Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Rant coming on in 3...2...1

No, that's not a duplicate post or one of Sarge's welcomed revisits, but I am shamelessly lifting his picture from a recent post since it inspired me to write one of my own.  He's a-muse-ing that way.

That picture just sort of ticked me off and a flood of postable thoughts rushed into my brain.  I'll explain the first thought and then probably ramble a bit like one of my typical, yet rare pithy political rants.  Rare you say?  Most of my posts are rants you say?  Ok, fair criticism, but the rarity is only in the frequency of my posts!  But I digress.

Like Sarge, I always return my shopping carts to either the cart corral in the parking lot, or to the front of the store.  Anything less is abhorrent to me and reeks of laziness and mediocrity.  You see, I tend to hold myself in high regard and anything less is below my station and just plain wrong.  Now I realize that sounds quite pretentious and makes me sound like an arse, but what I mean by that is that I always try to do what is kind, right, helpful, and expected, not to mention lawful.  And I would feel lousy if I didn't operate in that manner on a regular basis.


I've always been a rule-follower and I like being that way.  I like the feeling that I get from being orderly and and upstanding citizen, helping make the world a better place, even if it's just a little-bit of goodness I bring about.  I couldn't really live with myself if I didn't live that way.  I know that might mark me as a bit dull and unexciting, but I'm good with that.  I don't find it difficult to be that way either.  The drawing above is obviously an exaggeration.  I'm no authoritarian in my rule-following.  I might shake my head at others, but no more than that.  Would I like to publicly berate them?  Sure, but that also would take me too far out of my comfort zone.  I just grind my teeth in frustration instead.

Who are these minor-league offenders?  We've all grumbled about some of these here before- the drivers that never use their blinker, line jumpers, loud cell phone talkers in public, the person that litters right in front of you, someone on the freeway driving slow in the fast lane, the jerk on his or her cell phone who isn't paying attention to the road.  I could probably keep going.  One more thing that bugs me is when people dump their unwanted grocery items on any nearby shelf, even frozen or refrigerated items.  I always take it back to where I found it.  What about you?

Unfortunately we probably all know these offenders well.  Somebody needs to invent a license plate or some electronic sign on your back bumper that you can change with a voice command, so you can get in front of an idiot driver and give him a piece of your mind.  Ok, that's getting a little crazy, but maybe a little scolding is warranted sometimes.  Somebody dropping some trash might get a polite- "Hey sir, I think you dropped something" which doesn't accuse them of anything.  But the jerk on the freeway who cuts you off?  You can't follow them home to put them in their place, and road rage just escalates the problem into an even bigger one.  Best thing to do for me?  Let it go.
                                  Image result for oregon license plate california plate
I have a friend and neighbor who is a fellow former Oregonian and NFO.  He retired from the Navy as a Captain a few years back and still has his Oregon plates.  Now I completely understand why he hasn't registered his cars in California, even if I don't like it.  In Oregon it's only $60 every two years to register your car, but here it's almost $300 for my Mustang, every single year until it's old.  My daughter's 16 year old Beetle is $90 not counting the annual smog certificate.  So while I understand, it still irks me.  I transferred my registration to California within the required 20 days of establishing residency so I'm legal, but poorer because of it.  I have another friend that won't give an inch and he's willing to put a stranger in their place no matter what.  It can be a little embarrassing sometimes, but I admire his tenacity.  Maybe I should introduce them!

Yeah, the problem is me, especially with the license plate issue.  The other items tend to be related to safety and money.  Blinkers keep the road safe and make drivers predictable.  Cell phone use in the car?  Another safety issue, and being alive is safer than being dead.  If you wreck my car, even if it's your fault, it's gonna cost me money.  The others relate to good order and discipline, which I prefer over their opposites.

The real question is why do these people act like this?  I think it just comes down to a growing lack of common courtesy and a whole bunch of laziness.  "But taking my cart back to the corral is just so hard, and it takes so long, and it's really far away."  So they leave it where it can roll into, and door-ding my car.  Or into another spot so the next driver has to either move it himself or find a different spot.  They'll be gone by then so it's not the offender's problem.  Same thing with litterbugs.  Blinker offenders?  Pure laziness.  How much effort does it really take?  It's a flick of a finger for pete's sake.  If you cut them off, they'll be sure to use one of their fingers!  I realize some drivers can be absolute jerks in heavy traffic out here, and if you use your blinker somebody might close the gap to prevent you from changing lanes, but just relax, the next person will let you in.  Smokers littering the world with their cigarette butts?  They don't even care about themselves, much less whether or not it's littering.  So the bad behavior also from a position of self-centeredness.  They're not disadvantaged by their bad behavior, and they don't care how it affects others.

