Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Disaster billboards

I had to head up north today for work.  It was one of those three hour drives but today I seemed to get behind every slow driver.  I'm not talking about someone who was driving the speed limit in the fast lane of the freeway, I mean people who were driving 35 in a 55 on the country roads.  It was good that I didn't have to actually give my presentation until after lunch.  I really wasn't in a hurry. 

I did my normal of leaving town with a full tank of gas and a couple filled gas cans.  I can make the round trip on one tank of gas.  I don't.  Two hours into the trip I stopped and got fuel.  I completed the trip there and on the way home I filled up again.  I told all at home that I wouldn't be home until about 20:00 so this gave me extra time to explore some side roads on the way home.  I spent about 10 miles on roads that I've never been on.  I was surprised to come upon a town that I'd never been through either.  I thought I'd been everywhere. 

When I got up to my destination I went to the back of the truck (always backing in to the parking space for a quick escape) which was a couple of feet from the side of a building.  I opened up the camper shell and tailgate and got my stuff out.  Then as I walked back to the front of my truck I completely forgot about the railroad tie that was used to delineate the edge of the rock parking area and the beginning of the walkway.  I fell over.  Fortunately there were no witnesses!  At least, if anyone witnessed it they pretended that they didn't.  I tore the knee of my pants and skinned my knee.  At least I was smart enough to drop the things in my hands and catch my fall. I didn't have the large poster board in my hands when I tripped.  I would have been really upset if I messed that up since it was the main visual prop for my presentation to the legislature folks that showed up.  It wasn't until I got home and took my boots off did I realize that I twisted my ankle and it was now twice the size of my other ankle!  Oh well.  I took some ibuprofen and sent an email to my supervisor. 

The weather is supposed to be turning warmer so I spent a lot of time on the way home thinking about what I'm going to do in the yard tomorrow.  In the first three days this week I've put in 33 hours and I'm working Friday and Saturday.  Tomorrow seems like a good day to not work !  Actually, I'll work but for no money.
I like to read the billboards along the way on the freeway.  Some are funny.  Some are stupid and I can't believe that companies actually spend money on them.  I did see one that really caught my eye.  Prepare for Disaster!  Have a bag packed, Have a plan, and a third thing but I drove by and missed it.  I think it was a FEMA billboard, or maybe CalEMA.  It got me to thinking about how that billboard is probably going to be ignored by the thousands of people who drive by each day.

Prepare for Disaster!  People around here don't know what disaster means.  We don't have the devastating tornadoes that are happening in the east.  We don't have hurricanes or earthquakes.  We don't flood.  Fires are in the foothills and mountains.  What disaster was this billboard aiming for with the people driving down Highway 99 in the Great Central Valley?  A house fire?  A drive-by shooting?  Perhaps the disaster is a traveling disaster like a car accident.  The billboard certainly wasn't going to say Prepare for terrorist attack!  Prepare for economic collapse!  Prepare for inflation!  Prepare for roving gangs!

Still, it's good to get the word out.  I think when I go to work on Friday I'll bring up the billboard and see if I can get a conversation started.  Maybe that's what it's there for - to start conversations.

On a side note, Army daughter this morning said she heard gold is going up to record levels.  "That's good, right?", she said.  "That means the economy is doing better and things are doing better."  No, I told her.  It's just the opposite.  Gold goes up when confidence is low and things aren't doing well.  Perhaps I should start my billboard conversations with her.

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