DIRECTIONAL – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Friday: DIRECTIONAL

It’s the “clicker” in the car when you need to make a turn. If you don’t turn it on, you get a ticket. If you do, everyone crowds you in to prevent you from doing anything. I swear there are a million drivers out there who see things like directionals as a challenge to their ability to block you from any movement. It’s an actual technique in Boston. If you let your car wander a bit — just enough to avoid a ticket for dangerous driving, but sufficient to befuddle the drivers behind you, you can stop at least two lanes and sometimes three lanes of traffic.

Before there were electronic “clickers, there were hand signals. These worked pretty well, except in the middle of the winter or in the pouring rain when sticking your arm out the window will make your left arm icy, wet, or both. It was also hard on your clothing.

Car hand signals for those rare moments when your directional indicators are not inclined to blink. Hardly anyone uses them, but I have found as a passenger, leaning halfway out the window and pointing furiously at the right lane so the guy behind us just can’t possibly say he didn’t see the signal — EVEN if he was on the phone or trying to find the station that plays punk rock. It ALWAYS works. I think just seeing this old lady hanging out the window and pointing and waving her arms is a real attention-grabber. In theory, you can use a hand signal along with your electronic signals, but usually, when a hand is sticking out of the window, the driving is drying her or his fingernails. Probably not a signal.

Of course, it can also mean having a direction in life — a goal, as it were. There was a time when I had future-oriented goals. Now I have survival goals. Like: how saggy is the deck? Do I need to start a fund-raising drive now or might it not crumble until after we no longer need it?

I’m pretty sure these days, the only creatures that would miss it are the few birds that haven’t been chased away by the squirrels — and of course, the squirrels.

As an example of how pointless goals really are – even short term goals -last night, I stood up to do something. Except between standing and doing whatever I was supposed to do, I forgot.

So I stood there, determined to not sit down until I remembered why I stood up. This took a few minutes, but eventually, I realized I was looking for a container for storing CD cards for my cameras. It’s my “spare” container in which I keep the cards I have removed from the reader. It’s easy enough to forget to take the card out of the reader only to discover that you have “No recording media in camera.”

Recording media? What’s … oh. You mean the SD card. It’s in the computer. I sure hope I have another one. These days, memory has gone bye-bye, I immediately replace the card before I have a chance to forget I need one … and since there’s just a 15-second lapse between remembering and forgetting, I need to have everything at hand. This message is particularly irritating when you have your shot lined up. You press the shutter. Then you get the message. The camera could warn you sooner, couldn’t it? Like … when you turn it on? Maybe they do and I don’t notice?

At least I know if there’s no battery because the camera doesn’t turn on at all. What I don’t know is that there’s only one more shot in there, after which it’s going to shut down.

It doesn’t take long to put a card in the camera. I try to keep extras with each camera (blessed be, they ALL use the same cards!) but the picture you couldn’t take because you were missing the “recording media” or SD card never comes back. You may get a better or worse picture later, but you won’t get THAT one.

Bicycles signals, usually ignored by drivers who are talking on the phone or messing with their radio …

Meanwhile, how many people remember that there are hand signals you can use in cars and more importantly, on bicycles or motorcycles where you either have no electronic signals or it can be much less obvious what your intentions are?

Of course, there are the official signals … and then there are the “other signals.”

As I said, my personal favorite is hanging out the passenger window, waving both arms and pointing at the right lane indicating (a) a parking space!! or (b) we need to make that turn right NOW. Don’t forget your raincoat and gloves if the weather is bad.

DOES IT GET MORE HUMDRUM THAN THIS? – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Humdrum

All photography Garry Armstrong

Today is another doctor visit, the follow-up to the follow-up of the tests which were the follow-up to the original meeting — and all the other tests. None of which have provided any significant information. But she is the best-looking neurologist Garry has ever met and he would be terribly disappointed to miss this appointment.

Main Street, Uxbridge
The Uxbridge crossroad where Route 16 dis-angularly crosses Main Street. Note the single traffic light.

You know how the doctors on television shows have these smashingly gorgeous physicians? She is one of them. Ready for television now — without extra makeup.

It’s probably worth the $40 copay to watch Garry enjoy the view.

Our brand spanking new crossing sign! Isn’t this exciting? It’s educational. Of course, if you stop to read it, you’ll miss your crossing. Not to worry. There’s not very much traffic anyway.

But this isn’t about our humdrum doctor’s visit. No, this is about the overwrought traffic sign we have in the middle of Uxbridge.

Downtown – the center of the excitement!
Route 16 heading for Main Stree, past the dam and the cemetery.

Remember that we are a one road town. Two lanes, one in each direction. There is a crossroad, though the two ends of it are about a block apart. I’m sure someone knows why, but I am not one of them.

Recently, the decision was made that what we really need to spruce up little old Uxbridge was an especially complicated pedestrian crossing sign. It’s so long, I doubt anyone has read it except us because Garry took a picture of it. This morning, looking at the picture of it again, I wondered where the town got it and how much it cost.

