In the past I have noted old people who confuse the brake pedal for the gas pedal . . .
. . . then proceed to mow down everything in their path, be it garage doors, brick walls or unlucky human beings. Well, here’s a new wrinkle: A few days ago, another senior had problems with his gas pedal. In this case, however, the old dude was driving a large motorcycle. Seems he and a female passenger were cruising through a deserted industrial park over at Punta Gorda--the kind of ghostly project which was stopped dead in its tracks when the Florida boom went bust several years ago. Anyway, as the motorcycle approached a four-way stop, a vehicle driven by a lady who was actually one of the few people to work at the park also approached the stop. For reasons that will now never be known, the 70-year-old motorcycle driver not only failed to stop but suddenly accelerated through the intersection. Wham! The bike rocketed into the side of the car. The motorcycle riders were blasted straight into outer space, of course, and, as it proved, right out of this world of the living. Unfortunately, the motorcycle struck with such force that the car’s driver was also killed. Other than the irony of three people being killed at an all but abandoned intersection, there is also the weirdness of some panicked fool confusing the brake for the throttle of a motorcycle (having owned and ridden motorcycles, I can state that this would be hard to do). Without knowing full particulars of the accident, I think it is still safe to say that one must have fallen pretty far from the nut wagon to confuse a brake on a motorcycle for the throttle.
Meanwhile, up near Tampa yesterday, an 89-year-old woman drove her car into the local post office—literally. When old Phyllis Slaunwhite reached the parking lot curb--yep , you guessed it--she did what any other senile senior would do, she floored it. The car blasted through the front wall, crashed through the lobby, smashed into the back room scattering two postal workers who were sorting junk mail and fifteen more who were loafing, then slammed into the rear wall where it came to a halt. Although the old lady could have easily killed a dozen people, it must be considered a minor miracle that no one was even scratched in this wild demolition derby. Police are investigating the incident. Just exactly what the cops could possibly investigate was not made clear.
My advice: If you see some really old, addled-looking person pulling up to an intersection or into a parking lot—be they on a motorcycle or in a car—stop what you are doing and SEEK SHELTER IMMEDIATELY!
Gorgeous--I mentioned one or two blogs back the unearthly Banyan Trees down at Naples, Florida. Since writing that piece, I have noticed many of the same species growing on this sandy island. One tree that we do not seem to have on Manasota is the one I consider the most beautiful on earth: The Jacaranda (above). When Michelle initially pointed out these trees to me, my mind almost refused to believe it. The trees appeared three parts floral bouquet and one part oak tree. I never dreamed there was such a thing. I still love the snowy apple trees in spring and the red buds of my native north land, but nothing compares in dazzling beauty and size to the Jacaranda.
Handicap Parking at the Beach! On my morning bike ride I noticed for the first time an abnormal amount of parking slots devoted to those who are supposedly handicapped. Sorry, but anyone who can make it from the busy parking lot, cross this scorching hot beach road full of traffic, then negotiate a hundred yards of soft, shifting sand, whether via wheel chair, walker, cane, or crawling on all fours, whatever, anyone who can do all that and still manage to swim in the surf against rip tides and strong currents is, in my books, certainly no cripple. I looked all over the beach today and saw no one who would qualify as “crippled,” and yet the dozen or so handicap parking slots were full. I rest my case.