February 28th is Leslie’s birthday. She was my girlfriend for maybe two or three months during my senior year in high school. We liked each other, but neither of us was the love of the other one’s life. Suffice to say we broke up. The details weren’t all that gory, and within a very short while it became one of those rare break-ups where we actually did remain friends. There were only 15 letters in the alphabet (four vowels and eleven consonants) when I was in high school, so you might wonder why I remember after such a long time that today is Leslie’s birthday.
What do I remember about Leslie? She was a redhead and because of that looked cute when she dressed up as Raggedy Ann for Hallowe’en. I remember a year after we broke up I was away at college and she sent me some homemade cookies. The enclosed note said she felt like baking and didn’t feel like having the cookies go to her hips. She did not say, but I did think that when the cookies went to my hips, they would have plenty of company.
I know today is Leslie’s birthday because tomorrow is leap-year day or if you prefer, Little Orphan Annie’s birthday, which explains why Annie’s aging so slowly. You see, as part of the learning process that takes place in any new boy-girl relationship, I discovered that Leslie’s birthday is February 28th. So as I usually did in those days, I said the first thing that popped into my head: “Wow! You just missed being born on Leap Year Day.”
Leslie responded with a long pause, during which she looked at me as if I had two heads, or possibly three, or maybe even none. Then she spoke. She told me the year in which she was born wasn’t a leap year. We were in high school, so I knew roughly how old she was. I should have realized the year she was born wasn’t a leap year. That’s what made the episode memorable and so much more humiliating!
Happy birthday Leslie, wherever you are.
That ain’t gonna happen. I know it. For one thing, I couldn’t afford to pay for all those roads and gas stations if I was the only person using them. Heck, I can hardly afford to pay for one tank of gas from one of those gas stations these days.
I’m not the only person on the Internet who thinks driving is frustrating. There are whole blogs devoted to the proposition. But most of the complaining boils down to four factors:
- People know the rules, but don’t care
- People don’t know the rules, and don’t care
- People in general can be pretty stupid at times
- You and I and nearly all the other drivers are people
Because there are only four major factors, websites devoted exclusively to bad driving tend to repeat themselves. I’ll talk about driving once in a while, but not constantly. So I won’t go on and on about the guy I saw driving east in the westbound left-turn lane of the six-lane highway near where I live.
First the basic premise: driving only works as well as it does because almost everyone does what they are expected to do almost all the time. My sainted grandmother once asked me while I was stuck in a traffic jam, “Why don’t you drive on the other side of the road? There aren’t any cars there.” Grandmother, as you’ve probably surmised, did not drive. I’ve surmised that she didn’t pay much attention to the world around her either. She had eight kids. Can you blame her?
Then, there’s parking. Most parking lots are on private property so you are unlikely to receive a ticket for misbehavior in a parking lot, but if you speed around the lot driving on the left side of an aisle, you are probably going to participate in or at least cause an accident. The same can be said for stop signs and crosswalks in parking lots. They usually don’t carry the force of law, but it would still make everyone’s life a little easier if everyone did what they ask. And at most Wal-Marts, the aisles in the parking lots are supposed to be one way. You can tell which way by observing how the spaces slant with respect to the aisles.
As the name implies, parking lots are for parking. They are not for blocking the flow of traffic. They are not for blocking egress to or from individual spaces or the lot as a whole.
Hate is a strong word, but I’m really not all that fond of the people who double park 20 feet from a legal parking space at the curb. Yes, I’m talking to you, guy in the brown delivery truck. I don’t care for people who park directly across a narrow street from someone else’s driveway apron either. I know I don’t because the people who live across the street from my driveway do it. So did the people who lived there before these people.