Friday, January 21, 2011

Only in America.....

Yay!  It snowed again.  No, I am not being sarcastic.  I truly don’t mind the snow at all. The only problem that I have with snow is that people have to drive in it, and for some reason that is very difficult for some of us.  I won’t lie I have done my fair share of driving poorly in the snow, but I would like to think that I have learned a little from each of those experiences.  Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for one of my neighbors.

One of the things that my son and I like to do in the morning is look out at the traffic from the warmth and comfort of our living room window.  This morning we were lucky enough to see an accident at the stop sign.  It was our neighbor from the apartment building next door.  I have been saying to my son all year that one morning that guy was going to slide through the stop sign and get hit.  You see he is one of these drivers that doesn’t slow down for stops he just hits the brakes at the last moment and hopes for the best.  The little man and I have watched him slide out into the intersection numerous times, and each time he was lucky until today.  As usual, he hit the brakes too late to make a safe stop and he slid out into the road and got hit by a pickup truck.  Luckily, no one was injured, only angry.  What was strange was that the only person yelling and cursing was the guy who made the mistake and slid through the stop sign, which doesn’t make any sense.

Anyway, as I am typing this, I am watching a police officer write a ticket, and I am trying to discover what exactly is wrong with people.  If you’re a doofus and slide through a stop sign and get hit, you really don’t have any right to get mad at the other driver who hit you.   If it is your fault, own up to it.  I have been telling my son and the children that I watch that everything that you do has a consequence.  If you leave a glass balanced precariously on the edge of the table, one of the consequences of doing that is that it might fall, especially if you are an active little kid who is uncoordinated and bumps into things a lot.   Whether the glass falls or not there really is no point in getting angry and emotional about it.  Should it fall just pick up the pieces and move on.  What else can you do?  You probably should have thought better of leaving it there in the first place.

Well, enough of that.  So, as I pondered about people in general and why they react the way they do I remembered talking to one of my foreign friends.  I was telling him about the time I was snow blowing my sidewalks and one of my neighbors “asked” me for help.  I have the word asked in quotation marks because the lady really didn’t ask.  She said I needed to.  Her words were something like, “Hey buddy you need to help me get my car out so I can go to work.”  My reply was, “I don’t need to do anything, but, sure, I’ll give you a hand.”  So, I went up the road a little way and was starting to cross the street to get to her driveway when she ran up to me again and said, “Buddy come on!  Can you hurry it up a little bit?!  I mean really!”  At this point I just turned around and went home.  I wanted to tell her that everything she does has a consequence, but I don’t think she would have gotten it.  Let her get herself out of her driveway.   It isn’t like I mind giving someone a hand when they need it, but that was ridiculous.  Since when did people start expecting and demanding help from others?    

After telling this story to my foreign friend he replied, “Only in America will people spit on you while asking for a favor!”  I have to say I don’t know if that is true because I have never lived in another country, but if he says it is I’ll believe him.  Americans must be the only people that will spit on you . asking for help, but that doesn’t mean we are all like that of course.  So, what do we do about the people that are like that?  There aren’t a lot of them it just feels like that because they are so easily remembered and noticed as vulgar, truly disgusting human beings.  Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do but avoid them and ignore them with the hopes that they will eventually die off.

This leads me to a dilemma though.  How am I going to teach my son that this mentality that Americans are supposedly famous for worldwide is not okay?  I really don’t know.  I guess it will kind of be like teaching him that he has to work for stuff because no one owes him anything, but a little different.   Maybe it is just a matter of teaching him the golden rule and making sure it hits home.  Maybe all I have to do is provide a decent role model for him to work off of.  I don’t know.  It seems like all parents would try to do the same, yet there are still people out there that act like this.  What’s the deal here?  Is it really a cultural thing?  No, I don’t really believe that. 

I think that so many people act like jerks because no one has ever told them that that was unacceptable.  Sure, it might be an issue of poor parenting, but then it might not be.  There does seem to be an awful lot of people that act like this out there, and I can’t believe that there are that many crappy parents.  Like I said before, it might just seem that there are really that many people who act like spoiled bratty jerks because they are so easily remembered.  It is like remembering that one year all you got for Christmas was a pair of socks or underwear or something as a kid.  That one sticks out because it was the crummiest one yet.  Maybe the same thing applies to people.  It is easy to remember the extremes.  You know the nicest people you meet and the jerkiest people that you meet.  The in between people tend to slip out of your memory.  Well, at least that is what it seems like to me.

All I really know is that I am going to continue telling my son that there is a consequence for everything he does and do the best I can to make sure that he doesn’t treat people like dirt when he gets older.

P.s. As part of my campaign to be a better role model for my son and a better person I have tried to stop swearing.  Unfortunately, it is difficult and is only showing in my blog posts.  I still curse like a drunken sailor at home, but I am working on it.  Oh and I also have been good while out shopping too.  No name calling or anything.  You have no idea how hard that is for me.  There are some people that are just begging to get yelled at and put in their place, but not by me anymore unless the occasion really calls for it.  Then all bets are off.              

P.p.s.  Please leave out any, "This is America if you don't like it then you can get out!" comments.  If you think about it, are they really necessary?  

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