Wednesday, March 29, 2006

What We're Entitled To (and it does lead to writing crime)

What do you deserve?

The exploding engine in your car that’s going to set you back a few grand? The way you keep getting called to come to work on your day off because someone’s sick and they’re short-staffed?

The endless abuse from telemarketers and door-to-door salespeople?

You have my sympathy on all of the above, and more. But there is a fine line that we all risk crossing, when we begin to feel we’re entitled to certain things.

Okay, we’re all entitled to some things. We have a right to expect to be treated with respect, for example. I’m not talking about stuff like that.

I’m talking about people like this, who use a fake baby in a car seat to get away with driving in designated carpool lanes.

I mean, lady, what makes you more special than anyone else?

The woman got a fine for $110 and 3 demerit points on her driver’s license, which affects car insurance premiums and once you accumulate a certain number of points, your license is suspended.

And officers say they write a few hundred tickets each month for abuse of carpool lanes.

Going so far that you buy a car seat and a doll, as this woman did, to pretend to have a second occupant in a vehicle… Wow.

Now, perhaps I’m coming off with a bit of a harsh opinion here in the eyes of some. But any of us who’ve lived in a city and experienced gridlock understand the reasons for carpool lanes. The majority of us not only respect the efforts of cities to address traffic problems. It isn’t a perfect system - what is?

But people thinking they’re entitled to do whatever the hell they want leads to anarchy.

These are the people who just walk across a busy highway and expect everyone to slam on the brakes. These are the people who fight over toys in stores because they damn well want one for their kid.

These are the people that sue when their very common first name is used for a bad character on tv. Does that give me grounds to sue a certain author for using my first name in a short story? Uh, NO!

I mean, geez people, get a grip. I’m reminded of something Laura Lippman said when I interviewed her, about the idea of parents advocating for their kids and causing more harm than good.

“I am fascinated in how something inarguably good -- the love of one's child -- can have bad consequences. The thing is, one doesn't advocate for one's child in a vacuum. If you fight to get your kid away from the notorious teacher everyone loathes, or if you angle to get him on the "better" Little League time, other kids are affected.”

Everything we do has an impact on others. By pushing for our child to have better, we might ensure another child has things much worse. By sneaking into a carpool lane you might slow legitimate traffic that keeps a man with a heart attack from getting to the hospital in time.

I mean, don’t even get me started on that. My good friend Steve reads my blog when he’s working at the fire hall in New Westminster, BC, and the stories he tells about people who won’t get out of the way when they have the lights and sirens on…If there was justice, it would be their house on fire, burning to the ground. (Do you know most houses burn beyond retrieval in less than 7 minutes? And these knobs are puttering along, refusing to move…)

Not to mention that a certain MIL I know parks in handicapped spots because she wants to park close to the doors. Doesn’t need to, doesn’t have a little card authorizing her, just does.

Oh, and those people who park across two spots so nobody will ding the doors of their new vehicle.

And now I see thatPamela Anderson has asked our prime minister to talk about the seal hunt.

Her and a list of other celebrities.

Because having big boobs and making lots of money qualifies her as special enough that she should have an audience with the prime minister to promote her cause?

You know, I have a lot of respect for Bono. At least U2’s lead singer consistently meets with political figures in all sorts of venues to address poverty, and he speaks out to the media, and he speaks out when he performs on tour. He is nothing if not consistent. And his cause is selfless. It isn’t a promotion stunt, so it isn’t celebrities being activists that bothers me, just the way that some celebrities expect that when they suddenly decide something’s a good trend to pick up a placard for, they expect the politicians to come running.

And, of course, the media loves it. They’re there, lapping it all up. It’ll make for good headlines when Pamela sulks in her tight t-shirts about how wrong the PM is to ignore her, how this is evidence of “conservative” evil.

Like the seal hunt hasn’t been going on for hundreds of years and been preserved by the Liberals time and time again…

I hope Mr. Harper tells them all to rot in hell and get real jobs.

But in thinking on this topic, it has brought me right back to mysteries.

You see, when I assess motives for murder, when I read about crimes, when I read confessions, I see some similarities that crop up. Not universally – let’s not generalize – but enough to notice the trend.

And it goes to the sense of entitlement.

That I “deserved” to be rich. I “deserved” to have her. I “was meant to” have that job and he got in the way.

The world is complex. Modern trends see us encouraging people to be all they can be, to strive for whatever they want.

Good encouragement in principle. But there are always a few nutjobs out there with enough screws loose who take it too far.

Sometimes, I wish there was a course people had to take so they’d be reasonable. But I have to admit it – these wackos give me all kinds of ideas for writing.

And somewhat related, but not 100%

I once had someone ask to have me kicked off a committee because they were afraid of me, that I might be a stalker.

Which was really hysterical, because the person phoned me, invited me to participate in the committee originally, even invited me to their birthday party…

But when one issue came up and they didn’t like it, I might be a stalker.

I mean, I’m nothing if not passionate about the things I love. Like you all haven’t guessed that, seeing me gush about writers and books and such. Don’t even get me started on The Wire.

But a stalker?

I’ve got to tell you: I can email anyone about virtually anything. I’m of the mind that you don’t have to read it, you can delete it – I’ll never know.

But in person, with someone I don’t know? To follow them around everywhere and impose myself? Damn, there are people I am acquainted with that, if they were in town I’d invite them to dinner or to tour the area – there’s an open invite for authors coming here, though I expect they’d say no - but show up at a public venue and expect to have a big chat with them?

Not bloody likely.

And to smile or groan…
A little boy comes down to breakfast. Since they live on a farm, his mother asks if he had done his chores. "Not yet" said the little boy.

His mother tells him no breakfast until he does his chores.

