Geography is a state of mind

I’d just like to make some key clarifications from potentially space-y postings from yesterday.

I want to be clear that it’s every bit as important to be a safe defensive driver as safe defensive walker. While drivers sometimes receive an unfair amount of criticism, it’s every bit as important for pedestrians and bicyclists to follow road signs and obey the appropriate laws. This morning a bicyclist would have been hit if a driver hadn’t been proactive. He was standing on his bike next to me at a crosswalk. He watched the traffic from the right side, but didn’t even bother to check the traffic from the left side. When the traffic on the right side cleared, he bolted out, unaware that a car was driving at a safe speed approaching him from the left. The driver wisely tapped his brake and the young man stuttered to get his bike gears in motion. Busted! And he knew it too. The only time an experienced bicyclist struggles to get the gears going is when they face a terrifying situation. He knew he was wrong and was terrified. It’s important for bicyclists and pedestrians to watch the traffic signals and please: just wait until you get the sign. It’s really not worth getting hurt to try and save a few minutes by crossing prematurely.

The other clarification is some wisdom my father has shared with me and that relates to the title of this blog post. In the end, location is what you make of it. My father has traveled to five continents and a countless number of countries, so he speaks from experience. If you are determined to hate a place, you will probably hate it. However, if you go to place and try to find the positive, you will make the most of your experience in a place. I wanted to be clear that while the driving in Tuscaloosa seems crazy to me, there are a lot of things I like about this town. For instance, I was just talking the other day about how awesome it is that we have TWO sushi restaurants here. In the same way, it would be easy to complain about the constant rain in Portland but there’s never a dull moment there. San Francisco is one of the most expensive places to live in America, but the cultural events offered there are first-rate. I think my father was right in that if you look at where you live as an opportunity instead of a burden, you’ll be a lot happier in the end.


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