Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Nosy Nellies

So I had a rather, um, interesting experience last night that I feel, while a bit of a stretch, points to a couple of the problems with the U.S. today.

Last night, after putting up my couple of posts (speaking of which, you should really check out that Van Halen/F-15 video again...Van Halen is way better when mixed to the sound of a couple of P&W F-100s in full 'burner.) Anyway, after putting up the posts, I headed over to a friend's house for some poker and cigars. The poker didn't go bad, didn't go good, basically a standard night, but that's not what I want to talk about. While driving to my friend's house, I passed by a group of people in his neighborhood in the street setting off fireworks. A quick sidenote, in Sarpy County, fireworks are completely legal, which means that on the 4th there are a lot of people setting off fireworks in the street in residential neighborhoods. It's not an issue, we just adjust for one night. So I drive by at about my normal 4th of July speed (15-20 mph.) It's slower than usual because people have an annoying tendency to set off fireworks right as you're driving up; if you aren't careful you can catch a fountain or worse in your undercarriage. So, I drive by and think everything is fine. I get to my friend's house, and he suggests we go buy cigars, so we get back in my car and head back down past the people who were having a party. A lady steps out in the street and flags my car down, so I stop...big mistake.

Said lady is drunk off her ass, and proceeds to grab my arm (I had my windows rolled down) and yell at me for "driving too fast." She said that I was going to run over one of her kids, etc. As soon as she stepped up to the car, I could tell she was drunk (slurring speech, eyes were unfocused) so I wasn't going to make a scene like I usually would; I just nodded my head, said yes a lot, and then proceeded to start to drive away...another big mistake. Apparently she wasn't done with me, so she grabs onto my arm as I try to drive away. In retrospect, I probably should have floored it and forced her to either let go or be drug along, but like I said, I wasn't spoiling for a fight because I was pretty sure that everyone at the party had been drinking heavily. Anyway, she then threatened to call the cops on me and again proceeded to berate me. By this time the little exchange was drawing a crowd, so I was starting to get a little worried. Not that my friend and I couldn't have taken them (3-4 heavily intoxicated pieces of white trash) but that something would have happened to my dad's 4Runner. (Why I was driving the 4Runner is a story in and of itself.) Fortunately, someone in the crowd asked drunk lady what was going on and she released my arm, leaving me "free" to drive away.

So, what does all this have to do with the problems in the U.S. today? A couple of things. First, the fact that the lady felt she had the right to tell me how fast I could drive. There is a posted speed limit, and as long as I follow that law, I can drive as fast or as slow as I want, irregardless of how fast you think it is safe for your kids. If you think 25 is too fast, then perhaps you should petition the City Council (or State DOT, not quite sure who sets speed limits) to change the speed limit on your particular stretch of street. Regardless, you do NOT have any sort of right or power to tell me how fast to drive, much less verbally berate and physically assault me in order to enforce the speed limit that you feel is the proper one. Typical of a society in which we feel the need to control other people, even when it really doesn't affect us. Second, normally I have little problem with people who flag me down to politely tell me that I should slow down. I'll apologize and say yes, I won't drive that fast next time. But Ms. Drunk didn't do that. Instead, she was physically and verbally abusive. Can't say I'm really surprised by that behavior, though. Finally, her threat to call the police. There was a time when people settled disagreements civilly. If they couldn't settle them civilly, they settled the disagreements themselves by whatever means were necessary. What they didn't do was call the police/authority at the drop of a hat. But that's exactly what this lady threatened to do. As a sidenote, I was tempted to tell her to call the police, and then wait for them to get there so I could report her assault, buuuuut...I'm not like that, plus I had a poker game to play. Anyway, the immediate resort to authority/power is, again, typical in a society where we have students suing to get their grades changed and people petitioning the government to ban fast food. If you can't bring about your wishes by convincing people to do it, you force them.

I know I'm reading way too much into this little incident, so don't take it too seriously, but I do think they are some valid points.

Postscript: I would just like to call my friend, Jason, one of the biggest pussies I know. Why? Well, we drove back the same way to his house, going past drunk lady's party again. Me, being the rebellious 19 year old that I am, wanted to pursue several courses of action, ranging from driving by at an excessive rate of speed to driving by at 2 mph while giving them the Hawaiian good luck sign to simply driving back and forth over all of their fireworks in the street. Jason, being the big pussy that he is, told me that I couldn't because he "knows these people." Whatever're just a big puss who doesn't know how to get back at people.