The Frequent Whizzer’s Club, Deaf is Not Dumb, and What Fools Believe

I survived.  500 miles, give or take a mile or two, is not a terribly short trip. I managed to get back in just about 9 hours, which is not bad time for someone who gets a bit wigged out by mountain driving, and is doing good to drive 200 miles at a time without having to stop and whiz.   Central Ohio is flat.  I have no problem with driving in the city, but I don’t have to deal with either curves or grades too much here.  There’s something unnerving about mountain driving when you’re not used to it.    I’ve seen a bit of the carnage that comes off the rural Interstates, and it’s not pretty.

The route I prefer is about 30 miles longer than going via the WV Turnpike, but I don’t go on the Turnpike for a number of reasons.  First of all, the Turnpike is a toll road.  Second of all, the speed limit is 75 and should be 45.  The last time I drove the Turnpike the speed limit was 55, and that’s way the hell too fast for those curves and grades.  Perhaps if I had a suitable rally car (i.e. VW GTI…) I would find the curves and grades exciting, but all I can envision in the Yaris is being blown off a hillside by either a big truck or a nice gust of wind.  42 MPG has its trade-offs.  Weight is one of them.  The Yaris is a light car with a moderate suspension, which is optimal for most road trips, but not for extreme mountain driving. Wind is its nemesis.  I have no logical reason to drive the Turnpike, and no pressing reason to find myself stranded in the middle of WV.  Let’s just say hotel accommodations down in the hollers can be a bit primitive, and the nearest trauma center is clear the hell back in Columbus.

I’ve been around body shops way too much.  I  often visualize the worst.

Granted, this dismembered Audi met its fate on the Autobahn, where there are very few speed restrictions.  I don’t see any blood and guts though, which meant that German engineering must count for something.  The driver likely survived.

Taking I-71 to I-75 to I-40 is the least offensive, though not technically the fastest route.  Most of that route takes one through the rolling hills of Kentucky- lots of horses and tobacco fields and, as Jerry was quick to point out, truck stops with $30 a carton cigarettes. If I had to take the Turnpike, it would be a few miles shorter, but any time gained would have been spent scraping the crap out of my pants.  The worst part of the trip is that stretch of I-40 between the Tennessee border and where my sister lives, in Old Fort.  When you see runaway truck ramps, going downhill is a tad bit disturbing- especially when Dad’s driving and he’s pushing 90, changing lanes, and laughing like a teenage kid.

This scares the living hell out of me.

Speaking of frequent whizzing, I don’t think Dad can make it 100 miles without having to whiz. I thought I was bad about constantly having to hit the head, and Mom’s not much better, but geez! I swear we stopped about 8 times on the way down, including munching as well as whizzing, which is why it took us 11 hours to get down there, in spite of Dad mistaking the Yaris for a rally car and doing about 85 all through that nice little stretch of I-40 from the Tennessee border all through NC.  The Yaris is not a rally car.  It will do 85 in the mountains, but suffice to say it’s ill advised.  I’m glad I was sitting in the back seat, trying to distract myself with the DS.

Suprisingly, Sheena is not weird about touch- as long as she can see you.

I’m still trying to get it through my own thick skull that Sheena can’t hear at all.  Many dogs with her coat pattern are deaf.  All puppies are born deaf, but if her deafness is inherited, she simply never acquired hearing at the age of two weeks like normal dogs do.  She compensates amazingly well, but knowing she’s deaf makes her shortcomings easy to understand.  She survives on what she can see and smell and even feel (she is very sensitive to touch and vibrations.)   Motion is a huge trigger for her.  Her peripheral vision is amazing- but stand directly behind her and she’s oblivious.  If she can’t see you, and you don’t stomp on the floor behind her, she has no idea you’re there.  To me that would be a scary way to go through life, but she has never known anything different.  You deal with life using what you’ve been given.  Sheena has survived and adapted remarkably well. Somehow she’s ended up incredibly outgoing and affectionate.

OK, a little original artwork of mine, in honor of Miz Izz.  Black cats are awesome.

I’m not much of an artist.  Sometimes I like to scribble about, and this actually looked kind of cool.  Of course, black cats are always cool.  If I were required to have a tattoo, which I’m not, and I don’t see it happening, I wouldn’t mind a cool design like this.

The 1950’s were such an innocent time.  Hell, all the TV on back then probably was educational.

