Thursday, April 3, 2014

Cheese, Revisited

Here we go again. I’ve run short of topics, so you get to hear me bellyache about even more things that cheese me off. I’ll try to keep it short, but ranting is one of the things I do best. I make no promises.

Let’s kick off with one of my favorite peeves, other drivers. I drive a car. Other people drive trucks, vans, and SUVs. More often than not I find myself in a parking lot next to or between one or more of these monster vehicles. Everything’s hunky-dory until I go to leave. Here’s the problem: these things are bigger, higher and longer than my car. That seriously cuts down my field of vision when I go to back out of a space. I’m pretty much backing up blind.

Been in that situation? Expect other drivers to stop and wait while you back out of the parking space? Well, don’t, because they won’t. As recently as two days ago I was inching out of a spot when all of a sudden a car appeared in my rearview mirror and I had to slam on the brakes. The other car never slowed down. Maybe the driver saw me backing out. Maybe they didn’t. I don’t think it made that much of a difference.

Fellow drivers, let me spell it out for you. I’m parked next to an SUV. My visibility is nil. I CAN’T SEE YOU. I don’t know you’re there until my car’s ass end is right out in the street and your car’s front end is plowing into it. A warning toot of the horn would be appreciated. I don’t expect you to stop because apparently modern cars don’t come with working brakes. They don’t seem able to slow down, either. The only way a driver will stop for a car backing up is if they want your spot. In which case, fellah, give me some room. I can’t back out if you’re blocking me.

One little beep of the horn. That’s all you have to do. Alert me to your presence. I promise I’ll stop and patiently wait until you’ve sped past on your way to your dental appointment or job interview or whatever it is that’s so vitally important you can’t stop for three seconds or even slow down for somebody backing out of a parking space. Most of those silhouettes zipping by in my rear view belong to other cars. Their drivers must park in special lots that don’t take SUVs.

Whenever possible, I try to find a pullthrough. That way I’m facing the street when I go to leave and can see what’s coming at me. I’ve heard of blind spots, but through a front windshield? I didn’t know driving had been reclassified as a contact sport.

# # #

Parking issues aside, I do enjoy driving. I like to amuse myself when I’m out on the road and can’t pull in a decent radio station. Here’s a little game I play on divided highways. I get into the slow lane, hold steady at the speed limit, and see who passes me. Usually it’s everybody. Then there’s the one guy going just below the speed limit that I have to go around. That’s when the guy going 80 shows up, just as I pull over to pass. I’ve been on a 65 MPH highway doing 70 or faster to pass somebody and still had some joker riding my bumper. Maybe it’s the same guy who just had to zip around me while I was trying to back up. I know his horn works, because he blasts me with it if I take too long passing the slow guy. Why couldn’t you use your horn while we were in the parking lot? Then I wouldn’t have backed into you.

I’m not sure why we even have speed limits. Do you actually drive 25 MPH when you’re in a 25 MPH zone? Do you know anybody who does? Of course not. Well, other than that little old dude in the Volvo, the one in the hat who’s always right in front of you when you’re late for work. He’s the same guy at the head of the line on those twisty country two-lanes, where it’s No Passing Zone for 30 miles and the speed limit’s 45 but he’s doing half that and there’s just no way to get around him. Here in Amish Country we get that with buggies, but we’re allowed to pass them if there’s no oncoming traffic. If you see a buggy backing up, better stop and wait for it. The horse never checks for other cars.

# # #

Let’s get off the highway, shall we? This gripe involves pedestrians. A friend once referred to this phenomenon as “Nobody’s There Until You Are.” You’re walking somewhere and you stop for a split second and almost instantly get a quiet “Excuse me” because the one other person around absolutely has to occupy the very space you’re in at that precise same moment.

Example: years ago, when people needed TV Guide to see what was on every week, I stopped by a grocery store to get a copy. The store was practically empty. I couldn’t wait to see what was coming up on my favorite shows, so I ducked into an empty aisle and started flipping pages. Within minutes a shopper appeared. “Excuse me.” Yep. In an empty aisle in a nearly-deserted grocery store, I’d taken up position in front of the one item this woman had to have right then. Nobody’s there until you are.

And you people with the carts: you want to gab on your cell phones or chat with other shoppers, fine. Just move over to the side so we can get around you. Quit hogging the aisle. You’re not the only person in the store. Need proof? I’m going to zoom around you while you’re trying to back out of your parking space. Nothing like an expensive collision to remind you there are other people in the world, and they’re not paying any attention to you either.

That’s enough grousing. I’m going to sit home and write about fantasy worlds where they don’t have cars. Wonder if horse-drawn carriages used to back into each other? I’ll have to Google that.


Savanna Kougar said...

Yeah, I don't miss those particular aspects of driving... inching out of a parking lot... even with a minivan, it's a tricky business in these times. I used to try find pullthroughs, so I could just pull out and be able to see anyone, any vehicle, and even those walking. Really why aren't the slots designed that way in the first place? I mean, does it take an entire brain trust to figure this stuff out? Whatever, so many people are in zombie mode these days, I don't really care about driving anymore, and I used to enjoy it. I'd still enjoy it in another world... hey. we need a 'road trip' planet.

