Friday, March 23, 2012

In Through The Out Door...

Just for the record, as I get closer to mid-life I find that I am really not as concerned about what other people do as long as they don't do it to me or my family.  I mean, do what it takes to pursue happiness and as long as you don't kill people or commit a bunch of horrendous crimes, have at it. Having spent years in the military, you'd think I would take a pretty rigid stance on rule following and such, but the truth is, I don't seem to care for many of the norms society has to offer these days.  

An example.  If you smoke pot, as long as you aren't doing so moments before driving the school bus or performing a surgical procedure, I simply don't care.  I have opposed the war on drugs for years, not because I am a drug user myself, but because I think it is a financial burden that the taxpayers and businesses do not need.  I do believe that your employer has a right to ask you to pee in a bottle if he doesn't want to risk having a bunch of potheads operating heavy machinery, but that should be his call as an employer and your call when you choose to work for him or her.  And by the way, I have had to participate in employer sponsored pee tests twice in as many months, and I do it hating the invasion of privacy, but fully understanding and expecting it as a condition of my employment.  I just wish they had a pee test for stupidity and incompetence.

I can think of many rules that our society imposes upon us, things that aren't laws per se, but little restrictions that limit our own freedom of action on a daily basis.  When you walk into a store, very often you will find that someone has designated one door as an entrance and another door as an exit.  Why?  Sure, when it is crowded with people coming in and people going out, designated entrances and exits help with the flow, but what about when the store is just opening and nobody is leaving?  Are we really hurting anyone if a few of us sneak in through the out door?  I think not.  I wouldn't consider that an act of civil disobedience or anything, but I might offer you a wink and a nod in solidarity if you choose to buck the system and enter through the exit (assuming nobody is harmed in the process).

Okay, so where am I going with this?  No, I'm not taking a month of work off so I can go Occupy someplace.  Instead, I just want to make a simple plea to those of you who insist on driving the wrong direction down the various aisles of the parking lot.  Stop being an asshole.

I did not design the stripes painted on the parking lot at HEB and nobody even asked me my opinion.  But unlike random speed limits on highways that change between 75 and 55 for no apparent reason, there is technically value added to having all of the traffic in a narrow parking lot aisle going in a single direction that happens to flow with the angle of the individual parking spots.  You see, you don't have to have a policeman directing traffic for most people to figure out that the parking spots are aligned in a way that allows a driver in a parked car wanting to leave to simply back out and exit the aisle while a driver waiting to park can pull directly into the vacant slot with no real interruption in the flow of traffic.

But some of you free spirits feel the need to ignore the direction of the lines and the flow of traffic and simply exercise your free will right up the aisle in the wrong direction, thus placing your VW Bug directly in the grill of my F-150.  It isn't my intent to intimidate you by refusing to make room for you to get by me, but rather to exercise my free will and the right of way by having a bigger vehicle.  Unlike you, I am not yapping on my cell phone and giving me a dirty look.  Instead, I am waiting for you to put your little car in reverse and backing it up until I choose a parking slot that I feel comfortable with thereby clearing the way for you to continue in the wrong direction until the next guy in a truck decides to teach you the same little lesson in parking lot decorum.



Albatross said...

And, please, everyone who drives across the parking aisles (regardless of how many cars are actually parked there) instead of down them as the arrows indicate, stop. My front passenger fender thanks you, as does my radiator.

Steve said...

Dave, very well written. I'm pretty sure that Ben Franklin said "Stop being an asshole" somewhere along the line as well.

Dave said...

@Albatross: And, please, everyone who drives across the parking aisles...

But it would take too long to stay within the lines.

@Steve: Ben Franklin did say that. If you look really close on the back of a $250 dollar bill, you will see it there.