Life in slow lane comes with risks, rewards


Town Crier/Ginny Prior

YOU’VE HEARD OF life in the fast lane? Well, I’m trying life in the slow lane, as I look for ways to cut the high cost of gas. My inspiration comes from friend Rosie Nysaether (a Realtor for Alain Pinel in Montclair ) who says we can save 54 cents a gallon if we drive 60 mph instead of 70 mph. She picked up the tip from the Sierra Club and passed it along in her newsletter last month.

There is one problem with this theory. I’m afraid I’ll get mowed over as I turtle along on the freeway. Even in the slow lane, I’m getting “the look,” the horn — even the freeway salute. Is it worth the scorn to save $6 a tank? Calculated over time — the answer is obvious. A savings of $300 or more a year can buy a lot of lattes. Better to have the liquid go in my tank, then in that of my car.

SHOPPING ALERT: Here’s food for thought: You may want to avoid peak shopping times at the Montclair Safeway this summer. The upper lot is closed during the market’s conversion to a lifestyle store and parking is at a premium down below. That means no leaving your car in the lot while you run other errands. It just isn’t right. On the flip side, the store will have a new look, come fall, including a soup bar and other gourmet goodies.

E-MAIL BAG: The new head of the Montclair Village Association is responding to an e-mail I ran, recently, about the challenge of parking without meters to mark the spaces. Roger Vickery says with the help of Wlad Wlassowsky from the city’s Public Works Agency, he’s had all the parking spaces painted with “t’s” so motorists will know where to put their cars.

Speaking of parking, reader Mary G. (who doesn’t want her last name printed) has a bone of her own to pick.

“The ‘peeps’ that double park in front of SCORE every night between 5 and 6,” she writes, “are just idling their cars and wasting gas — waiting for their kids.”

She says one evening she even saw someone get out of their car, lock it, and leave it running in the middle of the street for a full 20 minutes. Starbucks, she observes, is another hot spot for rude drivers.

FUNGUS AMONGUS: There’s trouble in storybook land. The old Montclair Library has a mold problem that will need to be addressed sometime soon. The culprit was probably a leaky roof, which has since been replaced, but allowed water in the walls behind hundreds of books. Look for a fix this fall that includes tearing out the custom-made book shelves to get at the problem.

ANIMAL TALES: Just when you thought there were plenty of animals at the Oakland Zoo, hundreds of goats are living just outside the gates, “mowing” the brush during fire season. The four-legged weed wackers seem oblivious to the fact that they’re dining near their wild brethren. I even saw a bird sitting on the back of one goat while he was munching away the other day.

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