I Think Aggressive Driving Can Be A Lot Like Bullying

I was thinking about some of the posts on Tumblr about bullying.

I was bullied a lot as a kid.  Thankfully, I don’t deal with anything remotely like that in my face-to-face social interactions as an adult.  Thankfully, all the adults I interact with these days are consistently respectful to my face.  But out on the road, as a driver, everything changes.

I think some of the aggressive driving that I see on the road is very similar to bullying.

For example, today I was driving up a bridge in Philly, and I put my turn signal on to change into the right lane.  Before there was even room for me to change into the right lane, the driver behind me starts trying to pass me on the right.  I had already started to change lanes, so he was sort of stuck behind me while he like, tailgated his car dangerously close to me.

Just a couple seconds before this whole charade happened, in the opposite direction, I saw another driver speed around two lanes of traffic by driving into the left-turn lane and then get in front of everyone.

This sort of stuff is really problematic because it endangers people’s lives, and it stresses out other drivers.  I come out of many of these interactions feeling the same sort of fear and elevated stress levels I would feel when I was bullied as a kid.  Sometimes it’s worse though, because as a kid I learned to be able to stand up and assert myself, and there’s not much you can do on the road to assert yourself—especially if you want to be safe and respectful yourself.

I think aggressive driving is disgusting and disturbing to me in the same way that bullying is.  It really bothers me how commonplace these sorts of things are here in Philadelphia.  I hear a lot of people talk about it in a way that sounds accepting of it to me.  “Well, that’s just the east coast.”

It’s not the east coast.  I live on the east coast and I don’t drive like that.  I’ve lived here most of my life and I’ve never done extremely aggressive maneuvers like that.

I want this sort of thing to stop.  I want people to stop talking about it like it’s normal or okay.  I want the police to start pulling people over and fining them, and taking away people’s licenses and impounding their cars if necessary, get these people off the road if they don’t drive in a respectful and responsible and safe way.  And I want people’s friends and family to stop tolerating or enabling this sort of behavior.

I want to live in a country where the people on the road consistently drive in a safe and respectful way.

Saw this red-necked grebe today on the Schuylkill river, from the Gray’s Ferry Crescent Trail.  See the full checklist on which I reported it.  This bird is relatively uncommon in Philadelphia, but this time of year you can see them on both Schuylkill and Delaware rivers as they migrate.
The Gray’s Ferry Crescent Trail, a reclaimed stretch of industrial land, provides great habitat for a variety of birds, as well as viewing of the river where you can spot water birds like this.  Adding this bird to the list of species observed in and from this park brings the count to 93 bird species—not bad for a 0.6-mile stretch at the heart of one of America’s biggest cities, on a river mostly lined by industry and concrete barriers.

Saw this red-necked grebe today on the Schuylkill river, from the Gray’s Ferry Crescent Trail.  See the full checklist on which I reported it.  This bird is relatively uncommon in Philadelphia, but this time of year you can see them on both Schuylkill and Delaware rivers as they migrate.

The Gray’s Ferry Crescent Trail, a reclaimed stretch of industrial land, provides great habitat for a variety of birds, as well as viewing of the river where you can spot water birds like this.  Adding this bird to the list of species observed in and from this park brings the count to 93 bird species—not bad for a 0.6-mile stretch at the heart of one of America’s biggest cities, on a river mostly lined by industry and concrete barriers.

This is a painting my girlfriend Kelsey did, as a surprise present for someone in her family.  I love how the cats look so cozy and sleepy.

This is a painting my girlfriend Kelsey did, as a surprise present for someone in her family.  I love how the cats look so cozy and sleepy.

Respecting Your Elders? How About Respecting All People

missloladoodle:

Fed up: For the longest time I always believed in respecting your elders, now that I am twenty years young my beliefs have somewhat changed. (Could be because I’m twenty and possibly know everything,(;) Some elders disrespect the younger generation and then try to fall back on the “respect me because I’m your elder” and it as total nonsense. If you want respect, give it, it’s not your generation anymore it’s ours and we aren’t going to put up with it. (: -rebel with a cause

I’ve had similar thought to these.  I believe in respecting everyone regardless of age. Expecting or demanding people to respect you when you don’t respect them is really problematic—yet in our society I think it is much more socially acceptable for older adults to do this to younger people, than the other way around.

