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Saturday, January 19, 2002

I've been dipping into the shallow end of the pool here lately, but really, every time I try to do some deep thinking, I find myself drifting. I'll get back to heavy pondering some day, but what's on my mind today isn't going to get discussed in any of those intellectual forums I've heard tell about.

When I walk through the post office parking lot, I can't help being happy that my car is three long, safe blocks away. The little post office I use has a tiny lot, and the driveway between the spaces is so narrow that only one car can back out at a time. This produces a gridlock that has vehicles lined up out into the street and around the corner, even when spaces are available.

You can see empty spots, but your car, if you're next in line, can't get to them. You have to wait until someone who's started to back out has checked behind, to the side, in the blind spot, and behind again, then eased out as slowly as the car will go, slamming on the brakes several times in the process.

It's excruciating to be a part of, but it can be amusing to watch, especially when two drivers are trying to do it at the same time. Either both people are so polite that they spend several minutes waving at each other to go ahead, or both are so aggressive that they stop and start a dozen or so times before one of them gets the advantage.

I've been part of this little dance of thousand-pound machines, and it's less fun for the participants than for the spectators. Once I was in a three-way in that lot. I don't like to give in, but I had to let two other cars go before I could get out of there. That's why I prefer walking.

Would it surprise you to learn that the only place I went today was the post office? I spent the morning catching up on sleep and most of the afternoon watching football (two very interesting playoff games, by the way). The one and only truly productive project I worked on was running the paper shredder (while the Patriots were shredding the Raiders in the second half in the snow at Foxboro).

My shredder is a lot of fun. It makes a cool sound and turns old documents and voided checks into confetti, but it hasn't seen much action since I moved here. The main reason I haven't used it more is that the shredded paper is so fluffy. It takes up so much space that I haven't had any way to store it or anything to put it in for recycling pickup. You can't get paper grocery bags any more, and the recyclers won't take plastic bags, so I just tore up my papers by hand and let them lie in a flat bundle.

Now I've had the gigantic blue recycling container for a month, but only one time have I filled it up enough to take out the curb. I recycle everything possible, and they let us mix all recyclables in this one big can, but still I couldn't fill it up. Today with the help of the shredder I have it loaded almost to the top. On trash day I'll drop in the cans and bottles and take it all proudly to the street.

the green one

Another heavenly bamboo grows at the base of one of the birch trees in my garden. This mostly green one faces west, while the red one faces east.

Once upon a time, back when I was still in retail, I worked at a tiny shop on a narrow street in an outdoor shopping center. When business was slow, which was most of the time, I would watch the cars backing into each other. It wasn't that I was hoping for a fender-crunching collision, but I didn't want to miss it when it happened. It's the same reason people watch auto racing, I think. And boxing.

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