Keeping Both Hands on the Wheel

I’m no fan of our governor, Paul LePage. I guess most of you knew that. My dislike of our perpetually-angry governor is less about his politics (I find them abhorrent), and more about his lack of evolution as a human being.

I can’t recall if I ever shared my “three personal experiences” with Paul LePage story. Here’s one of them.

Back in the day when I was still rolling up my sleeves and doing yeoman’s duty in Maine’s workforce development community, I tried to reach out to the governor (back before he was the governor). He was at Marden’s and I was hoping the company might step-up and support our efforts to improve the skills of Maine’s workforce at the time by lending something tangible to the WorkReady program I was tasked to shepherd along.

Like he’s done countless times since becoming governor, he attacked me (on the phone), literally ranting and raving like a mad man, accusing me of not returning his phone calls. Actually, this was my first phone call to him on the matter at hand—inquiring about getting some Marden’s management and hiring decision-makers to come out and help with mock interviews. Instead, he continued his tirade, with me attempting to get a word in edgewise. Finally, I’d had enough and I said, “will you just shut up for a minute!” That stopped him in his tracks. Word to the wise, when dealing with a bully, you have to mirror their behavior to get noticed. Continue reading

Pedaling to work

The last time I biked to work, Bush 41 was in the White House. Hillary’s husband, who would come next, was still an obscure governor of a Southern backwater. It was the early 1990s and I was working for a large power company in Brunswick.

From my home in Durham, the ride took just over an hour. Luckily, my employer had a locker room with two showers. I developed a routine of bringing clothes to change into the day before and kept a few other supplies in a locker to dress for work.

Six weeks ago, I accepted a position with a local credit union. They have a branch in Topsham, 12 miles from my house. On my first day, during the tour, I noticed a downstairs locker room and shower. I said to the branch manager, “I’m going to have to bike into work some day.”

Today is finally “bike to work day.” I’m kind of excited. I’ve had to wait ‘til now for a number of reasons, including afternoon and early evening commitments that prevented me from being able to meander back home following work.

I had to do some thinking about it and some pre-planning. A week ago Saturday, I even pre-rode the route, which is a different one than the one I normally take in the car. It’s slightly longer (just over 16 miles). The bike route takes me through Brunswick, a bicycle-friendly community with a designated bike route. In essence, a bike-friendly designation provides a welcoming environment for people on bikes. This is accomplished through providing safe accommodations for bicycling and by encouraging people to bike for transportation and recreation. It allows cyclists an environment that’s safe, comfortable, and convenient for all ages and abilities. Bike-friendly, or not, biking in traffic during rush-to-work time requires vigilance and some experience riding in traffic.

Keeping to the bike route.

Keeping to the bike route.

Continue reading

Prius in a Ditch

I was actually going to write about hipsters, Portland’s food fixation, with a doughnut comparison (the holy kind vs. the German variety) thrown in for good measure—along with a few other things I’ve observed in my travels in and out of Forest City the past two weeks.

The post, which I cobbled together last night felt half-baked. Then, I got called out at 5:15 this morning at my part-time gig and didn’t get home in time to really do the necessary work to reinforce my narrative infrastructure.

Of course, the roads were a bit slippery this morning, as they were when I set out south @ 5:30. I had no trouble navigating them in my Ford Taurus, V-6 engine and all. I attribute this to my studded Nokian Hakkapellitta’s and my experience navigating snow and ice-covered roadways.

Just north of Bradbury Mountain on my return, I saw fire trucks and the boys from Pownal’s FD directing traffic on Route 9. There was a Prius in the ditch. How appropriate.

I managed to make my way through and couldn’t snap a photo without appearing to be a loon. I don’t believe it had a “Feel the Bern” bumper sticker, but I’m not certain.

Prius unable to navigate slippery Route 9.

Prius unable to navigate slippery Route 9.

You’ll have to be okay with my stock photo from the intewebs instead.

Oh, and I’ll be doing some additional work on my hipster post for the future.

Train, train

Amtrak Platform, Freeport, Maine

Amtrak Platform, Freeport, Maine

Today, almost all passenger transportation in the U.S. takes place via automobiles and airplanes. Currently, about 1 percent is by bus and rail, even though both of these are energy efficient options.

Since WWII, the preferred mode of travel has been one person in one car, sometimes referred to by critics of this model as “Happy Motoring.” Many large American cities are notorious for poor public transportation systems and as a result, freeways in and out of most cities are choked with cars idling in traffic during morning and evening rush hours. Continue reading