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I’ve already heard people mentioning that we’ve now entered “Hate Month.” Nothing could be further from the truth. I hold that August is truly a time for enmity on Nantucket. Give me a hot day, with a traffic jam on Main Street, Steamboat Wharf, the Rotary/Roundabout, or the Stop & Shop parking lot and you will observe some barely (though not always) repressed, loathing of others.
March is a time for closing ranks, not opening up wounds with neighbors. At present, there are only a couple of months left to us, before seasonal people begin to appear on-island. I appreciate the influx in many ways, though there are limitations to every situation. Traffic and bodies are two of these.
Speaking of traffic and hate, right now is when drivers are at their most charitable to one another. People tend to yield the right of way to other motorists, rather than seeing if they can finesse it, by sneaking out in front of an oncoming vehicle. That’s for warmer weather. Right now that seems further away than it really is. It won’t be long until you’ll look around and ask where did winter disappear to?
For the time being, most of us will be dealing with dirt roads in one fashion or another. Whether you live on a muddy track, visit friends living there, or in other cases, work along one, it’s something to bear up to. Between snow, rain and the in-between stuff, precipitation has wreaked havoc on these narrow thoroughfares.
Having little else to occupy my mind while slowly slogging down the ruts, my mind tends to wander (as it usually does). Most drivers have their own theory as to the most efficacious way to traverse the bumps and puddles. I try to wend my way in a snakelike fashion, trying to avoid the worst changes in altitude between miniature hills and valleys.
There are those people who try to split the difference between ups and downs. When I see tracks that came before me appearing to go through the middle path, I mentally shake my head at that notion. Just to be sure, every now and again, I’ll follow suit. It doesn’t take more than a few yards of that before I return to my tried and true. Is my way better? Probably not, but it is my way.
The worst practice I’ve seen (and experienced) are drivers, foot hard on the gas, practicing their mogul skills in a mud-slick, dirty-water ballet. Not only is this uncomfortable on the seat, but it mostly puts money in repair-shop tills as mufflers and shocks are quickly beaten into submission. It’s a faster and rougher way to get to one’s destination. Saving 30 seconds can’t be that important, unless you’re driving an ambulance.
Since driving and roads are on my mind, I’d like to thank the DPW crew that trimmed along the sides of Hummock Pond Road a couple of weeks back. For now, the chopped look on the brush they cut back is raw. In a couple of months when vegetation starts turning green, it’ll be less noticeable. The important point is drivers having a better and longer view of oncoming and merging traffic. For a while, overhanging brush was almost on top of traffic.
I was pleased to hear that the Finance Committee voted in lock step to ask the Board of Selectmen to fund the town’s Human Services Department for another year. The BOS idea to outsource this to a private contractor might be a terrific idea. I don’t know and evidently there are many more folks who feel the same way. For a possible savings of $30,000, we need to be sure, beyond a doubt, that people in need don’t end up suffering for a decision that feels thrust upon us.
At the BOS meeting Wednesday night, the board made a Solomon-like decision, splitting the difference and approving the Human Services Department funding for six additional months. At least there is now sufficient time to sort out this whole situation more rationally. People spoke up and the BOS listened. Well done, everybody!
The Red Sox played an exhibition game against the Boston College squad last night. The Eagles were outgunned 15-0, though some errors on their part might have kept the tally a bit closer. For me, it got my juices flowing. I’m ready for some more baseball!
– Goodman’s Gam appears weekly in this space and regularly in The Inquirer and Mirror