Saturday, May 31, 2008


Suffering sadness, Sarah stood beside Sally’s sedan, slid sideways. The slick snowy streets were sown insufferably with slices of the senseless suicide. Sarah saw Sally’s sleeveless sweater settled stiffly on the silvery icy surface.
She said to sister Samantha, “So sad. Sally’s son Steve saved for six summers so Sally could sail the Salton Sea in September of seventy-seven.
Samantha sniffed as she said, “Suicide sucks.”
Sheriff Sol Sydleberg shuffled aside the sisters saying, “Sally certainly selected a superior site. She seemed sure she shouldn’t survive such a smashing.”
“Yes,” Sarah said, “Sally studied seriously. She seldom assumed success. She sincerely sought specifics.”
Samantha sobbed, “So stupid! Someone should have seen Sally’s sorrow!”
Sol Sydleberg shaking his snow-swathed scarf addressed the sisters saying, “Sometimes we seek sunshine, sometimes sorrow. Sorrow was a side of Sally we seldom saw.”
“Shit, Sheriff,” Sarah said, “Easy to say. We should’ve seen it sooner.”
“Should’ve’s seldom save sanity subsequent to suicide.”
“So you say,” Samantha shot hotly.
“Yes, I say,” Sol seethed.
“Screw you,” the sisters shouted simultaneously.

©Kathryn Atkins
May 2008

How Long is a Stoplight?

You’re late leaving for work. You think you’re going to make the light, but the dillweed in front of you slows, hesitates trying to decide, then speeds up at the last minute, leaving you to HAVE TO STOP at the light. Your sphincter tightens, your teeth grit, your mind seethes. Scientific studies show that lights do not, in fact, purposefully change more slowly when people are late, but what, for God’s sake, does science really know?

For the working busy, the inverse relationship of time to get to work and traffic light length is well known and most assuredly documented. In this great example of relativity -- YOUR TIME AT THE STOPLIGHT DRAGS ON INTERMINABLY. Another example: “Time flies when you’re having a good time” Indeed, the concept of time elasticity has been true since the saying was penned, which was right after good times were invented.

Since you are busy, we’ll cut to the chase. There is a cure for stoplight angst. Relativists (not your relatives) have devised a method to make sure that your time at the stoplight flies. How? By having a ready list of things to do while you’re waiting, of course!

Just how long is a stoplight? Long enough to...

1. Put on lipstick
2. Touch up the eye make up
3. Swipe on clear nail polish
4. Read the headlines
5. Fill in 1 down on the crossword
6. Make a To-Do list
7. Find a better radio station
8. Write part of a thank you note
9. Send an e-mail
10. Say a prayer
11. Untangle a personalized license plate
12. Whistle a theme song
13. Check out the person next to you
14. Blow your nose
15. Look for boogers
16. Slather on hand cream
17. Smooth out the cowlicks in your eyebrows
18. Call anyone
19. Plan a party
20. Practice a speech
21. Organize the glove box (may take 2 lights)
22. Add a contact to your address book
23. Snooze
24. Scratch the dried mustard off your tie
25. Solve a problem
26. Take a slurp of coffee
27. Decide to quit . . . anything
28. Pay a bill
29. Pen a short poem
30. Memorize a couple of lines
31. Think up a title
32. Clip off a hang nail
33. Munch a bite of breakfast
34. Read a paragraph in a good book
35. Think a thought.
36. Endorse a check
37. Recite state capitals
38. Jot a reminder post-it
39. Pick your teeth
40. Dig through your briefcase or purse
41. Slosh on sun block
42. Comb your hair
43. See if your shoes match
44. Make a reservation
45. Laugh
46. Count your blessings
47. Cross the stuff you’ve just gotten done off your To-Do list.
48. Try to listen to your heart beating
49. Breathe in deeply. Let it out slowly.
50. Wave at the poor soul behind you who’s honking to get you to move.


© Kathryn Atkins ~ May 2008