Monthly Archives: March 2017

Lime Green?

In my poor, struggling student days, I drove a 1972 lime green Ford Pinto. In fairness, it was actually a fairly reliable car, although when it had a problem, it was an all-night effort to fix. Living in Ohio, with all the salt on the roads, it needed to have the body patched every spring and most autumns. It had so much fiberglass and Bondo that I believed that I could have driven it through a metal detector with nary a peep from the security machine.

Did I mention it was lime green?

Needless to say, I have neither owned nor wanted a lime green car ever since.

Tonight, on my way home from work I saw a Lamborghini. I saw a $450,000 Lamborghini. I saw a $450,000 lime green Lamborghini.

Naturally, I mentioned this to my wife who found it surprising that Lamborghini would offer one of their four-wheel works of art in lime green.

But then we realized, that if you can afford a Lamborghini, you can pretty much have whatever you want.

If I buy a suit, I buy it off the rack and have it altered. Wealthy people have tailors who hand-make their suits. It’s likely that they get their cars the same way.

“Ah, yes. I want grey glove leather seats and oak interior trim—the light oak, mind you, not the dark. The most powerful engine, of course, and now, let’s see, do I want a four, five, six, or seven speed transmission? I think five will be enough—I’ll already be pulled over by every cop that sees me, just so they can get a look at the car and the bloke that owns it, so no sense in going even faster.

“I’ll need full satellite navigation and satellite stereo for the radio—that doesn’t fade in tunnels—with storage for at least a thousand, no, make that ten thousand songs—all in full fidelity. The passenger’s visor will need a lighted mirror; my dates need to make sure their makeup is just perfect.

“Make sure that there are plenty of cup holders, although if anyone spills anything, they’re going to pay for the detailer to make a house call.

“I’ll need all weather tires, of course, tinted glass, and . . . .I’m forgetting something. What am I forgetting?

“Oh, I know, the colour (please notice the British spelling). I want my Lamborghini painted the lime green colour they used for Ford Pintos in the early 1970s.

“As usual, money’s no object, but I’ll use my friends at the club as my customer satisfaction survey—which will be widely distributed.

“Well, I’m off. Good day.”

Dress Code

I see where American Airlines was turning passengers away for violating their dress code. Apparently, one or more teenage girls were wearing leggings, which was not up to company standards in the opinion of the highly-trained, fashion-savvy, senior-executive-level gate agents.

I do remember when airline flight involved men wearing suits and women dresses, complete with white gloves. Of course, back then, airlines treated customers like guests and even provided an actual meal—no grabbing a dried up old sandwich in the terminal and an overpriced bottle of water—the meals were served on plates, with coffee cups and saucers. Gate agents were courteous. Although quite over-the-top, flight attendants (stewardesses—a man couldn’t get a job as a flight attendant) were required to meet certain levels of attractiveness in terms of weight, makeup, and the latest fashionable uniform.

May I suggest a compromise? The airlines can start by losing the “passengers are like cattle” attitude and start being a little nicer; stop trying to cram 16 extra passengers onto each aircraft by designing seats that mimic medieval torture devices. Next, they can stop gouging us for checking bags to the tune of billions of dollars per year. Maybe then we can talk and compromise on the dress code for the airline passenger. It would probably be best if we chatted over the free meal and coffee (in cup and saucer) during the flight.

Getting Old, or Something

John Scalzi, In Old Man’s War, talks about getting older, and dealing with disease and other physical frailties. It was something like, “It’s not one thing after another, it’s everything all at once.”

Inside—and this sounds weird—I feel timeless. I feel like the same me as I was when I was walked to school on the first day of kindergarten. Of course, there were some stages in my life that I intentionally ignore, but it was the same me, even then.

The bad news is that I cannot do as many things, or do them as long as I used to. I certainly keep shorter hours (sorry, 8:00 PM, time for bed—but then again, my alarm goes off at 5:00 AM). However, what I do these days is grounded in a better understanding of life, the world, and the will of God. Diplomats, politicians, salesmen, attorneys, et al, say things that are their job, not what they mean—at least in some cases. I tend to ignore that noise and focus on those things that rise above it. No matter what people say or do, I believe that God’s will predominates, even if we do not immediately see it. In other words, everything is going to ultimately be all right.

The “everything all at once” isn’t all bad. It includes the ability to see the big picture, rather than the sound bites, the trends, or whatever. That’s the benefit of getting older.

Positions

No, not that.

There’s a great Monty Python bit in which the suitor is talking to his intended wife’s father. The abbreviated version would go something like this.

Graham Chapman: “Do you have a position?”

Michael Palin: (Snort) “I cleans public lavatories.”

Graham Chapman: “And is there a potential for promotion?”

Michael Palin: “Yeah–after five years they gives me a brush.”

We spend the first quarter of our life preparing to take on a position. The next two quarters of our lives, we define ourselves by our positions. Finally, we learn that our position is what we do, not who we are.

Jackson Browne (with, perhaps some help from his neighbor Don Henley) may have said it best in “Running on Empty”:

Gotta do what you can just to keep your love alive
Trying not to confuse it with what you do to survive

We are who we are and we do what we do–don’t confuse them.

 

Returning to the Mother Country

Although we Americans are great friends with the British, there is that 800-pound gorilla in the room. We sort of, kind of, in a way cut our ties with the British Empire back in the 18th century, and reinforced the decision in the early 19th. Oh sure, we’ve been relatively friendly since the early 20th century, but we still bloody split up years ago!

How many divorced couples maintain an interest in what their ex is up to? Not many, and most who do, do so for all the wrong reasons. It’s fine to keep things civil on behalf of the children, but I’m talking about a genuine affection for the exes latest efforts. It doesn’t—or at least shouldn’t happen.

So why do I have a preference for BBC television programmes over most American programs? I’m not talking about an innocent fling with Monty Python’s Flying Circus in my younger, more foolish years—that’s to be forgiven, and perhaps even expected. I’m talking regular perusing of Netflix with full intent of finding a British programme of interest. I do hope the English don’t find our television offerings intriguing; I know the New Zealanders did back in the late 1980’s, but back then it was 5 million people and 60 million sheep—and long before Peter Jackson filmed the Tolkien stories there.

At least I can excuse my preference for BBC News over anything on the air or internet over here. That provides some comfort.

Good Heavens! I just realized that I’ve taken to drinking tea at breakfast!