It's been a while since I've been home to Charlotte, North Carolina. Since I've been happily living in the lovely Vancouver, BC, I wouldn't say I've missed my hometown, except that almost all of my family lives here...
Surprisingly, this isn't about my family. This is about all the REST of the people in ever-expanding, ever-swelling gem of a city. The people who are getting on my nerves. The first ones to go in the event that I ever got my wish and were able to blink people out of existence with a thought.
I don't play favourites. I don't have a "First I would...", "Then I would..." list. I hate them all equally, with unvarying and unwavering fervor.
I hate seeing the litter that has accumulated in my absence. I hate the people who throw trash out of their car window, indifferently. I hate the people that reason it out with "Well, it's only the one piece/time/place..." I hate hearing "It's just a cigarette butt." I hate that people don't seem to take pride in the place where they live, work and call home.
Driving in Charlotte has become gridlocked, stressful and downright dangerous. Every single day I see at least three drivers run a red light. Not just "Oh, oops, I'm still in the intersection trying to turn left and the light is turning!" Blatant, flat-out being a selfish bastard, running a red light as if NO ONE ELSE HAS TO BE ANYWHERE. You, sir, in the red Honda Accord, are not the only person who needs to get to work. I, personally, would like to do it without the potential of death. That would make us both late.
Speaking of drivers that drive me insane: It's not difficult, people. Move to the RIGHT when a firetruck is flying up behind you, red and white lights flashing, siren wailing. TO THE RIGHT. THE RIGHT. RIGHT. Not left. Not into the middle lane. Not just slowing down so they have to avoid oncoming traffic (who ALSO did not stop) to pass you. OVER. TO THE RIGHT. AND STOP.
On the other side of the windshield, people who are trying to cross the road drive me crazy, too. LOOK where you are going. Don't just blindly walk out in traffic assuming that the drivers will see you and stop. YOU are not the queen of the world. (I am.) You don't just automatically get the right of way. What happened to manners? Look me in the eye -- which is a (real) rule for YOUR safety, it ensures BOTH pedestrian and driver are cognizant of the situation. Acknowledge the fact that I am stopping my extremely heavy vehicle so that you may walk your large, fast-food fed rear end to the vehicle you parked as close to the door as possible.
While you're at it, don't just saunter. I made sure not to run you over, now get the hell out of my way so I can continue on MY merry way. A nod or wave of thanks isn't out of order, either, Miss Manners.
Similarly, children in residential neighborhoods need to learn some road safety as well. No one obeys speed limits anymore (as I found when "keeping up with the pace of traffic" on the 55mph posted speed limit highway, only to look down to see I'm doing 80). Children playing in driveways and yards and are close to the road -- riding a scooter, for instance -- need to make eye contact with drivers. Again, acknowledging that they are aware of the driver's proximity, thus ensuring both driver and child are safe.
While we're on the subject of children, I need to mention that I hate (HATE!) parents who don't parent. You are not your child's friend. They don't actually need to LIKE you at four years old. They need to respect you and listen to you. That is all that is required. Threatening a spanking/no toy/going home/whatever only works if you're not a complete push-over and will actually FOLLOW THROUGH. Not being a decent parent is, essentially, a selfish act. I saw a couple the other day that pushed my buttons so close to the human limit I wished I had a certificate to hand them that read "Breeding License Revoked for Gross Negligence".
General Stupidity is my biggest pet peeve. General Ignorance is a close second. Ignorance combined with Apathy... wait, I think they're out of order. I can't stand a person who is completely ill-informed, and argues against education. Kind of like some of the politicians we're seeing, hmm.
Oh, and I hate the presidential candidates. They're all idiots. They're all liars. They're all completely unsatisfactory for the job of President -- not that we've been doing so great since 2000...
I spent some time shopping with my little sister a while back, and somehow managed to run into almost everyone on my list (except for the presidential candidates, so far as I know). After spewing forth my PMS-infused, vitriolic hate-fest (kept, of course, to the privacy of my car, so that I wouldn't actually offend anyone), my little sister looked at me and shook her head. "Maigen," she said mock-sadly, "if you were Queen of the World, it would be a very lonely world."
I hate that she might be right.
Maigen is simple. is smart. is wholesome. is skeevy. is spicy. is delicate. is better. is purer. is 100% more awesome than yesterday. She';s traveling the world and writing about her experiences with life, love, yoga, food, travel and people. Mostly people. Because they';re funny. hear more of her random thoughts @maigen on twitter.
