In March I sliced about my outrage at the persistence of coarse language in our society today. Well…
My writing partner Lynne and I attended the MRA Conference in Quincy, MA last week. I enjoyed it very much. From Irene Fountas to Jack Gantos to Chris Tovani, I learned, I mingled, I met new people, I reconnected with old friends and acquaintances. At dinner one evening, I met a woman who, it turns out, had spent summers in my home town in Northeastern, PA. She said, “You’ve probably never heard of it. It’s so small.” We were both surprised that I not only heard of it, it was my home for the first 18 years of my life.
It was a great conference.
I had driven from Southeastern Pennsylvania to the conference in Massachusetts. Lynne and I presented on Friday, and left the hotel at 3:00 p.m. for the ride home. What were we thinking? Why didn’t we stay and leave on Saturday morning? Why didn’t we have dinner and leave later in the evening? Well, we did not. Instead, with all the optimism of the unwashed, we hit the road. Things were fine at first. Aren’t they always “fine at first”? Then, I made the first of many mistakes: I entered I-95 South. Instead of the route taking me across the Tappen Zee, I was on route to the George Washington Bridge. “Oh, well,” we thought, “how bad can it be?”
I had my GPS going, and Lynne had her Google Maps App also giving directions. Siri said, “There is a 2-hour delay ahead. Would you like a faster route?” Would we! Why ask? Thus began the battle of the GPS’s. As I followed Siri, my GPS recalculated. By this time it was raining just enough for poor visibility but not enough for the crazy drivers who will tailgate and pass on the left or the right no matter the conditions.
As we approached NY City, the GPS’s began battling. I followed Siri into the city, where the lane to turn left was blocked by a city vehicle surrounded by police cars. I turned left at the next spot and made a U-turn, which was incorrect. I started following my GPS then. Back to the fray and the beginning of my use of much coarse language. There was traffic — Surprise! There was construction — Shock! There were lane blockages — Amazing! There were drivers who wouldn’t let me merge — Astonishing! You don’t want to hear the epithets I shouted.
However, in my defense, there were no children present.
So, I confess that I am no stranger to coarse language. Forgive me.