David Bouchier

David Bouchier’s weekly essays are full of unexpected observations and whimsical opinions. Listeners will relish his entertaining, enlightening, and sometimes exasperated commentaries on the routines that carry us through the year, the surreal rituals of politics, the unsettling experience of foreign travel, and the confusions and comedies of everyday suburban life.

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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