Friday, March 12, 2010

The Inevitable Miscellaneous Post

The Center for Fortean Zoology, based in Britain, came to Texas to look for blue dogs, and I didn't hear about it till yesterday! Oh, well, they're only in East Texas so far. They're blogging about it. Apparently there's more to those "chupacabras" (as newspapers insist on calling them) than mangy coyotes. Though the one in Cuero totally was. I can't help thinking that every teenager in Cuero was rooting for it to be a cryptid so they'd have an excuse to change their high school mascot. The Cuero Chupacabras would be a much better team name than the Cuero Gobblers.

This morning I had one of those random flashes of brilliance that favor the prepared mind. My husband got up too late to make it to the bus, so I drove him to work. I criticized one person for passing me on the right when I was already going too fast in a school zone (not my fault; you have to ride the brakes on that hill to prevent it), and another for taking his little girl across the street in the middle of a block about fifteen feet from a crosswalk. Then I thought about how hard it is not to be judgemental, and about road rage, supposedly caused by the anonymity and power of being in a car; but I don't ever feel powerful in a car. (I only learned to drive five years ago next month.) Besides, we're constantly criticizing other people's behavior from the vantage of the car, whether we're angry or not. And I suddenly realized why we're so judgemental - because when you're driving, you have to be all up in everybody's business.

Walking or bussing, or even bike riding, your attention is confined to a small circle of space around you and so is mostly on your own business. The speed and power of a car, however, make it necessary to pay attention conditions in a huge radius, much of which involves observing the behavior of other people and trying to predict it. Everything they do has the potential to affect you, and might even involve you in injury, or in life-and-death decisions; even at 20 mph. That's a lot of stress.

See, deep psychological insights are as easy to have as story ideas.

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