This is an All Gender Restroom at the UC Irvine Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.
The worst thing about this sign is having to figure out where all these genders are suddenly coming from, and whether I can open the door, safely go inside, and use the bathroom without breaking any laws?
Life has turned complicated.
Why is normal and customary continuously challenged these days?
How do we solve our countries problems if we don’t even know who we are?
An Eagles hit in the early 70’s was titled ” Take it Easy. ”
“Standing on a Corner in Winslow, Arizona” was a lyric that became a real park at the Corner of Kinsley and East 2nd Street in the real town of Winslow.
Winslow isn’t big, just a small town on old Route 66 that is a place to gas up and walk the dog. It only takes ten minutes to pull off I- 40 and find the ” Easy ” corner. This ” place of interest ” has a bench, a few statues, a plaque to memorialize it, and, this early morning, a radiance, the calendar flipped back decades.
This morning, a street crew cleans up, using weed blowers to scoot leaves and papers onto a tarp that will be tossed into the back of a flatbed. They wear lime colored vests and hardhats and give me a quick nod as they go about their business. There are restaurants and curio shops nearby that sell Route 66 memorabilia but ” Closed” signs are up in most of the windows.
Standing on the corner, I watch a You Tube video of ” Taking it Easy. ”
The song and message still sound good.
It sounds like it should be our new National Anthem.
Long term residents, going back to the 1940’s and 50’s, who are still alive, talk in the hospital waiting room about California being a Garden of Eden.
” Down that street, ” one says, “: there were acres and acres of orange trees….. ”
” And grapefruits as big as your head, ” another chips in from his chair as he looks out a huge window on the third floor.
” When we were little, ” a gray haired matron with granny glasses says, almost so quiet you can’t hear her, “my little sister and I would walk to an orchard and buy a bag of lemons for home made lemonade. Our mother made it so sweet…..”
The Garden of Eden has been sold, divided into planned communities with covenants.
There are still berry farms scattered in Los Angeles though, operations that take up a few city blocks,not bulldozed by progress and not covered over by cement or asphalt. This strawberry patch is on the street I follow to the University of Irvine Medical Center where Chris is on life support and his mom sleeps in the hospital room at night.
I imagine a little Japanese man as this farm’s owner and operator, who opens early and closes late, who uses a hoe to keep furrows clear of weeds, who carefully carries boxes of strawberries out to SUV’s for domestic Goddesses. His grandchildren help him, and,for lunch, he eats rice and fish at the small table back of his stand.
Some people are born to get dirt on their pants, hold soil in the palm of their hand, taste a fresh picked strawberry and let the juice run down their cheeks.
Chris, as of a few hours ago, isn’t exactly alive, or exactly dead.
He is in the gray area.
Flown to the hospital in a helicopter, his soul is walking the top of the fence, struggling to stay balanced, leaning first one way, and then the other.
This strawberry patch is grounding me to the Earth today.
My Dad loved growing and I always loved helping him weed his garden in the early morning, pick tomato worms off the plants and harvest squash.
Even though I didn’t inherit his love of gardening, it calms me to be standing in this strawberry field, watching a friend struggling to stay alive.
When you see clouds turn this color, the sun obscured, visibility shrunk, the odds of it being the ” End of the World ” increase. I expect to witness armed Angels riding down out of the smoke on horses breathing fire, drawn swords ready to take off unrighteous heads and cut out un-repenting hearts.
On my way to California to see Chris in a trauma center,whisked close to death in a car accident, these clouds are brewing in the desert north of Phoenix. They are the color of burning rubbish and are caused by forest fires to the north of Flagstaff.
Ancient man must have seen these same clouds.
They would have said the Gods were angry.
We say a camper was careless with his matches.
Pulled off the road, taking pictures, I preview of the end of our world sometime in the future.
We don’t all get out of this life the same way, but where we go next is a true travel mystery.
Paintings come in all sizes according to the shape of an artist’s vision.
Many artists begin painting using small pre-stretched canvases you can buy at Hobby Lobby, then matriculate to larger sizes,then begin stretching their own canvas over manufactured frames, gesso the canvas, and paint up a storm with brushes, knives, sponges, cloths, and anything else that grabs their fancy.
When one makes big art, issues come knocking.
Are walls big enough to display the compositions?
Should you put an inexpensive frame on a work you have spent hundreds of hours to complete?
Where do you store works when they outgrow your studio?
Do you have a vehicle big enough to move them?
Protecting these works is a welcome duty, finding homes for them is a calling, having them near is comforting.
Mom’s leave us with a lot more than their paintings.
Crazy glued to the dashboard, these critters listen to talk radio.
