They never covered THIS in Driver's Ed

Be careful what you pray for: you just might get it. If you’ve ever been tempted to ask God to give you a sign, be aware that the Deity might take you literally. Does God have a sense of humor? Only if you think having a snowplow-pushed road sign land on some hapless stranger’s car is funny. Or perhaps you have to see the other side of this sign to see the humor:

Is this a sign...

Toppled street signs

Maybe parking in front of the Waban Post Office, even on a Saturday when the one-hour parking restriction isn’t in effect, is never a good idea. During snowplow season, no sign anywhere is safe, so let drivers beware.

After the fire

Normally, what would catch my eye in this photo is the lovely example of a shade tree: a tree’s shadow standing on the end of an otherwise quiet home in the otherwise quiet neighborhood of Waban, Massachusetts. Instead, I notice the boarded-up windows and patched roof: all that remains of a three-alarm fire that gutted this otherwise ordinary home on New Year’s morning. What once was a quiet, orderly home is now an empty shell.

After the fire

Reggie and I pass this house nearly every morning we’re in Newton, and J and I pass it whenever we walk to Starbucks, the Post Office, or the T. There’s something unsettling in seeing a house you pass on an almost daily basis suddenly lifeless and abandoned. The fire apparently started around 9:30am on New Year’s morning, and that’s exactly when Reggie and I typically set out for our morning walk: it was brutally cold on New Year’s Day, so Reggie and I took a shortened walk that didn’t take us down Woodward Street. But before we turned toward home, I heard the sound of sirens and saw a police car blocking the intersection of Woodward and Chestnut Streets: a clear sign that something was awry.

After the crash

On Friday afternoon, the day after the New Year’s fire, a car crashed into the Waban Salon on Beacon Street, a stone’s throw from the now-gutted house on Woodward. The owner of the salon was sitting inside his shop, as hairdressers do, when a car pulling into an angled parking space smashed straight through the window, the driver’s foot having slipped from brake to gas pedal. It was brutally cold on New Year’s Day and icy underfoot the day after: in winter, shoes and brake pedals naturally get slippery. The salon owner, news reports say, was “shaken but not injured,” and who can blame him? Perhaps after years of listening to clients pour out their troubles over haircuts and root touch-ups, he’s grown accustomed to disorder?

Newton is a particularly quiet suburb of Boston, and Waban is a particularly quiet section of Newton, but accidents happen everywhere. We imagine our lives to be orderly: we take care to pay our mortgages, tend our trees, and keep our hair neatly trimmed and coiffed. But disorder threatens always, even at the turn of a New Year, when our resolute wills determine to keep our lives under control once and for all, this time. Left untended, order automatically slips into chaos…but even careful tending is itself no guarantee, the inexorable tug of entropy being far stronger than our best intentions.

This is my belated contribution to last week’s Photo Friday theme, Disorder. With a topic like that, I simply had to procrastinate posting.

Alien eyes

It’s the most unusual set of alien eyes I’ve ever seen, spotted yesterday morning on the side of the post office in Waban, MA. It makes sense that I’d see such an usual example of glowing window reflections now, though, given that end of October is when the oddest aliens appear.

Between the cracks

I’m going to guess this broken-backed bench, located at the heart of Waban Square, hasn’t seen much sitting this summer. A rolling stone gathers no moss, they say, and a broken bench with an unidentified weed sprouting between the cracks probably hasn’t been gathering many tired passersby.

I’m leaving at the crack of dawn tomorrow to drive (with Reggie) to Ohio, where I’ll spend the weekend visiting my family. Although I’m taking my laptop to stay in touch with my online classes via painfully slow dial-up from my parents’ house and wondrously fast and free wifi at the local Panera, I don’t imagine I’ll spend much time blogging from Ohio.

While I’m out of the online loop, I’d encourage you to click over to the Cassandra Pages, where Beth has inspired a lively discussion on the current state of blogging. Beth is my un-official blog-mom since her Cassandra Pages (along with Fred’s Fragments from Floyd) was one of the sites that inspired me to venture into the blogosphere back in December, 2003. All these years later, I’m not exactly sure what I’ve learned about blogs and blogging…but I think Beth is asking all the right questions and providing a warm and welcoming forum (as she always does) for readers to formulate insightful answers. Enjoy, and I’ll see you when I return to New England next week.

Got glasses?

Here’s the latest in my ongoing series of lost and found objects: this time, a pair glasses dropped and then recovered along Beacon Street. Unless, of course, the fences have eyes just as the walls have ears.

Say what?

Due to last month’s defeat of a proposed tax increase here in Newton, all branch libraries are set to close this Friday. This morning outside the Waban branch library, a homemade sign urged passersby to “Save our Waban branch library & our librarians.” Unfortunately, yesterday’s rain muted the water-soluble message, leaving one indelible moral: some colors do run.

All the news that's fit to film?

When Keene flooded in October, 2005, one Boston news station sent a crew that parked its truck right in front of my apartment, a moment of fame I duly blogged. (Footage filmed on my street showing “Teri Adler live in the city of Keene” is still posted in the WBZ-TV video archive.)

Waban T stop

Today I experienced a feeling of deja vu all over again when J and I discovered not one but three Boston news trucks parked at the Waban T stop, presumably there to film the earth-shattering news that D line trains have resumed service today after Wednesday’s fatal crash and that investigators have determined the rear train was going 30mph faster than it should have been at the time of the collision.

I appreciate news crews’ apparent solicitude in following up on this important story…but why exactly is it necessary to have three different networks shooting live footage of an otherwise empty MTBA stop? (On weekends when there isn’t a home Red Sox, Celtics, or Bruins game, the D line is pretty quiet, offering plenty of parking lot space for news trucks but not much news.) Is there really that big a dearth of breaking news in the greater Boston area this weekend?