Have you noticed that more and more, if you're talking to a branch of government, that the person representing said governmental entity on the telephonic connection is next to impossible to understand? You know that they obviously think they have a working command of the English language because they speak their version without hesitation, stammering, or pause, and at a rate that charitably can be described as gibberish. Be it Ebonics or pigLatino it's gibberish. . . . . . . . but, - - - - - - it is politically correct to have them answering the phone!
Recently, while at the main VA clinic in my area, I found myself at a counter being helped by a clerk who was at one time an "island girl". Her accent had stuck with her on the journey from the mystery island. She was in charge of a very large computer screen and sat hunched over its attendant keyboard much like a concert pianist about to pounce on some Wagner! Sitting next to her was an attractive older Hispanic woman whose English rivaled scratching on a chalk board! She sat perfectly erect and fielded all latin questions with the utmost of dexterity. When not administering in Espanol she looked about the room nervously as if she would miss some hapless prey attempting an escape. From moment to moment the "island girl" would say something in a whisper to the Hispanic harpy and turn her flat screen sideways so that the Spanish woman could read it by leaning over - almost falling from her secretarial chair. She in turn would translate what the computer screen said and relate same to the "island girl" who would in turn tell someone on the phone the answer to their question. I found this to be quite democratic. Someone who could not read English being aided by someone who could not speak it! Our meager tax dollars at work! And how wonderful that between the two of them they probably make in excess of $100,000 a year!
That's certainly fair, Mr. President.
A few years back I was the master/manager of a small paddlewheel passenger boat called the Island Lady. We ran day cruises on the weekend and sunset cruises every evening. When we first started these excursions it was a regular event to announce the courtship of dolphins over the PA system and have everyone on board, it seemed, rush frantically forward for a view of the cavorting "flippers" as they swam along in the bow wake, surfing just a few feet from the front rail.
Dolphin are coy, clever creatures and just as quickly as they appeared they would lose interest and drop away from the boat. The pilot house of the Island Lady was fifteen feet above the water and on the front of the second deck. A marvelous view of both the surrounding water and the passengers below. Because many folks never got to experience these interludes with nature, we soon quit announcing the porpoise sightings and simply left that discovery to the passengers who were enjoying the view in the first place. Strangely, fewer complaints were registered at cruise end and more people commented about how delightful the dolphin encounters had been.
The lesson here, if there is one, seems to be that people will stampede to see or do something at the slightest prompting and because others in the mob are headed in that direction. The end result however, is that there is only so much room at the front of the boat and that those who care about chance encounters and nature's bounty will obviously see it anyway. Plus, they shouldn't have to risk being crushed in the process!
A view from the front isn't always revealing but it does increase your chances if you're so inclined. You can get your front row seat on the beach at sunrise or on the Gulf at sunset in search of the "Green Flash". A walk on the grassy levees of old muck farms may reveal all kinds of creatures and birds or nothing more than the uncluttered vision of water, plant life, and the blue dome of universe overhead. A midday sojourn in an old growth hammock can transport you to some very reverent, thoughtful meanderings simply by its cool respite and uncanny quiet.
I suppose a view from the front isn't about getting on board first or making advance reservations - it's about perspective and attitude.