The week gone by — Sept. 12

Suzi and I were recently driving home and came across one of those signs that electronically displays your speed.

It’s better than having a cop let you know how fast you’re going, although if you’re going fast enough to get the police’s attention, you either didn’t know the speed limit in the first place or having your miles per hour up in lights wasn’t going to make much difference, anyway.

Suzi was going a little below the speed limit, and the sign greeted her with something neither of us had ever seen before.

A smiley face.

Suzi was far more excited by this development than you would perhaps expect a well-adjusted adult to be.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I communicate with others. I don’t think I’m a particularly mean or nasty person, but I tend to be … direct … in my speaking style, especially if I’m reacting to something without having much time to think of what I want to say.

It doesn’t always work, so I’ve been wondering if there are different approaches I could take to get my points across if I stop and think about them.

And as the electronic smiley face shows, sometimes all it takes is telling someone they did good.

What I wrote

There was probably only one place where you could talk about international diplomats and outfielders from the 1980s. (There were also fireworks.)

“During the fireworks, Suzi noted that the two Fisher Cats games we’ve attended this year — both against Portland, coincidentally — proved to be bookends for the summer we’re having and the one we were supposed to have.”

Stuff I read

Rosie and her boyfriend Matt have been together five years, and she has learned some things.

“My boyfriend and I grow together. We recognize our mistakes and fix them, together. There’s no reason to back out or get scared and there’s no reason to face things alone anymore.”

If you’re looking for a baseball game, Dan says there is a field ready for you.

“Somebody keeps it looking perfect, as if there’s hope that 20 boys and girls will suddenly show up, or that a spaceship will land at night and allow aliens to try the American game they’ve been watching from another planet.”

Renata yelled at a stranger on a roller coaster, because, well …

“The coaster came to a halt soon after, and not wanting to leave a bad impression, I stumbled out of the car, looked back, and said something like, ‘Ihopeyouandyourfamilyhaveanicetimeonyourvacationokaybye!’”

Jeff tried to find the right words after Hurricane Ida.

“Hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires, floods, earthquakes … war, genocide, pandemic. Disasters befall us unevenly, but we don’t get hall passes. The worst always are those that harm ourselves.”

Emily remembers a student gone too soon.

“I’m not a college professor who lectures to multitudes. Nicole was in my night class of 20 women, where we read short stories and learned about life from each other. Nicole spiced my life. And whenever I cook eggs, she’s part of the cherished recipe.”

In a guest post for Boomer Eco Crusader, Pea Green writes about a receiving special memento of her grandfather.

“When I took that photo of grandad out of the box, a warm cosy feeling immediately wrapped itself around me. I could hear his soft voice saying my name and imagine his beard tickling my neck as I cuddled up to him.”

Becky’s boyfriend Josh suggested a trip built around going to a used-book store. For this alone, he may be a keeper.

“It took us about an hour to get to the Book Barn, and we got there just after they opened at 11:00 a.m. It was like I had died and gone to heaven. Literally the best place on earth.”

Jan has found home.

“As we begin the steady process of making it our own, delighting in choosing paint colours and picking fabric samples and trying to figure out where on earth we’re going to put all the books, I’m reminded in every moment how very fortunate we are.”

According to Austin, Aaron and Holly saw something amazing during their walk.

“They’d watched in awe as an eagle soared over the river, then turned directly for them, before perching in a branch high up in the tree above them.”

Lucy made her first long-distance drive.

“From somebody who used to be terrified of motorways, to know I drove four different ones in one day and kept calm throughout the journey made me feel so proud of myself!”

Vee wants us to take note.

“Take note of who wants you around. Not out of any sense of obligation, but rather, just because they realize it’s better to have you around then it is to be without you.”

Giggles hates being late, but she really hates when others are late. I can relate.

“People who have no respect for time are the people that I don’t need in my life. If you’re going to be late, then let me know and take steps to fix it. And if it’s going to be an every time thing, I’m sorry but I might just not have space in my life for that constant aggravation.”

Running has been good for Graham, which is why it’s unfortunate an injury has kept him off the road.

“Going out for a run means that I can think. I have time to think ‘things’ through, whatever they might be, and often by the time I’m back home I just feel a great deal lighter, so to speak. I head out, fresh faced and often feeling a bit weighed down by what life happens to be throwing at me and by the time I return I’m red-faced and sweaty, but visibly happier, even if I look like I might just be about to collapse.”

