So I was driving along the freeway the other day…

Thanks to my recent foot surgery, I find myself not as ambulatory as I used to be, at least until I recover. The negative implications are obvious, and were foreseen: restricted movement, frustration, sedentary days, pain, frustration, impatience, etc…

The advantages of this situation were, however, not so easily foreseen.

I tend to think a little before I do something, and – by extension – I’ve begun thinking a little before I say things. I stress “a little”. Habits are hard things to amend…

While I enjoyed the fine art of observation prior to my surgery, I have found myself noting even more intimately the finer details in the goings-on about me. I see more of the people who rush about, filling the minutiae of their lives, and I do not like the things I see.

Of course, there’s not much I can do about it, but I thought this blog would be a good place for me to record my thoughts, in the vainglorious hope that someone might read and know what to do with them, better than I.

Road-Hogs
Why the rush? Have we spiraled so deeply into the entropy of the “rat-race” cliche, that we are no longer capable of pacing ourselves? Must we rush about, cutting one another off on the freeway; speeding along surface streets, without any regard for the children who walk and play mere feet away? I’ve lost count of the number of times I saw drivers swerving across lanes and taking turns, without bothering to signal their intentions, nor looking to check for suitable openings in traffic. The worst offenders are, of course, the SUVites: a marauding band of individuals (usually middle-aged women from Beverly Hills or Studio City), that rumbles from shopping mall to shopping mall, usually in black or “Eddie Bauer”-emblazoned tanks of tinted glass and metal. They have been trained at the school of “fuck-you”, and believe that the Sport Utility vehicle always has the right of way.  [Editor’s note in 2009: We since bought 2 SUVs ourselves, so shame on us!]

Firestarter bug
Possibly the only creature more irritating than the SUVite is the once rare, but now fast proliferating Firestarter bug. This is a parasitical and dangerous insect that consistently shoots burning embers from its shell, at people and cars about it. Every five minutes or so, it expels a larger burning mass of embers, usually into roadside woodland, but often onto the paintwork of cars rash enough to travel nearby. The firestarter bug is doubly odious, because it carries in its shell a device exclusively designed to accommodate the embers that it prefers to throw out onto roads, into woods, and everywhere but into the ASHTRAY built specially for the purpose of safely and responsibly storing cigarette ash and stubs…The firestarter bug has been responsible for freeway accidents, roadside and forest fires, and rampant littering, in areas worldwide. Unfortunately, researchers have done little to discover a way to stop this pest.

Gastronomically Lavish Underachieving Tonnage of Tenuously Ordered Neurons
As odious as the SUVite and firestarter bug are, the gastronomically lavish underachieving tonnage of tenuously ordered neurons (“GLUTTON” for short) is a sad and pitiful sight to behold. This species differs greatly from the passively obese, or pathological shopaholic who, although just as sad to behold, deserve support and assistance, as opposed to pity and contempt. The glutton is found laboriously inching its way from fast food restaurant to fast food restaurant, stopping occasionally to spend food stamps and welfare checks on useless, ill-made, and socially unhealthy consumer goods. These creatures are uniformly overweight, not due to any glandular challenges, but simply through a combination of bad diet, lack of exercise, and a sense of slothful entitlement that is supported by the focus of modern society on providing comfort and convenience, instead of value and quality. The glutton seeks instant gratification – mentally, psychologically, nutritionally, and otherwise. Anything that requires waiting is deemed unacceptable, and anything with subtitles is judged useless. As a result, the glutton expands its girth, but never its knowledge. The glutton would be relatively harmless, were it not for the fact that free-trade societies tend to develop their product offerings with the glutton specifically in mind. The glutton usually ensures that its offspring become gluttons, and this serves to increase the species exponentially, and serves to rapidly destroy the natural habitats of more attractive creatures, such as the intellectual, the artist, the activist, the ecologist, and other fast-disappearing ancient creatures.

People have become ruder, dumber, angrier, greedier, and uglier. Political correctness dictates that we not explore this trend. So we sit dumb, comfortably numb, and we allow our communities to disappear.

It would be, of course, unacceptable to attack the uneducated, unattractive creatures – a few of which I mentioned above. Instead, might I suggest that – just as they are encroaching on our physical habitats, we make their habitats untenable?

Let’s not support the expansion of fast food, and instead support the presence of healthy food outlets, such as your local farmer’s market.

Let’s actively discourage littering and bad driving, by setting a good example, and politely advising offenders that they have been seen, and suggesting that they pick up their litter, and drive a little more carefully. I stress politely, because litterbugs, firestarters and angry drivers are usually very sad and bitter individuals, who do not react well to criticism, unless it is very measured and light. These individuals are overly sensitive, and they will react badly to indignation, but will be quick to note the lack of patience that those around them express…

We have become passive as a culture, hoping that “someone else” will take care of the problems. Who exactly did you have in mind to take care of the clean up, and put out the potential fire, when you saw that lady throw the cigarette out her window onto the road?

Who were you thinking of, when that guy dropped that trash in the parking lot, or left the shopping cart in the middle of the road? Who were you helping, when you allowed that oblivious woman to drive her Explorer across three lanes, and make an illegal u-turn, without using her indicators?

Do you think living in a community has become easier, or tougher, as we have continued to keep our mouths shut, and our opinions to ourselves?