Not My Baby

BOB

I have become amused and confused by my generation’s need to seek others to manage their issues.  Appropriately what I consider to be the symbol of this generations issue is the “Baby On Board” sign adorning the back windows of vehicles owned by people either so amazed they did what many do by mistake, or making a declaration for others to abide by their expectations.

The signs started in 1984 when a parent and an uncle were more conscious of how people drove near their car when their precious cargo was on-board.  Since then, about 10 million of the little suckers (pun intended) have been sold.

I get the idea … be careful, precious cargo.  In some ways I can see added value of first responders knowing a child or infant is in the vehicle.  I can also see value in someone acting differently due to a car carrying an infant, but I doubt the second occurs and the first isn’t likely only because in most cases it would be obvious.

These are not the traits I am interested in however.  My generation has become excellent at blaming and casting responsibility even before the fact.  We see this in tort lawsuits.  Tort law is supposed to be about those who act deliberately to harm another.  It has become a money maker when anyone can cast any blame in anyone direction that leads to money, normally those with the deepest pockets involved, which precludes them really being the negligent party.  But we now see the flip side of that when we assume biggest business is the biggest offender based on them having the most money.

The sucker signs are a reflection of the village philosophy.  One I agree with but not in the 80s generation way.  I do believe we need to look out for one another.  I do believe that a neighborhood has a role in the raising of a child.  But that neighborhood, or village, does not have the responsibility of raising that child.  YOUR child.  I am willing to bet your neighbors did not ask if you were ready to help them raise a child before they had children.

Should I drive responsibly, yes.  Should I follow the laws, yes.  Should I consider factors beyond the law that may impact myself or others, yes.  However … the signs themselves are breaking the law in most jurisdictions by making a blind spot.  A blind spot where the driver may not see the vehicle in the near lane before they change into that lane thus cutting them off and causing the other to either brake dramatically or avoid.  This could cause a chain reaction 72 car pile up BEHIND the baby and the oblivious, in many ways, driver never knew.

The good and generous part of me wants to think the sign is about protection of those unable to speak for themselves.  But there is too much evidence to the contrary or at least the intent is poorly carried through.

The blind spot that can be generated by the sign is not small.  The blind spot installed in a car where the rear view mirror is often turned to some degree to keep tabs on the precious cargo the sign is there to protect starts adding to the issues.  This is two steps in the wrong direction.

Usually when I see the sign it is in the rear window of a vehicle passing me.  Now anyone who knows me knows I don’t dally.  Nor do I dilly.  So that means those asking me to be extra careful because they managed to breed, are passing me while i neither dilly nor dally which makes them at least hustling.  (The terms are flying almost as fast as many of those signs)

The number one cause of car accidents is driver error.  Now I know that can mean someone else error and not that of the driver where the child is riding but consider that the child spends all of it’s time riding with the driver and not always around others then the biggest risk to the driver is the driver of the vehicle the child is in.

I have two ideas for those who own these signs.  First, stick it to the windshield facing in, not on your rear widow facing out. YOU are the biggest risk.  I see these signs on poorly modified cars, usually small imports where bumper covers and side skirts have been modified for style and implied speed.  These choices compromise the integrity of the safety that you paid for in these cars.

Even when not, these signs are often in cars speeding by me in a car being driven by someone texting.  Texting is a bad idea anytime one is moving, but to think I am supposed to be extra careful cause you were able to breed and secured the rights to have that child for some portion of time in the custody hearing does not mean I need to be more careful than you, as you swipe left and right.

text baby drive

Also, the many things inside the car that come with the care and maintenance of a growing offspring, are numerous.  They are also usually not secured inside a car. I assume the sign is about preventing an accident.  So if said accident, negligent tort inspiring type or otherwise happens, the most dangerous aspects of the impending accident may be the cargo inside, namely all the stuff that is unsecured in the car.

I also know from asking several (4) people in law enforcement, and numerous parents, that child seats are rarely mounted as designed.  Therefore, how many issues could your own child sue YOU for that you are in the power to prevent yet you invest in a small blind spot generator to ask others to look out for you?

Which brings us to the second issue, stop looking for others to change their lives for you.  If this sign is to brag about being a parent, I’m glad you are proud, you should be but you are part of the problem.  I respect your desire to do all you can to protect your child but don’t expect others to do it for you.  Do all YOU can to protect the precious cargo first.  Do all YOU can and drive defensively.  I’m not saying that you must defend from us, anymore than we must defend from you, but looking outside for the responsibility for the liability that lies within is a losing idea.  It is also my generation’s theme.

