Catch-up Rants And Platitudes - #5 - unreality
So for those who weren't sure (yes, my wif, you had it right) - the title relates to the movie Jacob's Ladder, a very interesting and disturbing movie from 1990 with Tim Robbins. Without giving any spoilers here, let me just say it is a glimpse into a man's mind who is torn between the reality of his current life, and the reality of his experiences in Vietnam. [That is a grossly inadequate summary, and the movie is not *about* Vietnam - it's definitely a good watch even if you are put off by war movies.] It also happens to include an early, not-yet-annoying appearance by Macaulay Culkin (uncredited).
I'm just borrowing the term to launch into this general feeling of unreality that has been building lately. It's not quite the same as navigating around in thick fog, where things are familiar but notably "off" in some fashion - but that gives you a taste of the sensation. Nor is it the same as the internal fog from being sick. I am just getting over a week of pretty nasty cold, likely courtesy of an overseas infant niece that I didn't even have the privilege to meet first-hand. That brain-fog of thinking through molasses, that's a whole different kind of unreality. But mix the two ... wow. Interesting times.
So - sorry for not having blogged much recently. Have been planning a bigger overhaul of this site, and lots of topics being drafted a bit... please stay tuned. In the meantime, lots of "achievables" I'm working on the real world, so we'll see how much energy I have left for the blogosphere. I *am* keeping up with postings on my blog list (on right side of page, near bottom) - if you are reading here and I haven't added you yet, please send me the link to your blog so I can add ya.
On to the rants....
Driving - it really isn't that hard. Why do people continue to ignore basic courtesies?!? And why does traffic always slow down in the same places on the expressway when there is no real traffic jam or other justifications for delays?
- Use your turn signals for changing lanes (AND - imagine that - for turns!) When people know where you are going, we can stay out of your way better.
- Use the left lane for passing, then get back into the other lanes until you need to pass again. Stop holding up traffic because you *might* need to pass another car 10 minutes further up.
- Try to change lanes to move away from stopped cars on the right (or left) shoulder, or upcoming merges. Best to avoid the chances of two cars trying to occupy the same space at the same time.
- Along those same lines, stop tailgating me!! I pretty much go as fast as I can safely do in traffic, but I believe in at least a car-length of space (when available) for emergency braking distance. Driving up my ass won't make my car go any faster, and just increases the possibility of us trying to be in the same place at the same time. And when that happens, I'll bet you are un- or under-insured.
- If you are going to insist on putting on make-up, talking on the phone, eating, reading, playing with the radio, and wrangling kids or pets ALL AT THE SAME TIME, please at least be a competent driver and know where you are going first. So many near-misses, and vigilance on my part will only stave off an accident for so long....
Parenting - I don't claim to be an expert, nor do I feel uniquely qualified to offer actual advice. Quite the contrary, I readily admit that I am not yet a parent (although I hope to be in the next year or two, and will keep practicing attempts at conception when opportunities present). ;-) However, I have reflected extensively on my own upbringing (which was relatively successful - I stayed out of trouble and can function well in society), and have been an observer and sometimes-participant in my nephews' upbringing for the last 11 years. I understand it can be frustrating, and that some kids can be very strong-willed.
I was nearly floored, however, when I was an incidental bystander to the following exchange near a busy, local grocery store. Please tell me - what is possibly served by yelling "give me your motherfu**ing hand" at a 2.5 year old child while you and she are already walking through the middle of the high-traffic drive at the front of the parking lot?
- Use some foresight, and maybe have your child's hand before you step into the street? Consider making that STANDARD, for safety's sake, that any mobile toddler is taught to hold an adult's hand before even thinking about traversing a parking lot?
- Maybe temper the language? What are you teaching your kid? They are sponges, and will use language like that when you least want it.
- Of course, the type of person that would verbally abuse their child like that in public, because they were too distracted to have control of their child in advance, is unlikely to care about prevention - and will just react when bad language / misbehavior crops up - in most assuredly appropriate ways, I'm sure.
I just keep hearing about all these crimes against kids: how Chicago already has a record number of school-aged children murdered for this point in 2009; the several suicides of GRADE SCHOOL-aged kids; the abuse (sexual or physical) of these kids, some by their classmates (- further than the simple bullying most of us experienced in our pasts), or members of their family. It's just sad, and these experiences are just more likely to propagate a cycle of abuse.