Sep 12 2010

Where is Fall?????

As a Pennsylvanian native, I always looked forward to the colorful shades of fall. The latest fashion catalogues filled with sweaters, coats, and boots. The slight crisp in the air of the upcoming colder weather…..

Well, the south does not work that way. September not only brings us more of the same heat, extreme heat, but it brings us something more….hurricanes. I am not complaining about the hurricanes, nor am I upset about the heat; I just want my body to stop anticipating the lovely season of fall! For some reason, unbeknownst to me, my body begins to get this itch. It seems to sense that, despite living in the south for over 12 years that the sweaters need to come out. The fashion world still advertises these scrumptious sweaters, comfy coats, and bitchin’ boots. (Dare I use an 80’s term?)

Do they not know that here in the south it is the salty surf shorts, sporty sunglasses, and the ever so trendy funky flip flops?

But I digress….My body really seems to think it lived back in Pennsylvania. It still goes outside looking for the smell of leaves burning, the sounds of band practice, the hint of a crisp breeze and the feel good weather begging for the outdoor activities only a southerner can truly appreciate.

Which now leads to the question of how adaptable are we really? If we are able to evolve in order to withstand differences in climates as well as environments, then why does the body feel the need to prepare for the winter, formerly experienced by cold and snow in the north, to one that never really comes in the south? And, by the way, why is the holiday of Christmas always expressed with Santa in his sleigh? We all know that that Santa would not survive Florida in that suit, even in the winter months.

As the days get shorter, and the local football events begin, it really will never feel like the Traditional Fall my body yearns for. However, I know that I will not be shoveling snow this year and I suppose that is one thing I know that I will never miss.


Mar 10 2010

Number 2 Pencil Needed

It is FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test) testing time, seemingly the most harrowing event of the year in public schools in the state of Florida. For those of you who have no idea what an FCAT is, think standardized testing for grades 3 through 11. This test is used to measure the child’s progress and ability to meet the Sunshine State Standards benchmarks. My oldest is 8 and is schooled at home. This is not your traditional homeschooling; this is actually a virtual public school. In a virtual public school the child is part of the public school system, but is taught at home. As a virtual public school student he is required to take the FCAT beginning in 3rd grade. Tuesday was his first day of the three sections of his test. I am unsure who was more stressed out about this, me or my son. As I sat in the school office waiting for my son to complete his test, I witnessed the gravity of the situation for the other students as well as the faculty and the test administrators. The front office was a flurry of activity rife with nervousness.  I not only heard about several ‘sick’ children in the various classrooms, but I also heard the mounting calls to the janitor for clean up. As I sat there I found myself anticipating the next call being about my son. It is common knowledge that this is a very important test and many of the students stress out about it. The pressure to complete this test successfully can really put the students in a frenzy and the results can also affect the school’s funding. Another thing I noticed is the number of late arrivals. The students are not permitted to enter the classroom once testing begins. I feel as though many of these students were either truly physically ill or possibly delaying the inevitable. Whatever the case may be, my son remained in the classroom unfazed by all of the unfamiliar stimuli surrounding him.  As always, my son never ceases to amaze me.

Feb 24 2010

Madness

While out driving on Monday, I encountered what I believe to be sheer madness. As the day wore on, the madness continued. Approaching an intersection, not even a tenth of a mile from my home, the first madman refused to merge. No problem, some people weren’t meant to drive. Sauntering along, the next unhinged driver thinks it is his/her right to drive and weave at speeds reaching 65 mph. Mind you, the limit is 40. Driving a Volkswagen has privileges. Not even a mile away from my home, the next person to come along has the right to cut people off. VW and #3 almost crash due to their need for speed. This day is young. Approaching the 2 mile mark is uneventful. Maybe those 3 are it for the day.

Surprise, surprise, surprise, approaching the destination only 6 miles away, no more erratic drivers. Sitting in the dentist chair allows time for reflection. Curiosity gets the better if me. What is so important about driving like Mario Andretti? Why do people find the need to text, dial, apply makeup, and even read the paper while operating a 3000 pound moving vehicle? Our society has become very impatient. With the invention of time saving goods has actually made society more impatient.

Not too long ago we actually had to use a map, a pay phone, and we also used our vocal chords. Now many people hardly look away from the QWERTY keyboard to communicate with someone less than 5 feet away. Technology is very much a part of life. Accepting it makes for a better lifestyle in some, if not most, cases. Somehow in the mix of efficiency society is evolving away from personal interaction. Patience is lost. Time becomes more precious as more tasks are included in each day.

Feeling better and realizing the need for these people to impart their Earnhardt like driving on our city roads, the dentist chair is vacated. Back in the car for a 6 mile trip seems like it would be easy. Again with the idiot drivers. One who is texting, one who is dialing, and the handicap tagged vehicle who needs to approach the interstate at 50 miles per hour. Is there a free pound of twenties along the road? Back to the task at hand. The driver who is in the far left hand lane who decides to get off at the exit on the right within yards of it. Apparently the cars on 95 do not exist. This nearly causes us to become very friendly with the vehicle in front of us due to the severity of his braking.

Back in the city, a city of less than 65k, more erratic drivers begin to come out of their cages. The incessant horn blower, the turn signal optional party, and even the ‘I really like you so I want to ride your bumper’ person. How much of this can one take?

Next stop a parking lot of an eating establishment. This is a pit stop for us. A break from the extreme driving competition we involuntarily became a part of. Some of those people need to stop as well. The Subaru driver thinks that parking between two straight lines is not for him. He wants to somehow slip the car in to the space at an angle. Then a woman driver, on the phone, is unable to park. By her expression she is unsure of how to handle this. Perhaps she needs to find another space, but hope is that she uses her supersized SUV makes mince meat out of the Subaru. Only in dreamland.
Finally I realize why people are so impatient. Why people have no desire to communicate or even venture from the laptop they so need to tote everywhere. They are trying to zone out from the madness. They are hiding from this evolution of impatience. They find safety in the laptop, texting phone, and what not. What they do not realize is that this shouldn’t be done from the driver’s seat~!