All around my head

I could not find a good amount of thinking space to write yesterday. I did think, but more about whether I should curb my daughter’s new found cockiness as she masters riding on two wheels. After the trauma of a little scratch on her leg from a first foray, she has graduated quickly to a biker, who can now ride with one leg stuck out to the side, and weave and even play a mini version of ‘chicken’. I told her last evening that she needs to fall a few more times and she says it will never happen. I wondered then who was the child who was seen kissing the grass as I looked up the lane. “I’m alright,” I heard and checked the muddy hands that were holding the fringed handlebars. “The grass is a bit slippery?” I asked. She gave me a look.

I know that today my professional interest should go immediately to discuss the latest data on the widening income gap in the US, I feel that this will be well covered by a plethora of other commentators. It is in my mind, not least after speaking to a young friend who has just spent a year in Mumbai, which he found a stunningly expensive place to live, was working for a fund and not making a living doing it. He’s now out of India and going to figure out what to do next, but will do so in Canada.

But, I need to find a writing edge. So, while, I am seeking that, I will just roll out a few things that passed through my head. Some every experienced writers advise that some times you just write something that is true and leave it at that.

I told my little daughter this morning that I wanted to write about her sighting on Saturday of a white squirrel, on the National Mall. I had heard of albino squirrels but had never seen one myself. Of course, in this age, there is an Internet website for white squirrels. I was even more tempted by that topic as I listened to a writer talk on NPR about stories that were based on animal representations of people encountered. I wondered who would be the white squirrel. I saw the pictures of white and black squirrels in a tree and smiled at the notion of trying to spin that into some kind of racial profiling.

But, my mind was on other things. I admit to having been shocked yesterday when I went to one of the local library branches–Bethesda, to be precise–and found that I had to pay to park. Sure, it was only 75 cents for an hour; in a broad area where 25 cents can buy only 8 minutes of parking, this could be a good deal. I know that municipalities need to tap all the revenue sources they can, but to go to the library and have to pay for parking seemed a bit much. Then, I noted that the parking lot is close to downtown Bethesda, so could be an escape option for people wanting to visit that area and not deal with street parking or parking lots–which I think are a little more expensive. I also noted that the payment is only between 7am-7pm, so will note it for another occasion if I am looking for a spot one evening :-).

But, it made my mind turn to the love affair that is America and the motor car. The cost of driving is one issue–and pumping gas at $3 a gallon is a constant reminder of that–but I tried to minimize it yesterday when I needed to park for a few hours and then get into downtown DC for lunch. I knew that it would be perhaps $12 to park for two hours in a lot, or if I could find a meter, having to pay the 25 cents for 8 minutes (ie, around $3), plus my metro fare. I managed to find some free parking not far from a metro station. I felt that I had won–not the lottery, but the chance to save a little bit, which actually covered my lunch.

But, in the US, we will pay a lot for the use of our cars, and that extends to things like vanity plates. The US is one country that makes a business out of people’s desire to have personalised license plates (see USA Vanity Plates; and you can add your comments to explain why you have chosen a particular plate, which suggests that there should be a Facebook vanity plates group or something, and indeed there is). There’s no point trying to be exhaustive about the many that exist, but I was tickled to see one this morning touting ‘STOP GOP’ rolling along Rock Creek Parkway.

So, I’m still looking for the edge, but in the meantime the things that floated through my head will have to do.

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About The Grasshopper

Professional international economist, recently retired from an international organization. I use blogging as a way of organizing my ideas and thoughts about a range of topics. I was born in Jamaica, and spent many years being educated, living, and working in the UK. I lived in the USA for a few decades, and worked and travelled abroad extensively. My views have a wide international perspective. Father of girls. Also, married to an economist.
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