They are also familiar with Top Fifty tunes, political lies, opinions, advertisements, trivia, propaganda, ” Fake News” and World News. Some of these critters seem like animals we should have as friends, others look like aliens come to take over Earth and send us to salt mines worse than the ones we are already working.
Hollywood cranks out critters each year, as fast as screenwriters and makeup crews can design them. Our television and movie oeuvre is full of ” out of this world ” characters invading Earth, demons terrorizing children from dark places, galactic battles, romantic meetings between vampires and humans.
These guys and gals seem approachable. They have little tails, pointed ears ,protruding snouts, cute penetrating eyes. They have red and white stripes and dots, camouflage that is useless in our drab urban world.
Glued in place, they have their best conversations when their driver has locked his car and and gone to pick up a pack of cigarettes , a six pack of beer, and lucky condoms.
Tilting my ear just so, their people jokes make me laugh.
They have a point of view that heats up as the temperature inside the car reaches 120 degrees F.
The thing interesting me the most is the mental stability of the human who glued them to this dash.
If sticking plastic critters on your dash was a sane idea you would see it more often.
The Sandia Mountains are pink at dusk. The setting western sun turns them the color of watermelons, for which they were named by indigenous Indians thousands of years ago.
Sandia’s peaks were thrust up in the last ten million years during the formation of the Rio Grande Rift and they form Albuquerque’s city limits on its east side. The rock core of this range consists of granite, approximately 1.5 billion years.
Sandia Cave, an archeological site discovered in the 1930’s, shows evidence of human use from 9000 to 11,000 years ago. Those people would never have been able to dream of a tram ride from their front door to the mesas below where they hunted.
We took the tram up today and Joan waves at me from a platform at the top of the watermelon mountain.
When people visit Albuquerque, there are sights to see, things to do.
She is a good traveler.
Her feet are on the ground even if we are two miles into the sky.
Snakes don’t have fingers, toes, arms, or legs. They are coldblooded and need sun to get stirring. Cultures throughout human history have worshiped them, reviled them, and eaten them.
For photography and curiosity reasons, Joan, visiting from Boston, has pinpointed snakes as things to see and do in Albuquerque.
The Albuquerque Rattlesnake Museum is reviewed on Trip Adviser, open for those tired of New Mexican chili, curios, Navajo pottery, white church spires looking down on a park gazebo,adobe architecture, private residences with signs warning “Trespassers Beware.”
These snakes are behind glass. They represent more than one species and are hidden before our eyes in their captivity, the same colors as the leaves, rocks, sand that surround them. They are not loquacious creatures and use simple rattles to warn us away.
Snakes don’t win popularity contests, but, this morning, they are strangely beautiful, quiet, pensive in their captivity.
Snakes don’t hold a candle to human scheming but, this morning, they are oddly photogenic.
Route 66 is the most famous United States highway that joined others to became the U.S. Interstate Highway system that linked our 50 states, made remote places accessible, let restless spirits roam to where they belonged, spawned a history of music, posters, legends and stories.
From November 26, 1926 until June 26, 1985 the 2,448 miles of highway joined Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico,Arizona and California. It started in Chicago and ended in Los Angeles and brought millions of people to the Pacific Ocean, the end of the line for souls tired of the Depression, the Crash of Wall Street, the Dust Bowl, World War One, World War 2., conformity and financial ruin. California sparkled in their eyes like the gold in its rivers and mountains.
Roads have notoriety in human history. The Romans built roads to link their empire. Jesus rode a donkey on a dirt road into Jerusalem. The Oregon Trail opened the West to city slickers looking for a better life.
If Route 66 kept going, across the Pacific to the Orient, I would put my bicycle on it and pedal all the way till everyone I met spoke a different language.
Roads that take us to new places are hard to say no too.
The saying used to be ” An apple a day keeps the Doctor Away. ”
In 2017, there were 27,339 Starbucks stores globally.
Back in World War 2, coffee kept pilots awake on long flights to targeted cities, helped wives and girlfriends who watched the postman walk up to the front door with fear. On Route 66, coffee was served in diners for five cents a cup to wash down blue plate specials, chicken fried steak with mixed vegetables, potato’s and gravy. Coffee was a working man’s drink.
At a recent European Cardiac Society Congress,however, coffee was recognized as having significant positive correlations with keeping coffee drinkers alive. According to their most recent scientific study, older people drinking two cups a day of Joe had a thirty percent reduction in mortality rates. Coffee was discovered to lower one’s risk for Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, liver disease and Parkinson’s.
This sign, says, with certainty, that ” three cups a day keeps the Doctor away.
With Doctor’s track records, mortality should be on every patient’s mind.
If drinking coffee made us young again, Starbucks would triple in size overnight.