A vague idea of not knowing what I’m doing

Published 7:32 am Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Where were you born?

In Minnesota.

What part?

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All of me.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his driveway, thoughts occur to me, such as: I wandered the aisles as if I had only a vague idea as to what I was doing. That wasn’t true, of course. I had no idea what I was doing. I closed my eyes as I walked the guilt aisle of the grocery store. Chips on one side and candy on the other. Somehow, I’d managed to avoid being hit by a shopping cart. By the time I’d opened my eyes, I was checking out. The cashier asked if I’d found everything I’d been looking for. I said that I had, but not without considerable searching. Not everything was where I’d remembered it being. Grocery stores move things around. They rearrange the stores. Supermarkets regularly move items around a store in an attempt to make customers spend more time moving around the store. They place new products on shelves where top-selling items are usually found. This manipulates shoppers into buying new products. Stores aren’t the only ones that do this. In the summertime, the same thing happens to our roads. DOT rearranges things by calling them “road work ahead” or “detour ahead.” Familiar roads become difficult to find. We try new roads and become lost in new and interesting ways.

Breaking up with a book

The woman from Kansas told me that my book had been the last one her father had read before he’d died. She said that he loved the book because it made him laugh. I hoped the book hadn’t been the cause of his demise.

A neighbor got married. It lasted only a few months before they divorced. The bridal couple had decided that the marriage wasn’t worth continuing.

I love books. For most of my life, I’ve struggled with not knowing where to stop reading if I don’t like a book. I used to keep reading even if it was killing me. Full speed ahead.

Now I read until I hit the page number matching my age. If I’m not hooked by the book at that point, I stop reading it.

I’m not divorcing a book, but I want to lessen the chance that a book I didn’t enjoy reading would be the last book I read.

Put on your listening goggles

I thought I’d be driving a flying car by now. That hasn’t happened, but I did walk through the dark woods of Alberta while wearing thermal imaging goggles. Those goggles found the heat in living things. The night vision goggles used thermal imaging technology to capture infrared light emitted as heat by objects in its field of view. Wasps to songbirds to deer lit up the darkness right in front of my eyes.

The sight of a Townsend’s solitaire (an elegant songbird dressed in a drab grey plumage) nearly caused me to topple over backwards in astonishment. This one small bird appeared to have set the world on fire.

Those goggles allowed me to see something beautiful that I had no idea was there.

Just as I see beautiful things whenever I listen intently as someone talks to me. Stories light the world and I don’t need goggles to hear them, just ears.

Ask Al

“What do you call a turtle without a shell?” An extrovert.

“What do you call a beautiful day following two days of terrible weather?” Monday.

“What’s the plural for a saber-toothed cat? Is it saber-teethed?” No, it’s saber-toothed cats.

“What’s your neighbor Crandall really like?” He really likes clean public restrooms.

“Was there much diversity in Hartland while you were growing up?” There sure was. A redhead lived just outside of town.

In local news

Pastor leaves church because it offered too much sermon material.

The Everything is in Aisle 7 Store offers tiny travel mugs for short trips.

Basketball coach saves his timeouts and retires early.

Car thief identified by the Smart car he’d stolen.

Save up to 100 percent when you don’t buy anything at the Pay & Get Out Store.

Nature notes

“Will mothballs keep deer and rabbits out of my garden?” No, they don’t work. Mothballs are toxic pesticides. Their specific purpose is to repel moths, not to discourage rabbits and deer.

Why do birds take dust baths?” Dust absorbs excess oils that might lead to feather matting, helps birds shed dry skin and controls parasites of skin and feathers.

Meeting adjourned

“The secret to living well and longer is: eat half, walk double, laugh triple and love without measure.” -Tibetan proverb. Be kind.