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Feel Good Friday – Musical Road

The stretch of Route 66 that travels east out of Albuquerque, New Mexico and heads to the small town of Tijeras is desolate at best. Besides a handful of gas stations and a spider web of power lines that cast their shadows onto the two-lane roadway, there’s not a whole lot to see. But for one quarter-mile stretch, there’s plenty to hear.

Two years ago, the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT), along with the National Geographic Channel, had the idea to make a roadway that sings—literally. Enlisting the help of San Bar Construction Corp., a New Mexico-based company that designs and constructs traffic control devices and signs, NMDOT created a length of roadway between mile markers four and five that plays music whenever a vehicle drives over it. But there’s a catch—the tune, in this case “America the Beautiful,” only works when cars are traveling at exactly 45 mph. The road’s purpose is twofold: to encourage drivers to stay the speed limit and to bring a little excitement to an otherwise monotonous highway.


Casual Conversation At The Theater

Myself and two friends went to the theater last night. And something that happened (that I passed off humorously at the time) has now got me irritated upon second thought. When we entered the theater– a solid 20 minutes before the show started– I sat on one side of my friend “Ryan”, and a stranger was on his other side (a woman, whom I would place in her late 50s). Important context here is that both Ryan and I are actors and have previously worked under the director of the show we are seeing this night.

Ryan makes a comment to me about said director in conversation, referring to her by her first name. And that’s when Stranger next to Ryan says to him, “Oh! Do you know the director?” Ryan says yes, and she proudly tells us that she recently did an interview with said director (she works for a newspaper). Being friendly, Ryan inquires about the interview and chats with her for a few moments. When that seems over, he turns back to me, but then she starts talking to him again… and this becomes the trend for the whole of the 20 minutes we are waiting for the show to begin. One time she even interrupted him mid sentence while he was trying to hold a conversation with my other friend and I. This stranger was not about to let him talk to anyone else while she was there. And poor Ryan is the sweetest person you could ever meet; he didn’t have the heart to ignore the stranger or say anything about the situation to her.

When the show was over (thank god no intermission) she tried to pull him into conversation AGAIN, and that’s when I made excuses for our small group to leave, and ushered Ryan out before this woman could steal another uncomfortable 20 minutes from him. As my own mother pointed out, she was probably just lonely; though I don’t think that gives her an excuse to demand attention from a stranger who is clearly trying to engage with his own group. 0506-17

If you have think twice as to whether you are offended or not, you are likely overthinking the situation.  Go with your gut and first reaction and just blow it off.


Feel Good Fourth of July

If you ever had to drive south from Washington,D.C. in the summer, you know it can be a tortuous experience. Driving to and from fireworks displays anywhere can be a daunting task. I’m singing this next time.


Medical Concern Trumps Manners?

Recently at lunch with several girlfriends, one inquired about my recovery from a medical procedure. It was in line with the normal caring expressed between close friends, not prying. However, upon hearing the name of my doctor B exclaimed loudly and proceeded to spend 10 minutes reviling the doctor, claiming someone in her family had had a terrible experience, that other doctors had warned her of his incompetence, on and on. When she finally wound down to find all us us staring at her in surprise, B simply shrugged, and said “Sorry, but you need to know.”

Certainly, I wish she had spoken to me privately and not made quite such a spectacle. Plus it leaves me in an awkward frame of mind. I’m in the MIDDLE of treatment with this doctor. I have no way of verifying anything she believes; nor is it really practical to switch or get a second opinion at this stage. And, yes, I’ve also heard GOOD things about him.

I suppose medical concerns can override our typically polite interactions, and this hit several. It made me wonder how I’d balance the rules of manners and friendship if I found myself in her position. Hopefully, I’d at least opted for a more private conversation. 0430-18

The surgeon who did two of my cancer surgeries has a reputation for being short tempered, opinionated and a verbal bull in the china shop.   Nor does he have a cuddly bedside manner.  He’s also an exceptionally talented surgeon who will tell me the truth rather than blow twinkie dust at me.

People have opinions about doctors that may have nothing whatsoever to do with their actual competence so it’s wise to take those opinions with a grain of salt.   The passion with which your friend relayed her information indicates this is a serious issue in her mind and that she is concerned for you.   One can appreciate the level of concern while ignoring the content of the message.



I was at Walmart to pick up a few things, and got in line at the express checkout (this has a 20 item limit). In front of me is a woman. Across the aisle, in the other express line is her husband, with another cart. Both carts had an appropriate number of items for the express lane, and each has one customer ahead of them, and one behind (including me).

A minute after I get in line, the wife realizes she has to go to customer service, takes her purse and leaves. Husband pushes her cart up and unloads it onto the belt, leaving his cart in place. While her cashier is scanning, his cashier finishes with the customer ahead of him and looks around, puzzled. More customers appear in each line. Husband realizes he’s holding things up, and still standing at her register, tells the person behind his cart to go ahead. I don’t think the other customer heard him. He eventually steps across the aisle to wave the guy ahead. He pays for her groceries and moves her cart up so I can unload. Then he goes over to unload and pay for his items.

My instinct is to move wife’s cart aside and let her line go forward while she was absent, then she will rejoin the line once she has returned. Husbands actions delayed each line, his more than hers. Was he rude? Are there other solutions? Thanks! 0102-18

I believe the polite thing to have done was that the wife exit from the line altogether and rejoin it when she is capable of overseeing the transaction.   Her husband should have pulled the cart from the line as a courtesy to shoppers behind his wife’s cart.