2006 Dodge dualie--for illustration purpose only--neither this truck nor the person inside are involved in today's story.
I swear I have been collecting these things--examples of people being self centered. But today's was the best ever, and yielded the worst excuse I have ever heard for the behavior. I was at the Wal-Mart today and noted a very badly parked Dodge dualie in the parking lot. It took up two spaces completely, with the painted line right down the middle of the truck. Now, I was just going to snap a shot of such a inconsiderate parking job when the people who owned the truck came back from the store. OK, I could have just snapped and walked away but I had to tell them that they parked inconsiderately taking up two spaces. And then the fire works! "Say that to my face!!" says ms. truculent--so I did. "I know I took two spaces. Well, I pay property taxes so I can park any way I want!!" Excuse me? Say what? I think to myself. "Well, I pay property taxes too, and I don't park that way." "I pay a lot of property tax! Where's your vehicle? How much do you pay?!?" I pointed out my trusty Chrysler; "A $12,000 car! That's all?" [I actually paid $19,000 for it in 2002--would not have mattered to this charming lady.] and a few cuss words. "Well," I said reasonably, "If you just said you feel the dualie is too big for one space that would be OK." I was rewarded with f-bombs. I started to walk away; after my amazement at their lame excuse for taking up two spaces in a privately owned parking lot passed and their reaction to an actual real reason for the way they parked, I decided they were hopeless and not worth any more of my time. The woman actually took a few steps towards me; I was glad at that time there were witnesses. I continued to the store, but did not go in until they had driven away, because I feared they might stop and take a shot at my car. I bantered a bit with the Wal-Mart employee who had seen much of the encounter, then turned to go in the store. That's when I saw the same truck near the store again. I gave a Miss America wave; they answered back with "Have a merry f**king Christmas!!!", then almost knocked off a pedestrian.
Yes, I have their picture; no, I won't put it here on the blog. But I won't delete it either--know your enemy I say.
Now, I'll admit that I poked them in the eye. However, their sense of entitlement is absolutely shameless and makes me almost ashamed to be an American. Is this what we have become? A nation of narcissistic self-centered self-entitled people? Rude and inconsiderate to others in every way as we go about our self-centered way? Where, if we are rich, we think we can trample the rights of others just by dint of having money? Where, if we are lazy, we think we can cry "need need" and stick our hands out and have our needs met by others? And where, both rich and poor, we often think the rules apply to everyone but us?
I'm not perfect, but if this was my truck and I'm at Wal-Mart I either, one, decide that it fits in one space and park in just one space or two, if I think I need two spaces, I park a little farther out and not take up two spaces near the store. In fact I have parked way out in the boonies as have many of my friends with old classic cars to avoid dings and dents. It would be a cold day in Hell before I would deliberately take up two spaces just because I spend more money in property taxes. Sometimes, with my considerate attitude I feel as rare as a Bengal Tiger--and just as targeted.
Even so, I know that I have reacted to things in the same stupid sinful (yes!) self-centered way--maybe not so blatant as this episode--but still reactions and thoughts of the same type. If you really watch carefully you'll see it every day. I thought to myself that this would be a great sermon--a hard sermon though, a convicting sermon--to preach to people. Your biblical text would come out of the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus lays out to the people what a Christ-follower should act like and look like. I don't think Jesus would approve of my jab in the eye but I know He would not care much for the attitude that was revealed by the eye jab either. I at least try to live a considerate Christ-like life; I pray every day for the Holy Spirit's power to strengthen me to live such a life. However, I fear that many people are not even trying to live life in a considerate and kind way.
What does this say for the future of our country? If we are all self-centered, mean, unkind, self aggrandizing and out "to get ours," where does the impetus to do good for each other both individually and communally come from? On the one hand, we will run over anyone in our way; on the other hand, we will take resources for ourselves regardless of our lack of contribution to them. Everything becomes a quid pro quo; what's in it for me. If this is where we draw our leaders from, we are in deep trouble.
Perhaps, as indicated by the lack of social grace and consideration I see every single day in the people around me, we are already in trouble.
I suspect these rude people parked this way because they don't want any dents on their precious truck. The folks at Chrysler who developed this truck would be aghast--Our truck ain't no museum piece; it was meant to be used! A few dents and dings add character. This is what a Dodge dualie should look like! (Needless to say, this wasn't the truck in today's incident; besides, it wouldn't be new enough for these mammon worshipers. It's obvious that mammon is these people's god. They worship it, and lord it over the rest of us.)