Archive for January, 2014

I’ve Got a Bone to Pick With Line Scofflaws

January 17, 2014

We all know that society is breaking down completely, and that it’s a matter of time before the whole world is just one big every-man/woman-for him/herself, free-for-all place, dominated by the shrewdest opportunists, but until we reach that complete state of unbridled mayhem, I still think we are obligated to obey a few common courtesies, without which these reprobates to which I refer are simply doing what they can to speed along the demise of the entire civilized world.

I speak now of those of us who are constantly, with their narcissistic, me-first ways, trying to tear the rest of us down, just a tiny bit at a time by screwing up the lines we all wait in on a daily basis.

There are almost too many lines to address individually, so let me hit on just a few:

1) All of us have been riding along on a 2 or 3-lane road when we encounter a sign that says something like “Right Lane Closed Ahead”. We glance down the road a bit, and indeed we can see that the right lane has cones, possibly a repair truck or two, and men in it. Most people dutifully make their way immediately into one or more of the left lanes, so that all cars can make it past the temporary obstacle. But there are always the people who, taking advantage of the fact the right lane has no one in it, drive all the way down that lane to the point of obstruction and then turn on their left blinker, plaintively looking to the approaching cars with this “I didn’t KNOW the lane was blocked” look on their face.

[Author’s Note: It has been pointed out to me by a knowledgeable source, that the above action, which I have now decried, is, in fact, the manner in which the various state Departments of Transportation prefer this situation be handled. The right lane occupants should continue through to the point of the obstruction and proceed to turn on blinkers and “zipper in” to the left lane. Apologies. I substitute the following scenario:]

Three lanes in one direction with one lane being clearly marked as a “turn-only” lane by virtue of several arrows painted  in the 400 yards or so leading to the upcoming intersection to one direction or the other. The other two lanes are back up due to heavy volume on the road. So scofflaw proceeds all the way down almost to the intersection, at which time the plaintive “I didn’t know it was a turn lane” look is used by the violator, along with the blinker, which upsets the people who have been waiting in the backed up line, as well as those now unable to turn right or left until the “bad guy” has been allowed to merge.

I, for one, can muster up complete peripheral blindness and hug the bumper of the car in front of me, while simultaneously wishing that everyone behind me will do the same, thereby teaching this “jackleg” (as my sweet mother used to refer to such people) a lesson. But inevitably a kinder person than I in the line behind me lets them in, and I say THIS to that “kind” person–you are every bit as much responsible for the societal breakdown to which I refer as the jackleg him or herself is.

Why? Because you have done nothing to dissuade the jackleg from repeating that act in the future, again allowing our society to be broken to pieces, one small bit at a time. Don’t let them over folks. Make them sit there until the crew quits for the night.

2) At concerts and sporting events, there are the crucial breaks in the action where virtually everyone makes a run for the bathroom. I cannot speak for the ladies, but in the men’s bathrooms, there is typically an ingress point, where everyone queues up to take their turns at the urinals, and then a separate egress point, where everyone exits once they have finished and (hopefully) washed their hands.

If only it were always just so. There are multiple versions of line breakdowns — there is the guy who walks past the line looking at the stalls (does he need to go #2 or does he just like extra privacy for one small reason or another?). All of the civilized people are thinking, it doesn’t matter WHAT your purpose is, buddy, you are breaking in line. The fact you would prefer a stall is immaterial. Inevitably, a urinal will open up while he is standing in the immediate area, and he just TAKES it. Why he is not summarily beaten to death, I do not know. But it is generally tolerated.

The second is the guy who wanders in from the EGRESS side of the facility, looking as though he has no earthly idea that he is coming in the wrong side (despite the fact there was a sign outside the door that said EXIT ONLY). Once he enters the facility and sees the long line on the other side of the facility, does he walk out the door he has just entered and walk around to the other side? Of course not! He simply stands there, trying to muster up a befuddled look, until a urinal opens, at which point he quickly jumps in there, and then rushes out the other side, typically without bothering to wash his hands, lest someone deliver a comeuppance speech.

Then there is the last and most annoying breakdown. That comes when the music, or game, has clearly started back up, and then a catch-as catch-can melee ensues, with all forms of protocol tossed aside, as everyone muscles themselves into a spot to pee, without regard for any form of integrity.

3) The line that in most grocery stores used to say “10 (or 15) Items or Less”. We all saw the inconsiderate men or women who saw how long the other checkout lines were, and took their cart (with some 25 or possibly more) items in it and jammed it into the express lane. They might have even offered up a lame “I’m sorry if I am over by a couple” as they approach the checkout person. Occasionally there might even be the bold person that “called out” the violator, causing all Hell to break loose and possibly even requiring the intervention of a manager.

Nowadays the sign says (at least in the stores I frequent here in Atlanta) “About 15 items”. In other words, the chains have simply acknowledged, and even encouraged, the societal breakdown to go forward. Weary of the interventions and the fights between the seniors on senior day, they simply threw up their hands and said “We give up. YOU decide what’s right and wrong.”

I think if we all band together a little, we can at least slow this erosion down somewhat. No, you don’t have to take it when the selfish jackleg tries to cut a line corner and inconvenience the rest of us who have dutifully followed the rules. I have often wished there were a way that they could be tazed, or perhaps that a large hole could open up and swallow them up into the pits of Hell. Until such a day comes, we have to lock arms and do what we can to keep the bubble gum and baling wire on the small bit of civility we have left in this world. It is our duty.

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