Hot Air: She’s A Grand Old Flag

The Loved One and I took our usual Sunday drive yesterday. We travel the curvy, hilly back roads of southern Indiana. We get a kick out of seeing cows and steers, horses, goats, and turkey vultures. Sometimes chipmunks race across the road in front of us, scaring the poo out of us.

See, we’re the type of people who get scared that we might do harm to another critter; as opposed to people who live in dread fear that something might happen to them, like this guy…

… who, apparently, is worried another Subway patron will throw a pickle slice at him.

Anyway, another thing we do is point out all the Trump 2020 signs and Confederate flags on people’s properties. All too often, both flags are on display at the same location. Naturally, when we see these flags, we conclude we’d like to have nothing to do with those people.

As I was driving yesterday, it struck me that a lot of these same people run the American flag up their poles. I’ve never been a big flag guy. I grew up in the Vietnam War era when the flag was used as a symbolic cudgel by hawks, implying that we anti-war types didn’t love our country.

Back then, I thought I did love my country. Now, no. And it isn’t just that I dislike America, particularly. I detest jingoism wherever it exists, here or in Norway or Mali. Waving the American flag in front of a home hundreds or even thousands of miles away from the nation’s borders seems a tad overkill. It’s not as if some hapless Canadian motorist will find herself lost on Indiana State Road 150 near Williams not knowing she’s in a foreign land or anything.

You might say, well, these folks are simply celebrating Americanism which, I’m sure, is true. Only the odds are their homeland-ism has so little to do with mine that they and I ought to be from, respectively, Monaco and Cuba.

I concluded yesterday that the displaying of the American flag — alone, even w/o the other two detestable banners — now marks the displayer as someone I’d expend a lot of energy avoiding. It wasn’t, for instance, Obama voters who went around waving the American flag in everybody’s face, although it must be said Obama voters actually, y’know, went out and voted which seems to me the foremost demonstration of love for this holy land. Then again, scads of American flag wavers went out and voted for one Donald J. Trump in 2016. Proving, I suppose, that many Americans love America but hate Americans.

I wonder if there could ever be a time when the gaudy display of the American flag would mark the person as someone I’d like to know and, maybe, share a drink with.

Outta My Way!

The day before yesterday, Saturday, I took my normal breakfast — crunchy PBJ, an apple, a banana, and a 55-gallon drum of coffee — at Paynetown on Lake Monroe. I do my crosswords and then read another chapter of whatever book I’m into at the time. See, I’m a creature of serial habit. Meaning, my habits last only about six months or so and then I get bored of them and start getting into other habits. So these days of COVID Fever fit perfectly into my lifestyle, inasmuch as (it is to be dearly hoped) we’ll be out of lockdown by September and I can start taking breakfast elsewhere.

So, Saturday I did two crosswords and read about Lyndon Johnson stealing the 1948 Texas senatorial election. Then I scouted around for herons, kingbirds, and others with my binocs. After a couple of hours of sitting on the peninsula parking lot that affords a 270-degree vista of the lake, I packed things up and started for home. I drive extremely slowly through the lanes of Paynetown, hoping to see more critters and hoping even more not to squish any chipmunks or squirrels or eastern box turtles rash enough to cross the roadway. My pokiness seems to annoy a lot of people who think the roadways in Paynetown ought to be traversed at at least 83 mph because, hell, we’re in a state park, a gorgeous nature setting, and why wouldn’t you want to get the hell out as quickly as automotive technology will allow?

Usually, I try to time it so I trail other cars, rather than have them tailgate me. Saturday, I did that. There was a car coming from my right and I let it pass even though I had plenty of time to pull out in front of it. Turns out this driver, too, was poky, so it was cool. We both could inch along at 18 mph, looking for deer.

We both turned right at the park general store and then she slowed to a stop. A big gang of geese was moseying across the roadway and she, as I would, let them pass. Only another guy, in a huge pickup truck, came up behind us at some speed. I checked him in the rearview and he looked mightily displeased. For chrissakes, let’s go people! What’s the damned hold up?

The Gang Problem At Paynetown.

He decided he didn’t have the time to wait behind us, probably because he’d just been notified that the United Nations needed his advice on a pressing matter and he had to get home to his red phone. So he swung around and past us and sped straight for the geese.

The fowl scattered as if in a comic strip, flapping and waddling and honking shrilly. If there weren’t feathers flying, there ought to have been. Somehow, some way, no geese were flattened by the big pickup. Mark this one down for dumb luck. The pickup driver sped on ahead, eager to solve that crisis with the Rohingyas in Myanmar.

Just one of those little infuriating episodes that make me wish — for a brief few moments — that this COVID-19 thing will wipe the lot of us off the face of the Earth and let life thrive again without the likes of humanity around.

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