Monday, January 25, 2010

Would you have done this? Would you now?

Last evening I decided to walk over to Starbuck's in the rain and spend a little gift card. My usual walking partner was under the weather, but I needed the walk and figured an umbrella and my recently downloaded Hope for Haiti music would have to do for company. It was nearly dark when I left and good and dark (and still raining) when I started for home. Crossing the North Dallas intersection with the light, I was three-quarters of the way to the opposite sidewalk when I saw a black pickup who clearly didn't see me barreling into his turn, into my path, so I stopped. He saw me at the last minute, hit the brakes, and skidded maybe an inch or two on the wet pavement. I looked up, breathed a word of thanks that neither of us would suffer what we might have, and kept walking.

About a block later, a black pickup pulled up into a parking lot I was walking by, and I thought, Is that the guy? Is he going to chew me out for wearing black in the dark on a rainy night (as I had already silently chastised myself for doing)? Should I be scared? Out bounded a young man about 18, with a pencil-thin mustache and a white hoodie, saying as he walked toward me, "I am SO sorry!" I said, "It's okay; I've done that myself before. Don't worry about it, just be careful the next time. And thank you so much for stopping to apologize. That is so kind." He went on to explain that all he saw was his own green light and just wasn't looking at me. I said I understood, things happen, be careful, and he wished me a good night.

I realized that he had actually turned his car around in the opposite direction from where he was headed just to say he was sorry to a lady he hadn't actually harmed. I was so warmed by that, it didn't even seem like a bad thing had happened at all. He will not know how much his action meant to me; I've been thinking about it all day.

The question on my mind is, would I have done that? I don't know if it would even have occurred to me to do that. I hope, if I should ever give someone a close call again, I'll have the concern, the class, and the guts, to do exactly what he did.

And I don't believe I'll go out at night dressed like a ring-wraith anymore.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Please read my niece's brilliant blog post

The blogger heatheradair, who wittily writes mostly about pop culture, is a relative. I was blown away by her analysis of the recent Supreme Court ruling that blessed corporate buying of the political system as "free speech". Check it out at .

I'm scared. I think it is corporate fearmongering that has all but scuttled good healthcare reform legislation, and maybe any health care reform. Think what you like about the current mishmash of proposals that are about to be ground to bits in Washington once more, but something has to change--the U.S. has a miserable record (take just our infant mortality rate) among the developed nations vis-a-vis the health of her citizens. And a lot of why we won't get good reform is that corporations don't want us to. (My very humble opinion, of course, and I'm open to alternative views. I just want things better!)

Anyway, I think heatheradair gives us something to think about, and she's fun to read. Check it!

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Today on my run I saw two men in khaki and camouflage colored pants and T-shirts taking cell phone pictures of their two dogs sitting calmly over 4 or five dead ducks. Or maybe they were dead geese.

Last week on my run I saw a bunch of Union Army soldiers drilling in the high school parking lot.

Once while running Molly and I encountered a couple dozen army reservists running in the opposite direction. Do you think they moved aside for two ladies in their path? No, we moved aside (into the roadway, if I recall correctly) for them.

I don't really like running, but it makes me feel less old. It would make me feel even less old if I could run in cool running clothes. But that never works out. Either the cool running clothes are uncomfortable, or washing makes them shrink into an uncool shape, or they are too revealing or age-inappropriate to buy. It may be that God just wants me very, very humble.

Here is my poem about running.


I’m not a runner.
I just run.
It makes me feel like
someone who runs.
It makes me sound like
someone on the preferable side
of the Hill.

I don’t like the sweat
or the windedness
that gets others high. But
I do like the moments
when the music captures the stride,
stretches it out,
and holds it for awhile. And

I do like the sweet, smooth, and sharp things
that stop me:
The blood-red tree,
the shimmering thread of barking geese,
the breath of late-blooming mimosa
I have to search the fence-tops to find.

Kim Brandt, October 18, 2008

Saturday, January 9, 2010

On Call Weekend

I never expect nor demand myself to get anything done when on call. Maybe laundry. Oops, excuse me while I put in that load of light stuff.


I know people who live life on call like any other day. Go to that concert, entertain guests, do the grocery shopping. Not me, not usually. On a day like this, when only a handful of people call me for simple stuff ("My child's doctor accidently put 1/10/10 on the amoxicillin Rx and the pharmacy won't fill it") it seems silly to set the bar so low. On one of those days when I can barely get through a shower or a meal without someone running out of her pain medication, I remember why I feel less than horrible for vegging at the computer, where no one will be offended at my phone conversations about someone's most recent BM. I sometimes do go out to eat, and I will go for a walk with my friend Susan, who understands, and kindly comments on how beautiful my Spanish sounds when it's called into service.

Today, here is what I did with my on-call time. 1.)Woke up late to the tune of my pager, tired because I'd had an irritating middle-of-the-night call in which the patient repeated herself 4 or 5 times about each symptom and I (gently, sort of) snapped at her for it. I can never fall back to sleep when I snap at a patient, even if they probably deserved it. I actually lie there wondering if I should call back and apologize. 2.)Went for a wimpy, middle-aged 3-mile jog which I like to refer to as a run. 3.)While still in my running clothes and sweat, was reminded by my husband at 1130 of a 12-noon reunion of people I used to work with, necessitating a hyper-speed shower/blowdryer/facepainting session, only to find very few people I knew there. 4.) Surreptitious stop at the library to check out the new books rack when I really have two or three other books I actually paid money for that I am already reading. 5.) Built a fire and made coffee. 6.) Walked over to H20 with Merlin to glean from the last of the week-old bread and pastries. 7.) Went to the NPR site to listen to a free preview of an album by Portland singer/songwriter Laura Viers. She's good! (Oh, and between 5 and 6 above visited my friend Aaron's short-story blog and left a comment.)

That's all I have to show for my day. I don't feel too guilty though, because I'm at work. Maybe I'll get ambitious tomorrow and take down the Christmas tree. Or maybe spend some time browsing the works of Elmore Leonard, Garrison Keillor, Joyce Carol Oates, Mark Strand's favorite poets, Nick Hornby, or the coffee table book of 500 Iconic Buildings, all of which I checked out at the DPL today.

Oops! Gotta go. Two pages since the end of the last paragraph.