Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

Tag: commute

Prices And War: A Podcast Roundup

Sorry, my dear reader, but this is going to start out as a bit of a downer of a podcast roundup, but I have to be honest about what I’m exploring. Life is not all happy joy and flowers and entertaining novels.

Yesterday’s trip into the city was sprinkled with reminders that things are not right in the world. The first of which is that I’ve tried for three days in a row to get my hair cut in town and have run into “supply chain” and “lack of staff” issues.

prices and war
Minor, I know, but really Target?
A hard to remove sticker right in the middle of the title?

I filled up my truck with gas and paid a dollar more than I did last week, and last week’s prices were already higher than I have ever paid for gas in my life. You would think people would be slowing down and conserving gas on the highway, but no. Impatience and frustration was up. Once again, a woman passed me and another truck going uphill toward a blind crest, while crossing the double yellow line. Life apparently don’t mean much.

Some of it I understand. With gas this high, those (most of us) that commute to another town for work are finding it almost a waste of time to keep working, another reason for the “lack of staff” in certain places. We’re becoming more frightened for our future than we already have been.

I was able to eat lunch out with a friend INSIDE my favorite restaurant, so that’s a positive. But the prices were higher, understandably, and the menu was slightly limited. Not terrible but a sign none the less.

I noticed the local hospital billboard on the highway has lost its medical masked character. And Target and Kohl’s had no signs about having to be masked at all. I can’t help but feel like covid is being downplayed and set aside a bit, like maybe we’ll all forget what’s been going on and focus elsewhere. Hysteria and fear will just fade away. A cross between “Nothing to see here. Move along.” And “We have always been at war with Eurasia.”

I went into the city to see about getting some new sheets and a blanket for my guest room. My son is coming with his new girlfriend, and I want the room to look a little spruced up, even though I haven’t been able to paint it yet. Have I mentioned that paint now costs twice what it used to ten years ago and is going up still? I found a blanket on clearance for $35 (last one and it was $120…really?). And some sheets for $50. I remember paying $40 for REALLY nice, higher end sheets twenty years ago. That’s another story.

I am hyperaware of my ability to consider purchasing things I may need in the next few years before the prices go higher. I know we are lucky to work from home, so the price of gas is only having an effect on my leisure activities…for now.

There’s stress here, and I knowing I don’t have it nearly as badly as others doesn’t help. I have lived in earthquake country all my life, and I know the ground is always slowing shifting. Small earthquakes are said to keep the equilibrium, but right now…I don’t know. I feel like there’s pressure building up to a larger quake, and that scares me because what comes after isn’t predictable.

Do you hear the Lion King music?

That all being said, I do have a bright side to my thoughts. Life has always been unpredictable. Wars always rage on all over the planet. Sickness and death come to all of us. Things get complicated and then easy again.

The end of the world is not coming. The story keeps being told.

Podcast roundup! Remember? Here they are!

Ron Paul Liberty Report: Biden Bans Russian Oil. Are We Committing Economic Suicide Over Ukraine?

Things I didn’t even consider.

Quillette Podcast: Jacob Mchangama on His New Book, “Free Speech: A History from Socrates to Social Media”

This, once again, made me add a book to my TBR list. Did he just compare Luther to Rogan? Yes, he did.

Book: “Free Speech: A History from Socrates to Social Media” by Jacob Mchangama

The Intelligence from The Economist: War Stories: The View from Russia

A point of view we all need to remember. There are more than two sides. Two governments in conflict. The rest of the world’s nations and their governments vying for position. And then there is us, the people affected by such bullshit.

Conversations With Coleman: Covid: The Conversation We’ve Been Waiting For with Dr. Zubin Damania

Always an interesting take with Coleman. I love this podcast. The conversation can be maddening slow at times, but it always gets somewhere I never thought it would go. Dr. Zubin Damania is one of those rare people that can completely disagree with you but still make you feel like he understands your point of view and wants to come to some kind of working agreement for all of us. I highly recommend his website and YouTube channel, linked to his name above.

Me going for a walk in the wind!

I’m still reading Apocalypse Never by Michael Shellenberger and loving it. I think it will be added to my list of books I would make everyone read in my own universe. It’s uplifting and positive environmental discussion. Not, “Everything is fine, life as usual,” but “Hey things are looking up and here’s why and how we might do better!”

Thanks for reading even on one of my downer days!

I Have a NEW Drive Time Mantra!

That’s right! My impromptu adventures led a new drive time mantra right to my brain. Like lightning…just struck my head.

So…I had this wild idea yesterday.

“I’ll just run down to In-And-Out and have lunch with a friend!”

Doesn’t seem that wild, right? But there are extenuating circumstances. The first of which is that there isn’t such a burger joint in my town. The second being that my friend lives in the next county.

