A Full day (1/16/17): Notes and Observations

“If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day.” Jim Valvano


Today is January 16, 2017, the 16th day of the year. It is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.


On this day in 1970, Curt Flood filed a civil lawsuit in New York Federal Court, which challenged baseball’s reserve clause. The reserve clause essentially restricted movement by baseball players from one team to another unless by a trade, or by the release of the team. Eventually, the reserve clause was struck down and the ruling paved the way for free agency in baseball.



Ok, it’s been awhile since I posted some driving stories . So, here we are: Notes and observations from the road.


1) I did some driving post-snowstorm. While there were a few slick spots, I made it through. There was one spot I did think I would wind up in the trees. it was on Poplar Tent Rd. just south of Hwy. 73 near the Cabarrus/ Mecklenburg Co. line. As a came around a curve at 5:30 a.m., there was a 50-feet stretch of melted snow that had refrozen. I quickly shifted down, stayed off the brake and eased through. An hour later, a traffic report on WBTV listed an accident at that spot. Really, so humbly blessed to make it through the icy conditions.


2) A street in Cornelius named “Lagoona”. It made me laugh anyway.


3) An honest question I had in my brain while driving a Muslim woman in a full burka, allowing only the eyes to be scene: She had a female toddler with her. At what age will this child have to wear the same attire?


4) Until last week, it never occurred to me that men can also get osteoporosis. Had an older couple that I drove home from the grocery store. The hunched-over man was now as round as he was tall. I honestly didn’t think he could get into my car. It was like seat belting a bowling ball with legs. Sharp mind, though.


5) For those reading this with kids now, or who have raised kids, think about the different things you did for birthday parties. Bowling, roller skating, laser tag, baseball game, etc., etc. Now in Charlotte, you can get…. Haircuts. Yep. There’s a place called “Snip Its” where the slogan is “Kids. Haircuts. Fun.”

I guess I’m out of touch with first-world life, but I know of no kid that wants the activity surrounding their birthday to be a haircut.  To each their own, though.


6) Picked up a man from Newton to bring into Hickory. At first, he was complaining about something related to his psychiatrist’s appointment. Suddenly the comment, “I was telling you about my prescription at CVS.”  In my head, I said, “Wait …… what? When? When did you mention this? What random straw did you grasp out of outer space.” At that point, I could see why the psychiatrist was needed.


7) Frederic Chopin’s Piano Sonata No. 2 is called the “Funeral March”, because of the memorable third movement. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyFyAqLtHq8

So, I get a ping for a rider and as I arrive, I see the rider is an elderly woman. The music from Sirius’s classical music channel is playing in my car and she is walking in rhythm to the music slowly towards my car – unaware, of course the music is playing.  Such a macabre scene, but I’m chuckling at the juxtaposition of the two events taking place that only I know about. And then I think, “Do I keep the music playing while she enters the car?”

I decided against freaking the lady out and given her age, I switched to the Sinatra channel. Turns out, the woman lost her water heater that morning. I’m sure her hearing that music would’ve freaked her out.


8) I’m always amused at things that wind up in the medians of highways. On one trip up I-85 near Concord last week, someone obviously didn’t tie down what they were moving. Microwave… baby walker…. decorative earthen water jug…. couch cushion…  Would love to have been the fly on the wall when the folks went to unload.


9) Had the pleasure of a woman from Bulgaria visiting family in Charlotte. I was fascinated by, and she was nice enough to share in the limited time of the trip, her stories of the transition from communism to democracy. My hope, and I think I succeeded, was not to sound like the self-righteous American. She was exceedingly open about how little freedoms she had growing up – what they could say, where they could live or go to schools, etc. etc. I asked what was the most difficult part? Without hesitation, she said the isolation by the government from family members that chose to emigrate.

I asked, what freedoms do Americans take for granted? Voting. Sadly, she said the younger generations in Bulgaria do not vote either. Only about 50%.

We talked for 15 minutes. I could’ve listened to her for 15 hours.


10) I missed the full moon as we had cloudy skies in Charlotte on Friday the 13th. However, I was repaid with a full moon in Statesville this morning at about 4 a.m. I pulled up to a house and the guy suddenly waved out the window, then got up from where he was sitting to get dressed and…. That was not the impending crack of dawn I was expecting to see this morning.


11) And finally. I picked up a passenger near Uptown Charlotte this evening (Monday) after he had turned in his rental car at Enterprise. The gentleman – I soon learned he was from India – gets into the car and asked the question, “What city is this?”

Me: Excuse me?

Man: What city is this?

Me (thinking, it’s a little early to be drunk, but I’ll play along): Charlotte.

Man: This isn’t Seattle?

Me (facing ahead, but shifting my eyes to the right corner): Noooooo.

Man: I got on the wrong flight. Where is Seattle from here?

Me: About 3500 miles away.

Man: I’ve been driving around for two hours thinking this was Seattle.

A little later…..

Man: Is Canada nearby?…. Is it a state?

At this point, I’m literally scanning the guy to see if he has a Candid Camera hidden somewhere and someone in a truck is recording my reactions.

Apparently, he booked the wrong flight from Chicago. Turns out, he’s having an American adventure, as he had already been to New York and Chicago. Later stops including San Francisco, from where he is supposedly is going to drive to Vegas to play Blackjack. Then go to Dallas and fly home.

As we travel to his destination, he has to repeat his questions because I can’t understand his English very well because of his accent.

Man: I notice you have a hard time understanding me. Do I not sound like I have an American accent?

(Again, where is the camera?)



Everyone who is successful at anything holds themselves accountable to someone else. I can’t help but wonder if our new president Donald Trump has anyone he will listen to that will hold him accountable.

The tweeting thing is getting disturbing.



One more story: I’m driving home Saturday night (Sunday morning) after working in Asheville. My hope is to get to bed by 4 a.m., get a few hours, wake up, be at Hudson UMC by 8:15 a.m. No biggie. Play two services, go home, take a nap, I’m good.

Since Uber and Lyft are now both in Hickory, I make it a habit to leave my app open for pings at home. So, as I approach Morganton, “Ping”. Pick up is at the IHOP on Hwy 70. “Super” I think to myself. I’ll take someone home and get home myself.

Now, it’s at this point the reader must understand that drivers do not know where they are taking people to until the trip starts.

I arrive, begin the trip…. It’s a trip to Charlotte! I got to bed at 7 a.m. and slept 45 minutes.


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