July 15, 2004
How many words are there like froward? Words which, even if I learn them, like I did this one thanks to post-proofing a book for DP earlier this week, I can’t really use because they’re too similar to words that are much more popular. (I learned this one because the proofreader had marked it as a possible misspelling of “forward”.) Does the fact that we’re getting new words like “cyberspace” added to the language all the time fairly compensate for older words like froward disappearing? (And now that I’ve seen the quote from Proverbs in the dictionary reference, I wonder why the NIV Bible people decided to substitute “perverse” for “froward” instead of something like “willful” or “disobedient”. Maybe they were just trying to spice things up a bit, get us thinking along immoral lines.)
Where did those ducks go? I was driving home Monday and saw a momma duck and four ducklings waddling down the median between the center concrete barrier and the leftmost of four lanes of traffic headed south at 50 miles per hour (not considering stoplights anyway). Where had they come from? Where were they headed? What was going to happen to them? I was worried. I took the next turnaround and headed back to see if I could do something even though I had no idea what that might be. Screech to a halt and risk getting hit while I scooped them into my trunk and drove them to a safe location? That didn’t seem like a good plan at all–even if I did manage to pick them up without having them run into the road or bite me, I didn’t know where they should be (and I can only imagine what cleaning duck poop out of the carpet would be like, much less the trauma of disposing of dead duck bodies if I ended up poisoning them with carbon monoxide). Drive slowly behind them until they got to the grassy part of the median, where they could relax while waiting for rush hour to end and then make a break for it across the road? I never had to figure out what to do because when I got back to that stretch of read, the ducks were nowhere to be seen. How could that be? The mom could have flown away, but not the babies; their wings were nowhere near big and strong enough. I didn’t see any little brown bodies crushed in the road, so it didn’t seem like they’d tried to cross. I didn’t think it had been long enough for someone else to have stopped and scooped them up, nor for them to have gotten to the grassy area by themselves, but maybe they had. Maybe they were hiding in the tall grass near a tree trunk. I hope so.
What was up with that guy at the bus stop? Driving home Tuesday on the same road the ducks had been on (still no sign of them; I think maybe they were abducted by aliens) but several miles south, I saw a guy lying on his side in the grass next to a bus stop sign, his head on his backpack, his eyes closed. He appeared to be sleeping. Was he? How tired do you have to be to fall asleep right next to four lanes of traffic? If he’d collapsed and needed help, he wouldn’t have his head on a backpack pillow, would he? the guy standing a few feet away didn’t seem concerned. Had the sleeper had a hard day at the office? What if he really was asleep; would he wake up when the bus came? If he didn’t, would the driver yell at him to rouse him or just drive off? I’ll never know.
Why wash the pavement? I got home yesterday and opened the windows to air the place out while we were having weather that was pleasant, but doing that meant Bubba and I were exposed to the airport runway volume noise of the compressor my next door neighbor’s son was using to power wash his sidewalks and driveway. They hadn’t looked particularly dirty to me. I decided that my neighbor must have committed some horrible crime and in trying to get rid of the evidence had gotten blood all over and now it needed to be scoured off before the police came. Of course, he hadn’t. I know this because Mr. Karen talked to the son, who said his dad just wanted the driveway cleaned. That I can believe. This is the neighbor who once mowed our front lawn so it would match the length of his grass, so he’s definitely into details that most people don’t even notice. Of course, so am I, it’s just the ones I key in on don’t have anything to do with my yard.
I wonder what today’s mystery will be.
Last year at this time I was about to go in for surgery but was not writing about it.
My brother is acting more of a grown up now than when I wrote this entry two years ago.