For those of you who don't know what that is, it involves getting out of a car, running around it, and getting back in before a red light turns green. The more people involved, the better. In a two-door car with five people, it can definitely be tricky.) During this particular drill, one of my brothers nearly lost his shoe as he got back in. Ever wonder how that one shoe got in the middle of the road?

When I was growing up, there was a spot in our side yard where our parents allowed us to dig and play in the mud all we wanted. There was a slight incline, and we would make rivers and roads and bridges and tunnels in the mud, and then we'd put the hose at the top of the hill and turn it on, so that the rivers would fill. We always loved it when one of the dams broke, because we could get away with "swearing." (Dam it! Dam it!)

I remember spending hours on our swingset out back, pumping as high as I could and singing "Let's Go Fly a Kite" at the top of my lungs. Bet the neighbors loved that one. That swingset was also the site of some major competitions (who could jump off and get the farthest without taking a trip to the hospital, for instance). The set had a slide on it, and I remember one time we put a kiddie pool at the bottom and a hose at the top to make our own waterslide. If I remember right, it didn't work out so well. (I know - shocker!)

I have memories of getting up out of bed for one reason or another and finding my parents sitting on the front porch, enjoying the cool evening air and chatting together. Depending on my reason for getting up, they would either tell me to get back to bed, or they would let me sit on one of their laps for a while. It was so peaceful.

...makes me want to be a kid again...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I got stuck driving behind a student driver the other night. Since I had plenty of time to think (going 20mph in a 45 zone), I began to consider all the things that we aren't taught in Driver's Ed.

For instance, everyone learns (eventually) that when you are at a red light, it's important to watch the car in front of you. If they roll a couple of inches forward, you must immediately follow suit. If you don't, you risk getting honked at by the person behind you, who saw the movement and can't figure out why you're not trying to get closer to the line. After all, that extra inch and a half may make the difference between making the green light and having to sit through another red one.

Try it sometime. Next time you're sitting at a red light, inch forward a little and then watch the cars behind you. Or better yet, try to stop yourself from moving when the car in front of you rolls. It's goes against all instinct.

Apparently there's an unwritten rule in some areas (I've noticed it in the Midwest) that you must stop at least one car-length behind the white line. I don't really understand this, but there must be a reason. Maybe the pedestrians there tend to break into dance halfway across the street and need the extra room...

My favorite unwritten rule about driving pertains to the "fast lane." This is, of course, the furthest left normal lane on a freeway. (In Driver's Ed, they call it the "Passing Lane," but once you're out of class, you immediately learn that's a misnomer). Because it is the Fast Lane, you automatically have the right to get upset with (and flash your lights, yell and make obscene gestures at) the person in front of you, who is only going 15 miles over the speed limit, when you wanted to do 20 over.

They teach you in class what to do if a stoplight goes out, or is flashing red. We all know that we're supposed to treat it like a four-way stop. What they don't tell you is that at least half the population doesn't know how to work a four-way stop. So good luck with that one.

We are also taught that a turn signal indicates that you'd like to get into a different lane. This only works in some states. Not in Utah. Here in Utah, a turn signal indicates that you would like the car in the next lane to speed up and then match your speed, thereby making it impossible for you to get into the lane in time to make your turn. We work on aggression here in Utah. You have to really want to get over. Forget the signal, and just start forcing your way in.

When they honk at you, they're really just telling you how much they admire your driving skills.