His name was Ross (yes, he was a he) and I first laid eyes on him when I was dog sitting for my Aunt Shirley, who lived next door to my Nana and Papa in Brant, N.Y.
Brant, N.Y. is one town over from North Collins, and it is where all my mother’s relatives live. Most of them live on Brant-North Collins Road, a winding, rural, two-lane stretch that cuts through Southeastern Erie County. It is also the same road I grew up on five miles north of my Nana, my Aunt Shirley, my Uncle Joe, my Aunt Helen and so on …
Save for high-speed traffic and the usual blind spots, Route 249 is a perfect road for cycling, and its paths through the towns of Farnham, Brant and North Collins have not changed since 1935.
Ross was the first bicycle I pedaled on Route 249 that didn’t have training wheels. He was a clunker of a 10-speed I spotted hanging upside down from ceiling rafters in Aunt Shirley’s basement. The only fetching thing about Ross was was that under the dust, he actually had a brand name. See here. And here.
If you had lived in a synthetic bubble all your life, and one night were freed at about 8 p.m. on 8th Ave North in St. Pete (where I live) and heard what I hear now, you might think the world had ended or that aliens had finally arrived.
The cicada bugs sound like a dying game show buzzer.
If I were allowed to open the windows in my apartment I might hear them more often, but instead I’m forced to take in their grating mating call from my balcony, which is why it’s so important Joe and I find a house with a porch. (For more on our house hunting shenanigans click here.)
I love the cicadas. I love that they’re so obnoxious. I love that there are 2,500 different species of them and that they make the loudest known insect-produced sound in the world.
Cicadas are the one rural thing this city has going for it – another reason why I love them.
I’m sitting on my balcony with two citronella candles at my feet and a fire on the grill. The sun is slipping behind Kim and Russell’s gargantuan house and Cubbie is roaming the yard below. Joe is watching Countdown with Keith Olbermann, slamming together patties of ground chuck and my sister PK finally, doggedly got a job. It is a typical Monday night and I’m in a fantastic mood.
I have about two hours of tape to transcribe from an interview I had Friday with a state representative. That much I’m dreading.
But before I go, I think it might be fun to point out that last week I interviewed two state representatives in Sarasota, both republicans. The first one said he didn’t buy global warming and that plenty of people feel the same way.
“Ambulences aren’t all of a sudden going to run on hydrogen,” he said. “They’re not going to run on nuclear. The technology isn’t there. At the end of the day when somebody wants to go to the hospital they want 300 horsepower under the hood. Not three horses … This is a capitalist country. We would have figured something out by now. Some entreprenuer would have figured out a cheaper way of producing energy and made himself a gazillion dollars. It’s economics.”
So I fired back something like this (minus the Toby Keith reference at the end):
“Don’t you think we’re seeing that now? Four-dollar-a-gallon gasoline is a big motivator. We’re beginning to realize it’s not the cheapest, most efficient way to power our cars so entrepreneurs are starting to perk up. (Hello T. Boone Pickens.) The market is ripe with money-making potential. It’s like when the Wright brothers first started experimenting with flight. Believe me there’s money to be made. Dependency on foreign-made goods ain’t what Toby Keith sings about.”
And then, after chalking up global warming to sunspots and volcanic activity, this same legislator said he supported state-funded research on alternative energy. What we should be doing, he said, is using service tax revenue generated by offshore drilling to support university research on tidal energy.
“I could see ourselves cutting back on fossil fuels,” he said. “Over the next 10, 15, 20 years I could see Florida getting 30 percent of its energy from tidal, 10 percent from solar, 10 percent from wind, throw in some nuclear, throw in some natural gas …”
I interviewed a woman for the newspaper this week whose voice mail message said: “You’ve reached Diane. I’m not here right now. Please leave me a message and before you hang up tell me one good thing about your life.”
Lance, meet Heath. Heath, meet Lance. You guys have not been officially introduced. But today I think is perhaps a good day for you two to meet.
A little background on Heath …