Saturday, May 13, 2006

U-Turns and Springtime

When I started this blog, around six months and 50 posts ago, I had large pile of work to do and I hoped that blogging would be an entertaining and perhaps productive form of procrastinating. Actually, my procrastination often takes the form of housework -- laundry, dishes, cooking, and working in the yard. Anyway, it's the time of the term when work is piling up. There are problem sets to grade, student papers to read, administrative memos to write, and a crush of meetings. We have just three weeks of the terms left, so we're in a crunch to finish all sorts of administrative tasks, which means an unusually high density of meetings, appointments, phone calls, and correspondence. This, in turn, means that there are lots of reasons to procrastinate.

Last week was rainy. It rained every day, but at unpredictable intervals. Often it would look like it was clearing, and yet it would then transition abruptly to a downpour. Then it would drizzle softly for a few hours, and then downpour again. But it wasn't too cold, and the rain has made the grass unbelievably green. Leaves are coming out on most of the trees, so the foliage is a delicate light green that complements the darker, lusher green of the grass. Despite the wetness, it's been a nice spring.

One sign that the spring/summer tourist season is arriving is that cars have started turning around in our driveway again. We live on a main road, just past the turn-off for another main road. This turn-off is very clearly marked. Nevertheless, often cars miss it and then our driveway is the place they turn around. During July and August we have, at times, had roughly one turn-around in our driveway an hour. Usually the cars are from New York or Massachusetts.

While I find this a little annoying, it bothers Doreen quite a bit. So a few summers ago she made a "No Turns Please" sign. To do so, she used a Sharpie to write on a medium-sized piece of old plywood. The plywood had been painted white, so the black writing stood out nicely. She propped it up in our driveway and helped to cut down on the number of cars making U-turns in our driveway.

However, the paint on the plywood was old and flaking, and eventually the part where the "T" was written flaked off entirely. The result was that we now had a sign that said "No urns Please." This doesn't quite deliver the same clear message as the previous text. I like to imagine a conversation that might go on inside a car whose driver is thinking about making a U-turn. "Hey, let's turn in there." "Wait, it says 'no urns'." "Let's see, we have a few vases, a chalice, two flagons ... but no urns." "Ok. Then we can do it."

After a while, Doreen got a can of paint and painted "No Turns Please" on the board. The text is now quite visible, although it's in unevenly sized block letters that suggests a marginal degree of literacy. The letters look like they were written by someone who doesn't write much. But perhaps this lends the text a certain intimidation factor. The sign looks a little scary. We've also put a rope over one end of our driveway. (It's a semicircle, which is perhaps why it makes such an appealing target for a U-turn.)

We now still occasionally get people turning around in our driveway, but it doesn't happen that often. But one can still tell when tourist season is starting up, because we'll get one or two U-turns happening in our driveway on weekends and holidays.


Ignacio said...

Interesting Blog Sir!

shiva polefka said...

well, i for one miss springtime in Bar Harbor. the beauty of the lush green foliage and the blooming flowers was heightened by the excitement engendered by the warming weather (and its promise of fun, comfortable outdoor recreation), the conclusion of Spring term, and the onrush of summer.

ah, nostalgia. especially potent during Santa Barbara's depressing attempts at a season change-- three weeks straight of fog. arg.

well, here's to your fine new(ish) blog enhancing community and social interconnectivity in addition to being just an outlet for procrastination. i have to say i'm rather surprised youre using google's proprietary and as far as i know unarchivable platform rather than WordPress, which i would expect to be a more natural fit for you. i'm trying to figure out WordPress for my own site but its kind of hard-- cake for someone with their own webserver though.

anyways, thanks for the enjoyable and evocative content, and thanks for that cool post of your academic journal articles abstract. that was informative.
(now get back to work. ;)

Dave said...

I recall looking into Wordpress and for some reason decided against it, although I can't quite remember why. It could be that it wasn't easily available for linux. Or it could have been that it would have been difficult to post remotely -- i.e., from a machine other than my server. I'm not thrilled using google's blogger, but so far it's been ok. It was quite easy to set up, and I'm not really posting anything that I'd be terribly upset if it disappeared if google suddenly turned (more?) evil.

Santa Barbara fog sounds kinda nice. I liked the fog in Northern California. But perhaps this is because I often encountered coastal fog only in briefly on trips in the summer to escape the heat and dryness of the Central Valley.