Michelle has seen ghosts.

“I think I was about nine years old when I saw her. One afternoon, I sat in front of my mirror, probably playing with my hair, and I felt someone looking at me.

I looked around, and the ghost was there. She quickly disappeared and the only thing I saw clearly was a foot of hers. In my peripheral vision, I saw she was a girl (or young woman) and in a dress that was common at the start of the previous century — around the Anglo-Boer war.

Cama suggests people not worry so much about what they’re “good at.”

“Instead of the pursuit to be the best, I embrace the goal of getting better. Am I getting better at what is important to me? If so, good.”

Stacy now knows that if you write, you’re not an “aspiring” writer, you’re a writer. (Which is advice I’ve also heard from Sara Bareilles, but what does she know?)

“As someone who spent an entire decade thinking I couldn’t be a writer because I didn’t pursue a specific major, hold a certain job, or have endless hours of writing time everyday, I would never, ever want anyone else to feel like I did — that I wasn’t worthy of this craft.

Because I am. And so are you.”

Pepper uses Facebook, but has a lot of problems with it.

“Any drama, conflicts, differences of opinions, or comparison to others facilitated by FB will have potentially greater consequences because you cannot block these people from your real-lives. You can hit that ‘unfriend’ button on FB all day and they’ll still be at your daughter’s next soccer game. Sitting right next to you.”

Bob is seeking just the right gift for his wife’s birthday, because he hasn’t always chosen particularly well.

“She turns 64 this week. For baby boomers, 64 is a special milestone, thanks to Paul McCartney of Beatles fame, who penned these lyrics:

Will you still need me; will you still feed me,
When I’m sixty-four?”

Arianne and her daughter are both working on growing and learning new things.

“Because my kiddo remembered she loves slides today when she was out playing with her dada, Gam & Pop. For some reason she forgot she did when she spent too much time with me. And I am not exactly sure what I remembered today…I guess just that I am still a person outside of being a mom and someday (soon?) I’ll find more ways to nourish that again. Until then, I suppose I will just have my alone time and lattes guilt-free! That feels like a really good start.”

Five years later, how does BereavedSingleDad feel?

“Memories are in the past, locked in time. I need to deal with today. Yes it’s an anniversary but it’s also another parenting day. Time doesn’t stop, even on an anniversary. Yes hopefully time for memories but also time to dream.”

Zoe sees the wisdom in romantic comedies.

“It’s the type of wisdom that rings even more true when you’re in a certain mental space. Mindset. State of being. It’s a lot like country songs totally making ALL of the sense when you fall in (or out of) love. Romcoms are thoughtfodder for the broken heart-and-brain.”

As their daughter grows, Jen and her husband feel like they’re caught in-between.

“My husband and I are stuck (eternally, it seems) in a place of what-if. There are reminders everywhere that Charlotte is no longer a baby, and we still don’t have any prospects of whether we’ll be able to grow our family any further.”

Tweets I liked

I once got yelled at for referring to an 87-year-old man as “elderly.” (I sort of saw her point, so I didn’t do it again.)

Another Cape Cod summer season ends.

See also: thinking about writing.

No, really … it’s fine.

It only gets worse.

When someone needlessly apologizes to me, I just say “For what?!?!?”

This is one of the easiest questions I’ve ever answered — oceanography.


7 thoughts on “The week gone by — Sept. 12

  1. Thanks for sharing, Bill! Awesome self-reflection on how you come across when you speak to people…excited to see you progress in your self work ☺️ also, I just read the book for my book club and one of the chapters was all about being unapologetic — something for me to work on because I needlessly apologize a lot 😬

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for including me and the wonderful Pea Green in your weekly roundup, Bill.

    Your story of the electronic speed sign made me smile. I’ve never seen one with a smiley face but my daughter and I love it when the signs say “Thank You” when you’re going under the limit. We always make a point of saying “Your welcome”.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Haha never seen a smiley face before.. I need to slow down I guess lol recently they’ve installed community safety zones with cameras catching and fining drivers who go over the speed limits.. Obviously in school zones and typically dense neighbourhoods with lots of pedestrians I think… We’ve seen the one by me constantly vandalized.. It’s a shame…

    Thanks for the mention 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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