So if you need one of your own, this is where you can buy it. It’s less than $20, plus shipping and you have to find somewhere to nail it up. I notice this is considered an “educational” traffic sign. Will it improve our children’s reading scores?

It took me four different traffic sign companies before I found it, but I did. I am relentless in the pursuit of trivia. If that isn’t humdrum, I just don’t know what is.

It was not even expensive, so I still don’t know what they do with our tax money, other than repaving the same section of Main Street every year for the past 19 years. Maybe it’s trying to figure out what’s wrong with the town water.

THE WHICH WAY CHALLENGE: SNOW AND NO SNOW IN MARCH – Garry Armstrong

Which Way Challenge: 04/01/2019

I guess I have to do this because Marilyn hasn’t been outside much to do any shooting. This isn’t a great time of year, either. Everything is gray and muddy and there’s no color, either.

March snowstorm, by the woods …
Our long, long driveway after the plowing …
Just a week after the snow … buds on the trees by the road
Wooden bridge over the Mumford River, downtown Uxbridge
Photo: Garry Armstrong
Photo Garry Armstrong – There really IS a road there, honest
Photo Garry Armstrong More road, with the snow, almost gone
Photo: Garry Armstrong – Gibbs finding his way through the snow in the front yard
Photo: Garry Armstrong – The Duke, looking for his road to somewhere

ROADS IN THE COUNTRY, STREETS AND OTHER PATHWAYS – Garry Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge:
Roads: country, freeways, streets, dirt, etc.

I went out to mail some batteries back to the company who sent them — they didn’t work — and I took the camera with me. Lo and behold, this is the perfect place for all those roady pictures. Marilyn said they’d come in handy, just wait.

So we waited … and voilà!

Roady pictures by Garry Armstrong! And spring is coming, the weather is warming. Who knows? We might even see a few flowers. The snow has melted and what we currently have is mud, tick, ants, and broken branches. The birds are nesting, so they just pop in, grab a seed, and fly home to feed the babies … and until the middle of April … this is pretty much “it” for our region.

Photo: Garry Armstrong – Small wood bridge over the Mumford River

BUT. Uxbridge is getting it’s very own POT SHOP! That’s right! A pot shop — not medical — for FUN. In Uxbridge. Uxbridge.

Photo: Garry Armstrong – Downtown Uxbridge

Where there’s not a single parking lot in town and one road through the middle of town which is always under construction. This should be loads of fun! I can hardly wait to hit the town with cameras. Stay tuned!

Is this a road? Photo: Garry Armstrong
When Main Street ends – Photo: Garry Armstrong

And just one from Marilyn …

NOT ANY WHICH WAY! THIS WAY – Marilyn Armstrong

Which Way Photo Challenge – 02/07/2019

Going somewhere? And which way are you going?

There’s a long way and a shorter way. Big roads and little roads as well as a dirt road and a grass path. And of course sidewalks

Plus a long flight of stairs and a chairlift.

On the road to Skowhegan
Worcester-Providence Railroad
Stairway down
On the road in sleet
The chair lift
Back when we had winter, this was a winter road
Stairway to the river
Bonnie on the stairs

IT’S GOING TO BE A BUMPY RIDE – Marilyn Armstrong

Life is a road which urgently needs repaving. It’s full of pot-holes, rocks, broken branches, quicksand, and mud. It’s amazing how anyone can navigate the distance. What makes repaving plans tricky is no two people travel the same road.

There are far too many roads. All of them need grading and paving.

Okay, sure, sometimes paths cross … even run side-by-side occasionally for miles — years — at a time. But even when they cross or run parallel, they aren’t one road.

It’s like a family with three kids. Say you’ve got an older brother and a younger sister. Your brother becomes a businessman and lives a pretty normal life.

Your sister discovers her own version of chaos theory. She proceeds to live a life of crisis and yeah, chaos. Not theory, but the real deal. As for you, you’re not entirely sane, but compared to your sister, you’re solidly grounded and compared to your brother, you’re a wild child. That’s worrisome because you know how much weird stuff is going on in your head.

All three kids had the same parents. As far as anyone knows, you also all had (more or less) the same upbringing.

So, I guess that road is going to stay uneven. Life will continue to be unfair. It will leave many of us looking skyward, searching for answers and sometimes, for questions.

We have great parents, crappy lives. Horrible parents, amazing lives. That’s just life. Infinitely variable, lumpy, bumpy, and charmingly uneven.

ROAD TRIP: A PHOTO A WEEK, HORIZON – Marilyn Armstrong

A Photo a Week: On the Horizon

Nancy Merrill is asking for a picture on the horizon. I guess that could include sunrise, sunset, city skyline, or a roof. In this case, it’s simply the skyline of the road on which we were traveling — Route 201 northbound to Skowhegan, Maine.

It was September, the beginning of Autumn in Maine. And with each mile northward we drove, the more autumnal the scenery became. It isn’t just the latitude. It’s also the altitude. As we drove north, we were also driving up into the mountains.

Autumn on the road to Skowhegan, Maine