Well, he's a little pissed, so he goes to feed the chickens, and he kicks a chicken.
He goes to feed the cows, and he kicks a cow.
He goes to feed the pigs, and he kicks a pig.

He goes back in for breakfast and his mother gives him a bowl of dry cereal.

How come I don't get any eggs and bacon? Why don't I have any milk in my cereal?" he asks.

“Well," his mother says, “I saw you kick a chicken, so you don't get any eggs for a week.

I saw you kick the pig, so you don't get any bacon for a week either.

I also saw you kick the cow, so for a week you aren't getting any milk."

Just then, his father comes down for breakfast and kicks the cat halfway across the kitchen.

The little boy looks up at his mother with a smile, and says: "Are you going to tell him, or should I?"


Bernita said...

Hohboy, besides people who don't use signal lights, the people who won't pull over for sirens make me murderous.
I remember my husband in the back of an ambulance in cardiac arrest and us riding on this bitch's back bumper while she patted her hair.

I so agree with you, Sandra.

James Goodman said...

Because having big boobs and making lots of money qualifies her as special enough that she should have an audience with the prime minister to promote her cause?

No, not by themselves, but throw in the barb wire tattoo, that incredible intellect and those lips, yep the PM is thinking...Party! :D

JamesO said...

People are strange. We're quite happy to have the rules and laws that keep society together, just as long as they only apply to other people. Motorists, particularly, are notorious for this. We all break the speed limit from time to time, park illegally and so on. We do it because it's convenient for us and chances of anything bad happening to us as a consequence are very low.

Over here in the UK the motoring press are up in arms over the proliferation of speed cameras. It's criminal how the government is using them merely to raise revenue, we're told. And they don't really care about road safety, just cash. But there is one thing they all conveniently forget to mention: the only reason anyone ever set off a speed camera was because they were breaking the law.

In a democracy, if you don't agree with a law you lobby your MP, start up a petition, stand for parliament or do whatever you can to persuade a majority of people that the law should be changed. That's how it works, or at least how it's supposed to.

But it's so much easier just to drive at 80 mph anyway. And when you (finally) get caught, you can have a jolly good moan about it down the pub with your mates. Unless, of course, you're under a truck in the middle of a fifty vehicle pile-up.

And now you've set me off on a rant, I may have to blog about it over at sir benfro.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Bernita, I'm glad someone agrees with me!

James, Canadian politicians don't even have sex. Ha ha.

And James... wow. Though photo radar cameras are a pet peeve of mine. WHY? Because now people speed and then slam on the brakes when they see a vehicle on the side of the road (that's how it's done here - unmarked vehicles). So the potential for causing accidents is huge and it doesn't stop people from speeding anywhere else.

Monday night I was driving home and the three lane highway was down to one lane because of a vehicle flip-over. And nobody was moving too fast, you catch my point? DOA. Photo radar cameras don't actually do anything to STOP SPEEDERS at that moment in time. Here they mainly put them in playground and school zones, because the fines are higher, and you get a ticket in the mail 6 weeks later. Then you try to remember what you were doing driving in that neighborhood anyway. Did it make the streets safer at that moment? Nope. Did it make you slow down? Obviously not.

So, on the one hand, yeah, you're breaking the law. Fine.

On the other hand, the purpose is the money, not making roads safer. And what bothers me is the number of times people have been racing and weaving all over Deerfoot and where's a cop then? I watched with my own eyes as a semi trailer drove over a car. Where where the cops then? Had to stick around and report what happened, and the semi driver ended up going to court because he'd broken the law...

Sandra Ruttan said...

Where where?

Oh boy, back to bed methinks!

Boy Kim said...

So much more convenient than watching with someone else's eyes, I find.

M. G. Tarquini said...

Been catching up on your blog.

I always pull over for flashing lights.

Anonymous said...

I believe you deserve only what your choices and actions create.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Boy Kim, what've you been smoking today?

Mindy, hope you have LOTS of time on your hands. (grin)

Jason, that's a good way to put it. I like that. That's why you're in "some kind of wonderful" - you really are.

Trace said...

That ridiculous sense of entitlement. I'm familiar with it. Fucking assholes.

You, a stalker? LOL! Are they on crack? Smoke screen for not wanting to face you. Keep her away from me! She's a stalker!

I love the joke!

Boy Kim said...

I didn't get the joke.

OTO, fancy popping over to Wales and explaining it to me? Please.

Boy Kim said...

Oh, and I ain't been smoking nuttin, Ma'am.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Can someone explain what 'pussy' is to Kim? Poor boy doesn't understand...

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sandra Ruttan said...

In case you're wondering, I remove all spam posts on recent threads. And I add their product to a list of things I will NEVER buy.

And believe me, I'm petty that way.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kate said...

I was wondering if it was an explanation for Kim!

It looks as if we're all too innocent!

Sandra Ruttan said...

Ha! Yeah, I posted the joke because I was hoping someone would explain it to me. We all know how pure I am.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Oh, of pure as the driven somw things...huh, Sandra.

I agree with you rant in the post and the joke was adorable, I 'm going to filch it for this week!

Sandra Ruttan said...

LOL Bonnie - you go for it! You post the best jokes.

And just wait for my rant tomorrow! It'll make me look positively indifferent today by comparison!

Boy Kim said...

I also thought the deleted comment was a rather too detailed explanation for me.

And it does seem that everyone's too innocent. Or, to use the vernacular, you're a bunch of pussies!

JamesO said...

I hope you don't think that I like speed cameras - I think they're a useless excuse for proper law enforcement. What I hate even more is whiney idiots who moan about getting caught. They blame it on the cameras and the bad politics behind them, because they haven't got the nerve to admit that what they really want is to be able to drive like nutters past schools at chucking out time.

This is so building up into a rant...

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