I keep looking for good reasons for carrying around a rectangular gizmo that feels like a manhole cover, while pecking with the edges of my fingers.
The other day I found a reason. I was walking in my town near the train station and spotted a woman my age in some modest distress. It was a warm day, and she had just gotten off the train and could not find her dentist's office.
Maple Street? I have lived here over 40 years, and I walk and drive and ride my bike all over town, but sometimes the names of back streets elude me.
Get out of the sun, I suggested. I can find it.
I hauled the thing out of my fanny pack, and lunged at the microscopic keys with my thick fingers. Many mistakes later, I discovered that Maple Street was one block long, one block away. I drive on it all the time.
The lady was fine, just lost. She thanked me and began walking at a brisk pace to keep her appointment. I had just amortized some chunk of the price and the frustration of learning all the codes and tricks and mysteries of this fad.
Next time I can truly justify my obsession, I will pass it on.
(Written on an old-fashioned traditional laptop, just like my grandmother and grandfather used.)
"Among the things that have long fascinated people about Jesus and explain his enduring appeal is his method of dialogue and teaching. "He asked a lot of questions and told a lot of stories in the form of parables. In fact, parables form about a third of Jesus’ recorded teachings. The Gospels were written decades after he died, so his questions and parables clearly left a deep impression on those who bore testimony to him....
"Some of Jesus’ questions were rhetorical; others were meant to challenge or even provoke. In some cases, Jesus used questions to parry attacks by religious authorities who set traps for him. In others, he used questions to enter more fully into the lives of others and to help people look at the state of their hearts. He asked people about their fears and their faith. Jesus used questions to free a woman caught in adultery from condemnation and to inquire whether people considered him to be the Messiah. He probed deeply into questions not many had asked before him, like “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
---(Peter Wehner, long-time White House consultant and writer, in the NYT last week about Jesus Christ’s method of teaching by asking questions.)
"Would that I could mention all the illuminating details in this biography, for example, why Wells praised Black Americans so highly, saying, 'I took a mighty liking to these gentle, human, dark-skinned people,' and 'Whatever America has to show in heroic living today, I doubt if she can show anything finer than the quality of the resolve, the steadfast efforts hundreds of black and colored men are making today to live blamelessly, honorably and patiently, getting by themselves what scraps of refinement, beauty and learning they may, keeping their hold on a civilization they are grudged and denied.''
-- "How H.G. Wells Predicted the 20th Century," Charles Johnson, NYT Book Review, Nov. 19, 2021. ***".
...the monsters arrive."
"They come in a deafening, surging swarm, blasting from lawn to lawn and filling the air with the stench of gasoline and death. I would call them mechanical locusts, descending upon every patch of gold in the neighborhood the way the grasshoppers of old would arrive, in numbers so great they darkened the sky, to lay bare a cornfield in minutes. But that comparison is unfair to locusts.
"Grasshoppers belong here. Gasoline-powered leaf blowers are invaders, the most maddening of all the maddening, environment-destroying tools of the American lawn-care industry."
---The great Margaret Renkl, from Nashville, one of my favorite NYT bylines, Oct. 26, 2021.
(She describes our Long Island enclave to every decibel, every stink.)