Today Motorola’s claim to fame is cell phones, but back in the days of black and white TV, it was a popular brand.  This ad (and all those lovely “More Doctors Smoke Camels” ads) only goes to show that advertising is exactly that: an attempt to convince you to buy crap, even if it might kill you.

1950’s TV- no TruTV, no Investigation Discovery or Science Channel or History Channel.  That would have to have sucked, but not knowing any better, kids went outside to play.  Even in the 1970’s the TV landscape- at least for kids- was pretty bleak.  Mom didn’t mind us watching Mr. Rogers or Sesame Street.  Saturday morning cartoons such as the Flintstones, Scooby Doo, Tom & Jerry, Bugs Bunny, Fat Albert and The Hairbear Bunch were OK too, but usually she turned the TV off when Soul Train came on.  Soul Train was not appropriate, because 1. the girls didn’t wear enough clothes, and 2. they “dance dirty.”

Mom had no idea how much worse the world of “dance” was going to get.

Mom grew up in Catholic school, so I can understand her distress at this girl going braless, and shaking her booty, but this was long, long before Marion County got a Wal Mart.  If you want a true clothing FAIL, that’s the place to go.

And it doesn’t mean “Fantastic.”

Have you no self respect?

The Meow Game, Communicating With Others, and True Believers

The Meow Game from Super Troopers

I have no idea where people get the idea that it’s in any way beneficial to get lippy with cops.  I know some cops like to play mind games with people to see how they’re going to respond, which positively terrifies and paralyzes me.

I have a difficult enough time under normal circumstances carrying on a conversation face to face without freaking people out.  I don’t get the nuances of eye contact (generally I avoid eye contact lest I be accused of staring,) and I also have real problems with sending the right body language.  Non-verbals for me are a learned skill from years of observation and interaction and do not come naturally.  I have to consciously think about and orchestrate all my non-verbal signals constantly when I deal with people face to face in order to communicate effectively.  For most people eye contact and physical gestures come naturally, almost subliminally, without thinking about it.  For me, if left to my own devices, I would simply observe others with a bit of a catatonic stare until or unless I have something to say.  Electronic communication is so much easier for me because I can simply concentrate on what I would like to convey rather than worry about whether or not I’m staring into space or standing at a weird angle.

I may not be responding, but I do hear you- with some reservations.  If I want to, and if I’m not focusing on whatever song’s stuck in my head, that is.

So my interactions with law enforcement (fortunately for me they have been precious few,) are usually limited to staring at the ground or off to the side and saying “yes, sir, Officer” at the appropriate times.  I’ve only gotten out of a speeding ticket once, and that was because I was working as a driver and the cop knew my boss.  Knock on Formica or whatever that plastic looking stuff is, but the last time I got busted for any kind of traffic violation I was nine months pregnant (my son was born on the same day they would have wanted me to appear in court) and was pulled over for running a yellow light.  Of course the cop could obviously tell I was preggers- I looked like a battleship- but all I could do was keep from giving him the stink-eye, sign the damned ticket and keep on going.  I don’t do tears on demand. Even when crying is the correct response, I usually can’t.  I break down after the crisis has passed, and sometimes it takes years for the tears to find their way out.

This strategy- even if I would dare to try it- is not open to me.

I don’t think that crying is the correct response when you get busted anyway, but it works for some women.

I just didn’t have the physical energy or the emotional strength to explain to this primadouche just-out-of-the-academy-looking-for-someone-to-bust cop that going through a yellow light is legal.   The cop didn’t need to know I wasn’t supposed to be driving at all, (I had pre-eclampsia, had been in and out of the hospital for sky-high blood pressure, and was supposed to be on strict bed rest) but I had to go out because my POS ex was too lazy to go to the grocery store, or to help unload the car, or really do much of anything else besides suck up valuable oxygen and whine (yeah, I sure know how to pick ’em, but Jerry is a nominal upgrade to some degree- at least Jerry showers regularly and he hasn’t morphed into Jabba the Hut.)   I sent the bastards their check for $125- because knowing the good-ol-boy system in the town I’m from, you might as well just pay it, because who is the judge going to getting paid to believe? (This was before the days of surveillance cameras everywhere, so I had no way of documenting for posterity that the light was yellow and all that.) It would have been my luck- even had I not been in the hospital that day- that the cop would actually have shown up in court and I’d had to pay the ticket and court costs too.  Sometimes local government sucks just as much as government in higher places.

