Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,
A tale of a dreadful night
That started from my gas station
And inspired this long gripe.
Gilligan would be proud.
I humbly submit for your consideration a series of episodes from last evening that have squelched that last shreds of humanity I had been clinging to. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here, for we are truly a doomed species.
While putting gas into my truck a lady in a BMW pulled next to the pump in front of me. She got out of her car, fiddled with her purse, punched a few buttons on the card machine on her pump, and then walked over to me. “Can you help me? I’ve never done this before.” I toggled the lever into place on my pump’s handle so it would continue filling my truck and agreed to walk her through the process only to discover that the reason it wasn’t reading her card was because the was an error in the system which was prominently displayed on the screen. “Oh, you’ll have to go inside and tell them it isn’t working, they can swipe your car in there too.” She thanked me for my help and I went back to my truck. She got back in her car, started it up, and moved to a different pump. She didn’t go in to report the problem to the employees in the snack shack, which they obviously weren’t aware of or they would have put an out-of-order sign on the pump like they have countless times before. I finished filling up and went inside to report the problem before I left.
It probably took her longer to move her car to a different pump than it would have taken to go inside and report the issue and have them swipe her card.
While pulling out of the gas station parking lot, I looked right, and then looked left to see what on coming traffic looked like while inching forward towards the sidewalk and the street beyond. A flash of movement caught my eye and I slammed on my brakes. A kid on a bike flew by the front of my vehicle, missing the bumper by a matter of inches. At first I was frightened, terrified that I had almost hit this child (teenager) and then I was ticked off. As we all know, from the great Yoda, “fear leads to anger” and “anger is the path to the dark side.” And I happily succumbed to the dark side for I was very angry. If I had hit the biker it would have been all my fault, but… he was on the wrong side of the street (going against traffic instead of with it), on the sidewalk (where bikes aren’t supposed to be, and yes there was a bike lane), wearing all black, and his bike didn’t have any reflectors in the spokes or a headlight on the handlebars. He was nearly invisible. I was furious.
What happened to safety training? Where is the respect for the other people on the road? I was practicing safe driving habits and still almost hit him, but what would have happened if I had?
After leaving the gas station I drove to my local grocery store. It’s a small corner store, a local market, with about two dozen or so parking spots. And the lot is arranged so that you never have more than twenty steps or so from your car to the front of the store where the carts are stored. Plus, the store installed a cart return corral in one of the parking spots to cater to those who had to park the furthest away. And yet, the parking lot is always littered with carts blocking open spaces from people too lazy to return it to one of the two choices they have. I always pull one out of the parking lot to use while shopping to clear up a parking space for someone else to use, then return that cart to the designated corrals at the front of the store when I’m done. Last night there was a cart sitting in the middle of the space I parked next to, I used it while shopping. When I returned to my truck another cart had taken its place. I quick sweep of the parking lot saw 6 of the spaces around the lot blocked from use by a vehicle because of wayward carts and not a single one in the corral in the lot.
This brings us back to respect and safety. When did people start thinking their time was more valuable than anyone else’s and they couldn’t be bothered to walk an additional twenty steps to return them?
After shopping, I returned home and went in search of a free parking space in the unassigned section near my condo. At the end of my row there are 8 spots available on a first come first served basis. There was one spot left, my lucky day. I thought at last I was getting a little bit of happiness after the two gas station incidents and then parking lot fiasco at the store. Then I noticed that the van on the far side of the empty space had parked over the line. Their tires were almost completely into my “free” space. Luckily, my truck is fairly small, and the spaces are fairly wide, and I was still able to squeeze in. But I couldn’t access the passenger door if I had needed to.
Okay, so I’ve done a terrible job parking from time to time, and sometimes I’ve even left my truck parked over the line when I was in a rush, and there were a million other spots open for parking so I knew it didn’t matter. But I’ve never left my truck in such a way that I may have been taking away one of only a few open spots. This again is a matter of respect. The owner of the van obviously has no respect for the people he lives with in our condo community.
That’s it. Game over. I give up. There is no hope for humanity any more.
To my faithful readers, I’m sorry, but I may have to see where this dark side path leads me. The anger is taking over. Hate and suffering can’t be too far behind.
Then again, that may make for some interesting posts.