Unbelievable

Other people’s driving really is terrible. I am the first to admit my own driving is no great shakes, especially when it comes to manoeuvres, but I do feel I have good road sense.  It often seems that some drivers have no clue what they are supposed to be doing.

Picture a three lane, light controlled, junction (left lane to turn left, middle lane straight on and right hand lane to turn right).  A car was in the left lane completely in front of the stop line, blocking a pedestrian crossing. Meanwhile a guy on a bike waiting to turn right had pulled off the road onto the pavement right across the crossing.

An elderly couple trying to cross were giving hard stares and very English ‘tuts’ at the cyclist and driver.  As the lights changed the car in the left lane started to pull right.  Some of the drivers behind were caught out by this action and in traditional London manner hit their horns.

Unbelievable.

What was he thinking?

A few nights ago, cycling home, I could hear a siren somewhere.  This is not unusual in London and I checked behind as I approached a junction.  A three lane, light controlled, junction. As I was turning right I moved into the right lane and rolled up to the Stop line as the lights turned red.There was a line of cars to the side of me waiting to both turn left and move straight on and a single car behind me waiting to turn right.

The siren was getting closer and a check revealed it was a Fire Engine approaching from behind.  I moved forwards alongside the barriers and at the pedestrian crossing entry point hopped the bike up onto the pavement.  The car behind me could then pull forwards and over to the left to allow the emergency services through.

With a blast of the sirens Fireman Sam was on his way.  An elderly couple using the crossing seemed put out that we were partially blocking their way.  When the lights changed the driver in the wrong lane started to move right, only to be met by blasting of horns as he slowed the passage of those behind.

Unbelievable.

What were they thinking?

Oh!
(What the?)
(What the fuck was that?)

You burden me with your questions
You’d have me tell no lies
You’re always asking what it’s all about
But don’t listen to my replies
You say to me I don’t talk enough
But when I do I’m a fool
These times I’ve spent, I’ve realized
I’m going to shoot through
And leave you

The things, you say
Your purple prose just gives you away
The things, you say
You’re unbelievable

EMF – Unbelievable

Smile like you mean it

suru portraits 073

We’ve just returned from holiday and yes thanks, since you ask it was very nice.  We stayed in a large hotel complex and round the pool all shapes and sizes of humanity were on display in varying levels of undress.

It struck us how many of the young women who had enviable figures seemed unattractive.  One such girl with ridiculously long legs kept her boyfriend running round after her like a lap dog.  Others seemed to maintain a perpetual air of bored indifference, many refused to smile.   I christened these types ‘butter face’ (nice legs, but her face!).

Then there were others less obviously perfect specimens who seemed to be open and friendly, who clearly cared about and enjoyed being with their friends and family.  These were much more attractive.

Ah ah I thought, there is a blog post in there.  Maybe you can think yourself pretty.  Maybe if you just adopt the appropriate behaviours and smile like you mean it then you become attractive.  Of course if you are too skinny or are overweight, have a genuine physical imperfection these won’t go away, but maybe most of us can and do look beyond such superficial things when really evaluating someone as a friend or partner.

Whilst we were being tourists, sunning ourselves in Greece my eldest daughter was travelling in the Himalayas. Trekking and working on a couple of community projects.  She returned the day after we did.  With tears in her eyes and a passion I have rarely seen she talked about the two sisters who had given her a henna tattoo in Leh.  The girls were about the same age as she is but there the similarities end.

As my daughter put it:

“While we were stressing about what outfit to wear that night, whether our A-level choices were perfect and precisely which new laptop to acquire these girls left school so they could support their families.  Day after day they sit on the hot dusty kerb.  They might not want to be in this situation but they somehow accept it, they still have ambitions but they accept that for now this is how it is.”

“We get jealous because someone has some ‘stuff’ that we don’t even need and these girls have nothing, they have the one set of old clothes they wear everyday. Their faces are worn from lack of care and sun. They were so happy and smiled so readily and they found genuine pleasure in talking to us about our lives. ”

“They wouldn’t accept a small tip, even knowing how little is is to us and how much it is to them.”

“They said that we are beautiful, but they are the beautiful ones.”

Yes.  That’s what I was going to say.

Save some face, you know you’ve only got one
Change your ways while you’re young
Boy, one day you’ll be a man
Oh girl, he’ll help you understand

Smile like you mean it
Smile like you mean it

Looking back at sunsets on the east side
We lost track of the time
Dreams aren’t what they used to be
Some things sat by so carelessly

The Killers – Smile Like You Mean It

Dog new tricks

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

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But you can.  Easily. Without  even meaning to sometimes.  I have the very literal proof.  My geriatric labrador, jake, is, mainly, a well behaved creature.  For thirteen and a half years he has had the same food every day.  He rarely gets fed treats from the table or has doggy treats outside of his meals.   Therefore, unlike many pets, he was  never overweight and rarely showed too much interest in our food (well – for a labrador).

Sadly he has been off his food recently.  So we have been trying to tempt him with all sorts of tidbits.  Suddenly he get’s toast crusts, plates of vegetables, scrambled eggs, cheese – anything to stop his falling weight.  And within the space of a few weeks he now ‘begs’ at the table at every meal.  He pesters for scraps whatever it is we are eating.  And of course we indulge him because, well to be honest we all know where this has to end.

I did wonder what would happen if the vet suddenly found the miracle cure for arthritis, liver disease, and ageing in dogs.  How long would it take to re-establish the ‘no scrounging’ behaviour?  I suspect that given the amount of reinforcement he has had recently (weetabix, followed by toast crusts and milky tea for breakfast today instead of dried dog food for example) it might be quite a task.

Reflecting on this there are a number of lessons:

  • Old dogs readily learn – so what’s my excuse?
  • It’s easy to create new patterns of behaviour – so be very careful with the behaviours you reinforce, or even just tolerate.
  • And, of course, there’s no harm in indulging an old dog.  life really is too short.

I wish I had not woke up today
Everyone mistakes the things you say
Take the simple truth and
Twist it all around
Make it sound important
Make it seem profound

Dog New Tricks – Garbage