Saturday, November 7, 2020

Whatever Works for Them

With the Covid life that we are living, and concerns of being in confined spaces such as elevators and bars, I am reminded of a couple of years ago when we flew to Philadelphia to visit my aunt during her ninetieth birthday celebration.  It was a fun visit, and I was able to see a bunch of Herrman cousins that I had not laid eyes on for more than two decades.  

For our return, we took an American Airlines flight back from Philly to LAX. I was seated at the window, and my traveling companion seated next to me.  As soon as I sat in my seat, I was quickly made aware of a young man, very sick with either a terrible cold or the flu, who sat directly behind me.  I knew I was going to get sick to some degree. 

The entire flight, he coughed out loud into the back of my seat, projecting his sickness into that space between the seat and the window.  There is normally a gap of about four inches there, and all of it swirled into my area of air space.  I could tell from his coughing that he never covered his mouth with anything.  

I did, by the way, get sick the next day once I was home.

This circumstance tangents my thinking towards another area of concern that I contemplate a lot.  It’s that people, especially when they don’t think anyone is looking, tend to do whatever works for them with no reverence for either rules or how their behavior affects other people.  

The airplane anecdote above is just one example.  Another is parking lots.  I have now repaired one of my cars’ paint jobs three times from scrapes in parking lots.  The latest was when I was in Burbank’s Costco, and someone scraped a shopping basket past my car to get rid of the basket.  It’s like, they just don’t care.  

Another, example, and this involves the stupidity of youth as well, was when I was driving back from a bank on a road that was pretty deserted.  It was a Wednesday at about 5:00pm.  The road that I was driving on T-boned onto another, larger road, and that road was quiet as well.  Just as I got up to the second road, at the T intersection and was stopping for a stop sign, a young guy in a Mustang drove by on that road at over a hundred miles per hour.  I am not exaggerating.  He was there, and then we was gone.  

I eventually made it to where that second road intersected with a larger, third road.  When I got there, that young guy had flipped his car and totaled it.  I’m guessing this guy, a young, Hispanic male, was just…well, young and stupid.  But it’s more than that; he had totally disregard for the safety of anyone else.  If someone had been walking with their stroller on the sidewalk where he went over, they would have been dead.  

Another example…they are endless.  We were driving from Wyoming back to California on Interstate 15, when a women in her SUV, crossed over four lanes quickly, not far in front of us, causing two cars to hit their brakes, so that she could get off at an exit she was too distracted with her phone to notice ahead of time.  They just don’t care.  The self-absorbtion is astounding.

Last one.  Just yesterday, I was driving around one of those traffic circles, installed to avoid having a traffic light at an intersection, when the guy in front of me, in his shitty looking rusted out sedan, flicked a finished lit cigarette out of his driver side window onto the ground.  What an asshole…and too bad I was not a Highway Patrolman at that moment to light up his car with red and blue.  That clown just doesn’t give a crap that the cigarette he just threw out could, 1) start yet another brush fire in California (like we need our eight-hundredth one of those, and/or, 2) will almost undoubtedly end up in the Pacific Ocean once it makes it’s way through the networks of storm drains and into the mouth of a dolphin.  

I see it all the time.  I suppose because I choose to see it.  And that’s because when no one is around, I don’t throw garbage out of my car and into the street, and I don’t speed at three times the posted speed limit, and because I don’t jam shopping carts against other people’s vehicles.  I focus on what is going on around me and on what I am doing.  People are just too distracted and too completely uncaring about how their behavior affects others.  

The one thing I do do (there’s a Mel Brooks reference in there somewhere), is when hiking or driving in very remote places, I will pull out and drain my giant snake.  If the coyotes can do it, why can’t I?