Teach your children … better

When I saw the woman trying to cross the street ten feet away from a marked crosswalk this morning, I was annoyed, but not surprised.

This happens ALL THE TIME, I thought to myself. The city just re-did a major thoroughfare in my neighborhood, complete with protected bike lanes, curb extensions, and crosswalks with lights.

I still see people crossing ten feet from the crosswalk. Yesterday, a dude weaved through traffic in front of me just a few cars away from a very busy intersection. While holding a tiny dog! Think of your dogs, people!

While I was thinking about this, feeling very self-righteous and wondering how the heck you teach people to use the infrastructure you’re building for them, a middle schooler zipped across the street in front of me. He looked back, and there was an adult man in a car, smiling and waving.

An adult man, sitting in traffic on the busy street. Who could have pulled over to the side street and dropped this kid off safely, but instead just had him jump out at a red light and cross wherever.

So that’s where the kids are learning it, I guess.

Not a helpful detail

I’m meeting some for the first time to talk about pro bono gig/volunteer opportunity. When I get to the busy coffee shop and get settled, I send her a quick email: Hi, I’m here! I’m wearing a striped shirt and sitting by the wall.

A few minutes later, a woman walks up, and asks the woman next to me, “Are you Kelley?”

She was wearing a striped shirt, too.

It’s the little/gigantic things

I’ve been walking more lately, for transportation. Trying to cut down on my single-passenger trips and fossil fuel consumption. You know the drill.

I didn’t have a car until I got married at 25, so I used to walk a lot. I’m remembering how much more city life you experience when you’re on foot, for better or worse.

On my way to a friend’s birthday party:

  • I fumbled change at the bus stop, and a gentleman offered me a bus pass
  • An old friend hollered out the window at me as she drove by
  • Two women walking in front of me stopped short, which confused me, until I saw that the men in front of us were working together to hold a huge snake

I never would’ve seen the snake out a car window. I’m nearsighted anyway.

You learn something new

I went to a Creative Mornings talk this morning with the theme “Perserve.” These things are pretty open-ended — whoever’s invited to talk can decide where they want to take it. Eden Redmond talked about what we preserve and why, through her lens of art, activism, and land stewardship.

It’s a big topic.

Anyway, she took a short detour into art history for a moment to talk about 17th and 17th century Dutch still life. It’s gorgeous, all richly rendered food and light. She told us about how these beautiful paintings were commissioned to celebrate all these goods that were taken via colonial violence. “This is ours,” the colonizers and their culture say. “This is important.”

And we keep these paintings and preserve them.

I definitely wouldn’t be thinking about that this morning if I hadn’t gone.

What made you go blue?

Stuffing envelopes under an OREGON FOR HILLARY banner, listening to the jazz station, it takes a while for the conversation to heat up.

“What made you go blue?” asks one regular of another.

I’m a little confused — did this person change ranks somehow? Politics are not really basement conversation fodder, other than eye-rolling references to the current president.

“Well, it’s supposed to be lighter blue in the back, and brighter in the front, but it needs a few washes.”

The blue hair must be new.

That makes more sense.

The woman who asked has blue hair, too.


The two-year-old and I walked past a Montessori school on the way to lunch. Kids were playing outside, several keeping a close eye on a big delivery truck on the street.

The kids chatted a bit as we walked past, the two-year-old interested but grumpy with nap time approaching. We were ten feet down the road when he informed me, “I want to say hiyo.”

We walked back, toddler solidly regarding the preschoolers. “Hello, baby,” one said.

“Hiyo, baby,” he replied reflexively.

After a minute or so, we walked on to get our smoothie. “Hiyo, baby,” said the two-year-old, settled at our table.

“That’s what they said to you, huh?”

“They say hiyo baby.”

A few minutes later, dreamily: “Hiyo, baby.”

What if you knew her?

My husband and I went to see Neil Young last week.

“I’m just going to cry the whole time,” I warned while we were waiting in our seats.

But I didn’t — more excited gasping and eyes bugging out, until he picked up the white electric.

Neil Young had been ambling around to different guitars and pianos, kind of circling his way around the stage between songs before sitting down to play again.

But he stood for Ohio.

I’ve heard the song a hundred times of course, but hearing it live in 2019 was different.

What if you knew her and

found her dead on the ground?

How could you run when you know?

I cried, and cried, and cried.

A boyfriend

The other day I remembered how in junior high, when boys and girls were “going out,” the boy would stand behind the girl in the hallway, bodies pressed together, facing out, holding hands in front. Just standing there, signalling their coupleness. Then I realized that I had a boyfriend along those lines. We stood like that. But I couldn’t remember one other detail about him.

Maybe he was tall?