Historical Significance

The stale air hits me like a slap to the face: soupy, syrupy, strained like carrots in a baby food jar. I stand in the opening, both ready to step out onto the smoking sidewalk and to scramble back into the air conditioned solace of the building, stark choices on a stark day. The crowd makes the choice for me, however, shoving me unceremoniously out into the reality of a heatwave I wish had waited a week to arrive. I stumble into the blazing sunshine, suddenly sweaty with a perspiration that springs to my forehead, and cheeks, and everywhere else all at once. 

“Is that the Liberty Bell?” Alexa asks, inquisitive as always. She doesn’t complain about the heat because I’m not sure she feels it. Oh, the joys of youth.

“That’s the building that houses the Liberty Bell, yes,” I tell her, nodding my head in the general direction of the structure itself, but she has stopped listening. Because, while this is a part of history, it’s not a part of her personal one, so to her it’s just one more thing she has to look at, that someone told her was special.

“And that’s Independence Hall,” I continue, pointing far out across the expanse of grass that separates the Liberty Bell building from the old Pennsylvania State House.

“How come the Liberty Bell isn’t up in Independence Hall?” asks Alexa, who appears to be listening to me again. I can never tell, except for when she opens her mouth.

“Why, because it’s cracked,” I say, but she doesn’t laugh, though I think my joke is funny. “They can’t very well ring a cracked bell,” I add. She still doesn’t laugh. Continue reading “Historical Significance”


There Was This Girl

There was this girl.

There always is, isn’t there? A girl, a dream, and some magic beans to make it all turn out the way we want it to, or at least that’s how it seemed to me. It’s funny how, when you’re 18, 19, 20, the world seems so small, the possibilities so large, how everything is within your reach, even when it isn’t.

So there was this girl. She wasn’t typically someone I would go after, because I thought she was well out of my league. Imagine on a scale of 1 to 10 — she was a 9 — I only trusted myself to go after 6’s and 7’s because I hated rejection, and most 9’s would dismiss me out of hand. It was okay. I knew I wasn’t 9 material.

But this girl…

She was beautiful in all the ways that counted, though I barely knew her. She was like Juliet, this wish list made real, but so dangerous in pretty much every way. This was obvious almost from the start. She wasn’t religious at all (and if she had been, it most certainly wouldn’t have been the religion I had been raised in), she was a very good dancer (or so she said), and she didn’t know she was a 9.

Isn’t that fascinating? So often people don’t recognize what they look like to others, how they’re perceived by the people they come in contact with. Usually 9’s know they’re 9’s because of all the attention they receive, but that’s not always the case, especially if they’ve “grown into themselves.” They’re used to being 5’s and 6’s so that’s all they see when they look in the mirror. Continue reading “There Was This Girl”

In Uber [They Trust]

I could never drive for Uber. Or for Lyft. Or for however many of those copycat companies that have sprung up in the past couple of years. I can’t even begin to imagine the logistical nightmare, being at the mercy of those who rode with me, for reviews, for validation. And the driving. When I drive I find it soothing. I can’t imagine not being able to listen to whatever I wanted to listen to, dropping people off and picking up others.

If I wanted to do that, I would have gone to cab school.

Yet, the business model of these companies is undeniable. Use the general public to shuttle around the other general public. No worries about parking spaces. No concern with long-term airport parking. No reason for a garage. You get dropped off where you want, and it’s all from the convenience of your own phone. The concept is one of those grand scale ones, but one that would have only come about in this age, where apps are like candy, and everyone could use an extra few bucks.

I’ve never ridden in one. Though, I think I should qualify that. I’ve ridden with people who have become Uber drivers, or Lyft drivers, but long before they had garnered that distinction. I live in the country, and while I’m sure I could get somebody to drive out here to pick me up and drop me off, I’m inconvenient. I imagine them getting my location on their app and either moving on to the next one or getting lost making their way here. There goes convenience.

And I think about what the cab companies are doing to combat this, or if they can even combat this. Will they become as obsolete as the VHS tape? Continue reading “In Uber [They Trust]”

“We Must All Hang Together”

“We must all hang together, or, assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Unity. That’s the first thing that comes to my mind on this day, when I think back to how the founding fathers (and mothers) probably felt. It was the only way a revolution would ever work, wasn’t it? If they were fractured it would have been easier to divide and conquer, or to be more accurate, to divide and maintain. Because that’s what they were united against — the status quo.

Can you imagine the vast majority of a population uniting for a common cause, or uniting against a common enemy — today? I’ve seen it on a micro scale, where people in an organization rise up and say, “Enough is enough.” I’ve seen it in family dynamics, where the bad seed is ostracized. I’ve even seen it in churches with excommunication, but those are such small potatoes when compared with what the colonists did in the late 18th century.

That’s just the thing, too — they were colonists. They were supposed to be marionettes controlled by the monarchy — all gain and no downside. But what the monarchy failed to take into consideration was each colonist was an individual, with his/her own hopes and dreams, that each one was a human being who wanted to be treated like a human being. Not like a puppet on a string. And when these “inalienable rights” are taken from any human being, it’s not a small slight.

So, understanding the enormity of the challenge ahead of them, they decided to go ahead anyway. Because Ben Franklin was undoubtedly right. Continue reading ““We Must All Hang Together””

Virtual Friends

This is a new age. I know it astounds me every single day, with the access we have to so much information, with the connections to so many resources, with pretty much everything that has been expanded and re-imagined since I was a kid.

I think it started with music. When I was young it was all about cassette tapes, and eventually CD’s. But with the rise of digital music it changed the whole landscape. Now it’s playlists and music apps. We have pretty much unlimited music libraries at our fingertips, on our phones.

Social media was next. It was the first thing beyond email to really bring people together who weren’t in the same geographical area. The idea was to connect socially in ways we never had before, and it succeeded. It continues to succeed, and the formula is easy. As human beings we have the desire, the need, to connect with each other, to share our hopes, and dreams, and fears, and visits to Starbucks.

This was a way to reconnect with those we had lost touch with, a chance to maintain connections with those we saw on a semi-regular basis, an outlet to inform others of what was happening in our lives. But it morphed into something else, as things often do, especially when they’re related to technology. It became a virtual place to see and be seen, a “meeting place” where we could be with others without being with others.

It’s all very fascinating, really, the idea that we can have a community of people we are close friends with, of those who we are acquaintances with, and even of those we have never met in person. Continue reading “Virtual Friends”

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