Attitude Adjustment

Dear J-

We all expect to be treated as adults, but it’s funny — the more I go through life, it’s always the most vocal ones around us that seem to have things arranged exactly as they want.  As a kid, I used to read voraciously — whenever we went to the doctor’s office, as the old joke goes, I’d look forward to reading the same old articles in the same old magazines.  I remember one of those presented interpretations of the Bible for kids —  in particular, there was a parable about greed and sharing.  Like Goofus, there was this kid who would take the biggest portions, first, and without reservation until God decided to teach him a lesson; that huge apple he nabbed was rotten, the second helping of pie he took gave him the runs.

I wonder if that’s why I don’t worry too much about the people jostling ahead of me in line — I’ll grumble and bad-naturedly accept the new turn of events, but secretly believe that some sort of divine justice has been set into motion.  Sunday, at IKEA (we went for the meatballs — the restaurant is both cheap and cheerful, and no one is overly horrified by figgy’s loud gusto-ridden eating habits) I waited for a spot — someone coming from the other direction spotted it the same time as me, maybe, and also laid claim to it.  Really, it’s debatable who had a legitimate shot at it, but the opportunity presented itself, and I swooped in, somewhat oblivious to the dirty look (here’s a tip:  it’s very hard to glare through sunglasses; if you really want to glare at someone at least take the glasses off first) for a few seconds until theVet convinced me that the parking spot probably wasn’t worth the potential bad will.  Now, honestly, both drivers were convinced they were right, and I grumbled, but left the spot.  There was a spot the next aisle over just as close, but not, you know, open right at that moment.

I’ve commented about the attitude of Southern California drivers, and see it as somewhat schizophrenic; folks that pride themselves on long fuses and mellow vibes turn into screaming banshees on the road (try going 60 on the freeway in the slow lane — I guarantee you’ll be tailgated).  You spend enough time in Asian food markets and eventually you’ll run into a live crab tank; at some point, some crabs will be climbing on other crabs and trying to escape.  It’s all the same:  everyone thinks their needs are paramount without consideration.  Maybe if we worked together instead of looking out for ourselves (who else is going to look out for you, after all?), we’d all rise that much faster.



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5 Responses to “Attitude Adjustment”

  1. Junior Says:

    I grow extremely tired of living in a world where so many other people view me (and you, everyone that isn’t them) as just another obstacle to be steered around at high speed. We are a continent filled with thumb-sucking two year olds behind the wheel, unable to subordinate our egos to recognize the priorities, needs and space of others. Road rage is, unfortunately, the natural consequence of this systemic and persistent epidemic of self-centredness.

  2. dearJ Says:

    Me, I’ve suspected that part of it has to do with the dehumanizing nature of being a heavy machinery (two tons of glass, rubber, and steel speeding down the freeway at 65 mph plus) operator without face-to-face contact. If we could only see each other or talk to the other drivers I’m sure we’d be on better behavior. Call it the you-kiss-your-mother-with-that-mouth effect.

  3. Junior Says:

    I’ve often wondered about whether such driving would continue unabated if:

    (a) every car were required to have a cell phone; and
    (b) the licence number of the car was the cellular telephone’s number.

    Cut me off, sure. But I’m going to call you and complain about it.

  4. dearJ Says:

    Do those “How am I driving” stickers actually connect you with the driver?

    The modest proposal above sure would make pulling speeders over easier. Yes, you, in the Camaro. Don’t act like you didn’t just whip in and out of traffic. (I suspect that, being what it is, Camp Pendleton is the last refuge of the American muscle car being driven by hormonal 20-somethings.)

  5. Junior Says:

    Yeah, it would have to be automatic connection, preferably by speakerphone (so an aggrieved driver can vent his spleen semi-publicly, in front of the lunatic’s passengers) – otherwise buddy cuts me off, then ignores my call of complaint.

    I suppose there could be some harassment issues with such a system. My guess is petite blondes in their early twenties would have a difficult time going for a quiet drive in the country, thanks to all the mobile mashers and Lotharios.

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