In which Aviatrix is frightened by shock absorbers and by a medium pizza
The next day I explore my new environment. The hotel is on a busy boulevard with a high school just down the block and across the street. There's also a restaurant over there, so I'm crossing the road to see if it is anything I want for dinner. There's no sidewalk, but there's a pedestrian light. The traffic in the lane in front of me stops and while I'm waiting for the opposite left turning traffic to stop so I can cross, one of the cars does something very strange.
It's an orange car, not the old 1970s kind of orange, but a new metallic orange. It's the first car in line at the light and I suddenly notice movement, but it hasn't moved forward or backwards. I'm not immediately sure what movement I have seen, but then it moves again. The back right corner of the car suddenly lowers.
Now when I land an airplane, if I land it gently and it isn't heavily loaded, often the main gear oleos will not compress all the way. The airplane will be slightly jacked up. But when I taxi around a corner, one oleo may suddenly compress, making the airplane lopsided until something similar makes the other one compress, too. I had this in mind as I considered what I saw in the car.
As it stopped at the light, presumably it was abrupt, and its weight shifted forward, uncompressing the rear shock absorbers, making the rear end look lifted. Then perhaps a passenger in the back moved around, compressing first one and then the other rear shock absorber.
Good theory, but it didn't hold up. As I stared at the car, the front end popped up. Then the rear. Then it went down on one side. And down on the other side. The car was dancing. I'm staring open-mouthed at this thing. I'm sure everyone in the car was busting a gut laughing at me. But it was insane. Who would want deliberate control over the shock absorbers? Does it have a use other than astonishing Canadian yokels? It wasn't high enough to work like this comic. What do the controls look like inside the car?
I was so busy staring at the car that I didn't make it all the way across the road at the light, and had to wait on the central divider for another cycle of the traffic lights. A lot of cars were coming out of the high school, and while I was watching them I noticed that they were almost all newer cars, made in the last five years and almost all contained a single teenaged occupant. I did see one schoolbus, too. It wasn't until later that I realized that I had just watched school get out and saw not one single student leave on foot or by bicycle. It's only about 3 km from the centre of town, and there are residential areas within a kilometre. I don't know if this is a discovery about how rich the kids are in town, how lazy they are, or how behind the times I am. Maybe all the kids in Canada drive to school now, too. I do know lots of university students who walk or bike to school, but perhaps my friends are poorer or more active than the norm. It's also possible that the local kids who walk or bike used a multi-use path I didn't know about, in order to avoid the busy street.
The restaurant turned out to be an all-you-can-eat fast food buffet. That's not good value for money for me, and I wasn't feeling anthropological enough to want to watch the people who would go to a place like that, so I crossed back to the hotel and surrendered to pizza. In Texas, it turns out, you just can't get away with eating a little bit. The small pizza cost considerably more than the medium, so I ordered a medium. The guy at the counter couldn't explain the price discrepancy, but did recognize it as illogical.
I'm suspecting that no one in town walks anywhere. More evidence supporting that theory in a later blog entry.