I took this picture through the window of a city bus today. (The yellow arc is some reflection on the glass.) This car looked noticeably better than most I’ve ever owned until the right front wheel changed directions on its own. The people were just getting to Wendy’s when this happened and surely had no idea the car would break down. I’m a little sad for them and also glad I’m not one of them. Also, here’s a lesson in car ownership. If I can’t afford to deal with something like this, I’m not ready to own a motor vehicle.
So this is the folding bike I got with my back pay from SSI. (I got some other stuff, but this is the biggest thing.) It’s kind of a delayed-reaction impulse buy. I saw it in the window at a local bike shop one day in late December and decided to buy it because it’s similar to the Dahon I really wanted but about $170 cheaper. When I finally got the money, I bought it first thing. Dumb decision (which is why I’m not giving the brand or model). Buy a Dahon or another good brand if you can. On this one, the low gear isn’t as low enough for climbing, headwinds, or heavy cargo; the handlebar height doesn’t adjust to my size; and it has other drawbacks. Oh, well. At least it’s pretty.
That green thing on the seat post is not part of the bike. I’ve been carrying that gadget, called a Traileron, for years. (The black bump above it is a tail light.) It allows me to pull almost any cart behind the bike without any other hardware. This is actually the first time I used it. In this case, I towed my hand truck with my laundry as the cargo.
The detail of the Traileron is not as easy to see as I’d like because I’m not as good at editing as I’d like. The handle of the hand truck goes into a notch in the Traileron and is secured by a heavy-duty O-ring bent into a shape that works for the purpose.
How did it do? Pretty well. The O-ring is the brilliant part. It gives enough flexibility to let the hand truck adapt to the bike leaning or turning but is tight enough to keep it firmly attached. The sad thing is that Trailerons are not made any more.
Here’s the “home and dry” picture. I wish the Traileron were still made. I would certainly recommend it as cheap way to get much more work from a bicycle. The user doesn’t even need a luggage rack, and the trailer can be any of many things, such as a child’s wagon, wire grocery cart, or even a golf bag cart. There’s a second O-ring provided that would give more choices. Thus, there’s less need for a trailer custom-made for bicycles. I imagine a good do-it-yourself person could probably make one, but there would be work involved that most poor people don’t have tools, shop space, or know-how to perform.
Pretty much any scenery (other than trash cans) is nice as seen from a safe, comfortable place out of the weather on a full stomach. Experienced outdoors, it’s usually different.
I got home today just as the rain began. It looks benign from my doorway. My friend in Spokane, WA, has been posting pictures of her husband shoveling large amounts of snow with lighthearted comments. However, I have walked miles in rain and snow. Even if I have the right gear, it’s far more difficult than driving in it or staying indoors. I’m counting my blessings tonight, but let’s all remember that people are homeless and trying to sleep in tents or under tarps in this stuff.
This post comes from Bob Wells, whose blog is about living in vehicles, but it strikes me as great advice for almost anyone who has become aware that they are unhappy with their lives. This goes well with a line from the book Alcoholics Anonymous that says, “Until we gave up our old ideas completely, the result was nil.”
I took this just after voting today. Voting was definitely my accomplishment for today, and it was not easy. My polling place for the “regular” election is far from a bus line. Very far. It was already .4 miles from the nearest bus line, the #10 West Broad. Then, last week, I got a notice that it had been moved. Now it’s .7 miles away. Large numbers of people cannot walk that far. Sometimes I think the people making decisions would rather those of us with no car had no vote.
However, I’m determined to vote and I have spare time these days. I knew the early voting location was on Morse Road and directly on the #8 bus line. It’s 15 miles from here, but involves far less walking than trying to reach my polling place on November 8. I can’t count on being able to ride the bicycle because we’ve had snow here by that time of year, and I don’t ride in snow or ice. Today was gorgeous, so I didn’t have to chance it.
The ride was an hour and a half going there and about an hour and 40 minutes home. Actually voting was relatively easy. I went prepared with ID and the notice about the polling place to prove my address. The first day of early voting had begun to wind down by the time I got there, about 3:30 p.m. (1530). Plenty of people were voting, but there were few waiting. I voted for every Green Party candidate and filled in with Democrats in the other contested races. Then I got my sticker, walked to the bus stop, and took a picture while I waited. I’m not sure why my T-shirt came out looking textured like that. The picture makes my face look sort of strange too, but oh well.
I am satisfied that I have voted in what will surely be the most bizarre Presidential election of my lifetime. I’m not sure whether I want one or both of the major-party candidates to report to jail before the election, but it’s possible.
I have this feeling that a lot of people who will say they want my new number will be pissed off when they don’t ask for it and don’t get it. That’s based on the idea that people are not reading what I post even if they claim to be close friends. Guess what? I’m all out of patience for 2016.
I got the bills paid today, and I’m happy about that. It rained this morning, but that’s why I have three kinds of rain gear. Of course, most of the money’s gone, but it didn’t go to waste. That’s my accomplishment for today, too.
After that and a meeting, I wound down whether I wanted that or not. Now it’s 10 p.m. and I’m going to watch some local news and go to bed.
I was looking for something else when I came across this. It fits me like a glove.
We all see ridiculous amounts of advertising and marketing daily. This directs us to be happy by buying a product or service or by doing something else that will bring money to the advertiser. The messaging behind all that is, “Do this and be happy.” Of course, the advertiser’s intention is, “If they do this, I’ll make a nice salary, commission or profit.” (In a few cases, all three.) Many of the people around us have swallowed that whole and want to sell us the same message. The only problem with it is that it fails. I won’t bore you with one more round of statistics on suicide, homicide, stress-related illnesses, and so on It doesn’t take a long look to see that people who have more “stuff” are no happier than the rest of us. Hence the graphic.
Of course, some material things really do improve living. Shelter, food, and transportation top the list. If we throw in clothing as a form of shelter, we’re almost there. The company of our “tribe” is priceless and free in its own right, but going places, eating together, etc., costs. There is more, of course, but the point is that moderation helps, not hurts, our happiness and well-being. Preparing the food matters. However, a professional-quality kitchen is wasted on many of us, most of all me. It’s just something to impress the gullible or our family or someone. Too many possessions have that as their sole intention. No matter what the marketing or advertising shows, it won’t help. Even if some people say how wonderful the house, car, or whatever looks, it’s all an external cure for an internal problem.
Of course, finding happiness within myself requires looking inside myself. The bulk of people never do that, and never will. I suppose they’ll go to their graves wondering what happened. Self-examination is a big job, and I have to get help with it. Fortunately for me, the way that works best for me doesn’t cost any significant amount of money, and even that’s “if you can spare it.”
Okay, on with my day. I awoke this morning feeling enough better to realize I’ve been pretty sick. I’ve been coughing a lot and going through two or three tissues at a time, several times a day. I’m glad I’m better. I still took life pretty easy. I got a car ride to a meeting, then in late afternoon went to Save-A-Lot by bike (about half a mile each way) for a few bananas. That’s it for exertion. Of course, I rambled around on the Internet and I finished my book on psychopaths. The book review should be coming soon.