Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mr. Honesty

On one of our stops on our trip up the coast, my sister and I stayed in a hotel near the Eel River.  In the morning we crossed the street to check out the walking path next to the river.  It was dirt.  I couldn't really walk it with my leg weakness and balance issues.  My walker would get bogged down on the rocks and little dips in the ground.  So she went walking on the path, and I walked around the conference center and paved areas.  There were some nice views, and benches where you could sit.  They also had a cat sanctuary with a little gazebo.  It started to rain,so I decided to sit in the gazebo and see if one of the cats were approach me.  I think they were feral, since the two I saw were pretty skittish.
As I looked around for more cats, a guy wandered into the gazebo.  Although he did not see all the way odd, his affect did seem to be a little blunted.   But he commented on the rain, and the cool temperature.  I thought, OK, that's pretty normal.  His next comment was, "I just broke up with my girlfriend yesterday."   Uh oh.  Once again, I had attracted a "special person"  who could not wait to tell me his life story.  Why does this keep happening to me?  My friend Chery says it's because of the "aura of serenity" I give off.  Hmmm.  Since I detected no hint of aggression, I decided to just go with it.  I asked, "Did you break up with her, or did she break up with you?"  He said he broke up with her, because he knew she was getting ready to break up with him.  He went on to say, he was a very honest person, so he told her why he was dumping her.  He explained that he had done a lot of reading, and he had learned to notice patterns of behavior, which in this case clued him in to what his girlfriend was thinking.  At this point, he pulled out his pipe and toked up a little, releasing some smoke to dissipate into the air.  I continued the conversation just prompting him, you know, "Oh, that sounds like the right thing to do", or "uh-huh".  He continued talking until my sister showed up, at which point, I immediately said with more enthusiasm than necessary, "Ready to go?".  She worked for Human Services her whole career, so she immediately recognized what was going on and said, "Yep, let's go".  As I was getting into the car, I waved goodbye to Mr. Honesty.  He waved back.
As we continued on our journey up the coast, I kept seeing more "special people"  walking along the side of the highway, or standing on street corners with signs asking for money, etc.  A lot of them had dogs for companions.   My sister explained that California and Oregon have pretty good support services for homeless, mentally ill, addicted folks.
I noticed quite a few run-down shacks and trailers in the trees several yards off the road, or in the small towns we went through.  Probably shelter for a lot of these folks.   I wondered how many meth labs were hidden away back in those forests.  Probably quite a few pot patches too.  Evidence of this desperate poverty saddened me.  Quite a clash with the California stereotype of glitz, decadence and excess portrayed in the media.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Sunday, April 13, 2014


I recently returned from a trip to visit family on the West Coast.  I flew into San Francisco where my brother Chuck, and my sister, Carol, picked me up.  I arrived about 10 P.M. so it was dark and traffic was light on the drive to my brother's house in Novato in Marin County.  In the next several days, we went to Point Reyes National Park and did a lot of driving around Marin County, which has a varied and beautiful landscape, from ocean beach, to mountains, to rural farms and cattle ranches.  My brother had shoulder surgery shortly before my arrival, and he concluded a round of treatment for another medical condition while I was there.  He did so well, his doctor released him to travel, so he went to Savannah, Georgia, to visit a friend.  My sister and I drove to Sacramento to see my nephew, then drove up the coast to her home in Eugene, Oregon, where my younger brother and his family also live.
As we drove around, I noticed an annoying humming, buzzing sound all around me.  After some investigation, I learned that the West Coast, especially, California, is experiencing an aggressive species invasion of an insect known as the Toyota.  There are millions of them flitting around the landscape.  The invasion centers on freeways.  The insects congregate in shopping mall parking lots, and places called "dealerships".  The insects also demonstrate much higher intellect than the normal insect in that they are highly organized and have managed to masquerade as automobiles.  Even my brilliant sister and her husband were fooled enough to purchase one of the larger subspecies several years ago, a Highlander.  It has gotten to the point where not only can you hardly buy a real car like a Ford, you cannot even rent one.  We found this out when we tried to rent a car to drive north, and the only thing we could get was, you guessed it, a Toyota.  A tiny Toyota Corolla.  It buzzed all the way up the coast.  I expressed my concern for my safety to my sister.  The insect knew I was onto it, and knew that their ultimate plan is to continue building up their numbers until they can turn on us, and decimate us, take over the country.  Carol expressed pessimism and called me paranoid.  I was on my guard, however, and never gave the insect a chance to devour me and expel any waste product left from my body out its tail pipe.
The only actual vehicles that seem to be holding their own against the invasion are SUVs and trucks, as in "big ass American trucks".
On the drive north, my sister pulled out into all the rest stops and scenic view pullouts.  At one place, she wanted to walk the trail.  I decided to walk a little way with her.  No way was I going to remain in the insect in a strange place.  I saw the insect eyeing me for lunch.  I told my sister if I fell on the trail to just wrap me up in her rain poncho ( also known as "the shower curtain" to her fellow volunteers at the Eugene rose gardens ) and go for help.  But I didn't fall, and when I got tired Carol found a place for me to sit.  The only harm was a dirty butt.  
After we got to Eugene, Carol and her husband drove their Fusion hybrid almost exclusively.  They prefer this superior form of transportation, much as it disgusts their Highlander insect.  As I wondered around their yard, near the back of their garage and car port one evening, I heard the insect and the Fusion arguing. The insect laughed maniacally, and tried to insult the Fusion by saying, "You hybrid!  You are nothing but a sub-automotive mongrel!"  The Fusion calmly responded, "Well, as for the hybrid thing, you guys started it with that goofy Prius.  Anywayl, my people prefer me.  And by the way, they are thinking of replacing you with a Ford Escape.  Cynthia has been telling them how much she likes hers."
The very next day, the Fusion was hit by a Nissan at an intersection.  I absolutely know in my heart that the insect hired or formed some kind of alliance with the Nissan community to carry out this hit.  After all, the Nissan is another invasive.  The Fusion had to go into the shop.
The next day, my sister had to drive the insect around.  We stopped at a grocery store to get things for dinner.  We did some walking around that day so I chose to stay in the insect for the brief time while my sister was in the store.  While there, I saw my sister-in-law Linda park.  She saw me sitting in the fake vehicle and approached.  I tried to roll down the window and open the door but they were both locked!  I was trapped!  I panicked, knowing that the insect had me at its mercy.  Then I manually unlocked the door lock, and the alarm went off!  OMG!  If I was going to escape, the insect at least insisted on embarrassing me as much as possible.  Linda texted my sister that I tripped the alarm, and she used her key fob button to turn it off.  Thank goodness, Carol and Henry rented a Chevy to drive me to the airport in Portland for the flight home.
Although I hated leaving my siblings, I felt great relief upon arriving home.  Parking lots full of Fords, Chevys, Chryslers!  Safety!  But we cannot be complacent.  We must prepare for the expanding aggressive invasion of the insect Toyotas, and their allies, the Nissans and Hondas.  I have already secured the services of a mad scientist/weapon manufacturer to alter a grenade launcher to deliver RAID bombs.  Next, I am hoping to find someone to develop a RAID-delivering fully automatic AK-47.  Thank goodness for the Second Amendment!  We shall prevail!