Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Peeves as Pets

I'm not much of a whiner. Oh, sure, I know HOW to whine, and can do it convincingly. But it's not a favorite pastime. I generally enjoy my life and cheerfully accept the little trials that come along. My philosophy on life is, "If you don't like something, change it." That sounds glib and oversimple, but we're all adults, right? As Frederick Douglass said, "The limits of tyrants are prescribed by those whom they oppress." So, if I don't like something, it's my job to do what it takes to make it right. Which is why, at my house, you would always - ALWAYS, I say - find dishes and homework cheerfully done, and everything in its place. All that said, I wish there were something I could do about four-way stop signs. It seems nobody on the road today knows how to work those daggone things. They're driver IQ tests, and most drivers fail miserably. I can picture all of my one-time classmates, and their reactions to pop quizzes. The pet, who looks forward to it. "I know this one!! Call on me!!" The stoner, who shrugs and giggles at everything. The clueless kid who is surprised that he's expected to know something, and approaches with nervous, shifty trepidation. Whenever there is a traffic light out in the city, the helpful traffic guy on the radio says, "Just be sure to treat that intersection like a four-way stop." I wind up growling at the radio, "How 'bout if you include instructions, mo-ron?!" Just this morning on my way to drop the kids off at school, four of us arrived at the intersection. At the same time. It's generally accepted that whoever gets there first gets to lead. But this was one of those times where we all sat there politely. And continued to sit. Well, I know the law, kiddies, and it's the person on the RIGHT who goes first. So I was waiting for her (it was dark, but I still know it was a her) to go. Bob and Tom went to commercial. "Screw it," I thought, and started my turn. So did she. We stopped with a tiny screech in the middle of the intersection, each waiting for the other to go. The other two cars were having none of this, and didn't budge. I flashed my lights, signaling my bad, I'll wait. She sat there, blank as a fart. I put it in reverse and edged back to my spot. However, someone else had taken my spot, leaving my nose dangerously out in harm's way. She finally stomped on it (the gas, not my nose), shrieking around the corner while waving a finger or two in my direction. I wish there were some kind of lighted signal people could come up with, to tell drivers when it's their turn to go.

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