Are we less considerate and polite than we used to be?  I think many people are, or it seems like it.  Maybe it's a generational thing, but probably not.  Maybe I see it more since I live in a big city.  When I was a small-town kid in Oregon, everybody knew everybody else.  And while courtesy was taught and expected, bad behavior was swiftly corrected and everybody knew about it.  There's a lot more anonymity in a big city though so the consequences aren't there.


I heard about a website in India that publicly shames bad drivers, posting their photo and license plate for all the billion people to see.  We don't have much shame in our society anymore though.  The only morality is personal morality now, and there's no calling someone out, shunning them, or whatever it was that might have made someone look inwardly to self-correct.

I don't think I'm alone in my beliefs, although others probably aren't quite as obsessed over their proper behavior like I am.  This attitude probably stems from serving our nation.  When you are willing to put your life on the line for something, you're pretty darn serious about it.  And that love and dedication manifests itself in all sorts of ways, even little ones like when someone doesn't use their blinker.  Am I equating the extending of a simple courtesy to the defense of the nation?  Yes, of course I am, because we're a nation of laws that make our country great and fair and a place that others envy.  If we have a breakdown in that fabric, even if it's just a few threads, a few chips in the foundation, we're putting the entire structure at risk.  No, a single dent doesn't do it, but over time, as a line is crossed and a new one is drawn as to what's acceptable,  we allow a tiny bit of anarchy into our society.  We also get politicians that don't care about our foundations or their constituents, eventually becoming corrupt and beholden to their special interest donors.  And we get a society less and less outraged over things that would have made our grandmothers faint.

What can we do about it?  Not much.  Like I said, we can't exactly chase down lousy drivers.  Drive defensively to allow room for the idiots and let a guy in when needed.  Can we politely ask loud talkers to hold it down or be like my friend who gives no quarter to bad behavior?  Sure, and maybe we should, but in general, we should just keep trying to do what is good, fair, polite, and lawful, and teach our children and grandchildren to do the same.  And hopefully that'll influence others.  Maybe we can't change the whole of society, but we can definitely influence the part of it around us, including that turn-signal lever.


  1. Magnificent rant!

    The rumor that vehicles sold in Rhode Island don't come with a turn indicate lever is completely false.

    It is, however, optional equipment...

    1. Yeah, but you only have 1 short freeway in lil' Rhody so you don't have to suffer fools changing lanes for very long!

    (except I have a little trouble with the "letting it go".)

  3. I also need more work on the "letting it go."
    But sometimes there is Karma. I was walking into the local home improvement store and watched a departing customer unload their cart into their car, and then move the cart a few feet so it was behind another parked car. But as this jerk got ready to leave, the wind (or a higher power) moved the cart and the cart stopped directly behind the jerk's car so that when he backed out he ran into the cart and scratched his car. I think my smiling muscles were strained for days.

    1. DL and John, I've actually learned to watch for those idiots, especially as I come up on an off ramp. There will always be a few drivers that will wait until the last minute to get off, cutting across multiple lanes, or driving in that second lane trying to get in, but without actually signaling they want to get in. "Oh, excuse me, did you want to change lanes? Why didn't you just say so?"

  4. I get really, really tight-jawed when I see someone flick ashes outside.
    I have seen the results of what a wild spark can do to a community on morethan one occasion.
    I don't really care if they smoke but, dammit, don't risk others lives and property.
    I won't say what I want to do with misguided cell phone users.

  5. I'll bet most of these things don't happen in small communities where everyone knows each other...regardless, i concur with all your rant targets. I have my own that I won't comment on as I need my own post material.

    1. Hahaha, playing it close to the vest Joe?

    2. joeh, do you have a blog? I've seen a few restaurants that post anti-cell phone signs which is nice. The meme-warriors to a decent job of shaming folks too.

  6. Welcome to the dreaded OFB (Old Fart Brigade) where our rallying cry is "Get Off My Lawn!"

    Seriously, though. Courtesy and common sense is something that is lacking in today's urban metro, along with following laws and the mores of our great society. How does it start? Simple, some idiot does something wrong, and the rest of us are shamed to not respond. So, from simple disruptions in the classroom that aren't shut down right the heck now, and children yelling "NO" at their parents with no repercussions (I worked many moons ago in a drug store where some sproutling shouted the n word at its supposed parental unit, and the parental unit caved and pleaded with child. I have distinct memories of being in the base PX with my parents and me doing something wrong and getting whacked right there for it.)

    The NO CONSEQUENCES generation has taken over. Mrs. Andrew and I watch a show called "Campus PD" where they show drunken underage college kids do stupid, illegal carp without anything more than a slap on the hand. Me? I'd round up all the little pukes and make them jog to the station while drunk as a skunk and then book them and let them all wake up in the same puke-filled room the next day. (But, as my friends constantly tell me, I'm an assh&le.)

    No consequences. That is the reason so many people today are scofflaws. (Well, that, and regulations and laws that are just impossible to follow, like gun laws in California.)

