Friday, September 19, 2014

Civic Gratitude

Out the West Berkeley morning window
The purr and rattle of garbage trucks reminds me to appreciate our civility.
No trash piled high in the gutters or in fields like in some places, as we all may have noticed on TV.

Appreciate it like:
Clean drinking water, close enough to walk to (the WHO* defines this as less than a kilometer away) but for us we mean the kitchen.

And that brings up:
Curbs, sewers,
Public libraries and education.


Think about this the next time you’re driving fast:

How much we trust the Highway Department
for its lines and signs, telling us to slow, to speed--
and in each other for following these rules.
Certain death on certain curves when we don’t.

But what trust! marks every road trip, every foray in the middle of the night in a strange state, for we barrel through unknown towns unthinkingly, we confidently speed our
65 mph bullets towards each other, and
Blindly we trust, for all the signs the country over are the same.

Back in town, where our garbage is picked up and we can turn off the bad news if it gets to be too much,
I always feel a little sense of panic at a busy green light if we’re both turning left. For a moment it’s a face off with the oncoming car:
What if he changes his mind at the last minute?
But ultimately, we rely on each other to follow through on the mutual promise of two left turn signals, as we
Execute a careful concave dance and go safely our own way.  

*World Health Organization

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