Monday, January 6, 2014

Rules Are Not Made to Be Broken

Dr. Sheldon Cooper is right. If we don’t follow the rules and keep things in proper order, the entire world will dissolve into chaos, and we might as well just forage for food and kill or be killed. At least that is how I feel after this past weekend’s snow storm.

For the last two winters in the Trailer Park, we haven’t had much winter weather, and I complained. Me and my big mouth. On Friday, the meteorologists predicted we would get a dusting of one inch of snow on grassy areas. I shouldn’t be angry because the television meteorologists are usually drama students who couldn’t make it in New York or Hollywood, and I don’t know about your home town, but all of them here are Gay! I know firsthand. Don’t worry about how I know, just know that I know.

What we ended up with in Jessup was around six inches of snow and freezing temperatures creating an ice rink on our streets in the ‘hood. One of the 400 rules, which first attracted me to this community, was that your walkway and the sidewalk in front of your house were to be shoveled no more than eight hours after the snow ended. I would like to report that most of my neighbors complied, but I cannot.

Curiously, everyone shoveled their driveways, creating mounds on either side, but on my street, only three of us actually shoveled the sidewalks in front of our homes. I was the youngest. The other two have a combined age of 162, so there was no excuse for what Rose Marie and I encountered.

To compound matters, the park management hired a redneck with a Ford F-250 Super Duty and a snow plow attached to the front to clear the streets. Well, he managed to pile all the snow onto the sidewalks and create a sheet of ice on the street. What is the use of plowing if you don’t treat what you leave behind?

I have never been snow climbing or glacier climbing or whatever extreme sport involves climbing up icy mountains, but after this weekend, I don’t feel a need to add that to my bucket list.

Rose Marie with her three legs managed quite well and like all dogs enjoyed the weather. She also carried around her share of ice chunks. She loves ice cubes, so this was an ice cube buffet for her. I, on the other hand, with only two uncoordinated legs, managed to slip and slide and fall a few times. Do you know what they call a Jewish ballerina? A klutz!

The last time I had to deal with a situation like this was when Serena Rose Elizabeth Montgomery was alive, and we were hit with a huge snow storm in DC in March 1999. Serena died before Snowmaggedon in 2009; she must have known it was coming. The 1999 storm was another one that caught everyone off guard, so streets weren’t cleared. In Mount Pleasant (which was neither a mount nor pleasant, discuss), drivers were leaving their cars all over the place, and the streets weren’t plowed. However, everyone in the neighborhood shoveled their sidewalks. The problem was you couldn’t walk across the street because of the snow banks and cars left every which way. I called the police to complain about all the abandoned cars and the unplowed street. They came out and plowed the street, but did nothing about the abandoned cars.

I then learned of the city policy that if a car is parked in front of your driveway or let’s say some moron left his car in gear, causing it to roll downhill into your car, not causing damage but keeping you from getting out because every time you moved, his car moved, it was your responsibility to have the car towed, not the city’s. Can you believe that?

I once parked in the driveway because Serena was having a health crisis and I needed to get her to the vet (the psychos upstairs had the use of the driveway, and I usually had to park on the street). When I came out, there was a car parked on the street blocking the driveway. I didn’t know whose it was, and when I called the police, they said it was my problem. Yet, when I parked 22 feet from the corner rather than 23 feet, they didn’t hesitate to give me a $50 parking ticket. Get this. It was right after they passed the law that you could park 15 feet from the corner. Did I fight it? You better believe it – just as hard as I fought the speeding ticket someone got using plates I had turned in to the DMV. That gem of a situation took three trips to DMV and two trips to court to prove I didn’t own a white Toyota Rav 4. Did they care that the plates were stolen, probably by a DMV employee? No. When I moved to Maryland, I obviously didn’t turn in my DC plates. I didn’t want to get a ticket for driving a Hyundai Accent through a red light on New York Avenue.

Anyway, when I made it out to 16th Street during the March 1999 storm, I noticed the street was plowed with all the snow piled up on the sidewalks. I was just amazed at how much they did to make it easier for drivers to get around, yet pedestrians had to traipse through an obstacle course. What made me angrier was they kept telling everyone to stay off the roads. Bitch, the roads were the only safe place to be!

