I rarely, I mean very rarely, do this.
I’m going to rant a little bit in my column today.
About people who simply seem to think they are better than everyone else, who believe the daily rules of life simply don’t apply to them because … well, I guess because they think they are better than everyone else.
Or simply too lazy to follow the rules.
No, I’m not talking about Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump — though both of those individuals absolutely believe no rules apply to them, that they can do whatever they desire, no matter how illegal or rotten or just plain bad it is.
I’m talking about the folks we see every day.
What got a bit under my skin was some folks and their parking habits for this weekend’s Autumn Leaves Festival.
Here at The Mount Airy News we have a couple of parking lots dedicated to employee use. Sure, visitors to our office are more than welcome to use them, but we have a fair number of folks working here, and they need to be able to park in our lots and not have to drive around town for 20 minutes searching for a parking space a half-mile away.
Most people know that in years past we’ve allowed the Red Cross to use one of our lots on Saturday and Sunday as “theirs,” to charge folks to park in order to raise money (though it sure doesn’t seem very neighborly to tell someone they have to pay to park to attend the festival — you’d think there is enough money flowing into the city during the festival without taking another five bucks from folks, especially when most of that parking is free any other time).
Still, we keep the lot immediately next to the building for our own use, because we still have folks coming and in out, working Saturday (and a few on Sunday as well).
We have the lots clearly marked as “Mount Airy News employee parking only.” In fact, we have so many orange cones out that a person has to work a little bit to get into our lot — there’s no way people miss the “employee only” signs.
Yet all day Friday, we had a steady stream of folks simply pulling in, taking up the parking spaces, then going on their merry little way up to Main Street.
It’s not just an Autumn Leaves Festival thing, though. I cannot count the number of times I see people at local grocery stores and shopping centers pull up to the sidewalk and park inside the yellow fire lane, climb from their car and go inside.
Even if folks are only running in for a minute, there’s simply no excuse for this laziness. What’s worse is that most of the time when I see this, the person is inside the store for 15, 20, even 30 minutes, as if shopping while parking in the fire lane is their divine right.
I suspect the city of Mount Airy could keep its fund balance from ever dipping if the police department would spend a few hours at a couple of our city shopping centers, writing tickets to such offenders, with proceeds from such tickets going into the city’s general fund.
It’s not just parking lots where I see this kind of behavior.
A couple of weeks ago I was driving down a small, country road and came upon two pickup trucks facing opposite directions, blocking the highway. They were, obviously, two guys who knew each other because they were sitting there having a nice, little conversation.
In the middle of the road.
So I sat, patiently, for a full two minutes and they were making no moves at all to clear the road, so I tapped the horn. I didn’t lay on it, just a little tap to let them know I’d like to be able to pass.
They both glared at me as if I were committing some major offense.
So I hit the horn a little louder, a little longer, and one of them finally pulled to the side, letting me know all the while I was being a royal pain in the patootie for wanting to use the road to, you know, drive on.
I don’t know that there’s much of a point here, other than ranting. I guess, in a country filled with people who could nominate Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to run for the highest office in the land — and then defend their actions and somehow pretend that either one is even remotely qualified to hold the office — this is the kind of everyday disregard for common decency we should all expect.
I just thought we were better than that.
John Peters is editor of The Mount Airy News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org