As are the cracks. Six decades ago, early in my ambulatory youth, stepping on a sidewalk crack...would break your grandmother's back. I recall putting this adage to an empirical test. Both grandmothers, then living, suffered no orthopedic ill effects. But sidewalk cracks still capture my full attention.
To an absent-minded, generally preoccupied wheelchair driver, they can be perilous. On one section along Roble Avenue, sidewalk sections tilt so steeply that they pose a collision threat. Is it tree roots? Mysterious seismic forces? Was it something I said?
No matter, this is one place for wheelchairs to slow down. Which, unfortunately, I am not in the habit of doing. Fortunately, I have fitted my wheelchair with LED marine work lights. What are these? Actually, I have no idea. I found them on the web. A high-tech engineer neighbor installed them. And now at night I see Menlo Park's downtown sidewalks under merciless illumination.
Better, or worse, people now see me. My wife can spot my wheelchair a block away. Me, I can see everything...perhaps even the future...under the ethereal blue glare of my LED lamps. And at night, the burgeoning poppies at the sidewalk edge take on a ghostly photo-negative quality. I see or I don't see them. What people make of me, I can only imagine. The advance of my wheelchair probably resembles a Caltrans night crew on the move. Still, there are poppies, my grandmother's back remains unbroken...and I am on a roll.