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What's with everyone on the roads? No one's paying attention! I made "excuses" for everyone during the holiday season, but that's now over. To be honest, it seems like ever since the coronavirus started; people have forgotten how to drive.


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So, why did you make excuses for them during the holidays, but not now?


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Because during the holidays everyone's preoccupied with, well, the holidays. And everything that entails. That's why I call it the "silly season."


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So, you do not think the pandemic has caused people to be distracted?


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Of course, it has. But you'd think they could focus on driving when they're driving.


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So, before the pandemic, did people focus on driving? Or, did they multi-task? Were they also talking on their phones, texting, or some other non-driving activity? My personal favorite is always grooming – whether shaving or putting on mascara while driving.


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Luckily, I've never seen that but you can tell when someone's doing something else as they keep glancing away from the road. And I always find that alarming. It's an accident waiting to happen. I'm surprised there aren't more fender benders.


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Oh, there are plenty. I have had two different people run into the back of my G-wagon.


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I didn't know that! But that vehicle's huge and formidable, so it's not like they can claim they didn't see you. Forget the car, I can only imagine the wrath they faced dealing with you.


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Only the first time. I was driving near the Texas Medical Center and a woman ran into the back of my G-wagon. Luckily, it was more of a rolling stop than a hard hit. I got out of my car ready to read her the riot act, but before I could say anything she broke down into tears. In between sobs, she explained that she had just left the hospital and her husband was seriously ill.


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That's awful. What did you do?


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I was more concerned about whether she was able to drive than the minimal damage to each of our cars, so spent a few minutes talking with her. The point is sometimes people are preoccupied for legitimate reasons … and we have to cut them some slack.


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Absolutely. And what about the second fender bender?


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I had already learned my lesson, so got out of the car and calmly asked him what happened. It was a beautiful day, yet he claimed that he did not see me.


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Well, that wasn't the right answer!


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No kidding. But, since I was starting from a place of calm, I laughed and said, "How could you miss me? Oh, never mind, that was obviously a rhetoric question." And then, traded insurance information.


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Little did that man know how easily he got off. And I'm not talking about the damage to his car …
Rendering by porcorex on iStock


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Based on the "hints" in your Ghosting post, it sounds like your recent "romance" wasn't quite a Lady GaGa "bad romance", but, well, a frustrating one.


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Interesting comparison, as years ago Gaga revealed that she is drawn to bad romances, but is not sure if she goes after them or they find her. Regardless, my "relationship" ended in the dating stage and never really became a romance. Either when I dated him almost 30 years ago, or recently. Although, this time, I thought it had potential.


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I was amazed that you were even willing to "rekindle" the relationship as you're not exactly a believer in "recycling" relationships, as I think you once phrased it. In fact, I thought you were pretty adamant about the concept of not repeating your mistakes.
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Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

It started when Black sent Red a LinkedIn post about Louis Armstrong, asking her to "connect the dots" (one of Black's favorite things to do). Red knew that he was one of the most distinctive and talented jazz musicians in American history, but it was a complete surprise to learn that he had such a strong connection to a Jewish couple that immigrated from Lithuania and that he wore a Star of David for most of his life to honor them. That alone made it a "truth is stranger than fiction" story. The fact it's also a touching story about kindness and love makes this, at least for Red, even better than fiction.

Black, who prefers the pragmatic aspects of Armstrong's unusual journey – from being an impoverished black boy to an extraordinary career as a musician, singer, and composer – and sees it as a story of overcoming barriers, realizing your potential, and finding freedom (and she discloses an interesting connection between Armstrong and Independence Day).

Our July column, "RED & BLACK … The Sound Of Freedom," connects all those dots and is about so much more than surprising facts about Louis Armstrong. It's also about the power of music, inspiration, and hope, not to mention a very different way of looking at freedom.

Want to read other columns? Here's a list.

Everyone laughs and wants to hear the story when I mention that I was recently "ghosted" by someone I had dated. What I find interesting is that ghosting has become so prevalent in today's society (and is not restricted to dating) that there is a term to describe the sudden "disappearance" of someone who wants to avoid all future contact with you.

Going back decades, I know there have been first dates that, at the time, I thought went well. But, after getting the "I'll call you" line … I never did. As a teenager, I can remember anxiously waiting for the phone (a landline tethered to the wall – and yes, I am that old) to ring, not wanting to go out and possibly miss the call. And, being very disappointed by the silence. Now, I cannot even remember who they were.

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