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23 September 2009 @ 03:21 pm
Please sign...  
Yesterday, with groceries in my hand, I went to drag the trash cans away from the curb. I was approached by a passive-aggressive neighbor who wanted me to sign a petition for the country to regulate traffic on a nearby road because it was being used as a shortcut. She wanted my name, address (already printed for me), and signature.

I looked at the wording of the petition, which stated that too much through traffic was being used by people using our neighborhood as a shortcut from Rt 50 to Stringfellow. This is true, people do use this road as a shortcut, because Rt 50 traffic is obnoxious during rush hour, and the intersection at Stringfellow is particularly obnoxious at various times of the day (including rush hour) because it is right at the corner of a large apartment complex and a high school (and down the road, a middle school and elementary school). The solution proposed would be "physical devices and obstacles" (as was written) like speed bumps, and "monitoring" like speed trap cameras and the like (as she explained to me, which was not written).

And again, it was because of the children.

I am totally against speed trap cameras by principle, but that's another rant. I am also angry they want to put speed bumps on this road because the next step for savvy motorists would be to go to the next road to pass these bumps, which is DEEPER into the neighborhood, like my street.

So... think of the children.

Given the approach this woman had, which was like a subtle blend of whining, elitism, and patronization, I was immediately put off. She didn't get the hint I was trying to drag trash cans from the curb and get my frozen pizzas to my freezer. I told her I made a habit of not signing anything blindly, which she acted as if no one had actually said those words before. "I have been burned before," I said, noting her puzzled look. "Signing things of which I knew nothing and did no research."

Our neighborhood is a nice one, but filled with quite a bit of "Rebubli-Cristians," which makes me nervous sometimes. I had someone come to my door a few years ago, asking me to sign a petition to eliminate "perversion" in our neighborhood. I said that perversion was too broad a term, and she narrowed it down on her own with "child molesters and homosexuals." The petition only stated "perverted individuals as found in public records," which are currently 14 in a 1 mile radius of my house (which include rape, sexual assault, and sexual assault on a minor). But she wanted homosexuals, which she pronounced "hama-sexzhels," to be removed to stop them spreading their agenda, which I suspect would involve pastel colors and eating brunch on Sundays.

Won't you think of the children?

I have also been asked to sign a petition or two on the noise in our alley behind our house. See, the company that owns the shopping center behind me has rules about noise. No noise before 9am, no noise after 9pm... something like that. And they violate it a few times a year. I am not sure how much control they have, since it's their tenants that makes the noise. Usually it's some store that's getting a large shipment, or redoing their interior, and so there's a lot of banging, shouting, and sounds of power tools. MY biggest issue is truckers that park right next to my fence and leave their motor running all night for their heater or AC while they sleep. And I don't want to complain because I don't want to put a sleepy trucker out on the public roadways, but I have felt on nice nights when I want to be out on my deck that the rumbling and deisel smell causes me to have visions of throwing apples on his roof with a "thump thump." One petition I did sign was to have the fence replaced. The fence at the time was sagging and full of holes. Teenagers were using our yards as shortcuts and disposing their illegal beer in dark corners. This worked, as eventually they did replace the fence, which then got knocked down by parking semi trucks. This fence was then replaced by a fence slightly further back, which so far has stayed put.

But I don't sign anything blindly. I don't want to end up like these girls, who signed a petition to end women's suffrage. Signing a petition is not something I take lightly, but given the unexpected, "come on, just sign it," balking responses I get lead me to believe that most people just sign stuff without much pause. And when I question the wording, I get annoying blank looks. Many times all I get are clipboards with lines for signatures. When do get a piece of paper with wording on it, it's often vague like, "install physical devices." What if the petition owner wanted to install a concrete wall? A gate? And who is going to pay for these "physical devices?" Oh, "the county." Of course, she doesn't know exactly what the physical devices actually are, which was almost amusing.

"So who makes the decisions on what devices are installed? A committee? Who will serve

She didn't have an answer to that, except to state that the traffic would increase over time. "Traffic everywhere is increasing all the time," I said. "I have groceries to put away, and must go back to the house."

I left her there, a little dismayed and confused, like no one had said no to her all day, and she didn't know how to handle it. She probably thinks I hate children, and infrequently think of them. I resent kids being used as promotional gimmicks, as it makes more serious plights thin with over-saturating.