The human-animal connection is unlike any other. We understand and interact with our pets at varied levels. On my little chart, dogs are the highest-interacting animals. Dogs also seem to have the ability to experience greater depths and heights of emotion than any other animal.
No one would argue with the idea that goldfish are the least interactive of any pets. (I have yet to hear of anyone making a pet out of a snail.)
I’m a cat lover. Generally, cats can be as smart as dogs. But cats certainly care less about humans than most dogs do. Or at least cats love to give the impression of not caring that a human is around. “What? Oh, sorry, I didn’t see you were there.”
And that’s part of the reason I like cats more than dogs. Our cat can survive without my attention.
As soon as you enter its field of perception, a dog will run over to interact with you — run to you and not walk.
But what if I want to be ignored? That’s not part of a dog’s universe.
Our cat, Floof loves us, even when he’s asleep.
During my bicycle ride to work, I pass by a large cemetery with vast green expanses of lawn spread out among scattered memorial benches. (They have a rule against vertical tombstones.)
And they use their own well water to keep the grass a healthy and tranquil green.
But isn’t that water drawn from the same aquifer that surrounding neighborhoods use?
Apparently, when you use your own well water, you can water at the peak of sunshine exposure, when evaporation is at its highest. And you can water however many days a week you like.
Even worse, one neighborhood I ride through irrigates grass along the edges of their roads seven days a week.
The rest of us in suburbia are limited by Denver water authorities to three days a week and no watering between 10 am and 6 pm.
I’m not jealous of this extravagant use of water. But I find it interesting that these rules apply to only one set of users.
Life is always like that — one set of rules for one group and another set for another group — unlimited access to resources for one group and very limited access for another group.
You and I need to just accept this and ride on.
That figure is what this Jeep owner paid to have gigantic wheels and tires. He (or she) sits head and shoulders above many of the teeming masses below.
Besides the added financial cost, they pay the price for this privilege in several other ways:
- Reduced fuel economy
- Increased road noise
- Reduced number of off-road trails that can be accessed, due to the massive width
- Reduced top speed
- Increased opportunities to end up head-over-heels, due to a much higher center of gravity
- Greatly reduced visibility out the rear-view mirror
- Inaccurate speed readings from the speedometer
- Scaring drivers that are faint of heart
Is it worth the extra cost? I’m sure the owner thinks so.
My take? Buy a large bumper sticker that expresses your individuality.
My vehicle? No added exterior content. No bumper stickers. (I express my individuality in other ways — like by writing this.)
I need to change my attitudes.
It’s really easy for me to think my way is the best.
Heather and I recently bought a used car to make our lives less complicated. We carefully chose the model that had the very best balance of fun and fuel savings. And we love it.
I also have taken a lot of satisfaction in the thought that this is a car that few people choose. It’s fun to be off the beaten path.
But I tend to look at other cars and attack their lack of practicality or wasteful use of fuel. And then I judge their owners for their shiny, new vehicle-of-choice that does not fit my narrow set of parameters.
So I’m working on changing my attitudes.
“Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves” (from here).
It all started with spilled coffee at a McDonald’s drive-through.*
Well, not really. Our American tendency to sue for everything probably started long before that.
How many people would buy a CD and give the thin plastic wrapper to their baby and say, “Play with this wrapper — it will do you no harm”?
Anyone who reads magazines today is used to flipping past pharmaceutical ads that use two full pages of fine print after the actual ad that could be summed up in one simple sentence: “Use of this drug is possibly dangerous, and you should consult with your doctor before using.” The television equivalent is 10 seconds at the end of an ad that are some of that fine print, read at 300 words a minute.
Please, please, America…
Just don’t be stupid.
* That incident happened in 1994. And she won the case.
“Gray accent leather on the doors and the top of the instrument panel is called Porpoise, but, like other hides, it comes from land animals and not sea creatures” — from a Car and Driver article about the Bentley Continental GT V-8 S.
Why is it that the thought of someone killing porpoises for our use is more repellant than the thought of someone killing cows for our use?
When I was a kid, Flipper was a TV show about a friendly sea creature that came to the rescue of different people every week. Think Lassie in the sea.
I don’t know of any TV shows about friendly cows.
The quote about Bentley’s choice of an upholstery name made me think of the whole veganism culture and philosophies — one end of the animal rights spectrum. Porpoise killers might be the other end of the spectrum.
And then I thought of my friend who is a cattle rancher in Oklahoma. She loves her cows more than just about anybody I know. And yet she sells them to be slaughtered.
I don’t know how to reconcile all these things.
- The photo is courtesy of the Bentley website and is used without permission.
- If there are any modern TV shows starring animals, I wouldn’t know them, since I watch very little mainstream TV.
I love freedom. But when freedom costs me something that could be easily avoided, I pause.
For people living in the US, depending on your state, you can ride a motorcycle with out a helmet. It’s super enjoyable to zoom along with the wind in your hair.
But then that driver doesn’t see you, he turns into your lane — and your dreams of motorcycling disappear into years of surgeries, physical therapy and pain.
This is not theoretical — a good friend of mine experienced that. And he was wearing a helmet.
So here’s the selfish part of the equation… when the helmet-less rider ends up in the hospital with years of medical appointments ahead, it costs me. My insurance premiums rise.
The same holds true for bicycle riding.
I have to admit that I am not super rigid on that — sometimes when I go for a quick ride to the corner store on my (slow) mountain bike, I don’t put on a helmet. And yes, I know that most accidents happen closest to home.
So I leave it up to you where you draw the line between your freedom and your responsibility to society.
The photo is Creative Commons licensed by Sara y Tzunki (Cecilia e Francesco) and was taken in Phnom Penh.