Archive for January, 2006

…at school today (I’ve gone back to college to get some education for a career change).

I’ve included a handy diagram to better illustrate what happened. As you can see, the perimeter road around Foothill College is 2 lanes of traffic, both going the same direction.

So green car pulls into parking lot. I (in red car), follow. As soon as she gets into the lot, she notices guy in blue car getting ready to back out. So what does she do? She stops.

But wait…now the blue car can’t back out because she’s blocking him. But she wants his parking space. So she starts backing up, clearly expecting me to back up as well to allow her to get this parking space. There are 2 things wrong with this expectation:

1) I’m not morally obligated to inconvenience myself in this situation.

2) I have nowhere to go, as the ass-end of my car is up against the perimeter road (where there is traffic).

Green car isn’t stopping her attempt to back up, so I honk at her before she hits my car. That’s when it gets really good.

She turns her hazard lights on. Clearly she isn’t going anywhere. So I back up what little room I have to go around her, burning my clutch in the process because I’m pissed off. Poor guy in blue car has to stay in his parking space to make room for me to go around this moron in the green car.

I make my way over to the far side of the lot where there are empty spaces. I’m used to this; I hadn’t wanted the blue car’s parking spot. It would have been awkward and dangerous for me to stop there anyway.

I’m seething as I get out of my car, thinking some people just shouldn’t be allowed to drive. I’m walking toward the crosswalk, which is where this incident took place, and guess what? The girl’s still there, getting out of her car and gathering her stuff.

I wish I had a photograph of the look on her face when she noticed me walking toward her. It was literally a “freeze, deer-in-headlights” reaction. I wasn’t going to punch her, of course, and when she figured that out, she got belligerent. The conversation went something like this (try to imagine raised voices on both sides, me being incredulous, and her being a little English challenged):

Me: You can’t just stop right there in the entrance to the parking lot. You’re blocking traffic.

Her: I wasn’t doing anything wrong — you’re the one who can’t drive. When I put my… (gesturing toward dashboard) …what do you call those things.

Me: Hazard lights.

Her: Hazard lights on, that means I’m stopped and I can’t move, so you have to go around me. You don’t know what’s wrong with my car; I could be broken down or something.

Me: Your car wasn’t broken down! You just wanted that guy’s parking space.

Her: Yes, I did, so I stopped and put my hazard lights on —

Me: You can’t just stop at the entrance to the lot, blocking traffic, when there’s no room and it’s obviously dangerous.

Her: It’s not my fault you don’t know how to drive.

Me: You’re the one who can’t drive, lady. Turning your hazard lights on doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want to and just stop where you feel like it.

Her (Still arguing with me as I walk away. I’m done).

Me (I swear to God I said this although I don’t know why): That’s an improper use of hazard lights!

So anyway, I actually felt a lot better after that. I wasn’t seething anymore. I had informed her of my annoyance and that what she did was stupid and dangerous (and illegal). Maybe it won’t make any difference. But I have a theory that people who continue to do things like this girl did eventually wind up with a damaged car.

The term “democracy” is often used as a package deal. It combines an issue of form (government officials chosen through open election) with issues of substance (limited government power, a robust civil society, the rule of law, etc) and treats them as a unity. Essentially, “democracy” becomes a substitute for “freedom”.

The problem with this is that the elements of the package don’t necessarily go together. Just because a government was elected doesn’t mean it can’t be repressive. The current government of Iran is an example. The newly-elected government of Palestine is an even better one — and with its election, the Bush administration (along with the remainder of the West) has reaped the reward of its conceptual incoherence. Bush has been pushing the spread of democracy in the Middle East, instead of pushing directly for the substance of a free society. Now we are faced with a state that meshes the form of democracy with the substance of our Islamofascist enemies. If we stick with the “democracy” side of the package, we will wind up subsidizing our foes in their attacks on Western civilization. And if we go with the substance side, we will be (with some justice) criticized for only liking democracy when the outcomes of the elections are to our liking.

This dilemma need not have occurred had we only kept our ideas clear in the first place. But losing battles in the meme war has existential consequences, and this is one.

Well, I wasn’t expecting to spend $500 on this when I woke up this morning, but I think it’s worth it.

Where, oh where will the disgruntled lefties flee to now that the Bush War Machine™ has seized control of Canada?

Seen on the back of a BMW during my commute to school yesterday:

“TIMAAAH”

I’m jealous. I wish I had thought of it.

Man, Dick Clark sounds awful. What happened to him?