Stand up for yourself when you’re treated this way.  But start by treating everyone with respect, so then when you stand up you can ask: “Have I treated you with disrespect?” and you’ll have a lot more credibility.

I also think it’s important to distinguish obedience from respect. Respecting someone doesn’t mean doing what they ask, it doesn’t mean agreeing with them, it doesn’t mean that you won’t criticize their actions or go against their wishes.  People don’t agree with what respect means, but I think that it means that you will be honest and positive in talking to someone, possibly criticizing their actions and words but not making personal attacks.

Being Genderless and Respecting All People

ninja-artist-sai:

Can I just be genderless? Like, instead of someone looking at me and seeing a girl can’t they just see a human who deserves the same respect as every other human?

I would love to live in a world where everyone gives full respect to all people at all times, where we could have things like gender and race, and see them, but not let them get in the way of respect.

Sometimes I’m attracted to the idea of a genderless world for other reasons.  I liked reading Ursula LeGuin’s Left Hand of Darkness.  Other times though I think gender is good in that it introduces diversity into humanity, and I think diversity is a good thing.

I think removing gender wouldn’t instantly solve the respect problem though.  I think when people are not giving people full respect for any reason, there’s a problem.  Removing gender would only remove one potential reason or excuse for not giving respect, rather than guaranteeing that all people would be respected.

Urging People With Similar Political Goals To Be More Respectful

Sometimes I get frustrated when I’m arguing with people who share my political affiliations or goals, when I’m trying to convince them to be more respectful towards people who hold differing views from ours.

But I still think it’s important to make this argument.  When we are respectful towards people with differing views, we’ll be better able to influence people.

When we attack, dismiss, or demonize people, or make personal attacks, we push them away…they’ll be much less likely to influence people.  I’m much more interested in influencing people than I am in feeling right or making someone look bad.  I’d rather respect people and listen to them, so that they’re more likely to respect and listen to me in turn.

Vana tulsi, or holy basil, from Mountain Rose Herbs.  This was a pretty exquisite batch of this relaxing herb; delightful to drink as an herbal tea.  Read my review on RateTea.

Vana tulsi, or holy basil, from Mountain Rose Herbs.  This was a pretty exquisite batch of this relaxing herb; delightful to drink as an herbal tea.  Read my review on RateTea.

A distortion in the space-time continuum.
I thought for a second this fence was metal, and it really weirded me out.  Turns out it’s just a series of plastic strips held to the posts with giant staple-like things.

A distortion in the space-time continuum.

I thought for a second this fence was metal, and it really weirded me out.  Turns out it’s just a series of plastic strips held to the posts with giant staple-like things.

I Want Apartment Buildings Structured More Like College Dorms

In college, I really loved living in a dorm.  Since graduating from college, living in apartment buildings or houses, I found that I didn’t like the structure of the buildings I was living in as much as a dorm.

In a dorm I had a small living space and then shared common areas.  The lounges were larger than any living room I’ve ever had, and they often had amenities (like a grand piano) that I have never had access to in an apartment.  In one dorm, there were big kitchens with two stoves, two sinks, and lots of counter space, suitable for preparing large feasts.  Some of my apartment kitchens have been quite cramped.

I feel like living in a dorm helped me to have a good sense of community.  I usually met and got to know most of the people on my hall, and many of the people in my building.

Out in the “real world” I struggle to meet my neighbors.  I’ve met a few neighbors in my current apartment building, but it’s hard to do so.  There are no common areas other than the laundry room and lobby, both of which have no seating area.

It seems to me like it would make sense to have the option of a living environment that was more dorm-like…maybe not exactly like a dorm, but more like it.  For example, I could deal with a smaller living space, like a studio apartment with a small kitchenette, in exchange for large common areas, like a big common room, an entry way with big comfy sofas, a TV room with big screen TV for watching movies or playing video games, and a couple big group kitchens for preparing big meals for big events.

It seems like this sort of model for living in an apartment building could be both financially viable for the property owner, and very attractive to the people living there.  I’d love to live in a building that had been designed to create community.  I’d also benefit in a business sense—I’d be able to host larger events in larger common areas than I can in my small living room of a 1-bedroom apartment.