I remember the days, back in my childhood, back in Littleville USA. We had a population that just barely exceeded two thousand people. Walking the streets of Littleville, you’d always manage an exchange with a passerby – a “hello” or a “good morning” would be the minimum, and a short exchange could follow in cases where folks knew each other. The latter situation was a common feature of life in Littleville, but not every person was a person you knew. Still, there was always a greeting coming from one side or the other, even in the fifty percent of instances where neither party recognized the other as an acquaintance.
Fast forward to Cary, North Carolina. I have walked the streets of Cary, NC for about the past twelve years. I am known as the umbrella man, and almost every citizen recognizes me by my sun shield, although many do not know its purpose. I almost always greet the other folk I meet, when we come to pass one another on one of the many sidewalks, streets, and trails that run throughout the city. Usually I make a reference to the weather, to the pets that they have in tow, or to some such other small-talk comment, but from me it’s always a friendly acknowledgement that I’ve passed another person on the trail. I’d hazard a guess that about a quarter to a third of those I so greet respond with any acknowledgement at all. Some are deep in thought, but others are … well … definitely not from the Littleville of my youth.
The truly telling fact about the environment I live in as a retiree, is how many people will greet me if I do not greet them first. Are you ready for this? In twelve years of trekking across Cary, NC, and over its sidewalks and its greenway trails, not a single solitary individual has ever initiated a greeting. Not a one.
I walk four to eight miles a day, and that’s added up to a lot of miles. And – in all those miles and in all those years, not a single person initiated a greeting. Compared to Littleville, retirement city is a pretty significant step down, civilization-wise. Just my two cents.
People are afraid of almost everything. They’re scaredy cats, all of them. One of the things they are most afraid of is being different, of standing out, or of breaking with the molded one-think of the microcosm of society they happen to be living in.
I am the Umbrella man. I’ve walked with my umbrella for about ten years, every day or close to it – on the streets of Cary, North Carolina.
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OK, UFOs are a phenom among some people, so when the Youtube link popped up on my “suggested for you” list, I was a bit surprised. I’m not really a UFO guy. I pretty much accept the premises put forth by Enrico Fermi (yeah – the guy who’s name is on an atomic energy plant) – in his “great filter effect”. The “great filter effect” is the theory that we don’t find aliens because any time that the civilization of a species reaches the point of having enough power to transit stars – that power is inevitably used to destroy themselves. So, no species ever does the startship Enterprise thing.
So, when I read the Nimitz Encounters on Youtube, I immediately saw an obvious reason for the experience of the Navy pilots – and it was one that did not involve aliens.
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Our air is filthy. People don’t notice it, because they’re born in it, sleep in it, drive in it, work in it, and die in it.
It’s a shame that modern society depends on the production of pollution to support its lifestyles. Just today I was walking along a busy thoroughfare, buffeted by the fast moving air wakes of the many cars as they passed. My nose was numb, as it always is when I take a walk along that street. There’s no very good way to avoid the path, because it’s the main artery that connects my home to the local park. So, I held my breath.
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One habit we’re always taught is the hand washing habit. “Wash those mud claws before you sit down for dinner, Ralphy!” – sounds like a voice that could be a memory from my childhood, but isn’t. That’s mainly because my name isn’t Ralphy.
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Common Wisdom is often the eccentric habit. One of the most eccentric habits of all is the use of queen sized sheets on a queen sized bed. It’s seemingly too silly for one who’s broken out of that olden-times tradition – but as usual, habit entrained people cannot get out of the box they’re in. It’s the cause for so many divorces.
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