People Who Are Unclear on the Concept
I’m just having one of those days where everyone I see around me is Doing It Wrong and I want to make them pay. Everything gets on my nerves, even – especially – stuff that would normally just go by me.
UMaine has a campus-wide no-smoking policy. Does that prevent the kids from ambling around campus with cigarettes stuck in their mouths or congregating in the little parking lot between Boardman Hall and the MTL to smoke up a storm between classes? The hell it does. I’ve even seen faculty members hanging around out there having a butt. Way to set an example, prof.
(As an aside, just the fact that there still are normal-age college students who smoke in the year 2011 is enough to rile me up on a day like this. My grandfather’s generation didn’t know any better, but, uh, yeah, kids, we’ve known that smoking is bad for you for quite a while now, and you’re supposed to be the smart ones, you got into college. What the hell is wrong with you?)
Whenever I’m walking to class on a day like today and I meet someone coming the other way who is smoking, I have a very brief but entirely real desire to shoot him (and I hate to seem sexist here, but statistically speaking it is pretty much always a guy) in the head. It only lasts something like a nanosecond – not nearly long enough to be acted on, but long enough for me to recognize that I felt it – but it’s an entirely genuine desire for the instant it lasts. So it’s a good thing I don’t have some instantaneously lethal superpower, like Destructo-Vision or something.
The Boardman lot is tiny and in the center of campus, so it’s (apart from the nebulous and inevitable SERVICE VEHICLE ONLY space) entirely composed of handicapped parking spaces. (Seems funny when written out that way. Like they’re parking spaces that can’t do everything regular parking spaces do because of some illness or injury.) Not that this stops anybody from parking in it. In fact, what it does is make them park more annoyingly than if they’d just manned up and parked in one of the wheelchair-marked spaces illegally. To avoid doing that, they park out in the aisle, or athwart the rear entrance to Boardman, or – my favorite – in the stripey areas between the HC spaces, figuring that if they’re not parked on a wheelchair icon, it must be OK. I want to set these people’s cars on fire.
My favorite, though, was the guy on the motorcycle who pulled up and parked in the stripey area next to my car as I was getting ready to leave. I tried to point out in the most diplomatic way possible (i.e., I did not lead with “hey, jackwad, I know you already know this and are just ignoring it because it would inconvenience you, but”) that that’s not what the stripey area is for, and he offered to do pugilism with me. Seriously. He didn’t sound particularly psychotic or anything, he just seemed to think it was the next logical phase for the discussion to take: “You wanna fight about it?” It was like being back in the third grade, with its matter-of-fact attitude toward casual violence.
If I were a bona fide wheelchair-bound Disabled Person, and I had one of those vans with the powered platform thing that comes out of the side, I would deploy it if someone did that to me. Bad move, brutha! I need that space and I have hydraulics. That’ll buff right out.
Man. I am just in a grumpy mood today. Lingering aftereffect of that physics test, I think. The more I think about the way the instructor grades those, the more annoyed I get. Also, I had one of my Paralytically Shy Mumbling Guy days this afternoon in German class, which is not a class in which one can excel by being a shy mumbler, set off by the fact that I tried to speak up in history class in the morning and there were suddenly no words. I was trying to explain why being bang in the middle of the Med conveyed strategic significance on Malta in the Napoleonic era – which of course has to do with its location as regards sail traffic, as a way station between Gibraltar and Alexandria and/or Sicily and Tripoli, a watering stop, the presence of neutral medical facilities etc., but all that would come out was, “Uhhhhhhhh… well… look. It’s in the middle.”
So basically I’m having the kind of day where I very strongly suspect my teachers all think I’m an imbecile and I’m not entirely certain they’d be wrong about that, and it’s causing me to go into these towering but silent rages about stupid stuff like people parking on the stripes and smoking where they’re not supposed to. And you get to read all about it because this is my blog and this is what I’m blogging today. Sigh.
Also also: It is a bit past 7 PM (I just heard the bell out in Cloke Plaza) and, as far as I can tell from the crib, it is fully dark outside. Speaking as a seasonal affective: Labor Day is a dumb place on the calendar to put the start of the school year. (Yes, I know, relic of our agrarian past, kids needed on the farm during the summer, etc. etc. And our workday is still set up to accommodate the optimal lighting conditions in 18th-century textile mills, too.)