That is where I chose to start my perspective on my generation’s obsession with itself.  We grew up privileged and told that the world is our oyster.  To some degree this is good.  To some degree this is how it should feel when you are 22.  But the Yuppie and ‘ME’ generation grew up to become really selfish.  We didn’t invent selfishness but in my lifetime, I have seen it emerge in a way I don’t think it has before.

The second example, a pet peeve of mine…

You sit at a traffic light and look at the bumper or tail of the vehicle in front of you.  A bumper sticker reads, “Look Twice, Save a Life”.  Good idea.  Motorcycles are smaller than cars.  They can be missed in the optical noise of a busy road.  They are also more nimble and thus move differently.

Here are other realities.  Most of the motorcycle riders I see wear no helmets.  Usually these are on Harleys but not exclusive.  I cannot tell you the number of times this year alone I have been passed on the shoulder at speed on an interstate or in a traffic jam by one of these motorcycles who’s rider is too cool for a helmet.  I have been passed down the lane divider stripe at speed and I have watched as, usually a crotch rocket, is weaving in and out of traffic well in excess of the speed limit.  Not too long ago I even saw one slow and go at a red light with three lanes of traffic each way.

I’ll make you a deal.  I’ll look twice if you think even once.  If you ride like a moron I cannot care to look for you anymore than I look for the Semi truck you cross in front of.  I wont and cannot be expected to even once look down my left shoulder for you coming as if it isn’t a lane.  I wont look for you crossing six lanes of traffic when I have a green light.  We will collide and you will likely be crippled or killed.  I’ll also sue you or your insurance.  And win.

I am a good driver.  I have avoided many accidents others would have caused by being more aware then they.  I have also been the issue on occasion.  I also look for motorcycles, by looking in general but not anything special cause you aren’t special.  If you are riding a motorcycle, the best way to stay safe it be where you can be seen, don’t be an idiot and ride the edge of your lane and simply be predictable.

Here is mine and many others perspectives, I will care for your safety as much as you do.  When you are in shorts and sneakers and a t-shirt and glasses and no helmet.  You obviously don’t care for your own safety.  When the woman I assume you care about is on the  un-reinforced seat on the back wearing a skirt and heels and is holding onto the fool in glasses, I care as much for your safety as you do for her safety and she does for her own.

squid

At east the back seat is safe …

I know there is no law saying you must wear a helmet ( I wonder if former Senator Campbell knows how many people he helped kill). If I were in the state legislature, I would propose a law.  No, not requiring you to wear a helmet, but if you don’t, no insurance has to cover your health bill.  There is no law saying you must wear a helmet, there is also no law saying i have to treat you any different than any other vehicle, much less look twice for YOU.

If you cannot be bothered to take the best and biggest step for your own protection on a motorcycle, why should anyone pay for your smashed gourd when you wreck.  We’ll hose off the blood ( or not) and open the lane for more traffic moving onto the rest of their life as your loved one is informed of your decision to die stupidly.

I feel the same way about seat belts so don’t think I am biased against motorcycles, I hate idiots, no mater how many tires they ride on.  So again, I’ll look once you start thinking and not expect others to change for YOUR risky choice.  I don’t care if you wear a helmet, that’s your right, but I wont pay for your stupidity.

WINNING

I’ll say this, the pipes look quiet.

There is another issue I have with our two wheeled friends.  Briefly, there was a trend of motorcycles having a flashing headlight to better be seen on the road.  Now, in most if not all states impersonating a cop is illegal.  But for some reason, motorcycle riders seemed to think they were extra special and could do so under the guise of safety … This trend disappeared here luckily.  But this elitism of my ‘Me’ generation is impressive.

I researched it a little and it was solved by the state patrol, with sizable fines for the headlight and a second citation earned an impersonating a law officer charge.  It turns out the law can help help manage but not solve stupidity.  It took the law for these arrogant riders to realize they are not so special they get to break the law.  YOU chose to get on a motorcycle with MUCH higher risks than cars.  Own it.

Stop thinking only about yourself and stop expecting others to pay for your choices.  Motorcycles are very dangerous. You are more than six times more likely to die on one than in a car.  This is NOT because you are being hit by car drivers looking only once for you.  It is because you are around the vehicle rather than in it.  YOU are the bumper.  Your cool do-rag is your roof.  Your 7-11 sunglasses are your windshield.  And the only equivalent to a seat belt for you is that helmet you refuse to wear cause you think you look cooler without one.  Your choice is not my burden.

