[Warning: Morning rant below]
Does anyone do the right thing anymore? Are there literally no more nice people left on the roads? Drive around urbia and suburbia and you’ll find self-centeredness. “That school zone isn’t for me because I’ve dropped of my kid and clearly I have things to do.” “You see, I need to pull out right in front of you because reasons that benefit me. And you’re a JERK for honking at me!” Had to drive my son to school today for before school tutoring. I should have taken a valium or three. I live in suburbia, where the fastest posted speed limit is 45 miles per hour. Luckily, I have a truck because when I drive 45 mph on our main thoroughfare, I usually have someone who would like to hitch a ride on my bumper. Driving the speed limit is for country folk who clearly have no where else to be. When my traffic light turns green, I don’t press on the gas immediately because 90% of the time there’s that last guy who HAS TO run his red light because his reasons are important. I’m also convinced that our country is experiencing less traffic intersection incidents because people are so busy looking at their phone instead of driving, they miss the whole green light cycle. Gotta get that text or tweet sent out while I’m thinking about it, you see.
School zones are supposed to be a literal “safe space” for our kids and many drivers DO. NOT. CARE. Especially parents who have dropped off their kids. “Mine are safe….BODY PUMP STARTS IN 8 MINUTES!”.
People have always been self-centered jerks but it seems that more and more, people don’t actually care about doing the right thing while driving. Worse – they get truly irritated when you do. Try driving the speed limit in the right lane during rush hour. If our eyes had laser beams, the right lane would be scattered with smouldering remains of drivers who dared follow the traffic laws.
Yes – that stop sign that you just blew? That was for you to, you know, slow down to the point of stopping, looking and THEN accelerating….not the reverse.
Are we this hassled as a society? Clearly we are. You know, in the Garden of Eden, God gave Adam and Eve 99.999999999% of what was there as theirs to do with what they pleased. He had one rule – Don’t eat from the tree of Good & Evil. One rule. One. Imagine living in a world where you only needed one rule. I’d be happy enough to put an electrified barbed wire nuclear fence around that tree and go frolic in the sun. But we don’t have just one rule…..we have thousands, written and unwritten. And we are constantly being monitored by the Approval Police – those brave souls who determine whether your motivations and action meet the standard of the day in all areas of our increasingly politicized life.
So, why is everyone (but me, of course……..) such a jerk on the road and now, on the internet? Seems to me to boil down to folks tired of being told what to do. Frankly, I’m tired of being told who I should support, what I should believe and who I am by people who generalize and idealize while trying to regulate and legislate how I should behave. Now, we aren’t just trying to keep up with the material wealth of the Joneses, we are also trying to be approved of by them. Sending your child a lunch from home is fraught with potentials for disapproval, if you care. Chips?! Tsk, empty calories and so much transfat! CapriSun? Nothing but sugar water…don’t you care about your child’s health? Of course, you are trying to send what your kid MIGHT eat just so they can have something in their stomachs for energy. But, the Approval Police are always watching, always calculating which infractions you have committed and when you need disciplinary public shaming, or worse, disciplinary gossip shaming.
When I was growing up, any adult could admonish me for my behavior. Mostly because the adults I lived around all shared the same expectations of behavior. The Approval Police were our people. Try that now. Tell a kid at the playground to stop hitting another kid….one or both of the moms will ream YOU for interfering in their non-verbal exchanges of feelings or some bullshit like that. I despise Caillou, that stupid bald headed Canadian cartoon kid who gets away with whining and temper tantrums and idiocy. Every time I see that show all I’m thinking is “That boy needs a good spanking”. Can’t do that, though. Might hurt his wittle feewings. <insert eyeroll emoji>
Driving, tweeting, commenting on articles – these are all places of pseudo-anonymity, where we can say “F*ck the Approval Police, I do what I want!”. Feels good for a moment, doesn’t change our lives for the better. Can get us in trouble. Generally makes us more miserable.
Why do we pine for the “good old days”? Because they seem more friendly, more at ease, more peaceful. What made them like that? Generosity of spirit, humility, care and concern for others, self-confidence, confidence in their leaders, confidence and leadership from their men, nurture and oversight from their women. To name a few. It wasn’t all roses and sunshine, but it seems like it was.
Somehow, someway, we’ve got to get back to doing the right thing for the right reasons all the while chanting “Down with the Approval Police. We don’t care what you think!”. And frankly, men, we need you to lead the way. Grow a pair, stop caring about the Approval Police and do the right thing. Women? Ladies, seriously, shut up. Stop being the damned Approval Police. You do you. Take care of YOUR family. Encourage other women to do the same for theirs. Want to live in a great community? Well….that’s a little bit up to you.
If I had a giant megaphone and could control the world a la Kilgrave, from Marvel’s Jessica Jones, I’d yell loudly “CHILL OUT! LOVE YOURSELVES! TAKE CARE OF EACH OTHER!” and then I’d go home.
Thus endeth my morning rant.