    And... How bad do you have to drive to be considered a bad driver in India? The mind is boggled.

  7. Well said. I forgot about the secret police- the ones who will report you for rightfully punishing your child. If we can't teach them early, how can we expect them to be good adults? No consequences has consequences for the whole of society.

  8. You would be amazed how many people cannot see a white Tahoe, with reflective marking, with alternating headlight, grille and mirrir strobes, and lightbar going, siren yelping, and airhorn gronking. Because they are texting while driving.

    1. No, not amazed, not even surprised. We had a big movement(powered by a lot of people who moved here from that state out west that rhymes with California) to lower the speed limit on the highway between our town and Austin from 70 to 60. This was based on a couple of accidents that killed multiple people. They were successful. Since the speed limit was lowered, the death rate has been the same, the accident rate is up slightly, but it takes longer to get anywhere. The last two fatal accidents (separate incidents) had the same cause. Evidently it's a bad idea to do a u-turn on a 4 lane highway in front of an 18 wheeler. Who knew? I mean the speed limit was lowered, that automatically made it safer, amirite?

  9. Tuna, I have a confession to make. In my youth, I assiduously returned all my shopping carts to the front of the store or a cart corral, and I still do...mostly. Walking is sometimes quite painful for me. However, I make it a point, when I am parked far away from either store front or corral, to grab a cart that someone else has left by my car, do my shopping and leave the cart where I found it. I console myself in that I am not making the problem worse than I found it.
    Perhaps that's merely sophistry, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    1. Well, then that keeps you out of the idiot, jerk, and a-hole category. No worries- I'd never chase you down anyway. haha

  10. I make exceptions to the shopping-cart rule for the handicapped & the old. Everybody else should put them in the proper place.
    I have a handicapped placard myself. I don't always use it; generally just on the bad days. Even if I'm just getting a couple of items, I usually use a buggy, because it makes walking easier, & on bad days I already have one hand busy with my cane. I still, after loading my groceries, few or many, put the buggy in the designated area or back in the store. If my crippled ass can do so, even on the most painful days, there's no damned excuse for the non-crippled to not do so, except the old Southern reason: they're just no-account trash. Bless their hearts.
    --Tennessee Budd

  11. Unlike you I have no problem telling people where to go. Just today a woman with an attitude came into our warehouse. I was initially polite. Perhaps she interpreted that as a weakness. "Oh, you have an attitude? Let me show you an attitude".

  12. Tuna,
    Rarely do I see anyone mention that they are an native Oregonian.
    I grew up in a small town in Oregon too, unfortunately that small town was swallowed up by the Megalopolis of Portland ( of amusement to myself....the town I grew up in is the County now known as Clackistan )( that's a whole nother topic )

    I found myself relocated to the soon to be Peoples Republic of Washington. Keep your eyes on this state....

    Shopping carts....yep....a peeve
    The Whidbey commissary does not have corrals....odd thing is ...the exchange does....and they are co-located.
    but between the fact people adhere to the rules and the baggers keeping an eye on things....
    we don't have errant carts

    1. Wow, I didn't realize they had taken over Clackamas county, or any of Oregon for that matter. My sister refers to a nearby town as Mexiford though, most all illegal since they don't speak any English. I'm not a native Oregonian by the way, just a former Oregonian. When my dad retired from the Navy we moved up there from my native San Diego. I came back 10 years later for college and never really left unless the Navy ordered me to.

    2. Tuna,
      I think the deal with Clackamas county is that it has a lot of rural area right on the fringe of Portland.
      The Clackistan reference comes from the way I've heard people in Portland ( specifically, friends and family who don't quite get the 2nd Amendment.

    3. Ahh, got it. I was thinking it was becoming Dearborn of the PacNorWest.

  13. I had to smile when I read your comment about the shopping carts. I read this Facebook thread called German Girl In America and just a few days ago she was saying that if you leave your cart anywhere but a designated place in Germany it is severely frowned upon. Alles ist nicht in Ordnung. (all is not in order!)

    I am with you there.

    Do I always use my blinkers? Well, no as with SA I know who is around me - if another car is close behind in the lane I am going to, then yes of course I use the blinkers.

    One of my Pet Peeves - seen particularly at Costco parking lots, are the dolts who, rather than walk another 50-100 feet, will block traffic in the parking lot and wait - and wait - and wait - for the person to pull out of their space.

    Are people more rude? I have had an ongoing internal dialogue about that. Most of the time with increased population I think it is a numbers game.

    But it does seem that we see a lot more coarseness these days.

    License plates? If the CHP stops him and sees a CA driver's license, he will have problems.

  14. Excellent rant and really well said.

    A lot of the problem I think is simple lack of respect for anything including themselves, laziness comes to mind also but for the majority they just don't care.

    The only solution is like you said "we should just keep trying to do what is good, fair, polite, and lawful, and teach our children and grandchildren to do the same."


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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