The Road

Good morning, y’all. Well, we were deluged by rains that apparently snuck up from behind on the Whiz O Meter. I’m guessing the rains were of the variety that can’t be seen by the monitors of the Whiz O Meter. You know, the monitors whose vantage point is buried deep within the bowels of the Channel 11 basement. The clouds must have been using that new fangled stealth technology that keeps things from showing up on radar.

I mean, not a mention of the possibility of rain, and we got a soaking. I think even the Union County early warning system gave us a call before the bad weather hit. Of course Union County’s situation is somewhat different than Channel 11’s. Union County’s operations are above ground, and they’re able to look out the window to see what the weather is doing. Seriously Channel 11, open a window, look outside and see what’s going on. Otherwise, pay some folks around the state to give you a call when the weather changes.

It makes one wonder if we get so wrapped up in what we think our technology is capable of doing, that we lose sight of the practical things that need to be done. Being a big fan of science fiction, I am always looking at the latest achievements with an eye for their future impact. I honestly don’t think Skynet could take place, but, I don’t discount the idea that something we invent for one purpose could go horribly wrong and produce an unintended consequence.

Something going horribly awry is the setting for a book I just finished, “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy. I love books like this, and I’ve heard the movie is just as good. I’m not sure I’ll be able to work it into the Date night schedule, but I may try. I’m not sure that the movie could capture the overwhelming despair of the book. Which, if it does, is not a good theme for a Date night. Maybe I’ll just cue it up for a “Home Alone” session.

Being alone is the central theme of “The Road”. A father and son are trying to survive in a postapocalyptic world. We don’t know if the world has been destroyed by a nuclear war, or an asteroid falling to Earth. We do know that the world is in a nuclear winter setting and that even the snow is gray. The world is a very cold place that no longer supports life of any kind. The survivors are left to their own devices for food, and most turn to cannibalism as a means of survival. The father and son have a gun to defend themselves with, or, to take their own lives if they are beset by cannibals. Oh, and to make matters worse, the Dad is dying from some sort of lung ailment he has developed. Now for the bad news….

The Dad is trying to get the son to the coast before he, the Dad, dies. It’s unclear how the son is supposed to survive better at the beach, but that’s the plan. The “road” is the path that father and son take to arrive at the sea. Along the way they have a few happy moments, but for the most part, it’s just one horror scene after another. One of the happy moments was when they found a farm house that had cans of food. For a little while, the pair are able to relax and enjoy a couple of days of “normalcy”, before setting off again for the sea.

Eventually they reach their objective, and the Dad dies after he achieves his goal of delivering his son to the beach. The son is collected by a family who promises they’re “good guys” and the book ends. When you finish the book you just want to drag a lawn chair into the sun and strip down to your shorts, sunblock be damned. The overwhelming imagery of an ashen sky permeated my thoughts for about a day and I marveled at the brilliance of Cormac McCarthy.

McCarthy is 83 now and was 73 when he wrote “The Road”. At the rate I’m going, I’ll be lucky to be able to write a rental receipt when I’m 73. I need to find out Cormac’s regimen. Clearly he’s got a handle on this aging thing.

“The Road”, it is one of the choices best taken.

Driving Me Insane

Another gorgeous day here in the mountains. It would be hard to ask for nicer days. It is starting to warm up a bit, but it hasn’t reached my 85 degree cutoff yet. It is my general practice to not work outside after the temperatures reach the mid-eighties. I don’t look good in a hospital gown, and that would only be if the heat stroke didn’t kill me outright. Know your limits, I always say.

There is stuff to do once the heat gets out of my comfort zone. Today I went into town to the Home Depot and went shopping for some necessaries. I loaded up on weed and feed and cypress mulch. The mulch was on sale and the weed and feed was overpriced, so I guess we struck a balance by the time it was all over.

I like the way Home Depot employs their people as greeters when they’re not otherwise occupied. It is a sometimes thing, but it’s a nice touch to have someone near the front door that can tell you that chain link fencing is in aisle 11, or wherever. Without the greeter, you’re left to wander the acres of items until you happen to find what you’re looking for. I know sometimes I’ll wander so much that I suffer sensory overload from all of the stuff that I think I might need someday. Sometimes I get so overloaded with possibilities that I forget my original purpose. I’ve also been known to be standing five feet from my objective and have to ask where what I’m looking for is. Fortunately, I’ve never had a Home Depot employee act “put out” at pointing out the obvious to me. That’s a good thing. I’m generally already put out myself because I’ve had to drive to town to buy a part or tool to fix something that some nitwit broke.

If a Home Depot employee treated me discourteously I would probably lose it. Funny thing, I was already miffed when I came in the store today because some conehead had parked his truck across three parking spots. It was a good looking truck, and deserved to be protected from nicks and dings, but, the owner could have parked further from the store and not have had to worry. Instead, he somehow found three spaces close to the store, and parked across them. Some people have no social awareness it seems.

For example, there was this fellow that was talking on his cell phone at the top of his lungs while I was trying to ask the Home Depot associate if the mulch was going to still be on sale this weekend. This guy was yammering on and on about some big barbecue they were planning. I couldn’t tell if the guy was deaf, or if the person he was talking to was. Either way, me and the rest of Home Depot didn’t need to know how many people were coming, if they needed to serve beef and chicken or pork and chicken, if paper plates would be alright or if they needed to use Chinet. At least he didn’t try to speak over me to get his question answered. I believe there would have been a “clean up on aisle 4” if that had happened.

Anyway, I got what I was after and drove around to the pickup area to get my mulch. Lo and behold, there’s big mouth cell phone guy in his fine looking truck that requires three spaces to park. He was loading up on charcoal and enough preformed rock to make a monstrous fire pit. He finally got loaded and I got my turn. It was quick and easy. Heading home, I caught up with loud mouth cell phone guy at the first light on Highway 515. Well, the light changes, and there we sit. Now, I’m not one to blow my horn, so I gave him a lot of slack. When I finally tooted my horn, the fellow looked up from whatever he was doing to be just quick enough to be the last one through the light. I guess he had some Angry Birds that needed killing.

Let me just say here that while I embrace new technology, I don’t think we’ve had the required generations of training sufficient to use some things responsibly. I’m thinking this old boy’s Momma would have smacked him across the back of the head for any number of the socially unacceptable things he’s done today. Fortunately, I no longer see it as my responsibility to train those who are in desperate need of a manners lesson. Life’s too short, and there’s too many idiots with guns.