Sunday, October 31, 2010

Random Musings, and
It Must Suck to Be a Kid Nowadays

If you drive like a moron, either hogging the road or overly aggressive driving, and you are driving an identifiable company vehicle, then you should not be too surprised when your boss's voicemail is overflowing with complaints that have been called in by the drivers that you so blithely offended.

I cannot wait for Tuesday to come and go. I am so sick of being bombarded with campaign ads and telephone calls. Most of my incoming landline calls for the last week have been political-begging calls. The only difference seems to be that the local Democrats have live people calling and the Republicans are using robocalls. There are a couple of clowns running that I absolutely won't vote for because I know them or of them and they are creeps.

Haven't you stupid monkeys out there ever seen a cop pull over a motorist before? Haven't you ever seen a cop park his cruiser to protect a motorist who is changing his car's tire? You'd think not, judging from the number of vehicle-operating primates who had to slow down in order to take a look. Eyes front and drive on, you stupid, stupid monkeys.

Got my candy ready. I hope the kids have fun tonight. It just feels odd to see kids in their early teens out trick-or-treating who are escorted by their parents. It must have been a different time when I was young; kids who were old enough to walk to school were let out on their own for the annual Extortion of Candy.

It's not just that. I go for walks early in the morning, starting out well before dawn. On my return leg, the school buses are picking up the young ones for school. I watched one bus pick up kids, move to the next stop, and pick up some more. The difference between the two stops was less than 100 yards. At all of the stops that I've seen, there is at least one parent in attendance. For my last job, I had to change my route to work to avoid going past a local school complex in order to not get stuck in the crush of SUVs and minivans which were dropping off kids.

For most of the school districts I attended as a child, one had to live more than a half-mile from the school to get bus service in grammar school, a mile for junior high and a mile-and-a half or two miles for high school. Less than that, you had to hoof it and it didn't matter if it was bucketing down rain or -20deg. If you got bus service, the stops were well separated and you walked to them. Other than maybe the first day of school, I never saw a parent at a bus stop. My family lived or a time in a town where there was no school bus service whatsoever; you had to walk to school or, if you lived far enough away, you were given a bike permit.

In the summer, everywhere I lived, it was the same. If the weather was good, you got up and you went outside to play. You'd come home to lunch and then it was back out the door to play until it was time for supper. If you were taking music lessons, then part of the day was allocated for practice. You and your friends were expected to make your own fun, totally without adult supervision. It didn't matter if it was a semi-rural new subdivision or an old suburb with two-decked houses and small yards, summer came and you, your siblings and your friends were on your own. Thanks to Drs. Salk and Sabin, "polio summers" were a thing of the past.

If you wanted to read, you could go to the library. If you had the money, you could go to the movies (fifty cents for kids 12 and under, 75 cents for teens and adults). There was one movie theater in the town, one screen, and one horrible summer, only one movie played for the entire summer. (Which is why, to this day, I cannot force myself to watch Dr. Zhivago.) If you wanted to roam the woods out back with a BB gun, nobody thought anything about it.

All that has changed, of course. So many kids seem to be in structured activities year-round. There is also a pervasive fear, real or not, that child molesters will hoover kids up from the bus stops if they walk to school or if they are allowed to get off the bus unattended. The local school district's buses will not let kids off at a stop if there is not at least one adult to receive them.

I suspect that it is not as much fun to be a child nowadays.

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