Pat C. said...

Here's some new cheese: I just received a letter from the borough informing me that, by feeding Stray Kitty, I'm in violation of an ordinance (just enacted in October)and I'm going to have to apply for a Feral Cat Keeper permit if I want to go on putting food out. So somebody turned me in. I'm going down to the Borough Office to find out specifics (like, if I have to pay)and then ask my neighbor who's also feeding SK if she got a letter to. Failure to comply can cost me up to $1000 in fines and a month in jail if I don't pay up.

If the borough's that concerned about stray cats, you think they'd send somebody around to trap them. Or the skunks, which in my opinion are bigger disease carriers than the cats. I'm telling you, a move to New Jersey is looking better every day.

Savanna Kougar said...

Ohmygawd!!! That's just one reason we moved out to a no-code property and no-code county. Had a few run-ins with code enforcers that were absolutely ridiculous -- you know if a blade of grass actually grew above 6" [now it's 3"}. These days, if you keep track of the news, it gets worse everyday. The code enforcers are jackboot thugs. Folks are being arrested for nice gardens, etc., and even shot by police for minor offenses that shouldn't even be code violations. So, are you just supposed to let Stray Kitty starve?

Where we used to live, there was feral cat population at a neighborhood property... not on ours... however, we would catch the kittens, and not allow them to breed. People would call animal control to come catch the cats on this other property... but oh gee, gosh, it wasn't their problem.

Savanna Kougar said...

I doubt New Jersey is any better, truthfully. I remember this horrific incredibly sad story where a couple was run off their generational horse farm property because of supposed code violations, which turned out to all be lies. This was just a property grab by corrupt people in power because the property had become valuable.

Pat C. said...

Short version: after going over costs and requirements (one of which was actually catching the cats), I decided to stop feeding Stray Kitty. Others in the neighborhood leave food out, so he won't starve. I'd still like to know who ratted me out to the Borough, though. I hate humanity.

Savanna Kougar said...

Yeah, I understand... believe me! We've been ratted out before, and even though were in the legal right, as in NOT breaking any codes, etc., they still got us, the might makes right thing. Yep, another reason we moved out here. Less chance of being ratted out, or I should say targeted for nothing. For one thing, that's not the mentality in this area. Yet.

Unfortunately, snitchism on the rise for a number of reasons. One is people 'in some cases' are being paid.

Savanna Kougar said...

Oh, there a news story about these fifth grade boys who were doing what boys do, as in building a fort out of tree limbs. This lady called the cops because they were being environmentally unfriendly, and could cause a tripping hazards. Cops arrive, draw their guns and take these kids down with guns pointed in their faces. Plus used a bunch of foul language. The kids weren't breaking any laws. But that's Amerika these days. This kind of horror happens everyday, and a lot of innocent people are ending up injured or dead. It's not uncommon for cops to shoot the owner's dogs, too. Lovely, huh?

Pat C. said...

Kitty showed up at the door this morning, so I gave him some canned chicken I keep in the cupboard for emergencies. Maybe I can stealth feed him every couple of days or so. As long as I don't have bowls on my porch all day, nobody needs to know.

I understand the Borough's POV -- feral cats can be a health hazard, especially if they come in contact with raccoons and skunks, known disease carriers. Little kids live in the area, and if Billy or Susie has to get a rabies shot because a stray bit them, Mom's headed straight for a lawyer. Not that they could ever get that close to these kitties, but you never know.

I'm going to check around and see if we have any cat-catching outfits in the neighborhood, like PAWS or ORCA. I'd rather see him in their hands than slowly starving on the street. The local ASPCA doesn't pick up cats; you have to bring them in. If I could catch the little bastard, this wouldn't be a problem.

Savanna Kougar said...

Yeah, there's always a bureaucratic reason which might have a bit of validity... however, really, does their policy solve the problem of staving off disease, and kids not getting bit? And, if it's that big a problem why aren't they using tax dollars to solve it???

Anyhoo, yeah 'stealth' in this world is a good skill. Are there any local no-kill shelters? I wouldn't trust the ASPCA -- unless I knew the people personally in that branch -- one of the stated goals of ASPCA, by the president, is to get rid of pets altogether ... every cat and dog, etc. He considers pets to be a scourge on the wildlife. Yeah, no more kitties and doggies for anyone. The ASPCA tried to get a law passed in this state, and other states, that if your pet had a cold, a scrape or scratch, and you didn't take it to the vet, then say goodbye to Poopsie and Rover. It's the same type of people who believe wild horses should be exterminated because they aren't a native species. Well, actually horses are native to North America, given the fossil record. And, actually there were some horses still on the continent when the Spaniards brought their horses over.

The bond between people and animals goes back as far recorded and unrecorded history, as in legends, myths, etc. So, it's a natural relationship, as in having pets.