Rules. No one's favorite word by a long shot. You know, the ones that are pretty much etched in stone and not usually definable by individual interpretation. My dear friend Webster defines a rule as a regulation or bylaw governing procedure or controlling conduct. I can research every component of that definition and the meaning does not change. A rule is a rule.
Now, on any given day I watch rules of all kinds get challenged. A road sign says Speed Limit - not "Speed Suggestion." Another sign warns No Passing Zone - not "Pass If You're Annoyed by the Person Driving the Speed Limit in Front of You." And, of course, we all presume that Stop means "Just Roll Right Through This Intersection If You Think You Won't Get Caught." Why is it so difficult to follow simple rules? What compels us to break them? Who empowers us to blow it all off?
My initial thought is we are all just selfish individuals who believe that rules do not apply to us. Or, perhaps, we are all closet rebels who dare anyone to question our authority to do whatever we want. Maybe it's as simple as having zero ability to plan our lives on a timely schedule so we rush everywhere. Or, lastly, we just do not engage our brain before acting irresponsibly. Any of those sound remotely familiar?
Now, nothing is that simple, but it is astonishing how so many have little regard for rules clearly designed for safety. It is even more absurd that those who do choose to follow rules are met with honks, loud screams, and very colorful hand gestures. I used to think the honks and cheers were virtual high-fives from a friendly community. The hand gestures debunked that theory.
Then there are the unspoken rules of life. These unwritten courtesies may not be underwritten by law but carry the same level of common sense. As I was leaving the grocery today, I had to navigate an empty cart obstacle course. Shoppers decided they did not need to walk the cart to their car, so they grabbed their bags and left the cart where it stood - right in front of the door. I know it takes 12 extra-long annoying steps to return it to the queue, but three quick steps would have at least moved it to the side. How thoughtless of me to think they could do the right thing.
Years ago, I worked in an assembly plant. It was disturbing how disgusting the bathrooms got as the day progressed. I walked in once on a break to see a coworker washing their hands and deliberately dripping the dirty, wet suds all over the sink and faucets. She must have seen me staring, mouth agape, and decided to ease my troubled mind. "I can't do this at home, so I do it here. It's fun." She then giggled and left without any regard for the mess she left behind. To this day, that statement leaves me speechless. Add arrogance to my initial thoughts about why people do what they do.
Okay, so we all have pet peeves. Obviously, rule-breakers top my list, and it does not matter if they are rules of law or unspoken courtesies. It would be a much kinder world if we would all think before acting like inconsiderate idiots. All actions have consequences, and when you make a choice, you also choose the consequence.
Unlike the "Golden Years" I have lamented about before, the "Golden Rule" does indeed become more priceless with age. At this point in my life that price has become incalculable. Ah, but that is fodder for yet another rant.