Oh and for your info, your loud pipes did nothing but make you deaf.  Oh wait, sorry, YOUR LOUD PIPES DID NOTHING TO HELP YOU BUT DID MAKE YOU DEAF!  You aren’t nearly as cool as you think and your pipes are only for thinking you are cool and you know it.  Stop lying.  (if you think I am lying look up Doppler effect or ask anyone who paid attention in high school physics)

Here is my next rant example of the ‘ME’ generation’s attitude towards all others.  Recently, I put several things on craigslist for free to move them onto someone else.  Two things happened that surprised me.

One of them was a wood filing cabinet that a woman wanted and would come by for after work.  I was not going to be home so we agreed that she would pick it up after I left and I would leave it under the breezeway behind the house.  She texted me to tell me when she had arrived.  She then texted me to notify me it was too heavy for her to lift into her trunk so she would return in the AM with her husband.  Ok.

What she didn’t tell me is that she pushed it across the driveway and broke the corner off, and broke the drawer front and somehow knocked a hole in it.  She also left it on the side of the uncovered driveway.  When I arrived the next day, mid day.  It was sitting there in the driveway for me to hit in the rain.  She couldn’t be bothered to return and collect it, or move it, or even own the fact that she destroyed my property because it was on a free list.  Put simply, she was a selfish ass.

After i almost backed into it in the driveway and pouring rain, I texted her and was direct and nice.  “I will be keeping your number and please don’t ever respond to any of my ads ever again.  I now have destroyed property based on doing the right thing and you exploiting something free at my cost.”  She didn’t have the guts to respond.  Typical.  I was FAR too nice.

I did however post the new ad on craigslist with photos of the newly damaged filing cabinet and describing the situation.  She didn’t respond to that ad.

The second thing I have seen is that people, even though they are picking up a free item, cannot be bothered to work to your schedule.  They expect delivery and to arrange a time and then not show up and you be ok with it.  This is SO DAMN INDICATIVE of my generation.  I could not believe when I gave away a dresser and 3 out of 11 responses asked me to deliver it.

This was my favorite one.  “I would love the dresser but I cannot carry it in my car, I know in your ad you say you cannot deliver, but would I suspect it is because you don’t want to and can, so could you deliver it to (address deleted to protect the off spring of this pillar of our society).  Please text me when near, I wont be home till after 6:30.”  That was the FIRST contact I had from that person.

It took me three scheduled pick ups to have someone actually show up to pick up something free.

I also gave away a lawn mower.  The ad said, it will go to donation tomorrow but if you want it and can pick it up today, it is yours.  The first response I got asked if he could pick it up tomorrow night.  No.  Then he said he would pick it up MAYBE tonight.  No.  Again, it goes to donation the next day so I wont wait for a maybe.  It is free, so either commit or get out.  I told him it might be here or not.  He didn’t seem to think that was professional.

The other AMAZING trait I have learned about people via craigslist is this … NO ONE READS A FREAKIN MAP!  90% of the people responding ask where it is located.  If you are not familiar with craigslist it has a MAP on it for where the item is located.  Apparently that is just too much work to either look right or click on location.  But they do have time to ask you.

When asked where I was located, I told two of them, “it is in the ad”.  One said, “that is too difficult”, the other said “I forgot to look, so tell me.”  To the first I said “If reading a map is too difficult, you will never find my house, good luck in life.”  To the second I said go look and let me know if you want to come get it.  He answered, “Just tell me, its easier.”  I waited about 30 minutes and replied, “I used the GPS information on your text packet to determine your location, I then loaded it in my car and put it very close to your current location behind a bush. I then put this new location information in the ad you responded to.  If you  can learn to read the map in an ad it is yours!  Otherwise, someone else will find it instead.”  His answer? “Just tell me and I will walk down and get it, what bush?”

I had no idea how to answer so I didn’t.  I like to think he spent a little time looking through bushes near his home.  But we both know he was too lazy to do that.

Our culture and my generation especially is lazy.  We expect the village to raise our children instead of help and support.  We seem to think any accident is a path to financial liability and responsibility.  We want it our way but seem pissed and confused when somewhere wants it their way.

I know there are MANY great people in the world.  The people I work with prove it.  But the number of lazy people is just amazing.  My generation needs to get it’s heads out of our phones and our children off theirs (they are mimicking you) and go do things where we remember that we are our own responsibility.  WE are accountable for us.  How about this, as many in one of my jobs do, try doing something significant for others and see how good it feels.

Carry a fire extinguisher, you may have to be the one to put out your own fire …

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