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.

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.

It’s Commencement Week at many colleges and Universities. Tens of thousands of young people will be launched into a new life and let’s not forget, a few people who are not so young. There may be as many as two million students over thirty in higher education right now, and some are even older. Last year a remarkable woman, Ingeborg Rapoport finally got to defend her doctoral thesis at the University of Hamburg, at the age of a hundred and two.

Since the dawn of history people have performed rituals of cleansing and purification involving water. Just about every religion has some form of ceremonial immersion.The ancient Romans had their grand public baths, and regarded dirt as a mark of barbarism.And here in America we have the car wash.

I am old enough to remember when suburban husbands were expected and required to spend every summer Saturday morning in the driveway, washing their sacred vehicles by hand with sponge and detergent, and finishing off with a hose and leather.

Last week our local library organized an electronic equipment recycling day. We had been anticipating this. Dead pieces of electronic equipment had been cluttering up our closets for years. So we brought some computers that had suffered a terminal crash, or that had simply been made obsolete by cunning software updates. They looked forlorn and slightly sinister in the light of day, and I wondered whether they could be brought back to life. Or might they come back to life by themselves? What personal history and forgotten secrets might I be throwing away? So I pulled out the hard drives.