Service of Backwards

August 17th, 2017

Categories: Bicycles, Children, Dogs


Backwards is nothing new to me. I passed economics in college by figuring out the answer and writing the opposite in exams. Long before that, at camp Frog Hollow Farm, we celebrated backwards day.

Hit On for Off

My husband’s printer—an oldie but sturdy–has been acting up. To get it to work I disconnected it from electricity. I was reprimanded by instructions on the little screen when I turned it back on [and it worked again]. The printer told me that I’d turned it off incorrectly and warned me not to unplug the printer from electricity again before first turning it off by hitting ON.

Don’t Walk the Dog

New York is a walker’s city. It’s the best way to get many places quickly as traffic on sidewalks is usually easily negotiated unless you’re passing a Broadway theater when audiences convene or exit or around famous museums on Sunday afternoon. Tourists walk at a slower pace than most New Yorkers while rush hour foot traffic generally moves swiftly.

That said, I can’t get over the number of dogs that are carried in arms and in conveyances when out for “walks.” There are suddenly too many of them to explain it as the graying of the dog population in need of assistance. Exercise is as essential for dogs as it is for people.

“Wrong Way” Signs Ignored by Bicycles

Bicycles are invading the city—racing by on sidewalks now. And bikers pay zero attention to signs on one way avenues informing them that they are going the wrong way [photo top, center taken this week]. To think tax dollars paid for the printing and installation of signs that exclaim the obvious and are ignored! At least one friend was knocked down by a bike that was bucking the tide on a major avenue.

Growing Taste Sensations

A conversation with a 5 year old took a surprising turn. She told me that when she was young, she liked to eat everything but not anymore. There’s a lot she doesn’t care for now, she said. And here I thought people’s tastes expand as they “age.”

Can you share any examples of backwards or counterintuitive behavior that you’ve seen or heard?


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4 Responses to “Service of Backwards”

  1. David Reich Said:

    Are you the new Bill Cunningham… stalking the city taking unposed pix of people?

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I’m giggling! In the day I enjoyed a visual column in W Magazine in which the photographer determined looks that were “in” or “out” though I’d worry he/she would catch me on a bad day and there I would be for all to mock.

    Just today I didn’t find my phone fast enough to catch a fellow zooming by in his bike on the sidewalk.

  3. HB Said:

    There is a doozy of an example of a counter-intuitive movement going on right now in this country. Many of our political leaders seem to rush to judgement to remove, or at least board up, the memorials or statues of past community or national leaders installed a century or more ago just because their beliefs of a time long past offended current conventional thinking.

    Yale University recently stripped the name, “John C. Calhoun,” from one of its first colleges to appease a vocal faction in its community, which did not care, two centuries later, for the illustrious vice president’s and senator’s views on slavery in a time long past. What if someone were to uncover evidence that Jesus Christ possessed slaves, which is entirely possible, would we board up images of Him and His alters in churches?

    This reminds me of the fascists and worse and is quite frightening. Censorship has its place, but we must be vigilant to protect ourselves from its tendency to overreach.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I’ve been sliced to ribbons by one friend on this issue and asked, “Does Germany have statues of Hitler?” by others. “We shouldn’t venerate these people with statues,” they say.

    So many prominent well regarded people in our history had slaves, I responded, noting George Washington and Thomas Jefferson for two. “But they weren’t in the Civil War,” replied one friend. [Huh?]

    I have a scary feeling that a lot of people who want the statues removed –or the names erased from buildings and streets as in New Haven and now NYC–couldn’t tell you much about any of the figures and how they fit in our history.

    Moreover, the people who are most outraged aren’t from the south. And millions in the south who are not racist, would like their historic statues left alone.

    Isn’t this the country that has a long list of reelected mayors who have been incarcerated for selling drugs or for other felonies?

    Where does this erasing of the dark side of our history stop? Will future history books white out any mention of the past which we don’t care to remember? For those who still read in future, they won’t learn the lessons of past mistakes.

    Sadly, some of our politicians are recreating the same angry, contentious atmosphere of this very past. In any case, removing a statue is putting a glass of water on a major infection: It doesn’t address the hatred at hand.

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