Posted tagged ‘bus rides’

“I ain’t ever had a job, I just always played baseball.”

February 21, 2012

In the Globe this morning was an article about people buying fertilizer and loam for their lawns. The author likened our current weather to that of Washington DC around this time of year. He said we are about two months ahead of our usual growth schedule. I can attest to that. The rhododendron in my front garden has buds. All over the rest of the garden are green shoots from the bulbs I planted last fall. The nights get chilly but the days are warm, in the 40’s, and tomorrow will be in the 50’s, but I’m not quite taken in by this quirky weather. Being a New Englander, I’m skeptical. I expect snow is probably right around the corner just waiting to catch us. I just can’t shake it.

The sports’ pages are more interesting since baseball’s spring training started. This morning I got a chuckle. Bobby Valentine, the new coach of the Red Sox, has announced that all players will ride the bus to spring training games. All I could think of were bus rides back in my day.

The oldest ruled the back of the bus, the elite section, first class. I pictured Youkalis and Ortiz sitting there, the only two players left from the 2004 team. Pedroia by virtue of his talent and work ethic would also be welcome. He’d be the one shooing away the lesser players. Rookies must sit in front. The rest of the team can sit in the middle seats. We always sang on bus trips so I imagined the Sox belting out the likes of Take Me Out to the Ballgame, Sweet Caroline with all the appropriate responses, Wild Thing and maybe even Shipping Up to Boston even though Papelbon left for the big bucks. Pedey would dance in the aisle and Bobby would have him sit down and behave. Speaking of Bobby, why is it that a grown man is still called Bobby by people other than his family? I guess it’s a sports thing where growing up often optional.

“Speed, it seems to me, provides the one genuinely modern pleasure.”

October 25, 2011

Rain is coming later in the week, but for now I get to enjoy the sunshine and the coolness of a beautiful fall day. We did get out for a bit yesterday, but I ran into friends whom I haven’t seen in ages, and we chatted for a long while so I didn’t get as far as I’d hoped. Today Gracie and I will go down Cape; yesterday we went up Cape. For those of you wondering what directions I’m describing down-Cape means toward P-Town and up-Cape means toward the bridge. If anyone asked me east or west, I’d be hard pressed to answer.

When I visit Colorado, I ask how far to get somewhere, and they always answer in miles. Here when asked the same question we answer in time. How far to Boston from the cape elicits the response of about an hour and fifteen minutes, but it could be longer depending upon the traffic. In Colorado they’d tell me about 72 miles.

When I traveled in Ghana, the distance was measured in kilometers. I had no idea how far away anything really was. My mind worked only in miles so I always had to convert kilometers to miles. I learned to multiply by .6 so I’d figure out how far away I was from my destination.

Ghana, like Massachusetts, is also a time place. I had no idea the actual distance between Accra and Bolgatanga, but I know it takes 16 hours by bus. I know because that’s what the Ghanaians told me when I asked how far between Bolga and Accra. Later I looked it up and found it was 810 kilometers which didn’t make sense until I figured out it was 486 miles. It may seem like it takes forever by bus, and it does.

Once, when my parents and I were in Germany, my inner race car driver came out while I was driving on the autobahn. There I was driving at 80 MPH and getting passed. I knew this was my opportunity to be Mario Andretti without risking a ticket so I drove between 90 to 100 but I still got passed. My mother commented we seem to be going really fast and kept looking at the speedometer. I told her it was in kilometers, a bold face lie with good intentions, and explained how to convert and I mentioned that we were being passed by other cars going much faster. That seemed to calm her, and I got to be Mario for just a little while.

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