Lizard along for the ride

2004/06/17 at 09:51

This morning on my way to work, I stopped at a light about 10 minutes from home. Suddenly, a panicked-looking anole lizard scrambled across my windshield and into the area where the wipers reside. After I got through the light, I pulled into a parking lot to rescue the lizard

I managed to capture the lizard off the car, and threw him onto the grass next to the parking lot. As I turned around to get back in the car, I saw him scrambling back toward the parking lot, not toward the bushes in the other direction. It seems an interested mockingbird was sitting in a nearby crape myrtle tree, and the poor little lizard was heading for the nearest cover–my car.

I couldn’t reach him under my car, so I pulled ahead a few feet, hoping I wouldn’t squash him in the process. I got out; he was still alive, but when I went to catch him again, he once again ran under the car. Pulled the car ahead again, got out again and managed to capture him. This time, though, I walked him over the the nearby shrubs.

Poor thing, he was panting furiously. I’m sure he’d seen his little lizard life flash before his eyes several times this morning.

Leading the Blind

2004/06/09 at 09:17

Back when I was a sophomore in college at UT, I worked for Ralph Read, a blind professor of German. Dr. Read had diabetes and had gone blind a few years earlier, and when I worked for him, he had several undergraduate and grad students who helped him with various aspects of his work and personal life. (Dr. Read passed away from diabetes complications while I was still working for him in 1985)

My job was to drive Dr. Read to and from school each day and help him some with class preparations. But it’s our daily car trips from his house in south Austin to campus and back that I remember most fondly. Dr. Read prided himself on his listening skills, and every day he asked me about my life and listened politely as I went on about the concerns of a 21-year-old for pretty much the whole 20 minute trip.

Being a good listener is a difficult skill, and I try to keep Dr. Read in mind as I try to exercise that skill myself.

Southern Hospitality

2004/06/01 at 14:32

I am a well trained Southern man: I try my damnedest to open or hold doors for women.

I remember when I moved to New Jersey, I was constantly stumbling over women as we approached a door. Finally, it occurred to me that door-opening is a delicate dance requiring the woman/women to move out of the way slightly to allow the man to get to the door. In NJ, the women weren’t playing the game. Hence the stumbling. This morning (in Austin), I was reminded another aspect of this Southern custom: the polite thank-you from the woman/women. As I was approaching the door to leave the bagel place where I stopped to get coffee, I saw a woman approaching from the outside. I was far enough ahead that I could push open the door, go through it myself and then hold it for her. But something told me even before I opened the door that this woman wasn’t going to play the game. Sure enough, it felt clear that she expected me to hold the door for her, but I didn’t get a look, a smile, a nod, and certainly no polite thank-you. After she passed, I gave her a loud “You’re welcome” anyway.

Pics of Waving man

2004/05/20 at 20:43

This morning I took my camera in the car on my way to work, hoping to snap photos of waving man. Considering I see him at most maybe once a month, the chances were slim. But lo and behold, I did pass him this morning. But I had to turn around and come past him again in order to get photos. He didn’t seem to realize it was the same car that had passed the other way a minute before, and if he noticed me snapping photos as I passed somewhat slowly, it didn’t stop him from waving.
Amazingly, I managed to get a couple of decent photos and not crash my car.
Waving man
Waving man

Toxic Suburbia

2004/05/19 at 20:03

Tonight I used three types of toxic insecticides: aerosol spray that shoots the Jet Of Death© 20 feet to kill the wasps that have built nests around the eaves of our house and some stuff that mixes with water from the garden hose to kill bugs that have attacked some shrubs in our yard. In the course of putting up the extension ladder in order to reach the wasps, I discovered–the painful way–a new fire ant bed and used the third chemical to wage the next battle in that unending war.

Waving man

2004/05/13 at 09:33

One of the shortcuts on my drive to work is on a street that runs next to a residential area. This street doesn’t get a lot of traffic and I often see the residents of the neighborhood out walking and jogging along the street. But there’s one man who always brings a smile to my face when I occasionally see him.

I call him, without much creativity, ‘waving man.’ As he takes his morning walk through the neighborhood, he waves heartily at every passing car, and if you wave back he waves more vigorously and bows. Based on the bowing I saw the other day when I followed a couple of other cars down the street, it looks like other drivers are as familiar with him as I am. He’s always a refreshing site on my otherwise boring commute.