I’ve noticed a lot of those “Your Speed” signs on streets in both Lewiston and Auburn lately. You drive by and if you’re going one MPH or more over the limit, a message will flash: “Slow down!” I’ve been by several of these and I’ve experimented. I’ve noticed that if you’re going the speed limit or slightly slower, the sign won’t flash any message at all. No “Way to go, champ” or “That’s the ticket, son” as a means of encouraging good driving. Although I got behind some really slow driver near the lake in Auburn and the sign flashed the message: “Geesh, you can go a little faster than THAT. Why don’t you just get out and walk if you want to go that slow. I mean, come on. Some people have places to be.” Wait. Now that I think about it, the sign didn’t say that. I did. But I’ll bet the sign was thinking it, too.

Spotted a chubby older guy out on Lisbon Street the other day, no shirt but wearing a long leather trench coat and sneakers. The fellow kept upraising his arms, all slow and dramatic like, as though he were summoning demons or parting a sea. Once his arms were suitably uplifted, the dude would laugh, walk languidly across the street and stand on the sidewalk on the other side to repeat the performance. I didn’t see any demons on Lisbon Street (other than the usual ones) and I checked the Androscoggin River a little farther down. It hadn’t been parted. It’s too bad because I’m always looking for a quicker way to get across to Auburn.

Those “back-to-school” signs are everywhere now, as are whispers of Christmas and all manner of things relating to the seasons that aren’t summer. I could weep and sometimes I do. The back-to-school stuff also gives me this weird urge to go out and get spiffy new chamois shirts, a white cloth WBLM belt and paper bags with which to cover my books, only to scribble “Mark ‘n Becky, TLA” all over them. If you know what that means, damn son. You old.

Talk of the Great Falls Balloon Festival gets me down, as well. I mean, I don’t care if we’re unveiling the world’s biggest Foghorn Leghorn balloon in the world this year, that festival means that summer is almost over and I could weep again. A Foghorn Leghorn balloon WOULD be pretty cool, though. Awesome, that is!

Wow. I’m just a stone cold bummer here today, ain’t I? I’m feeling overwhelmed about a lot of things, I guess. I can’t afford therapy so I went to see my favorite “Your Speed” sign over in Auburn for help. You know what the sign told me. “Slow down,” it said. So wise. So understanding. It’s like the sign can see right into my soul.

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