It’s probably the last summery day we’ll feel for a while here in New York, so I did another first-ever: I took the bus to Rockaway Beach.
The ride itself was weird: I got a seat a few stops after I boarded. Its previous occupant’s phone dropped out of his pocket. I hollered to him as he disembarked, waving his phone at him. He was thankful. I chatted with a nice couple and admired the family seated across the aisle. When the family got up to leave, I saw that they left their lunch carrier under their seat. I held it up and some people banged on the windows to get the family’s attention. As we handed off the lunch someone noticed their phone on that seat as well. I laughed and, inexplicably, called after them in Spanish, their language, “y el teléfono también.” I don’t normally speak in tongues, and I am sadly monolingual. Or maybe not any longer?
The Declaration Of Independence: While our nation started as an imperfect set of laws, opportunities and rights, we are ever evolving into a country leaning toward equality. I’ll sit out the rainy holiday and contemplate how lucky I was to be born female where I have a chance to thrive.
Happy Earth Day 2014! CNN ran this opinion piece suggesting that cities ban cars, essentially forcing everybody to use mass transit or walk to their destinations. It outlines reasons why: less noise and traffic, cars ownership is expensive, pollution, wasted time. This would be the great democratizer, if politicians and the wealthy allowed it to happen.
I would demand that all elected officials be required to commute to work. They could stand in the same smelly, crowded buses and trains that we (who elected them) endure every day. They can wait for trains that may or may not appear and have buses whiz right past them. They can experience the parade of panhandlers who can no longer hold jobs, and watch small children try to wrap their tiny hands around the poles to keep from falling. They can do this every day of their working lives, just like the taxpayers who fund their salaries. And they would do it without security.
This also applies to all employees of all urban transit companies.
Those who come in from out of town would have to drive themselves to the City line. No drivers or police escorts. They wouldn’t escape the traffic and potholes that define urban highways. They can skid on icy roads.
Who gives these jerks the right to travel in better style, safety and comfort than the people who gave them their jobs? Are they more important than the grandmother or injured person or kid struggling to get around town?
If I had a time machine, would I use it to travel back in time? Heck no! As difficult as it is to make it in present-day New York (or maybe even present-day America, I don’t know.) the “olden days” had their own problems.
The past was a grim time to be a woman. You pretty much had to marry. If you were in a disappointing marriage, tough luck. Divorce was considered shameful, even where there was abuse. The children were marginalized, too, as “coming from a broken home.” Ha, like they broke it! And besides, it was harder for a woman to support herself. It was not against the law to pay women less than men, or even to deny them jobs because of their gender. And forget about promotions.
There was a time not too long ago when it was perfectly legal to beat the children in your care, but illegal to do the same to adults. You can still be arrested for assault; what’s better now is that this protection extends to our youngest, most vulnerable citizens.
I got “hooked on phonics” in kindergarten so reading was easy to me. As a child I escaped my personal reality by diving into mysteries and sometimes, novels. I read everything: cereal boxes, road signs, anything with letters. Don’t get me wrong, I did normal things too but reading was so important that in high school, I thought I was going to be a reading teacher. It made me sad that reading was so difficult for some other kids that they didn’t get to enjoy it as I did.
Of course, I read to my child. At one point, before we all had access to the Internet, I searched the library and local book stores for Robert Louis Stevenson’s children’s poetry. I should not have been shocked that nobody had, or even knew of, such a book. I finally went to a teachers’ supply store and the saleswoman and the customers within earshot were surprised that a parent wanted to read poetry to her kid. I still have the book I bought that day.
Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth I was working my way through college as a salesperson at “The World’s Largest Department Store,” selling ladies moderately-priced sportswear. Back then the small petites selections in most stores that I knew of consisted mostly of sensible pants/skirt/jacket combos spiffed up with, maybe, a nice bow blouse. I was short, skinny, young and broke so I used my employee discount in either the Juniors or Girls departments. Nothing fit quite right.
Fast forward a bunch of decades and I can buy almost any look in a plethora of petites departments. This ranks right up there with flu shots, laptops and power steering as to why I love modern times. Gone are the days when wearing shorter clothing meant dressing dowdy. I can dress fun till the day I die.