Friday, July 22, 2011

Cheese Platter 8

•There are a pair of red-tailed hawks that live near me.  I've seen them several times in the tall pine tree in my neighbor's yard.  Most mornings, I see one of the hawks soaring in the updrafts and eddies seemingly enjoying profusely the very ability to fly.  It doesn't seem to be hunting or going anywhere, just hanging out with wings outstretched, following the currents higher and higher.  While I find this rather fun to watch, the local crows seem to find it rather annoying.  As a result, almost without fail, a crow will fly up to challenge the hawk and ruin its joyride.  The confrontation can be rather entertaining as it's not unlike a World War 2 dogfight.  While I'm sure the crows are acting in defense of a nest or perhaps on behalf of their entire murder, I'm always a little disappointed that before long the hawk, chafed and offended, moves along like some loiterer who's had enough of the beat cop crow's harassment.  All the while, I root for the hawk, and hope to one day see it remind the crow of it's place in the order of things.

•Around my town, there are many crosswalks that are not located at intersections.  As such, there are no walk/don't walk signs and therefore no dedicated times for pedestrians to safely cross.  Instead, the idea is that if someone is trying to cross the street, drivers are obliged to stop and let them do so.  After only eight months of living here, I have found that there are certain factors that can help one determine whether or not an oncoming car will stop.  First off, older drivers are far more likely to stop than younger drivers.  Second, those with more expensive cars are far less likely to give way to those on foot.  Third, utility workers (NSTAR Electric and National Grid, for example), will almost always let pedestrians go, as will the Police, Firefighters, and those behind the wheel of a bus.  The group of people, however, who will absolutely not stop for pedestrians are those on bicycles.  Around here they come in packs of three or more and have a sense of entitlement that trumps even a 17 year old behind the wheel of a Mercedes.

•In the past thirteen years, Amy and I have lived in four different apartments only one of which had air conditioning.  At that apartment electricity was included so we used the device sparingly (only turning the A/C on when it got above 90° F) in order to minimize the chances that our landlord would raise the rent as we really couldn't afford for that to happen.  So, aside from the five years we lived there, we have sweated through each summer with only a pair of fans to circulate the often stifling air.  Curiously, up until this summer, I have been able to sit under the hot lights of my studio painting away with the heat index at 100° Fahrenheit without feeling too greatly affected, and without so much as a minor repercussion the next day or beyond.  Quite suddenly, however, that has changed.  Yesterday, after a few 90° plus days, the heat index (or "feels like" temperature, if you will) reached 106° and I was exhausted by 6:00 in the evening.  So, Amy and I broke down and finally bought a couple of air conditioners knowing that the next couple of days would be even worse and would likely not be the last such days in our current place.  What's weird is that the shift in my ability to withstand the heat happened so suddenly.  I assume that this shift is largely due to my getting older, but up until now I had also assumed that such changes would happen more gradually.  Is this really how everything happens?  You just wake up one day not being able to do what you did yesterday?


  1. Heck yes. I woke up one morning, got in the shower as usual, went to put shampoo on my head and suddenly realised there was something very wrong with my hair. It was like overnight it had suddenly gone flat. A month later I started losing hair like a champ (should that be chump?)

    The body just says, "OK enough of that, time to remind you that you're human." ...then again, 106 heat index is enough to wipe anyone out, so I wouldn't worry too much.

  2. Your story hits close to home. My hair is currently migrating down the drain. Permanently. The good news is that my future self-portraits need not reflect this shortcoming. The even better news is I can paint myself as a bald person to get a better idea of what's in store. So there's that, I guess.



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