I can go on with this subject too, but suffice to say I don’t have the gold, so I don’t make the rules.  Too bad.

I am a really paranoid driver, partially because of that incident.  I’d like to drive like I did when I was a young punk out on the back roads, where your worst fear would be running off the road into a drainage ditch, where your nominally decomposed corpse might be found in a few weeks, but those days are over.  The cops have GPS and helicopters now.  Besides, a Yaris isn’t exactly a rally car.

Unless you’re in Thailand.

That is whacked, but I guess with enough suspension mods and such, you could make  a Yaris into a rally car.  But mine is more geared for basic transportation, and as a forum for my mobile political commentary.  Since I have to drive, and I’m pretty slow, some people just might get an education just from reading the back of my car.

German does sound scary, but remember, English is a derivative of German.

I enjoy language and its nuances, probably more so than most because I don’t do well with the non-verbal and emotional sides of communication.  Interacting with dogs has helped me immensely because in order to communicate with them I have to cue in on their non-verbals, which are easier to read because theirs are far more exaggerated than humans’.  I learn a lot from them.  Subtlety is not their nature.

Sheena is as subtle as a freight train.

This morning I was thinking about all the personalities in history who were true believers- in all the wrong things.  I can’t help but to observe that it really doesn’t matter if your heart is in the right place, if your head is up your ass.   A good example of this phenomenon are the crazy people who think that if they die in the process of killing “infidels” that they go to heaven and collect 70 virgins.  Faith is not something that comes easy to me, but I would find it hard to believe that God intends for people to completely check their brains at the door.  Why would God have actually bothered to give us brains if He didn’t intend for us to use them?  And then there’s Dennis Kucinich, for whom logic cannot offer a suitable explanation.  There’s plenty of shithouse-rat-crazy people out there who will believe any sort of clap trap if the right talking head is blathering away (Obama supporters who still don’t get that he’s anti-American, the Heaven’s Gate followers, white supremacists, and so on.)

I wonder if the Visitors have picked him up yet.

I think I get it why so many analytical/rational types are secular humanists.  They get the logic that good is better than evil, but they can’t prove or disprove the existence of a Creator or Higher Power.  The only problem with secular humanism is that it degrades into utilitarianism very quickly.  There is no room in a utilitarian economy for the aesthetic- for beauty, or art, or emotion.  Even though I’m a rational type, even I need something beyond the get up, go to work, go to bed routine that most of us are beholden to.  To deny there is a sphere beyond our understanding is to indulge in the ultimate human hubris- to claim we are the be-all, end-all of the universe- when our best secular explanation for creation involves an ex nihilo big bang from the depths of nowhere.  I’m not a creationist in the 6 days, Adam and Eve made from real mud, wandering naked in the Garden with all the wild animals sense.  It would have been cool, but I don’t think creation happened that way. I don’t take the Garden account of Genesis as being literal (I do believe it to be a beautiful allegory) but I think it does tell us much about the Whom involved, if not so much the How or the Why.

Naked with all the little critters of nature.  Just imagine all the mosquitoes and fleas in places where insects are totally unauthorized.

I would rather acknowledge and embrace the mystery.  I would rather take Pascal’s Wager and assume that God IS, than to have to live in a world having decided that He is not.  While I cannot prove His existence, I cannot disprove it either, and I’d rather err on the side of embracing the mystery.

Belief in and of itself is neutral, but I think that God gave us brains to inform our beliefs, so that we are neither beholden to blind emotionalism or locked into pragmatic utilitarianism.

I do find it a bit ironic that the same people who will defy thousands of years of moral teaching vehemently despise those who still think there is value in that moral teaching, and are enraged when traditionalists speak out.

I’m OK with admitting there are black and whites, and I will gladly share my take on morality should anyone ask.  I know people disagree with me, and vehemently on some issues.  That is their prerogative.  There are some people who don’t believe morality is relevant any more and nothing I say- or that I can back up with scientific fact- is going to change their opinions.  If you want to have a relationship with a Ford Escort, or dress like a furry, or pretty much whatever, as long as you aren’t killing people, you’re not charging me for it, and you leave me alone, knock yourself out.  Just don’t expect me to announce to the world how wonderful your life choices are.