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Stevie Wonders: 'Get off my lawn!'

Steven Schindler

Special to the Village News

I don’t have a lawn, but I think most people understand what “Get off my lawn!” infers. Sometimes you just have to let off some steam when you observe children, or people of any age, behaving badly. So here are my pet peeves with regard to people who either don’t have a clue or, frankly, don’t give a damn.

Dog walkers

Firstly, most everyone knows that you are supposed to pick up after your dog and not leave their poop on the ground. And most everyone carries doggie poop bags for that purpose. Dog poop is litter. Then why on God’s green earth do some people pick up their dog poop in a bag and leave it on the ground? It’s still litter. It’s in a bag so you can dispose of it properly, not leave it on the ground for some magical poop-picker-upper-fairy to come by and put it in the trash can for you. That’s your job. Are people so oblivious that we now need to put detailed directions on doggie poop bags? “This doggie poop bag is to pick up doggie poop. Then take the bag and deposit it in a trash bin.” Sheesh.

Secondly, unless you are hundreds of yards from other people, please put your dog on a leash. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across dog walkers in a public park, trail or even on a sidewalk that are shocked that someone is approaching or passing them. Earth to dog walkers: there are other people using the park, trail or sidewalk. Some people walk slowly; some people walk swiftly; some people are running. They don’t want to deal with your dog lunging at them. I know, I know, I’ve heard it all: They don’t bite; they’ve never done that before and they’re friendly. I don’t want to hear your excuses. Dogs are animals and are unpredictable. Just put them on a leash, please. Or go somewhere where either there are no other people around or a certified “dog park” or beach.

Cyclists

Pedestrians have the right of way. Pedestrians include: walkers, runners, people with baby carriages, people with walkers, people walking dogs, old people and toddlers. Giving these folks the right of way means that you have to slow down or stop when you come close to them. Don’t whiz by at a break-neck speed, missing them by several inches and think that’s giving them the right of way just because you didn’t actually run them over.

Also, don’t ride two, three or four abreast. It’s hard enough whether walking or running to try to navigate around a single cyclist. When there’s more than one cyclist riding next to one another, it’s a scary proposition. And this principle holds true for bike paths. Guess what? Pedestrians are allowed on bike paths, unless signs are posted prohibiting pedestrians. Yes, I sometimes run on the San Luis Rey bike path, and most of the time, cyclists are obeying the posted speed limit and not riding two or three abreast. But I’ve had some very dangerous situations that would have resulted in serious injuries to me, if I hadn’t jumped out of the way of reckless cyclists at the last second. Watch where you’re going.

Concert and sporting event spectators

Must you stand the entire time? Give us people under 6 foot, 3 inches a shot at seeing what’s going on. And don’t wear a hat the size of a trash can lid.

Please don’t sing at the top of your lungs during every song. We get that you know all the words, but in case you don’t know, your singing sucks. And at a sporting event, we don’t want to hear your own “play by play” shouted by you during the entire game. We understand that you’re an expert on strategy far superior to the coaches and players, but give us a break and apply for a coaching or announcing job. Otherwise, please put a sock in it.

Lastly, you’re drunk. If you can afford 10 IPA craft beers at $18 apiece, shouldn’t you be sitting in a sky box? Must you sit up here with us normies and get into fights with the people who have the nerve to ask you to shut up and sit down?

Drivers

Stop tailgating me. I know you’re late because you didn’t plan your morning properly and had to stop to fill your ginormous pickup that gets 8 miles per gallon. I drive either a little over the speed limit or just under, and if you don’t like it, go around me. Don’t sit on my bumper, giving me the finger. It only makes me think that everyone driving a similar vehicle is as poor a planner as you. You can’t go around because it’s a single lane? Then back off.

Also, that other thing on your steering wheel. It’s called a turn signal. It lets me know where you intend to go, so I can try not to hit you when you suddenly stop dead in front of me. Use it. It’s the law.

Next, 100 mph is not the new 65 mph. When did it become OK for the flow of traffic to be 100 mph? There are stretches on local freeways where the speed limit is 70 mph. I admit sometimes I’ll go a little bit over 70 if there’s no traffic. But the cars whizzing by me are going 100 mph and sometimes more. Does the CHP even care anymore? There are even surface streets in residential areas with speed limits of 50 or even 55 mph. And cars going 70 to 75 mph are commonplace. Slow down folks. You’ll live longer. And so will we.

Lastly, stop texting.

Well, now that I’ve yelled “Get off my lawn!” to half of Southern California, I doubt it will make much difference. But at least I got it off my chest. Now I think I’ll drive slowly to the park with my dogs, put them on a leash and bring extra doggie bags.

Steven Schindler’s latest novel is “Fallout Shelter.”

 

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