Monday, October 01, 2018

Things Change....

            I heard a song the other day that said “Things change, and then they change again.” I don’t think that is any kind of a profound revelation, but I do believe people who get so upset with certain outcomes would do well to remember it.  You might not agree whether things changed for the better or the worse the last time things changed, and you might not agree on whether things are going to change for the better or the worse the next time things change, but you about have to agree things are going to change.

            We drove out to San Diego to see some family a couple of weeks ago. We traveled through three time zones to get there, and every time the time changed on the way out we gained an hour.  I was a little bit disappointed when we reached the Pacific Ocean and the time stopped changing, although I was already nodding off at 6:00 every evening and waking up at 1:00 every morning. I’m sure my social life would have ground to a complete halt if we had traveled any further west.

            But, just as the song predicted, the time changed back and we lost the hours we gained on the drive back home. I didn’t like losing the extra hours as much as I enjoyed gaining them, but I adapted to the change as well as an old man can be expected to adapt, and at least I’m nodding off and waking up at a more reasonable time again.

            The landscape changes a lot in 2400 miles. So do definitions. I’ve been through a few forests in my life. I’ve also been through a few woods that people called forests, and I’ve been through a few forests that people called woods. They all had great big trees. Out in Arizona we drove through something they called a “National Forest.” But here’s the thing. It didn’t have any big trees. Or little trees. It had some shrubs. And a lot of cactus plants. And I guess they can call it a forest if they want. But it’s not. Not unless something changes.

            And speaking of change, we drove on a few toll roads on our trip. As we approached one certain toll booth to pay our fare, we passed a big sign that read “Exact change required.” I had exactly $1.35 in my hand when we pulled up to the pay station, but soon discovered what they actually meant was “Exact coinage required.” While a dollar bill might be legal currency just about everywhere else in the country, it wasn’t acceptable in the collection basket at this spot. I didn’t want to end up like the lady in the next lane who was frantically running from car to car stopped behind her trying to get change for her dollar, so I rummaged through the console hoping to find enough change to satisfy whatever entity changed the red light in front of us. No luck. But people waiting behind us were starting to honk their horns, so I threw what change I could find into the basket, along with a couple of paper clips and some stale Chex Mix, the light turned green, and down the road we went. I suspect a picture of our license plate is in a computer somewhere, and every day I check the mail box for a nasty letter from the toll gate people, but so far, so good.

            Now, I’m not opposed to toll roads in principle. I know roads cost money to build and maintain, and the people that use the roads should probably pay for them. I’m not too thrilled that the government would collect taxes from us to build and maintain the roads, and then charge us to drive on the roads we already paid for. But then I remembered that when it collects property taxes, the government is charging us to live in our own homes.

            On second thought, I guess some things never change.