Yesterday I made my weekly pilgrimage from Greater Metropolitan Arab to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill, Huntsville, to procure foodstuffs. This is necessitated by the rather abysmal, depraved even, foodstuffs landscape of Greater Metropolitan Arab. The landscape is dominated by MalWart, which used to be all about energy drinks and highly salted junk foods; now it is all about beer, junk wine, and highly salted junk foods. The other two – struggling – grocery stores are orders of magnitude better – they actually have real foodstuffs and not just overgrown children orgasm foodstuffs – but sadly less than half of what I need. So I have to go into Huntsville to buy things like bagels (Alibam bagels but better than their total absence in Arab – and I am too lazy to do my own every three days) and English muffins that don’t have a gram of salt each and textured vegetable protein and lettuce that isn’t iceberg with minced carrots and salad dressing made by someone other than a megacorporation and loaded with sodium, and the list goes on…..
If you say ‘organic’ in Greater Metropolitan Arab neither meaning of the term is within the majority’s comprehension, especially the folks who run the grocery stores. GMA may have been a nice place to live when we first moved here but it has degenerated into a desert: intellectually; dietary; governmentally; …. Not that I would move to Huntsville; it’s entirely too much of an ant hill with too many queens; but something in between is pretty attractive.
You folks thinking of moving Sowth as part of BRAC take note that Arab is not that good a place to live; beware the prevarications of real estate agents masquerading as conscript parents of the community.
Anyway in the process of motoring to, about, and from Huntsville, I made notes – at stop lights emitting red photons – of several points. First, my route on US 231 took me down off Sand Mountain via Whitesburg Mountain and I had occasion once more – this was just shy of the crest of commuter rush – that the incompetence level of automobile drivers has seriously increased in recent years. Seems very few, about the same fraction as of nerds in the general population although I have no observations to indicate that determination, are unable to drive down the mountain without applying brakes in a disruptive and noxious fashion.
In my experience of some forty years of motoring this downgrade, it may be entirely traversed, with satisfaction of the state of Alibam’s ‘speed’ laws, if one uses the proper – IUPAP – definition of speed without use of either accelerator or brakes. Inasmuch as most of these incompetent drivers are doing well over that limit, by at least ten mph and are demonstrably unable to control heir vehicles, for various reasons, the need for braking is not surprising but the overall inadequacy of their competence almost makes me welcome the disappearance of petrol. Except that then I will really have foodstuff problems.
But I can reflect on how driving an automobile is not an earned privilege any more but rather some metabolic entitlement.
Once at the bottom of the mountain, I had to avert my trajectory to accommodate a shul bus repainted, but still belching odoriferous black smoke, to proclaim its role as the official conveyance of a day camp. This provoked my reflection on that particular thing – I had to attend day camp several summers as a bairn – and from there generally on things that our parents do for us, as children, that we come to hate them for.
As with all children, there were several things my parents compelled me to do ‘for my own good’. This is over and above daily ablutions and cleaning of dental surfaces. Some were endurable nuisances, such as the two periods, both in spring before shul session cessation, when I had to take extracurricular classes in ballroom dancing. Not only was I an inept klutzy failure at both instances, but my interest in dancing was forever poisoned. FD SCP and I have danced but the instances can be enumerated using a single hand’s worth of phalanges with unassigned elements. Happily this drunge never got about the discomfort level.
The same cannot be said for day camp. This is an algorithm for catastrophe. Take a kid whose chief goal of summer is to read as much as he can of what he can find and pack him off into a nasty, hot, overlit, humid, outdoors where he is expected to participate in sports (implicitly inane and pointless,) inane crafts, and the interminable bonhomie of high shul jocks who have absolutely no clue of how to handle nerds. Hell hath no teeth after a week of that. The only good that derived from this was a firm conviction not to inflict anything like on my children – they had to ask first to unleash the floodgates – and an awakening skepticism towards anything official or claimed to be beneficial. In effect, my philosophy of proper disrespect for false authority was germinated in that environment.
Lastly, I had occasion to observe the perversity of modern civilized nature. The foodstuff stores in Huntsville open at different times, but that timing does not jibe well with their geographical locations. Hence I found myself leaving the first store on the north side of Huntsville, which opened at a middling time, to drive half across town to the second which opens rather late. Hence, even with the grid-resistance (not quite grid-lock but no free flow either) that is Huntsville traffic – any more roads and there would be no buildings – I found myself with the prospect of wait of a sixth hour. Accordingly I moderated my attitude and tension of driving with the idea of eroding some of that time in motion and thereby less heat soaked.
I shortly had occasion to contemplate the perversity of nature. If one is in no particular hurry to traverse from A to B, then one encounters stop lights that are stochastically disproportionately emitting green photons. IOW, if you;re not in a hurry you get the lights. So I arrived at my destination with several minutes to await portal opening. Happily a breeze was blowing so I exited my vehicle to stand in the shade near the portal and observe the eccentricities (this is Sowth Huntsville after all and such behaviors are not pathological, genetic, or the result of incompetent parenting) of the rest of the people awaiting the opening.
As it was, all the rest were female and in great disquietude that the store had not opened earlier than its proclaimed hours of operation. I was particularly taken with a women how was fingering her car keys something in the manner of a nun her beads when she wasn’t combing her tresses with her fingers. Others were asking why this store had to open so late, which led me to reflect on lemmings and hubris.
Happily I have since managed to adjust my foodstuff plan so that I now only need visit this process controlling store once a month. I just have to wonder how much longer such a foolishly arrogant place can stay in business, especially with the clientèle it obviously has.