June 20, 2024

From Evil and Idiots, Deliver Us

Rehoboth Ramblings

Posted

To quote Mark Twain again, nothing so needs reforming as other peoples’ habits. This past year, more than most. But rather than offering resolutions for others, I’ll just draw up a litany of things we pray to be delivered from, even though it’s not Lent yet. Here are some of those things:

Drivers who recklessly weave in and out on the highway, even when the fog is so thick you can barely read the road signs. Extra points for punishment if they are driving with their lights off. Then there are the drivers who plow head-first into buildings (this seems to happen once a day somewhere). Looking at a screen rather than the road?

Decrepit highway bridges that are discovered in dire need of repair and are suddenly closed, causing chaos and gridlock on the side roads and disrupting the lives and businesses of thousands. Being stuck in gridlocked traffic is its own peculiar kind of claustrophobia.

Decrepit tall old trees with branches hanging over electrical wires, causing major power outages when they fall in a wind storm. (Falling on houses and cars is even worse, of course.)

Internet services (thank you, Xfinity) that cut in and out unpredictably and as frequently as those blinking holiday lights. We are paying enough for their services, such as they are. Although we always seem to be the last people in our area to get our power restored, National Grid always comes through anyway.

Deliver us from evil people who steal checks from honest citizens for their own nefarious use. Even if the loss is recovered, this may cause a string of problems for the hapless victims to straighten out. Even worse are the criminals who actually assault the poor mailman to steal his key to the blue postal boxes so they can steal the mail. It’s best to mail letters from inside the post office itself at this point.

Ditto evil people who install credit card skimmers in cash registers. This has happened more and more recently from what I’ve read. From scammers and skimmers, deliver us, and how about a little divine retribution to the wicked?

Let’s see … if we can’t feel comfortable using checks or credit cards, do we have to go around with a wad of cash and risk getting mugged? Or how about bartering like the real old days? How much would the Xfinity bill be? I’d say it’s been worth about half a dozen eggs and a bunch of carrots this past month.

Well, it’s easy to see what prompted this outburst. First an almost-hurricane right before Christmas downed trees and caused us a three-day power outage in cold weather. Our generator gave out morning of the third day (but was mercifully repaired within a few hours). We made a fire in the fireplace, for the first time in many months. It was not only a welcome source of heat, at least if you were sitting right in front of it, but the warmth was also a reminder of how important an open fire has been in all of human history up until quite recently. Still, there’s nothing like getting the power back. Listening to a choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus over the holidays, I thought, “I know how that feels”.

We enjoyed a nice visit to Rosecliff in Newport the day after Christmas. (In England, it’s called Boxing Day. In Ireland, it’s St. Stephen’s Day. Here, it’s just plain old December 26.) It was very foggy and we got some wonderfully atmospheric photos, as the mansions looked positively spooky in the gloom. You could barely see the waves breaking on the shore. The fog was supposed to let up but it just kept getting thicker as we headed back home at dusk, and a murky dusk it was. Driving was a bit hairy with such limited visibility but the roads were clear and dry.

Regarding the Washington Bridge, we can only hope we’ll all get by one way or another and that the other side will be repaired as soon as possible. Meanwhile, we’ve gotten more used to the new Henderson Bridge and its rotary. It’s been a reminder of just how important it is to have vital bridge links between East Bay and Providence and West Bay. Building bridges is a nice sentiment when you’re speaking metaphorically and from a literal sense, it’s certainly been on our minds every day.

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