Monday, July 18, 2011

Sensory Discernment

  Did today's title peak up your curiosity to want to read on?  I hope so.
Image result for mcdonalds  I was sitting in McDonald's the other day (a common occurrence) and started thinking about the din around me.  My ears were focused on all the many sounds blended together and I thought it would be interesting to see if I could sort them out in my head.  So even though I was munching on my burger and looking straight ahead, my mind was sifting through the various sounds that I was hearing.  To my right, two ladies were heavy into a conversation of gossip (where one of them was doing all the talking).  In front of me was the custodian dragging chairs on the floor while cleaning.  Behind me were the soda machine's solenoids making clicking noises as it releases soft drinks out with a gushing sound.  The sounds on my left were more difficult to pick out as there were more people involved and they were a bit farther away.  I could hear various voices as orders were being taken and orders being prepared along with occasional kitchen sounds of fry machines peeping when ready to yield it's contents; blenders making Flurries; as well as the coffee machinery making it's lattes.  Over my head are the speakers of the music system adding to the mix.
  It is kind of like an audio tapestry when you pick your way through what you hear.  Similar to visually trying to sort through a Where's Waldo? picture or a multi-coloured painting or photo.  I think it would be a real challenge to discern a mixture of tastes or smells or different textures under the finger tips.
  The World is a more interesting place when we experience it in three dimensions instead of two, in colour and not in black and white.  This can be done by simply having full communication with our senses thereby being more aware of what is around us.  This is coming from a guy who sometimes has to be hit over the head to get his attention!

How good is man's life, the mere living! How fit to employ all the heart and the soul and the senses forever in joy! - Robert Browning

Friday, July 8, 2011

Yup, I Was In The Newspaper Business....

Image result for portsmouth herald  The first real job I ever had was as a newspaper carrier in Kittery, Maine, for the Portsmouth Herald.  It was about 1960 which would put me at eleven years old.  It was a regular routine;  my papers were dropped off at the IGA where I would unbundle them and load up my bag.  While I was was waiting for the papers, I would often make purchases in the store for Popsicles, Nik-L-Nips, root beer barrels, comic books or whatever my small budget would allow. 
  On the average, I recollect about thirty customers.  Typically the papers were about twenty pages thick.  So, generally, a little, skinny kid like me could handle the newspapers in a canvas shoulder bag that was almost as big as me.  However, sometimes, the papers had an unusually high number of pages, making for a thick, heavy, newspaper.  That was hard work.
Image result for ice storm  There were two occasions when I remember the newspaper route being particularly grueling.  One Saturday morning, there was an ice storm and EVERYTHING was coated in a layer of ice, particularly the streets.  It wasn't possible to stand upright very easily, never mind trying to walk.  I remember spending much of my time on all fours making deliveries.  The other heart-breaking story follows:
  As a newspaper carrier, we were always encouraged to get new customers.  To that end, we were allowed to give out free samples, which would double the amount of papers I would have to deliver.  Well, one particular day that I chose to take on samples, was the same day that the Portsmouth Herald put out the biggest paper I had ever seen.  The pile of papers waiting for me was staggering.  I turned right around, went home and returned with a wagon to haul them around in.  Maybe I should have organised a newspaper carrier union!
Image result for pierce block portsmouth nh  Every Saturday, I had to pay for my papers.  This was the part of the job I liked, because I would get on the bus in Kittery, pay my ten cents and ride to the 'big city' of downtown Portsmouth.  There I would bring my sack of coins (they must have loved that) and pay up.  After that, I could hang out until the next bus back home.  I always went into Green's Drug Store, right by the bus stop, to indulge in a five-cent Coca-Cola.  They had an old fashioned marble soda fountain counter to sit at.  My Coke would be dispensed from the old style dispenser into a glass and then gently swizzled with a spoon.  I guess that was to insure the syrup was blended.  Little did I know that I would be coming back to Green's fifteen years later to service their ancient NCR cash register! Today, the Green's location is a Starbucks.
  Occasionally, the Portsmouth Herald would take all the carriers to places like a fun park where we spent the day on rides, etc.  They seemed to take pretty good care of their carriers and I had fun and learned to understand how to deal with customers, handle money, etc.
   I think I was a carrier for a year or two and then the route was taken over by my younger step-brothers.  So, no, I never became Editor-In-Chief for the Portsmouth Herald.