Saturday, November 28, 2015


The third human being with whom I spoke on Thanksgiving morning promised to sic the police on me.

I don't want to dwell on it. It was a lovely morning, and no one else in the house was up, so I took Tralfaz for a walk in a neighborhood with which I wasn't familiar. (We both enjoy trying new paths on our walks sometimes.) Turned out we wandered into a small, crummy, run-down apartment complex with a "no trespassing" rule. Suddenly I heard someone pretending to growl like a dog; then we were getting yelled at by some bald guy with a ponytail---always an appealing look---who threatened to call the cops if he saw us there again.

I wished him a happy Thanksgiving. Although clearly, with his attitude, that was not going to be possible.

Maybe he's the maintenance guy and he is always having to clean up dog poop. Hey, I can relate, mister. No need to be a complete jackass right out of the gate, though.

I know that as you get older you begin to appreciate the pillars of civil society in a way you don't when you're younger, you come to see that civil society is more fragile than you thought, and you tend to see rudeness as a threat. People that care about civil society do, anyway, unlike Ponytail Joe.

Jackassery is all over, and creeps in everywhere. Like the bus I saw a couple of months ago that was in the right lane that pulled out into the center of the street while I was passing him. He'd had the flashers on, showing he was picking up passengers, and it was perfectly legal to pass. But suddenly he wanted to go, and he wanted to get around some construction at the curb. He didn't look to see if someone was going by on the left, or if he did, he didn't care. I had to make an instant choice to slam on the brakes, swing into oncoming traffic, or let the bus he didn't own smash the car I do own. What choice did I have?

When you're not the lead dog, the view never changes,
Jerks are running the media, of course, and we're to blame for letting them do it. When I was a kid, daytime TV was pretty anodyne, even the soaps; now it's a swirling cesspool of broken lives and miserable people who make bad choices. I see that the ABC Family channel is changing its name to Freeform in 2016, the better to reflect the fact that it has not for a long time been a place you could rely on for something that won't shock Grandma or confuse Little Jackie or embarrass Teen Queen (who canNOT believe that she has to WATCH all this SEX STUFF with her PARENTS in the room). The name ABC Family conveyed---falsely, for a long while---that it contained what we used to call family entertainment.

Freeform promises nothing, hints at almost exactly the opposite of that. The executives at the network literally danced with joy when they announced the name change, freed from the shackles of having to pretend they cared about families.

Thanks, Disney!

So the whole world feels like it's going to worse than the dogs---it's going to the jackasses.

Or is it?

As I mentioned at the top, Ponytail Joe was the third person I spoke with on Thanksgiving morning. Persons 1 and 2 were two lovely young ladies out walking their tiny dogs when I came across them with my humongous dog. We chatted happily for a bit while their little dogs sniffed and jumped around my big fellow, and everyone complimented one another's pup, and it was a delightful way to start the day. It's sad that my pessimistic mind is more geared to focus on one asswipe than two polite and cheerful young people, but you always notice the tooth that hurts, not the 31 that don't.

Which is why it's easy to think that everything is going to hell, all the time.

But this weekend I'm going to try to focus on the 31 that don't hurt. On the two that are nice rather than the one that is naughty. I'm going to try to be grateful, and hope for the best.

And drive carefully around buses. Those drivers are nuts.


Stiiv said...

Firstly, I'm happy & not at all surprised that you named your dog "Tralfaz". (Astro: "Ralfaz? Yecch.") Next, regarding that bald ninny with the ponytail: I had a similar incident happen to me some years ago, after buying a couple of cool, retro Schwinn bikes for the wife & myself. I took to riding around the neighborhood after work, for the exercise & the pure pleasure of travels took me to the block where I grew up, in Howard Beach, & I decided to take a look at our old garden apartment. Standing there, straddling my trusty steed, I gazed at what used to be our living room window, my eyes tearing up in unabashed sentimentality. Suddenly (well, as suddenly as a Cushman scooter can appear), a security guard in a Cushman scooter appeared, & informed me that I'd have to leave. I was pleasant, & explained that I'd grown up in this place, I'd played in this very courtyard as a child, & I was just kinda wallowing in nostalgia...he cared not for my little confession, & obnoxiously insisted that I leave immediately. If I were a different kind of guy, I could have easily smacked him in the chops; instead, I rode slowly away, shaking my head.

Fred Key said...

Not everyone who abuses authority works in Washington!