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1.25.08 @ 10:27a
Hey, it wouldn't be lonely; MaigenWorld sounds pretty idyllic to me.
I drive a whole lot less these days; it's done wonders for my sanity. But if I had to be back in it again, I'm sure within a week I'd be plotting to kit out my Jetta with twin 50-caliber machine guns and a locomotive-grade snowplow to push the automotive detritus out of my way.
1.25.08 @ 10:38a
I've only been to Charlotte once, but my impression of it was great.
1.25.08 @ 10:55a
I've been to Charlotte, but never outside of the airport. So I can only speak highly of the airport's architecture, its air-conditioned air, its food court, and its wooden rocking chairs.
But we've got plenty of the people you hate here in Pittsburgh - I'm spreading the hatred here on your behalf.
1.25.08 @ 10:57a
Ditto, Ken, but I didn't get past the rocking chairs, as our connecting flight was close by. However, our connecting flight was to Nassau, so please understand, dear Charlotte Airport, that my brain was already drinking rum and listening to the crash of the surf.
But my body liked those rocking chairs, oh yes.
1.25.08 @ 1:37p
I hated driving in Charlotte when I worked there, and I was at the University area right off 85. I made sure I never had to go downtown, and stuck to my little 2 mile radius of University Executive Park Dr.
Best airport I've been to: Pittsburgh. Nice shopping mall.
1.25.08 @ 4:11p
All those people have moved to Orlando.
1.25.08 @ 7:37p
I drove through Charlotte in 1986. I was raining. The city actually looked really pretty as I approached it and saw the storm on the horizon, lightening flashing around the city. It was very cool.
1.27.08 @ 1:33p
Yeah, Pittsburgh's new airport is pretty nice, and at one point you could go there just to shop. But all the stores are behind the security iron curtain so to shop you've got to buy a ticket. Thanks a lot, terrorists!
2.1.08 @ 9:18a
As Russ will attest, you've touched on a topic near and dear to my heart. We used to dream about buying a '66 Ford Fairlane, souping it up, painting it flat black, and welding an iron beam to the front. Yes, how many times have I left early on a Saturday morning to run errands, and upon returning and being asked about my level of success replied, "Things went great, until I had to start dealing with people." But I refuse to follow the path nature intended for me. I refuse to become a grumpy old man. Your final sentence seems to say you see that danger as well, at least, becoming a grumpy old lady.
The problem is two-fold, and you bring up one of those folds in mentioning parenting. For example--my children (for the most part) actually speak proper English (with the possible exception of the 16 year old who uses "like" as a conjunction every fifth word). The reason this is so is because I take the time to correct their English. Please don't imagine me (regardless of how true) as a prude with a ruler ready to crack it against the knuckles of anyone who uses a double negative. But the point is, as you made, people let their kids drift. Children know what they like and what they don't like and they will always choose, if left to their own devices, to do what they like. The problem is, if you eat chocolate cake breakfast, lunch and dinner at the very least you'll end up with diabetes (despite what Bill Cosby may say).
You're right, I would much rather my kids respect me, maybe even hate me sometimes, than think of me as a friend. The result is, you end up getting both, and pretty descent kids to boot.
Now, the other fold (and I'm not saying anything earth-shattering here) is that we all have different personalities. I'm sure you've met them, too. There are actually people out there that really don't care about the same things that I care about. It's the whole Martha vs. Mary thing, justice vs. mercy, black & white vs. pretty butterflies frolicking in a field.
As well, you never know what's going on in someone's life. People do strange, unreasonable, discourteous, outright idiotic things. Sometimes it's because they're generally strange, unreasonable, discourteous and outright idiotic people. Sometimes it's because they're under a lot of stress and not thinking clearly. I've been in that second group my fair share of times. And when I'm there, I would like to think I would find some mercy from those who are currently level-headed. Likewise, I'm learning to extend that same mercy when I'm level-headed, which seems to be less and less these days.
I feel your pain--and even more so since moving to the west side of the Potomac River. (People in Maryland might drive aggressively, but at least there's some skill to it. In Virginia, well, it's simply the largest gathering of incompetent drivers ever assembled.)
2.1.08 @ 9:31a
But what I'm trying to say is this; the golden rule applies, even to idiots.
(my final sentence got cut off...)
btw, Vancouver, BC, eh? I'm envious.