Sunday, October 25, 2015

Pre Traumatic Stress Disorder- The Sunday Collage

There is nothing that will make my blood boil faster than a rude driver. I think you'll like this story. It's about an old retired cop trying to come to terms with the realization that I can no longer intervene in the traffic dysfunction that is now part of my life nor can I acquire instant gratification through the use of a citation or a pair of handcuffs. 

The chief problem I am desperately trying to overcome has to do with pushing a patrol car around for 25 years and becoming accustomed to people driving responsibly. I am used to motorists using their turn signals, yielding, putting away phones, and actually behaving when a patrol car is visible. This is the world I inhabited for 25 years. It seems like some sort of illusion or dream now- that world of courteous drivers. I can only describe what has happened to me since then as "Pre Traumatic Stress Disorder."

This was the brave new world I discovered in 2007. The world the rest of you drive in. I am still trying to come to terms with it.

Now I have to tell you a little something else about me. I am nearly 55 years old. At 6'4" and 260 or so, I still think I'm the toughest guy on the block. It doesn't matter whether I am or not (I most certainly am not) but that doesn't slow me down when I run into one of life's bona fide assholes.

These are the types of self centered people who don't care about anyone else and rather than have the good sense to just hide that sociopathic piece of their psychological make-up, they actually revel in it. They are proud of it. When you meet these people, you remember them.

When I meet them, they remember me.

I'm not talking your run of the mill driver who simply cuts you off or tailgates you for a few miles- often that is just careless driving. I am talking about a special kind of asshole. The kind of person that is deliberate and malicious. When I was a kid in Butte, people like that got their asses kicked on the spot. They didn't call the cops because the cops just shrugged and said they had it coming. Same with their parents. Good parents were merciless and kept these types in check. Forty years has come and gone and now these assholes have swelled in number. There are no consequences anymore- the sociopaths do what they do and when confronted- they run away, call the police, lie about being innocent victims, or get lawyers. That is the sad truth within our culture. There are no instant consequences...well most of the time. Until you run into a 54 year old guy who is not having a Pulitzer prize winning day and running out of time. This happened a few weeks ago.

It was about 430 PM when I arrived at a manufacturer to pick up some big pieces of equipment for shipment. The shipping and receiving area at this shipper is very confined. On this day, the property owners had dumped asphalt onto two of the exit points which only left one entry and exit area on the property. I pulled into the property, oddly, so that I would not obstruct any other trucks as they attempted to enter through the remaining, narrow, entrance. That's when it happened. A guy in a DHL box truck entered the property and parked his truck right in the middle of the only exit. There was plenty of room for him to park on one side or the other- but being the lazy, thoughtless bastard that he was- he simply parked in the middle of the driveway and obstructed the entire exit. It is possible, and he may not have known, that the other exits were blocked. At any rate, I was blocked in and others were blocked out. I only had about 15 minutes to get out of there and pick up another shipment across town before 5 PM. Such is the nature of "just in time" shipping. I hemmed and hawed for a minute and then I entered the shipping area and very nicely (really) I asked the DHL driver if he could move his truck to one side so that I could exit.

He looked at me and said, "No, you can wait until I'm done." I said, "you are blocking the exit." He then said, "I get blocked in all of the time." Then I said, "So does that give you some sort of license to be an asshole?" In awe, I walked out to my truck and watched this guy run in and out of the building until he was done. I briefly considered helping him but decided against it. After 5 minutes or so as he was locking the back of his truck, I asked him why he couldn't take 30 seconds to move his truck. He just stared at me, weighing out his next move. That's when I said, "Ya know, you are a special kind of asshole." He just stared at me, turned, and jumped into his truck.

If you hear those words come out of my mouth, the translation is this. I am prepared to kick your ass right now and teach you the manners that you are so woefully lacking. I will even give you the first swing.

When I was a young man, my parents instilled a sense of responsibility and shame. What this means is that when you screw up and block somebody in- you immediately recognize, apologize, and take care of the problem that YOU created. What you don't do is compound that mistake by being an asshole. The first transgression is forgivable- the second transgression is not.

I see that same self centered attitude everywhere. People just don't care. They don't care because they see no reason, no benefit in caring about others. It's not getting better either- it's getting worse as the government, inflation, taxes, runaway health and education costs keep squeezing more work hours and more money out of us. People are tapped out in America. They lack any kind of empathy for others and they lack the spiritual benefits of taking responsibility for their behavior. Can you imagine how bad this is going to get when that fake money stock market implodes and wipes out every one of their retirement accounts?? The apathetic world has no idea that the legislation is already in place which will allow bankers to short and ultimately seize all of their savings.

If you think things are bad now- just wait for that shit.

Years ago when I got my passport, I will never forget the postal clerk asking me where I was traveling to. I thought about it for a second, looked at her and said "I'm not going anywhere, yet. I didn't get this thing to travel- I am getting this thing to evacuate."

That's my plan B. I'm gonna find someplace where I don't have to drive, a place a little less cutthroat with a beach. Maybe get a bicycle with a basket on it. I really don't think it's gonna take too long.