So here I am 15 years later, and I am dealing with the same issue. I have to walk Rose Marie, so she will go pee and poop. By the way, that whole thing about dogs pooping in a North-South direction? So true! Rose Marie always faces North or South. My toilets face West, which may explain my irregularity.

Everyone made sure they could get out of their driveways, but few made it possible for us to walk. What I did notice was that the older the resident the more likely the sidewalk was cleared. One thirty-something smart ass said as he saw me sliding around, “You should get spiked shoes.” And in the next breath, “I need to go get a snow shovel.” Really, dude?

One of the first things I bought when I moved in was a snow shovel. It was July, and I got a Lowe’s employee to drive one of those forklifty things with a ladder, so he could climb onto the top shelf to get me one. I am sure he had a few things to say about the OCD queen who just had to have a snow shovel ready when the temperature outside was 92 degrees.

Well, the rules said shovel your goddam sidewalk, and I follow the rules.

I should thank the selfish thirty-something because when we returned home I remembered that I had bought a pair of soccer cleats back in my Mount Pleasant days to help me negotiate the icy conditions when walking Serena. They still fit, and I was finally able to walk without falling on my face. I always fall forward. I even have a scar on my chin from falling on my face. This makes no sense, since I have a large built-in airbag in my trunk.

One other thing happened during that 1999 snow storm. I was walking back from the market with bags of groceries, including three dozen eggs in preparation for Passover. I couldn’t tell where the road ended and the sidewalk began, and I slipped and fell on my face, breaking all the eggs. Some driver, who was able to get through because the main road was paved and treated, laughed at me. If I could have moved fast enough, I would have mooned him.

I managed to get out this past weekend, since the roads were cleared of course. Then, another unfollowed rule popped up. Why is it so difficult for people to brush the snow off the roofs of their cars. You can do this with a broom, people! I really don’t appreciate having ice projectiles hitting my truck and windshield while I am going down the road. These same people would be pissed if their windshields were damaged – the narcissistic bastards. I consider this the height of inconsideration.

On Sunday, I had to meet my publisher at a Starbucks in Chevy Chase, Maryland. I expect when I go into a coffee shop to find adults either having conversations or working on their laptops. What I found surprised me, and now, I know why I rarely go to Starbucks.

I know it was a crappy snowy day, but why are you bringing your little obnoxious loud children into a coffee shop? Is this how you entertain them? Take them to Chucky Cheese or Gymboree or that place with the box of balls they can play in. Oh wait, I go to the place with the box of balls – well the one with a sling and a recovery room.

Not only were there a dozen kids in there, they were all over the place. I ordered a large coffee, which confused the barista because it wasn’t a double half-caf espresso latte with a cinnamon stick, nutmeg and a hint of whipped cream resembling a cumulous cloud. As I turned, holding my extremely hot cup of coffee (how the fuck do they get it so hot?), a child charged to the counter in front of me. I almost burned her. Then I went over to the cream and sweetener station, and this yuppy mother kept reaching back from her table for napkins and pushing me out of the way because her ill-behaved devil spawn spilled something. She was giving me dirty looks because I was apparently in her way. Then her kids proceeded to run all over the coffee shop to the annoyance of the few mature adults in the place. My mother would never have allowed this or taken us to a place like this had they existed in prehistoric times.

They think they are perfect parents because they brought their kids to Starbucks. Seriously? You were two lazy or self-absorbed to take them where they could be entertained and not disturb people who were looking for a quiet place to work or have a conversation.

The rules clearly state that kids do not belong where adults go to escape. Period.

This is nothing new. These “mother of the year” parents have been around for decades. When I waited on tables in an upscale restaurant in Williamsburg, Virginia, in the 1980s, we had such a mother, who was pissed when we expressed our concern at all the food her unruly children had thrown all over the floor and the mess they made of the booth, upsetting all the diners around them. She yelled, “You should be ashamed. Your restaurant does not cater to children.”

I responded, “No, we don’t. They don’t have wallets. And, if you don’t control your children, I will.” I actually got applause.

Follow the rules, or we will continue to dissolve into world of chaos! And, shovel your goddam sidewalks! And, brush the snow off your cars! And leave your horrible children at home with a babysitter … or a wolf dressed as a grandmother. You decide.

Can you tell I am already over winter?

Follow me, join me, tell your friends. Happy New Year!