- Soda-Pop. I remember as a kid, we would ride our bikes to a convenience store at the edge of town, where we would buy chips or a chocolate bar and a drink. They had an old drink machine where you lifted the lid to find rows of drinks standing in cold water with metal bars overtop of the rows so you couldn’t lift anything straight out. You could however slide your drink horizontally out of its row and into the little gizmo on one end that allowed you to lift a single drink out. We bought drinks in bottles, Coca-Cola in contour bottles or Fanta… I preferred lime. We would take our purchases and ride a half-mile into the country along the highway to an intersection that with a streetlamp on the median in the middle of everything. It was a pretty quiet intersection, but we would sit by the pole, eat our chips or chocolate bars, and drink our soft drinks. We called it pole-land. Loved a pun from an early age, I guess.
- Datsun 510 Station Wagon. I remember driving with my dad to Yorkton, Saskatchewan to the dealer where we bought a Datsun 510 station wagon. When we got there, the green one that had been pre-arranged had been sold, and we ended up with a blue one instead. That car ran forever, until it became a well-broken-in engine propelling a well-rusted body around town. I learned to drive in that car, with its 4-speed manual transmission, beginning when I was 8 years old. My dad would remove the headrest from the drivers’ seat and position it for me to sit on so I could see over the steering wheel; he used to sit in the passenger’s seat and provide coaching until I’d learned well enough to solo. I had to really stretch my left leg to work the clutch, but it got easier with practice… or my leg grew, whichever.
- I was in a motorcycle accident when I was 16. Not my fault… I was riding down small-town main street around 10:00 or so and the driver of an oncoming car turned left in front of me at an intersection. I had slowed down approaching the traffic light to make sure he’d seen me, and he appeared to… but at the last second he turned in front of me. I sailed over the hood of the car, head first; I had my hands out in front of me when I hit the pavement, did a somersault, and ended up sitting on the pavement looking around for the driver to yell at. Obviously it wasn’t nearly as serious as it could have been, but I did write off my Yamaha XT250 dual purpose dirt/street bike. It was in town and under the circumstances I was doing less than 30MPH, which helped. This was all before helmet laws, so I wasn’t wearing one. My noggin survived, but I fractured something or other in my left leg. It hurt quite a bit when I limped to the hotel on the corner to call home from a payphone. Some local guys helped drag my bike off the street as well. The doctor who patched up my leg and put it into a cast asked what kind of bike I was riding, said he was taking a survey. He took my blood pressure twice, said it was too low. It was supposed to be way up because of the accident, I guess I was too calm about the whole thing. Unfortunately that was the last motorcycle I owned, but my wife and I would really like to remedy that someday.
- One of the coolest books I’ve read, judging strictly by the book title, is Splinter of the Mind’s Eye. The book itself would have been a mediocre teen-targeted sci-fi; I don’t remember the book much at all, but I still have it in a box in the basement somewhere. We were talking about cool book titles once in college, and I offered up this title as an entry. People thought it was a cool title, but then one girl said, “Oh, I read that book!” The two of us laughed but didn’t say any more about what the book actually was, just letting everyone think we were more highbrow than we really were… but I was busted.
- In the interest of slipping in a good book to overcome the last one, I read all of the Sherlock Holmes stories on my lunch hours during 1989-90. When I started an office job shortly after I got married, I made a point of closing my office door for an hour for lunch… I brown-bagged it, but I would put my feet up on my desk and read for an hour just to take a break. For lack of anything else, I started with the Sherlock Holmes short stories and just kept at it until I’d read them all. I did very much enjoy the character, his unique approach to the world, to deductive reasoning, and Conan Doyle’s telling of the stories. I recommend the Sherlock Holmes stories, and I recommend taking a break in the middle of the day instead of working through lunch. Sadly, I say this having worked through lunch for the past several years, and having not touched a Holmes story in much longer than that.
Now, who to tag… my prime targets for tagging have mostly been tagged already, so I’ll just leave it open for anyone who wants to respond. Or for fun, the sidebar on my blog shows the most recent comments here — if your name appears there, consider yourself tagged. Respond on your blog and post a link, or if you don’t have a blog, you can respond in a comment to this post instead.