David Bouchier


David began as a print journalist in London and taught at a British university for almost twenty years. After coming to the United States in 1986 he continued to teach and to publish a regular humor column in The New York Times regional edition.  He joined WSHU as a weekly commentator in 1992, becoming host of Sunday Matinee in 1996. His latest book of essays, Peripheral Vision, was published in 2011. His other books include A Few Well Chosen Words, The Song of Suburbia, The Cats and the Water Bottles, The Accidental Immigrant and Writer at Work. He lives in Stony Brook, New York, with his wife who is a professor at Stony Brook University, and two un-musical cats.

Stephanie S. from Pixabay

Our favorite French village has no bookstore, but we can never run out of books. We benefit from a charming custom called Livres en ballade or books on the move that provides a kind of perpetual open air circulating library.

Bob Child / AP

I like reading about history, and I particularly enjoy those grand, ambitious histories that sweep up the whole human race into a single narrative. It’s all very well to learn exactly how many troops assembled at the Battle of Brandywine Creek in 1777, but that’s such a tiny part of the human story, a footnote to a footnote. I like to contemplate the whole picture. It puts our present obsessions, in perspective.

National Archives and Records Administration / Wikimedia Commons

Everyone loves the iconic Norman Rockwell picture of a family at Thanksgiving dinner. At the head of the table stand grandpa and grandma, smiling. She is in the act of setting down a platter, with a turkey the size of a small dinosaur. Along both sides of the table sit the various members of the family – sons and daughters, grandchildren, aunts and uncles and cousins, all smiling and talking, with not a cell phone in sight.

InspiredImages from Pixabay

We once had the habit of recording good television programs on videotape. This was back in the days when there were good programs, and before videotape became obsolete. If you’ve done this yourself you've probably made the same mistake we did – recording programs you didn’t really want because the timer wasn’t set properly, or because you forgot to stop the tape. Unlike DVR recordings, which eventually have to be deleted, videotapes stick around on bookshelves or in boxes for years and years, becoming an accidental archive of recent history.

Igor Ovsyannykov from Pixabay

I know what’s going to happen later this morning. At 11 I will get into my car, drive to the local pond, feed the ducks, make an illegal U-turn and head back to the village where I will park outside the post office, walk up to the door, and find it locked. Then I will remember that today is the Veterans Day holiday.

By a certain age most of us are guided through the days by an inner automatic pilot. We call it force of habit. So the daily visit to the post office is not something that I plan or choose to do, it just happens.