PATRICK MCVAY

WRITER

My Musings

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Cotwald Man

Cotswald-Road

Have you ever repaired to the Cotswolds? It should come as no surprise to you that I have. People like me – and Taylor Swift – have a affinity for the place, though to be honest I'm embarrassed to admit that until about three months ago I had to guess in which country one would encounter the Cotswolds. England made sense. Or maybe an island protectorate of England in the middle of the ocean that I'd never heard of.

But where, exactly, does one find a Cotswold, and how many Cotswold units make up the greater Cotswolds?

The people who run the world want you to think of the Cotswalds as a region in the southwest part of England populated with quaint, little villages made of the local limestone. Ha! It is much more accurate to describe the Coltswolds as a harrowing network of narrow, one-lane, two-way country roads meant to test your driving meddle. Here is where you bring your family to experience the thrill of not knowing if they will be involved in a crash of the vacation rental car that you declined insurance on. And yet they are so jovial about it, laughing from the back seat as you peer around corners trying to move the car along to your destination without ramming it into a car coming in the other direction. Which would be easy! There is only room for one car on these roads, so when two come upon each other, one or both must pull off the road. Simple enough, except there is nowhere to pull off, what with eight-foot-high hedges trimmed within inches of the paved roadway such that they nick the car's sideview mirror regularly.

I don't know what it's like to be ferried around little English towns by a driver who's spent 44 years driving on the right side of the road and now must drive on the wrong side, but my kids do. When we rented our car at London's Gatwick Airport, we made the decision to have only one driver, and for better or worse that was going to be me. My aging brain was now supposed to sort out how to do everything in a car backwards?

So much more to say, but I haven't posted anything for – what – months? Getting this out there so people like Huatsu know that I'm still alive, and so Richard can see that I visited his home country. 

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Advice To A Young Motorist

Arriving at a red light two days ago on my trusty Surly Straggler, a scene began to unfold that was not unlike one I have witnessed a hundred times before. I am in a painted bike lane with motorists on my right and left. The light for the motorists in the right lane changes to green, and the second car in line doesn't move. I figure this guy is staring at his phone.

I tend to give the texter or internet browsing person a heads up that the light has changed by waving them onward. "Go forth, young texter." But this gentleman (I don't know him; is he really gentle?) is not staring at his phone and seems to know that he has a green light. Still, he doesn't move.

A cacophony of car horns; hollering; curse words abound. Still, he doesn't budge. I realize that he is in the wrong lane, wishing to go left, not right, so I direct him to move forward and sneak ahead of the cars to my left so that the angry motorists behind him have an avenue and a chance to move on with their lives. "Go there!" I say, pointing. "Go there!" He rolls down his window and says something like "Don't tell me what to do."

By this point the people behind him, starting at a green light but stuck behind what is either a person asleep or a disabled vehicle, are exasperated and start to issue their nastiest invectives.

He finally moves ahead as I had directed him, and as the car behind him finally is able to move the driver hollers angrily, "Get the fuck out of the way!"

There was another cyclist with me, and I said to him, "I was just offering him advice."

The cyclist turn and said, "So was that driver behind him." 

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Stop Driving While Texting!

One thing that drives me nuts is when people are texting just fine and then, suddenly, they decide to pull out their car. It's like, wait a minute! You're texting. Don't you think you should be more focused?

No one will feel worse than you if you hurt someone because you weren't focused on your texting. It may seem like you're safe and in control, but all it takes is a split second of turning your attention to steering and braking for autocorrect to change your message from "I love u" to "I loathe u." And because you continue to be distracted by driving, you don't even realize that you've done this, wounding your friend or your mom or that person you've been admiring on Tinder. 

It can wait. You can drive when you're done texting. 


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Daily Haiku

 

Cats oft’ void their guts.

They cough out fur balls. They puke.  

We tread carefully.  

 

College Tuition

We dig ourselves a deep hole

Need a second job.

 

Now that I’m sixty

People think I’m a wise man

Probably, I’m not

 

I’m in my Fifties

But tomorrow I’m Sixty

Will need a sports car

 

My PCP Says

“Keep doin’ what yer doin’”

Prob’ly I should not

 

It’s St. Patrick’s Day

We eat beef that has been corned

Whatever that means

 

Robots and A.I.

I will make use of these soon

To do my taxes

 

Strange Oscar night end

Pacino failed to mention

Best pic nominees

 

Who’s this Katie Britt?

Scary. Wierd. We could have used

A Trigger Warning

 

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