I’ve become “that lady” in my neighborhood

Today there was a strange truck parked directly in front of, behind, and next to three “No Parking Any Time: Fire Lane” signs. Two men were in the empty lot next to where they parked. I heard the pling whoosh thunk of arrows hitting target. I’d never seen them before. Usually, the neighborhood uses that space for playing fetch with our dogs or staging doggy play dates. I’ve used it for training my beast and was there with balls and treats to continue schooling Ruby on dropping the ball after she fetches it, ideally somewhere near me. Possibly even at my feet.

I didn’t stop at the lot and Ruby was unhappy. When we came back by the men with their bows and arrows, I called to them, “You can’t park here. It’s a fire lane. There are signs all over the place. You have to move your truck.” I was pee:ved at not being able to play with the dog, and really pissed that they felt so deserving that they could park in a forest of no parking signs without worry. I called the non emergency police line to report the parking problem and the two men playing at archery. I don’t know if they heard me making the call, but one of them moved the truck as I was on the phone. In the end, I told the police the problem was resolved.

This happened the day after people of all stripes decided that the rules aren’t for them, and despite a ban on fireworks throughout most of the greater Seattle area (including my hometown of Kirkland) they were going to have a little fun with gunpowder. Folks travel to the Indian reservations here to purchase big boxes of the stuff. I don’t like the noise, which persisted into the early morning hours today. My dog doesn’t like lit either. What bugs me most, though,. is this attitude that rules don’t apply to them.

Yeah. It makes me sound like “that lady” — the one who yells at kids to get off the lawn. I haven’t done that, but I did yell at some teens once who dropped fast food litter right in front of the house. I had  the dialogue down pat for the role: “Is that what you do at your house? Is that how your parents taught you? Can I come toss my garbage in your room?”

I figure we live in a civil society and agree to abide by certain rules and laws. If we don’t like them, we change them. I don’t judge the validity of the legislation banning fireworks in towns and cities. I have lived in some areas where the dryness and heat of summer made it downright dangerous to use them. There are stories every year of people hurt and property damaged by illegal fireworks. It’s been pretty dry in Seattle, but fire danger isn’t one of the reasons why I objected last night as fireworks banged and whistled and shot into the air, sending showers of sparks to land on neighboring roofs. There are fine, upstanding citizens who see nothing wrong with going to a rez, purchasing items that are illegal in their city, and then lighting them off for their children to enjoy, all the while the TV in the background is showing news segments and ads reminding folks that fireworks are illegal here. I think it sends a bad message to those kids. It says that rules are for other people.

When those kids are teenagers, they will be the ones speeding down my street — how fast can they go before they get to the digital speed sign five blocks down? And it’s okay, because the rules aren’t for them. They are for other people. But I bet if I were to speed down the tony streets of the some of the families who were lighting off fireworks last night, I’m pretty sure they’d be pissed. If I were to go light a string of firecrackers in front of their house at midnight or 2 a.m. as their children tried to sleep, I’m guessing they’d call the cops.

Mr. Right Now spent part of last night trying to coax me into saying that the fireworks ban was stupid. He brought up civil disobedience and whether I thought sending young men to war was okay while a few little firecrackers weren’t. But that’s not my concern or my arguement. If you disagree with the law, change it. If you want to hold a protest, don’t do it in my front yard in the wee hours of the morning. All I’m saying is that there are rules, and we are supposed to all follow them. And if we don’t all follow them, why have any rules at all?

Yep. I’m “that lady”. Embarrassed, but not ashamed.

One thought on “I’ve become “that lady” in my neighborhood

  1. You can be that lady. I don’t care, as long as you’re *my* lady ;-).

    If the “truck” you’re referring to was a van with a trailer, they had pulled their vehicles all the way onto the park when I went by later. Maybe they know the owner. Hope so.

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