The other day I went for walk at the Toronto Botanical Gardens. Even though the trees were bare of leaves and there was snow on ground, it was still a place of great beauty.
I noticed something strange, however, about the other visitors to the park. I must have passed at least a dozen other people as I walked the winding trail down the ravine to the river, but they were all standing stock-still.
Had I wandered onto a set for some science-fiction movie, in which aliens freeze people in place in advance of taking over the planet? Or had all these people been suddenly afflicted with a disease that left them immobilized?
No, the reason they were standing as motionless as statues was because they were all staring down at their smartphones.
As a follow-up to last week’s post, “Life Lessons from Driving in Snow,” I thought I’d continue on the topic of driving and give you the best driving tip I’ve ever heard.
I learned this valuable piece of advice from watching the TV programme, “Canada’s Worst Driver.” There are various iterations of this show around the globe: perhaps your country has something similar. These “worst driver” shows are often hilarious but are also educational. You can learn a lot about how not to drive from atrocious drivers.
Before I present the best driving tip of all, here are some memorable examples of appalling driving as reported by driving instructors:
Do you live in an area with a snowy climate? Then you’ll know the sheer joy of trying to drive during a heavy snowstorm.
The snowplow hasn’t come by yet, so for starters no one can see the lane markers. Cars start to slip and slide into the wrong lane. Drivers become less able to stop their vehicles in time at red lights, or to get up large hills. Cars might be stuck at the side of the road, wheels spinning fruitlessly. The number of car accidents skyrockets, and everyone is late for work.
It’s delightful, isn’t it?
But there are a few tricks to driving in snow, and they also apply to navigating through the difficulties of life.
Last summer, I had an unusual visitor. A lady I didn’t recognize came to my front door and rang the doorbell. I’d never seen her before, but she was clearly from the neighbourhood, as she had come on foot.
She said she had come to apologize to me.
I was mystified. This lady was a total stranger: why would she need to apologize to me?
The Taj Mahal, in Agra, India, is considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful buildings, and rightly so. Built from white marble, it was commissioned in 1631 by Shah Jahan as a memorial to his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died that year giving birth to their fourteenth child.
For many in India and around the world, the Taj Mahal is an iconic symbol of love. Every stone and jewel used in its construction speaks of the tremendous affection the Shah had for his wife, and his grief at her passing. To many people, the Taj Mahal is the embodiment of love.
Do you enjoy collecting things? Many of us do. Perhaps you collect stamps, vintage baseball cards, Barbie dolls, movie memorabilia, autographs or folk art.
Or maybe your hoard is a little more esoteric. You might specialize in collecting Cracker Jack prizes, Coca-Cola ads, thimbles, snow globes, or vintage fountain pens. These interests may be a bit more off the beaten path, but still within the realms of normal.
But it’s possible that your collection veers into the truly strange and oddball, like the following:
If you’re familiar with the stock market, you probably know what a “stop-loss” is. It’s an order whereby your shares are automatically sold if their value drops to a predetermined level. This prevents your losses from becoming even greater if share prices drop further.
It’s a handy tool to set in place when trading on the stock market. It locks in your profits or limits your losses in a down market, and helps preclude financial catastrophe.
But don’t you wish we had a “stop-loss” for real-life problems?
Do you have a collection of old family recipes or cookbooks? Many of us are fortunate enough to have such treasures, lovingly passed down to us. They’re worth hanging on to.
The recipes might be contained in a cookbook, or written down on index cards and filed in a plastic or wooden box. They may be handwritten and neatly organized in a binder, or simply clipped from the newspaper and stuffed haphazardly into the pages of an old cookbook.
But no matter how the recipes are filed, there’s an easy way to tell which ones are the best: