Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “inconsiderate”

Welcome to Hell. Here’s Your Car Alarm. – Tom Rossi

My wife and I had lunch yesterday at an outdoor, patio-type restaurant. We were with some members of our family, including my in-laws, who had come all the way from Denmark just to visit us. The patio was on the street in a popular shopping district and we were enjoying the near-perfect weather.

Among the cars passing by on the street was one with sort of loud exhaust. It wasn’t really that bad, but we could sort of feel the vibration of the engine as it went by. But on the other side of the street, and unbeknownst to us as we were seated, a crime had been committed – a heinous crime. It was the dreaded overly sensitive car alarm… my arch-nemesis.

The alarm wasn’t one of those that goes off for a few seconds, either. It kept going for a few minutes. Then, when it finally stopped, everybody sighed in relief. But I knew that it would go off again when another, slightly loud car went by. And sure enough, that’s exactly what happened.

Video: “If I had a rocket launcher…”

I don’t know how many times that alarm had gone off before we had arrived, but the last time that it did, the owner of the car actually came out and turned it off. How considerate!

I’ve written before about the way that individuals and corporations sometimes behave in ways that get them what they want, in essence profiting from their actions (whether in real or imagined ways) while forcing others to bear the costs. That’s basically why we have annoying things like laws and government. If everybody were to behave themselves and act in ways that were considerate of others, (and not just their friends, etc.) we wouldn’t need laws, or police, nor things like environmental protection agencies.

Video: One big noise, and then… peace.

But many people are not considerate of others. They are self-centered and self-focused. They either don’t know that they’re waking up (or whatever) the whole neighborhood or they just don’t care. So many times I’ve been walking past a person just leaving their car after parking, and they hit their little remote-control button, and their car honks it’s horn, loudly, to let them know that the alarm is set. That CAN be adjusted, you know!

As I’m always ready to admit, I’m far from perfect. I’m sure that I, at times, annoy people who really haven’t done anything to deserve it. But the alarm on my car doesn’t go off unless someone tries to jimmy the door open, or actually smacks the window with a knuckle or something. I think this makes me more considerate than those people who are either so paranoid that they want their alarm to go off if a hummingbird flies by, so incompetent that they can’t figure out how to adjust the sensitivity of their alarm to a reasonable level, or so lazy and indifferent to the nuisance they cause that they just never even consider doing anything about it.

Do people have the freedom to annoy others? Sure they do. But I would very much like to be “free” of the annoyances. I’m not asking people to give up their freedoms, just to give a thought to their neighbors, or the people in the general vicinity of wherever they happen to be. Then, we all might get some sleep, or be able to enjoy a nice meal.

Video: I hope this idea works…

And to those who think it’s a good thing that their stupid alarms get so much attention I say this: If your alarm is one of those that keeps annoying me and everyone in the neighborhood, and I see someone in the process of stealing your car, I will walk up to them and say, “The quickest way to the freeway is if you turn left a block up this street. Have a nice day… and thanks.”

-Tom Rossi


Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.


Yosemite Campground Hijinx

This past weekend, I once again had the privilege of staying for a few nights in Yosemite National Park, this time returning to Tuolumne Meadows after about a 20-year absence.

The weather didn’t cooperate as well as it could have, but the trip was still really great and well worth the drive. As is typical of the Sierra Nevada in summer, a pattern of afternoon clouds, showers, and sometimes thunderstorms repeated each day, almost like clockwork. If you’re headed that way, go prepared with extra tarps and rope or some other way of constructing a little shelter at your campsite.

The beauty of Tuolumne Meadows is distinct from that found in Yosemite Valley. The valley is more visually striking, spectacular, in fact. Tuolumne Meadows is a little more gentle in its forms, even with its huge, looming rock domes scattered across its forests and meadows. It’s almost as much of a rock-climber’s paradise as is the valley, but it offers much more than the valley for the (maybe casual) hiker that wants to avoid huge gains in elevation.

What I want to write about here, though, are the people.

The people you encounter in national parks are a selective sub-breed – for the most part. They’re friendly, honest, trusting, open, and often educated and intelligent. However, not all of them are always thoughtful or considerate of others.

Campgrounds in national parks and other places are starting to resemble the infield at a NASCAR race just a little bit. Everyone comes for the beauty and atmosphere of the park, but some also come to party. In addition, some people just don’t really think about how loud their voices are or how well they carry in the morning air.

As an example, we were caught between two neighboring campsites, one with nighttime partiers and the other with a group resembling early-morning roosters. As a result, we didn’t get much sleep.

Neither of these groups was made up of “bad” people. I talked to one of the partiers at length. He and most of his group were in their early twenties and visiting from Australia. He was a really nice guy and we had a great chat. My wife pulled me away and I forgot to work into the conversation that “quiet hours” started at 10 p.m.

I didn’t talk to the morning group, but they seemed like really nice people who may have been visiting from somewhere in Latin America (they all spoke Spanish the whole time) and they were incredibly enthusiastic about getting all that they could out of there visit to the park. They ranged in age from something like 5 to 50 and they left their campsite by 7 a.m. each day and returned late at night. They also appeared to be amazingly well organized, but at 6 a.m. they were shouting and laughing loudly and didn’t seem to notice the motionless campsites nearby.

These groups had one thing in common: a lack of consideration for the other campers near them. Is this getting more common, or do I just notice it more? I got more and more annoyed as I wondered if these people ever thought of anyone but themselves.

As I resentfully pulled my pillow over my head, a memory hit me. It was in this very campground, over 20 years ago, that the inconsiderate jerks… were me and my friends. We had arrived late at the camp, started a campfire and were talking and laughing very loudly, well into the night. A nearby camper came over and, somewhat angrily, asked us to pipe down. Of course, we responded to his anger defensively at first, but we knew he was right. We quieted down after having waited 10 minutes so as not to be directly following our “orders,” and we went to sleep.

In the back of my mind, as it is almost every time I criticize anyone, is the thought that I have done the same thing, committed the same offense, been just as inconsiderate, and made a total ass of myself… and maybe even worse than those currently annoying me.

I guess this is part of getting older. I want sleep more than I want to party. I love a good beer or three, but I want to drink them calmly and then I want to stay in bed past 7:30 a.m. if at all possible.

-Tom Rossi


Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.


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