Monthly Archives: April 2018

Potholes and Rough Roads

Amblin’ Alameda

Potholes and Rough Roads

Morton Chalfy

©2018

An Open Letter to the City Administration:

There are many decisions our city fathers and mothers have to make about how to spend the taxes and fees collected by the city in a way that meets the greatest needs and desires of the populace, as well as the demands of those who finance political campaigns.  There is a natural hierarchy to these demands on the treasury with Fire Brigades and Police being always at the top which is as it should be.  Schools and teachers come next, and livable (though not extravagant) wages for our civil servants certainly come along with the other top priorities.

However, and this is a big however, we all ride on the streets of the city.  Most of us do so many times every single day and the streets are the most visible sign of the city administration’s work.  Now I feel safe in Alameda, well protected by our Police and Fire departments, but at the same time when I ride the streets and my teeth rattle in my mouth and my tires receive one damaging blow after another all I can think of is how poor a job the city is doing on repairing and maintaining our roadways.

The usual complaint about potholes and rough roads is the damage they do to every vehicle that passes over them, damage in the form of tire wear and suspension bashing, but I wish to add a more pressing complaint to the physical wear and tear on the vehicles.  My sweetie recently underwent a surgery which left a long scar and requires a long convalescence – the operation, thankfully, was successful – and also requires many follow up trips to various medical facilities.  We also have to continue eating which requires shopping and we occasionally visit our friends and family.  All of these activities require driving the roads of Alameda and I must say we dread every trip these days.

If you have ever had a healing wound upon your body you know that every bump in the road which makes your flesh bounce brings with it multiple visits from Peter Pain.  I have become adept at avoiding the worst roadways (I’m talking about you Encinal Ave.) but there is no way to avoid all the rough roads and potholes.

The difference to a person in pain between a bumpy rough road and a smooth pavement is the difference between agony and no extra hurting.

I beseech you City Fathers and Mothers, repave the worst, elevate the roadbeds in priority.  People are hurting from riding on Alameda’s streets and as traffic worsens the drivers will have nothing to contemplate during gridlock but what a lousy job the administration is doing!

Babies’ Smiles

Amblin’ Alameda

Babies’ Smiles

Morton Chalfy

©2018

It was just after one of those intermittent showers and I was walking across the parking lot at our Health Club.  A few steps ahead of me a young woman was walking and apparently talking into the air, saying “See, there’s a rainbow.  See?”

As I drew abreast of her the infant strapped to her bosom came into view and “crazy woman talking to herself,” immediately morphed into “caring mother teaching her baby about the world,” and my attitude of mind morphed along with it.  The baby, perhaps six months old or so, looked in my direction and in response to my hairy smile flashed a grin of transcendent beauty.  I grinned back at my fullest wattage and she giggled and grinned in response.  My day was made.

It is a quirk of mine that I’d rather be smiled at by a baby than receive a medal.  Babies’ smiles have a power to melt human hearts that is not found in anything else.  Babies’ smiles light up the world and renew one’s flagging faith in the goodness of people.  Babies seem to be born in a pretty good mood and when loved and cared for radiate that mood to all and sundry.  Babies are not born prejudiced against anyone or anything and when even an old and hairy face when smiling brings an answering smile to their face one can feel there is after all hope for the future.

Last night we dined out and a large, extended, ethnically melded family was celebrating a birthday in the restaurant and many young children were present.  One, a boy of about eighteen months, needed the freedom to run around and his parents and uncles and aunts took turns following him to keep him safe.  He ran from one end of the room to the other and then pushed at the door.  Indulgently the adult on duty took him outside and after just a few minutes followed him back in.  The boy took every step on the run and the grin on his face showed the pleasure that gave him.  The grin on my face was for the indulgent adults.

Alameda is fairly full of young families and young children and their presence puts a positive gloss on life in this town.  Our future is in the hands of the young and they deserve our loving care.  The infants grow into teenagers and today’s teens, speaking out and walking out to try to bring some sanity to bear on America’s misguided relationships to AR-15s and their ilk is the most heartening set of events to occur during this dark period.  The battle for America’s soul has been joined and the kids are in the vanguard which makes me feel hopeful for the future.