Friday, December 30, 2011

Wrong-Way Street

So, in an attempt to be more contemplative, less aggressive, to maybe weigh the possibility that sneering at folks is not the best initial reaction to a given situation, when the guy turned the wrong way onto the clearly marked one-way street, I waved and smiled and called out, "Hey, buddy, you're going the wrong way." He ignored me entirely, and my spouse said, "He looks like maybe he's done this before," meaning he takes this one-way street faster than the speed limit as some sort of personal short cut, and did not need my help understanding the road signs.

That might be the case, and that might not be a big deal to most of the world, but as a father of four kids who are, for better or worse, rule following kids, I do not abide by folks break rules carelessly like that. The problem, for me, is that my kids, because they belive so whole-heartedly in rules, believe that other folks are going to obey them as well. And, while this is not a terribly big deal when some ignorant asshole cuts the bathroom line during recess, it's a pretty big fucking deal  when my kids are in the cross walks, obeying the rules of the human world.

At the same time, I have often criticized my kids who cross roads, sometimes carelessly, just because the sign says, "Walk." I have often had to repeat my very brief lecture: "The laws of physics," I tell them, "trump the federal judicial system." By which I mean: "Pay attention, because if you get hit by a car, it doesn't matter how damn right you are, you're still getting hit by a car." . . .

In my contemplativeness, I waved at the law breaker and smiled and mentioned he was making a faux pas. When I thought about the possibility that he had intentionally sped the wrong way down the one-way street, I immediately wished I had broken out my meanface, that I had, as I sometimes do, stepped into the street such that he must swerve around me and cinched my brow, so that he knew what the score was (or, at least, what I thought the score should be.

Still, I don't know if that would have made any kind of difference. I don't know how he would have reacted to me. Truth be told, I'd imagine some folks, seeing my meanface would think I was constipated or that maybe I just looked like that all the time.

It's a hell of a dillemma. With this background of being mean and / or tough in order to solve problems and this desire to be a better person and make the world a better place: I'm constantly damned if I do, damned if I don't. Ultimately, I want to just let such issues go, because I can't change that guy driving the wrong way any more than I can go back and tsk-tsk those jerks who cut the bathroom line in fifth grade, though I obviously want to.

For the time being, and, I hope, for all time, I'll simply keep working on it, hoping to someday be in charge of the world from street sign to bathroom lines to Geneva Conventions . . .

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