Saturday, July 12, 2008


Since no one ever reads this anyway, it seems that it won't hurt that it's a day late. It was yesterday, not today, that I was in my car running errands, when I had barely left my driveway, and encountered a young bicyclist riding near the middle of the street, but mostly in the lane of oncoming traffic. I'd not be surprised to hear that his parents told him that he should do that, or told him nothing at all.

A little later, I made a left turn in the manner required by Texas law, when I noticed (I always look) that the car which had been behind me was making the left turn also, but was coming around me on the right. This is something else that happens frequently, and I've become used to watching out for it.

So often have I cringed when the driver of a car in which I'm riding has crossed the solid stripe to change lanes.

All rules are not punitive. There are many which are intended to protect us. When one is out on the road, one must always be on the lookout for the other fellow, but, if the other fellow is following the same rules as I, then the task for both of us is easier. It's the unexpected that causes disaster on the road.

I once heard a friend relate that he'd been stopped at a light when a cyclist began to run the light. When my friend shouted at him, the cyclist said, "bicycles don't have to stop for lights". Where on Earth could he have gotten that idea? I suppose in the same place where my neighbor, who said, "Bicyclists should ride facing the traffic. I'm sure that's the law in Alaska", got her information.

We've seen a lot, in the last almost eight years, of "making up your own rules", and it appears that we could be in for more. Why can't we see that if we have a set of rules that everyone follows, then the burden of living is easier for all? Driving or riding on the right side, and walking on the left, of any street may seem like an infringement on one's civil liberties, but in fact, it really helps that "other fellow" to avoid an encounter with the unexpected.

Until very recently, I've been a staunch opponent of a "National Language" for the United States. I have come to realize, however, that a National Language will not prohibit citizens (or even non-citizens) from speaking whatever language they wish, but officially, they should conduct business in the official language. What could be wrong with that?

In Texas, and I'm sure in many other states as well, business is starting to be conducted in two languages. Isn't that really discriminatory? The part of Texas where I live was settled back in the "pioneer" days largely be Central European people, and German and Czech were spoken in the home. These folks had to read the labels at the grocery store in English, and they were allowed to speak their "native" tongue at home whenever they so desired, or they could speak English. This was custom, not law.

Now we have a cute little candidate for president, whom I cannot fail to support, who says "everybody should learn Spanish". What kind of nonsense is that? I think we really should say, "everybody should follow the rules", to avoid, or at least postpone, the unexpected.

Perhaps we should have made a rule long ago that we have an official language for this country. I hate to admit that I was wrong for so long, but I'm admitting it now.

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