“I do what I please.”

Sometimes others remind us of someone from our past, maybe a family member, friend, or someone who we barely knew.  This woman reminds me of my grandma (Granny Smith). She is 97 years old. My grandma was 94 when she died, and I have to say this woman not only looks amazing, but she is determined and has a spark that I think is lost in our elders. Especially her line: “I do what I please.” Often we are the ones that take that spark away.

I can remember when my brother, sister, and I had to have the conversation with my grandma that we no longer felt comfortable with her driving anymore. She was probably mostly fine, but what scared us the most was her defense mechanisms, they just were not as responsive as they were in her younger age. We feared for others on the road. Either it was because of her slower speeds, or that her car basically drove on its own. You barely had to tap the accelerator. It was a 1977 Chevy Caprice Classic, with less than 60,000 miles, which basically means she drove it about 2500 miles a year, or 48 miles a week. This was in the early 2000’s and her car was over 20 years old – and basically my age. We knew we had to have her stop driving and sell her car. A tough conversation with a woman who was extremely independent and had lived alone for the past 40 years after her husband had died.

This video reminds me how much more we can do to help those that are aging feel like they matter, that they can help others, and that as long as it is not dangerous to themselves or to others, we need to make sure they can continue to live and do the things they are capable of doing. Just remember we are all going to be old someday too, so maybe the Golden Rule needs to be applied in these cases. The video is part of a movement called: “I Like Giving.” Enjoy and be grateful for the elders in your life, the ones that can still boss you around, and those that may not be here, but have left you with memories.

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I heart SH: pedestrians beware

I miss Shanghai. There are definitely parts of it I would never miss, but of the cities I have been to in the past few years, there was something very endearing about it. Last night Chris flew back from Memphis, Tennessee and due to his late night return I decided to be the horrible wife and not make the drive out to the airport to pick him up. While I am always exuberant to see him after he is gone (regardless of how long he is away), I am exhausted that late at night, and it is best to keep me in my pajamas on the couch then driving in the rain. So — he took a cab. Which reminded me of taxi’s in Shanghai.

There is one thing that is the complete opposite in Shanghai than Portland (and many cities in the United States). Pedestrians do not come first. Cars do, and taxis can be aggressive. If you are on foot, beware. Even if you have the right of way at a cross walk, do not trust that it is truly your turn. It was something that I had to constantly remember, as it is so different from the United States. Taxi’s can range from chill and quiet, to loud and maniac drivers. I guess the same could be said for cabbies in New York City. In Shanghai they honk all the time and especially if a pedestrian or cyclist is in their way, and often yell at everyone and everything in their vicinity. (Not that I could understand what they are saying, but you can tell by the tone). The exact moment the stoplight changes from red to green the horn is blaring, not giving anyone a second to be distracted.

While I never saw a single accident, there were quite a few times when I saw near misses. Somehow though they glide through the streets and dodge people and cyclists left and right without any harm done. They have a poise and agility about them. In some ways they make cabbies in New York City look like they are little league in comparison. There must be some unwritten rules for how people drive because somehow (and I could never explain it) it all works out.

Since some foreigners cannot rent cars while visiting China (probably a good thing) they are reliant on public transportation, car services, or taxis to be transported to each destination. Or, as we often did, walk. I cannot imagine if you added drivers from the rest of the world into the mix. What chaos that would be. Now, what it does make me ponder is why the United States lets almost anyone with a driver’s license in the rest of the world rent a car and navigate our roads. Does that make sense? It makes you think. I will say one more thing:

I got nothing on taxi drivers in Shanghai.