Hurricane Dennis make its way through the Florida Keys,
my heart went out to those people living through another
nightmare. I did feel a little smug, however, as I
sat relaxed in my air-conditioned apartment, thinking
about how lucky I was to be living in California — particularly
in the Sacramento area. We have changes in weather,
and the threat of earthquakes gives us some concern,
but the residents living in Florida can count on some
type of destructive weather to hit them every year.
I thought back to when I was a little girl living in the Midwest and the severe
snowstorms we faced every year. I remember being bundled up in a snowsuit, hat,
scarf, mittens and snow shoes and plodding my way to school through snowdrifts
taller than I. The icy cold air burned my cheeks, my eyes watered and my feet
were so cold they hurt to stand on. At school, it took the teacher half the class
just to help her charges out of their “cocoons.”
The trek home after school seemed even longer than it had in the morning. My
stepmother would meet me at the front door and quickly pull off the layers of
clothing and get me settled as close to the stove or fireplace as was safe. Oh,
how good that heat felt!
Moving to California my first year of high school, I thought I had come to paradise.
I vowed I’d never go near another snowflake again. Then I had kids of my
own, and once or twice a year I’d make the sacrifice and take them up to
the hill on sunny days after a snowstorm so they could slide down on inner tubes
and cardboard boxes. Now they’re grown, and the closest I get to snow is
sitting in front of my TV watching skiers traverse the slopes — and that’s
just the way I like it.
• • •
said I’d never write an article about cell phones,
but today two irritating incidents took place, and
I need to vent. (Not that I don’t
like cell phones — I have one and it gives me comfort knowing it’s
there in case of an emergency.)
But waiting at a stoplight to make a left turn, I noticed a woman in the lane
to my left talking on her cell phone. The light changed and as I began my turn,
her car started edging closer to me. She tried to make the sharp turn with one
hand on the steering wheel and the other holding the cell phone to her ear! She
was completely oblivious to the fact that I was about to be sent into orbit.
I couldn’t speed up, slow down or change lanes since there were cars in
front, back and to the right side of me. Just as I was ready to hit the horn,
she looked up and saw the white’s of my eyes and quickly turned the
wheel in the other direction. She just missed hitting the median curb, and
behind her had to slam on his brakes to keep from ramming into her. Further
down the road I spotted her at another stoplight still talking on her cell
I don’t care if she made it to her destination in one piece, but I
sure hope those driving next to her did.
On my way home from this same outing, I stopped by the supermarket to pick up
a few items. The lines were fairly long at the check out stands, so the guy in
front of me pulled out his cell phone and made a call, evidently to his girlfriend.
He started talking, quite loudly, about their big night the previous evening.
Suddenly the conversation turned to very personal topics that those of us
in line really didn’t need to know. The woman in front of him turned and looked
at him with a scowl on her face, but it didn’t faze him. When he got to
the check out he didn’t even acknowledge the checker’s greeting,
but kept right on with his call. Then, with his cell phone tucked under his
chin, he pulled out his wallet, paid his bill, picked up his groceries and
still carrying on his conversation.
The gentleman behind me said, “I wonder what the person on the other
end would think if she knew who was listening in on all of that?”
The clerk smiled and remarked that she could write a novel about all the conversations
she has listened to.
So now you know, I don’t like snow and I don’t like people who abuse
the privilege of having a cell phone. But then maybe you feel that’s
more than you needed to know.
resident Joey Franklin, retired from more than three decades
of full-time work in the newspaper business, now writes
a monthly column for Spectrum.