The Garbage Truck

"Aging is not 'lost youth' but a new stage
of opportunity and strength."
Betty Friedan

There is truth in Friedan's statement, but I find a lot of effort is necessary when addressing opportunity, and strength isn't a reservoir easily accessed but a resource which requires some mining. Aging commands a whole new skill set and, at times, I mourn the simplicity of youth.

Yesterday, while sitting in the living room, staring out the north windows after reading the morning paper, I noticed three children walking down the sidewalk on their way to the bus stop. Driving down the street behind them was a garbage truck stopping every now and then to collect the garbage neighbors had set out on the parking.

As the garbage truck stopped at the driveway the children had just crossed, they all stopped, turned, and walked back to the driveway and watched as the newly collected garbage was being tossed into the back of the truck.

Not stepping off the sidewalk and in symphonic unison, they all leaned closer to watch the truck's jaws chew boxes and spent banana peels and black garbage bags in preparation for deposit at the local landfill.

I confess, I couldn't really see the mechanics of the truck's operation, but that's what I envisioned while watching the children in their statuesque pose watching the garbage disappear into the belly of the truck.

The truck drove off, the mesmerizing moment evaporated, and the children continued on their journey to the bus stop.

All because of a garbage truck - a routine vehicle on its weekly rounds participating in an event adults usually ignore.

Youth's fascination with the ordinary - I'd like to bottle it and introduce it to the adult world.


Scholar Envy

Why do certain memories pop up when they do? What triggers that part of the brain to open a door and release an item which has been buried for years? I'm not referring to recall due to trigger devices such as a smell or perusing a photo album, but to memories that appear unexpectedly, apparently without external prompting, totally out of the blue. (But can something truly happen out of the blue? Another query for another day.)

Perhaps I shouldn't be wasting my time pondering this perceived trivial event. But when one wakes up in the middle of the night with a memory which had been formerly buried in the deepest recesses and now appears crystal clear at the forefront of one's brain, as if the event had happened just yesterday instead of decades before, it does cause pause.

Why now? Is there a hidden meaning? Is there a sixth sense phenomenon at play? Should these impromptu memories cause concern or actions or be written off as a result of deep sleep? And yet, doesn't the subconscious actively influence?

If I were a scholar, perhaps I could answer these questions....


Sunday Afternoon

The sun is shining, towels are drying, dishes are done, the dog is sleeping, all televisions are silent, and Allison Krause and Richard Plant are "Singin' the Blues" while the Raising Sand CD spins. Sunday afternoon... and interesting mix of responsibilities and relaxation.

When I was a kid, homework was the primary activitiy of Sundays following Sunday School, Church, and a noon meal at the Amanas or Bishops. Just like clock work, to spew a cliché.

It's interesting to me, seemingly void of effort, how routines evolve. The same events turn over and over Sunday after Sunday while time dictates activities' definitions. It's no longer homework but home work. And it's still difficult to concentrate while the beat goes on...


Facebook Phenomenon

I finally succumbed to the pandemic and created a Facebook page. There wasn't really any pressure unless hearing “shock and awe” in responses of "you don't?" when answering 'no' to questions of whether or not I had a Facebook page would be considered pressure.

Now that I’ve had this networking, community presence for a few days, I have to admit I'm curious as to the fascination of having such a presence. Where is the appeal of having information and comments posted on a wall so friends can find you and post their comments which appear not only on your wall but theirs as well? Why is it so fascinating to research different applications available and then see what it’s really like to utilize them? And what an enormous amount of time dissipates while all this transpires!

It's easy to understand my confusion to this phenomenon. I have described for years the appeal of a hermit lifestyle … expressed the comfort felt while envisioning a cabin in the woods, neighbors miles away, off the beaten path with groceries and necessities delivered to my door (ordered, of course, through the required high-speed Internet connection). And as far as the time element: I barely find time to comment on my blog or those I follow and can only seem to find time twice a year to update personal web pages. And then there’s the computer time associated with my employement.

Still, virtual presence exists even without the cabin in the woods. Maybe it's because of the hermit-like atmosphere while typing away on the computer in my office, all alone, listening to the furnace cycle on and off, sipping a cup of hot tea after placing an online order to replenish office supplies through my high-speed Internet connection.

Maybe it's a desire to find lost friendships that spawns this networking community and the allure it generates. Maybe a desire to recoup lost time plays a role in the psychological addiction. Maybe I wouldn't question the fascination if my "wall friends" included someone other than those with whom I communicate regularly.

It's a mystery...