Disappointments and Grievances

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So I’m feeling a bit snarky today so lets talk about the people and things that have bugged me over the last couple of days. Or is this going to make me the grumpy old man screaming “GET OFF MY LAWN”. Actually, other than when I’m driving, I can usually be pretty chill. But I’m also convinced that so many people just live within their own little bubbles and really don’t think at all about anyone around them.

So we’ll talk about that and also my streak of bad books. But I should first acknowledge that it is July 4th (which is important to one of the stories). Random bit of trivia that I may or may not have shared but I’m directly related to one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. So I’ve always liked the 4th as a holiday. Well I like all holidays but for different reasons.

Hard to read the fine print, but he’s in there.

There are many, many opportunities to see fireworks and other celebrations in my area. But our preferred hang out is to see our Symphony perform an outdoor concert that always ends with the 1812 Overture and then fireworks set to various Sousa marches. Most years, they actually have a National Guard company come up and fire off howitzers during the 1812 Overture since that piece does have places for cannon fire. Yes, I like big booms and I can not lie.

We typically like to sit higher up and towards the back of the field where the concert is. Three reasons. First, it tends to be shady and the 4th tends to be hot and sunny. Secondly, it offers an almost perfect view of the fireworks. Third, you aren’t surrounded by people. My siblings all hate crowds – we like to joke about finding the perfect seats with nobody even close to you.

The downside to this area is that if it doesn’t fill up, it leaves lots of rooms for kids to run around and so it attracts a fair number of families. Sitting in front of us was some large group of 30 somethings with assorted kids who they just turned loose to run and scream. I know that an outdoor concert is not like seeing the symphony play indoors. There is a different level of expectation for noise and conversation during the music. And if the kids are just there for the fireworks, then they get bored sitting around during the music. Still, there are those of us who want to listen and having your unruly children running around screaming at the top of their lungs does kind of put a damper on things. Plus the kids throwing the football who weren’t that great and, inevitably, the football landed on our blanket. Fortunately, it did not knock anything over and the kid was at least apologetic. But, if you are a parent, BE A FREAKIN PARENT!!. If you see your kids football hit someone else, maybe tell them it is time to STOP throwing it around because they clearly aren’t capable. Maybe check in on your screaming kids from time to time to tell them that THERE ARE OTHER PEOPLE AROUND and they might not want to have screaming kids running by every 10 seconds!

Oh and one more thing – could you think long and hard before you bring a BABY to one of these events. It is hot, it is uncomfortable, it is loud so is it any wonder that your baby suddenly turns into a cranky non stop crying machine. The good news is most people are considerate enough to remove a screaming infant (why they think shrieking older children are fine is beyond me). But if you are going to have to leave early or spend most of the time in your car trying to keep the baby comfortable, why risk it in the first place. To be fair, we have no kids and my brothers have discussed the whole “needing to get out of the house or I’ll go crazy” phase but there have to be better options than this. I guess they are willing to spin that roulette wheel and hope they get “baby sleeps through everything” but that rarely seems to happen – at least not to the babies around us.

So now I’m a monster who hates kids and babies. No, I really am more down on the parents than the kids. No baby makes a choice to be dragged to an event that requires sitting in hot humid weather for many hours.

Anyway, the downside of an outdoor concert is that you are at the mercy of the weather. And every day this week has been the same weather – hot, humid and chance of showers and thunderstorms. There were storms to the south when we got there but they were far away so I though we were going to dodge the bullet but then a little storm popped up to the west and started to head in our direction. At intermission, the guy warned us about this. Right before the 1812 Overture, someone came out to whisper in the conductor’s ear which is not a good sign. Sure enough, there was lightning within 10 miles and they were calling the concert. No big booms! Because we were cheated out of fireworks, they said our tickets would be good for another concert and they are performing tonight and tomorrow although we still have the chance of rain.

The guy announcing the cancellation was telling us that they were doing it “for our safety”. Well there is some truth to that because being outdoors in a lightning storm isn’t the greatest idea in the world. But I’m sure the primary reason is insurance liability. And I guess the 10 mile radius is there based on the amount of time it would take everyone to leave and get back to their cars in an orderly fashion. If they waited and a thunderstorm suddenly showed up, it would be mass chaos and everyone for themselves in the dash back to the parking lot.

Of course, the nature of pop up storms is that they can weaken just as quickly as they formed. And this one actually fizzled before it even got to the venue. But rules are rules and lightning within 10 miles requires action so we didn’t get to see any fireworks.

While I’m ranting, there was a letter to the editor by someone expressing the need to make the 4th of July fall on the first Monday in July because we really needed it to be a 3 day weekend like Memorial Day and Labor Day. I mean it is just too hard for businesses to schedule around a holiday that doesn’t conveniently fall on a Monday. Besides, a lot of people didn’t sign the document on the 4th so there is no magic to that date. (Except if you ignore the fact that the date is at the TOP of the FREAKIN document)

I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy born on the first Monday in July. Yeah, doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. I’ll avoid being overly political but at a minimum, the 4th of July was a significant day in our history and there are just certain things you shouldn’t mess with.

With the 3-day weekend holidays, you lose the meaning of the holidays. I mean Memorial Day wasn’t supposed to be about not having to work. Labor Day certainly was but, lets be honest, we’ve totally lost that idea because these 3-day weekends just become excuses for sales. Come buy that furniture you don’t need at our big Labor Day sale. We celebrate labor by forcing people to work retail so you’ll have something to do on your day off. I mean there would be national chaos if you couldn’t get your coffee so those people need to work even on Labor Day.

And I’ve segued into coffee for one last tale of humans being clueless. Or, perhaps more accurately, you could call it little things that probably shouldn’t tick me off so much. So we’ve taken Rocco the Wonder Dog for his holiday walk and we swing by to get coffee. Personally, I think Rocco would do fine in the store but – health codes – so we use the drive in. Person in front of me orders their coffee and pulls up just far enough so their back end is still technically blocking the order thingy. Even though there is plenty of space in front of them so they could pull up and completely free the area. Since I can’t determine if I’m going to be able to get close enough, I’m stuck waiting until this person decides that they can actually pull up a little bit farther. C’mon people – is it really that hard to be aware enough of your surroundings to know when you might be inconveniencing someone else and it is an easy fix for you to NOT be an inconvenience. Or do I set my standards too high?

Same thing applies to those who come to an intersection and stop 20 feet behind the car in front of them and block access to the right turn lane keeping me from making my right turn on red.

OK, I realize now that I’ve gone on far too long with my complaints about humanity. I’ll have to get to my streak of bad books at a later date.

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