12 July 2010


As of today the number four most emailed article from the New York Times is from Sunday's “Week in Review” section, Turn 70. Act Your Grandchild’s Age by Kate Zernike. The article features comments from Anne Basting, the director of the Center on Age and Community at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. Dead in the middle of the article is this statement from him:

It wouldn’t do us a whole boatload of harm to reinstate some values to contemplation,” said Dr. Basting. “Part of the pressure on older people to be successful and give back and volunteer and be active and play tennis is that we are a culture of doing. We don’t really know how to be. That’s something that late life gives us is time to be. But that’s stigmatized.

What can I say to that? Other than maybe, “Amen!”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Two days after I made my very first mention here of the kamikaze pizza delivery guys on the motorcycles, one went down in the street next to me today. I heard the altercation between the motorcycle and the car behind me and the motorcycle coming toward me from behind. I thought I was going to get hit.

Here is the problem with that situation. If you turn around to study the situation, you have in effect done nothing. You are either going to get hit or not. If you do not turn around, you must then make an uninformed decision which way to jump.

In any event the poor kid ended up on his back in the gutter with the bike on top of him. I lifted the bike off him. I was most concerned about that hot exhaust pipe. The standard bike for this work—for those who care—is a Honda CG250 Cargo with a large insulated box affixed to the luggage rack right behind the driver. That motorcycle is not light.

The police and almost everyone else who rides a motorcycle in San Miguel use bikes of an off road design. . .not that that makes a lot of difference.

The kid was hurt, bleeding profusely from the arm that he was not moving. No question about that. But he was wearing a helmet. These guys routinely do. Others quickly appeared on the scene who appeared to know what they were doing. They kept him still and called for an ambulance. The young lady who was driving the car was anxious to find anyone who had seen what had happened. We explained to her that we had had our backs turned.

When I first arrived here, it was uncommon to see any other motorcycle drivers with a helmet. However, the police announced that they were going to crack down on that. And they have. I used to argue the libertarian position on motorcycle helmets. Through the years I have changed my mind.

I will venture to say this. Tonight, that young man will be in the hospital, and the pizza place will by then have the bike wired together again and back on the street with another young man on it.

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