Yeah, those are my kind of people! People that text, “What are you doing?” and when I answer, “Nothing really.”

“Want to go to lunch and visit?”

“Hell, yes!”

I found a place roughly halfway between us and hit the road only to be stopped dead in my tracks when I reached the freeway, thirty minutes into my one-hour drive.

Now, I knew it was President’s Day and that the great return migration of desert campers and off-roaders to Los Angeles and Orange County would be shifted from Sunday to Monday, and I believed I had taken that into account when I checked the map and drive time. But someone miles away had to mess it up and have a bit of an accident after I started my drive and the traffic backed up considerably behind them.

Technology to the rescue!

Every time someone complains about technology, especially smart phones, ruining society, I want to smack them upside the head.

My map app alerted me to the delay. I do wish it would say WHICH lane was closed, but it was better than nothing. I also could see from the screen where the traffic let up. I knew it wouldn’t last forever. With a press of a button, I was able to call and let my friend know approximately how late I was going to be. Stress, relieved.

But there I sat, solidly, waiting for the third cycle of the traffic signal before I could start inching my way onto the freeway. The wind blowing through the pass rocked my car so hard, I was slightly concerned that I might end up a red metal and plastic tumbleweed. I said a quick prayer to the travel gods for the VW bus I passed a few minutes earlier. I have driven this road in the wind in my own VW bus. It was not pleasant.

I’m at the front of the intersection when the light turns green, but there is nowhere for me to go. There are still cars backed up in their own attempt to merge. I wait for a moment to be sure I won’t block the intersection when I hear honking from behind me.

Ok…now I could understand this behavior if I were in a big truck and the car behind me couldn’t see over or around me. Maybe they think I fell asleep or that I was busy on my phone. This time, no. I’m in my mother-in-law’s car, low to the ground and the truck behind me has a clear view of the situation in front of us.

I ignore him and wait another moment. When the traffic ahead moves, I move with it. The angry man behind me, whips around me into the right lane, passes me and promptly stops in that lane two cars ahead. I smile. “Surprise!”

A few minutes later, he and several other people are trying to merge back into the left lane with us, the lane that goes west, the direction all these other poor people are trying to go in. I let a car in ahead of me and keep inching along.

The scene in front of me is familiar. I drive this stretch often. The wind turbines, San Jacinto Mountains, the sand blowing in the high winds of the winter storm that is coming east are all so beautiful. Because I’m stopped here, slowing making my way onto the freeway instead of gaining speed and merging through the slower trucks heading uphill and into the wind like I usually am, I can take a breath and really look at it all.

That’s when I noticed the clouds spilling over the mountain top and gasp. Holy…wow…

I see this happen often. Those mountains are so tall that they block storms coming off the ocean most of the year. That’s part of why our side is a desert. But it’s not every day I can just sit and watch it happen. The clouds tumbled and spilled over the crest and dissipated in the high winds whipping through the rocky passes.

I grabbed my camera and took a picture. Thanks again, technology!

The rest of the drive was typical. People not letting cars merge in, people not understanding that they had to merge, drivers honking at each other. You can feel the tension. One RV pulling a trailer of quads and dirt bikes wouldn’t let me on to the freeway. I shook my head a smiled.

“Man…that’s some bad karma you’re putting out there, dude.”

I waited till he inched past and the got behind him, in front of a nice trucker that probably understands that you let people in so that you get let in. It’s the way of the road. Don’t be a dick.

That’s when my new mantra dawned on me.

drive time mantra
“We’re all going to get there eventually.
Let’s not make the journey suck!”

I want it on a bumper sticker or stenciled across the back of my truck.

It’s not only a great slogan for California traffic and long vacation drives. It works for life in general. Guess where we’re all going? Death. We’ll get there, each and every one of us, in our own time. Traffic might slow us down. There may be accidents, gas stations, and roadside attractions, but we’ll ALL get there.

Why should we make the getting there suck with impatience, anger, and greed? Why not sit back, look around, and take it all in?

That’s exactly what I did yesterday. I was frustrated that my one-hour drive would now take two. Other driver’s impatience bugged me. Inconsiderate people…ugg. Typically, I use being secluded in the safety of my car as an excuse to yell back at them, shake my fist…or worse, maybe assert my own dominance on the road.

This time was different. I took deep breaths, wished those poor drivers well, hoped they didn’t have little kids bouncing off the walls inside, and took a closer look at the beauty of the landscape around me. And when I arrived at my destination, I was relaxed and ready to enjoy my visit.

Today, I’m searching the internet for a way to make bumper stickers. I’ll be rich!

Want to read more drive time thoughts? Click over to True Nature, Driving, and New Podcasts! Man, I spend a lot of time on the road.

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