David Bouchier

Commentator

David began as a print journalist in London and taught at a British university for almost twenty years. After coming to the United States in 1986 he continued to teach and to publish a regular humor column in The New York Times regional edition.  He joined WSHU as a weekly commentator in 1992, becoming host of Sunday Matinee in 1996. His latest book of essays, Peripheral Vision, was published in 2011. His other books include A Few Well Chosen Words, The Song of Suburbia, The Cats and the Water Bottles, The Accidental Immigrant and Writer at Work. He lives in Stony Brook, New York with his wife who is a professor at Stony Brook University, and two un-musical cats.

Our local library, like many others, sponsors courses on Defensive Driving. These are aimed mainly at senior citizens, and it’s true that on today’s roads we need all the defense we can get.  In its simplest and most direct form, Defensive Driving means simply buying a very large SUV, or better still a full-size truck or a military surplus armored vehicle with weapons still attached, and daring anyone to argue. 

 

Summer carries a heavy load of expectations. The local hardware store explodes on to the sidewalk with garden furniture and elaborate outdoor grills. Newspapers and magazines crank out special supplements showing how we're expected to dress and behave for the next three months. According to George Gershwin, in summer time the living should be easy, but this looks like hard work. We must live outdoors, we must dress very strangely, we must pursue energetic "activities," and we must be full of joy.

Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of Treasure Island and a great traveler himself, once remarked that it is better to travel hopefully than to arrive. As a philosophy of life, you can scarcely argue with that, since we all know what happens when we arrive and, as a prophetic description of the tourist experience in the twenty-first century, Stevenson's words hit the mark exactly.

At harbors and marinas all along the Connecticut and Long Island shores, the pleasure boats are being unwrapped from their winter plastic and prepared for the new season. In this way we continue to honor the great New England seafaring tradition. Our ancestors arrived from the old world by ship, a perilous three week voyage in the days of sail, battling contrary winds and terrible storms.

Spring flowers,soft-focus TV commercials, special advertising supplements, and white stretch limousines making wide turns into the catering halls: it all adds up to wedding season. In spite of the enormous social changes of the past fifty years, this one historic ritual still survives.

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