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Saturday, December 17, 2011

driving pet peeve number 328: aggressive courtesy



Like most people, I find the holiday season one of such mixed feelings. On the one hand there's the season of love and giving and Santa and of course the baby bejeebus (credit, Hokgardner), all combining to bring out our kindest selves.

On the other hand there is Christmas shopping and navigating a crowded parking lot.  This recent spate of frantic beat-the-rush browsing has brought to the fore one of my driving pet peeves:  Aggressive courtesy.

Or is that, courteous aggression?

Not sure.  I'll let you decide.

Yesterday was the latest and a typical example.  I'm in my car wanting to make a left into a parking lane.  There is an oncoming black truck with darkish windows.  It's drizzlingand his windshield is foggy.  With my blinker on, I'm waiting for him to pass by me, but he's not moving, he's ... what?  Waiting for me to cross in front of him?  Then I see movement through the windshield. I believe he is signaling to let me pass.  Not quite sure so I sit.  I don't want to take the risk, I can't really see for sure and anyway, he has the right of way.  If our fenders crunch insurance is gonna make me pay.  So I wave him on.

But now he waves harder.  Oh I see, another man driver insisting on playing the gentleman.  But I wave him on, thanks but no thanks.  He proceeds, gunning it.  And now he drives by me, waving his hand in a display of disgust, hand turned toward his face, jerking upwards, looking down at me, shaking his head, scowl on his face, as if to say... what?  How dare I not take advantage of his seemingly courteous gesture?  Even though doing would require that I trust a complete stranger, in the rain, in a monster truck the color of evil?

I have a hard time shaking off these exchanges.  They always involve a man and he is usually alone, often at 4-way stops.  It seems as if these courteously aggressive drivers insist on asserting some sort of power or, why else the angry gesturing when I don't comply?  Does a generous offering in a vehicle by a man (some men) demand the woman assent?  Because this you go... no, you go exhange happens with women drivers, too, but it never ends with them proverbially flipping me off with an angry wave.  So I don't get it.  I am left assuming it is some kind of chauvanistic ritual left over from the not-so-long-ago era we now know as Mad Men.



I used to wonder how the show got its name.  Now I'm pretty sure I know.

*Yes, we in the land of worst-drought-in-history (yes, I blogged about it, here and taken pictures of it, here) have been getting rain.  Several days of it.  Ground is soaked.  Thank you, thank you, thank you Mother Nature!

Friday, December 09, 2011

a little bit of texas (no football, promise)

Sam and I spent our 20th anniversary in San Antonio.  Some random pictorial highlights:


First things first.  Thanks to Karen for her restaurant suggestion.  Homemade hot sauce with roasted .. peppers or tomatoes, or both... was superb.  Cheese enchiladas... perfecto.  Margarita... excellentay: Sweetly sour, salt around the rim and stout.

A word about the corn tortillas.  When it comes to restaurant tortillas, Sam always orders corn and I order flour.  I don't especially like cornmeal unless comes wrapped in a tamale.  But here?  When I reached into the tortilla holder, I grabbed the flour tortilla on top.  Halfway into my soft taco Sam noticed I was eating one of his corn tortillas.  Thin and mashed very fine, I didn't taste the difference (the stout margarita might have had something to do with it).





I had an instant feeling of love in the women's room.  Lots of great prints by Mexican artists here and throughout the restaurant.


Sautillo tile floor in the bathroom, plastic slipcover on the couch.


In the ladies room stall.  Way to make a woman feel, well, like a woman.  I want this print in my home bathroom.



Because I've never taken a picture of myself in a mirror.  Good a place as any.


Husband Sam used to visit his grandmother in this house, King William District, back before it was gentrified.  It was a four-plex back then.  She lived in the upper right hand side.


The right sign out front.  I wonder who lives here and has a loved one overseas.


View from E. Guenther St. of the Pioneer flour mill.   Sam could see this tower when he looked out his grandmother's window at night. Used to scare him.



I could look at the King William District architecture all day.  Beautiful front porch made for sipping lemonade. Or margaritas.  



Love the board and batten siding and the standing seam metal roof.  Sam pointed this house out to me, said he thinks someone from New Jersey must live here due to the single candles in each window (my hometown tradition).


Relaxing back in hotel room.  Yes, that's prickly pear cactus juice in the pink drink.  I'm seldom without my prickly.


Holiday lights on the Riverwalk. Arched footbridge in the center of the trees.


Flags atop the Tower Life Building on the Riverwalk.  They've got their priorities straight.


Love the way the tower is lit up at night.


Flowering Spanish Olive tree beside the Alamo.


Fuzzy olives. Security guard said they sell the olives in the gift shop. Wish I had stopped to get some the next day, but then, you can't have your Alamo olives and eat them too.


View of lights as we sat shivering at Waxy O'Connor's eating fish and chips.


In case the night view wasn't clear enough, that's an Aggie flag atop the Tower Life Building.  Owner is a big alum.  One spring break a few years ago my husband and kids went to the Riverwalk.  We were invited to walk up on that octagon balcony at the top. Very cool views of San Antonio.  Can see for hundreds of miles.


Enjoying Texas Sized margaritas at Rita's on the Riverwalk.  Driver, Sam, ordered his Jersey Sized.   That's my high school friend in red and her daughter who were in town for a wedding.  Tempting picture of the margarita taken by Middle Age Mom, here.

Hope you enjoyed my motley crue photos of San Antonio.  I didn't take too many because it was (1) cold and (2) my anniversary (better things to do).