My friend Kathy has an uncle who has lived in Japan for many years. He is gregarious and outgoing, and he has always traveled on public transportation because of all the opportunities it gives him for meeting and talking to people. Until the past couple of years, that is, when virtually all of his fellow travelers were sitting, head bent, busy texting on the cells in their hand. Kathy’s uncle is also ingenious, so he asked a young friend for an old, nonworking cell and now he too sits texting, though not really. What’s especially heartening is that his cell is bright yellow, and that many conversations start when people remark on its cheerful appearance. I suppose the more technology takes over our lives, the more ways we will find to get around it.

My friend Jamie R., the best customer service agent Amazon has got, called the other day to see how things were going. She knows from checking my Amazon account that I am back to my old habit of buying as many books as I think I can afford. Jamie is in Wheeling, W.Va., and while I cannot reach her at Amazon, she will keep in touch with me. A companion and I once ate in a Chinese restaurant in Wheeling — we tried one in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., too. As I recall, it was in the way of an experiment to see if people who ate Chinese food every day in New York City could possibly survive somewhere else. As I also recall, the food was pretty terrible, but I’ll bet it’s a lot better these days. In fact, fleeing Hurricane Katrina, I ate in a Chinese restaurant in Jackson, Miss., and it was pretty good. Of course, I think anything would taste good when you are leaving something like Katrina — and her successor, whose name I cannot remember — behind. And then too I was headed for Memphis, where I knew I would be rolling in barbecue.

Do I love barbecue! When I flew to Roanoke, Va., a little more than a year ago to pick up my new pre-owned Volkswagen Passat, the first thing I did was have barbecue. Then I had barbecue before I left, and I left with five pounds of gorgeous pulled pork on the seat behind me. I used to think it was tough to drive home with pizza aromas wafting around the car, but that barbecue beat pizza hollow. I’ve spent many happy hours surfing the Web looking for barbecue by e-mail. Haven’t bought any yet but just looking is saliva-making. I will be in Arizona and Texas next week and will have barbecue — which, by the way, is a very distinct cooking method. It is not grilling over gas or charcoal, and while I’ve had genuine barbecue in Maine once or twice in the 20-odd years I’ve lived here, I don’t think it is ever going to be easy to find here.

Evan, my young friend who mowed my lawn last summer, called the other day to see if I wanted it mowed again this year. Yes, I said, but not always, as I love to mow the lawn and now that I have a new knee I can do it pain-free. I have always loved mowing the lawn. When I was a child, I used to give my father for his birthday coupons good for lawn mowings, and that was before mowers were powered. He taught me to mow in a clockwise square so that I went over the grass clippings the mower threw out on the previous round and mulched them up. I have a power mower now, though it’s a push mower, and there is something about seeing strapping young men twirling around lawns on riding mowers that just cracks me up. Maybe when all my joints have packed up I’ll appreciate riding mowers more, though I can’t imagine myself on one.

What doesn’t crack me up is the sight of people like Alan Greenspan dodging any of the responsibility for the recent financial tsunami. I shouldn’t be surprised: Mea non culpa seems to be fairly popular among politicians and people who really should know better. I, like many, many people, thought something wonderful might happen to this country after the horror of 9/11 wore off. But it doesn’t seem to have occurred. I thought the same thing after the financial crisis, but we don’t seem to have learned anything from that either. The saying goes that we won’t change until the pain of leaving things the way they are is greater than the pain of changing them. Truthfully, I think we are becoming addicted to painkillers.

Addicted as I am to the New York Times, a recent development in its electronic pages has me puzzled and annoyed. At the left end of a little menu bar at the top of the home page sits a little profile (not of me but of some dude with a haircut the name of which I cannot remember but which sticks out over the forehead like a duck’s tail, if you catch my drift), and next to it the initials CM — definitely mine, and many other people’s — and then the statement “0 Followers.” That would be no, not O as in Oh. I don’t see that it’s the Times’ business if I have followers or not. And every time I disappear the bar, it returns the instant I move the mouse. Maybe one of these days I will look into what’s going on but for now I am stuck with 0 Followers.