Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The hermit at large

I ventured forth from the cave today, and quickly, as is my wont, became disgruntled and angry. I wonder why this is. Is it an inherent failing in my character, or in my environment? Of course, I believe it must be the later--how could there be anything wrong with a grumpy old curmudgeon like me? I do tend to be a tad impatient, and I do tend to be a tad critical of the foibles of those around me who perhaps haven't thought through the consequences of their actions. Or don't care. Oops! There I go again. I'd rather believe that they are thoughtless, and much of the time I can. However, the hermit in me growls loud at actions which seemingly are selfish and self-absorbed.
Recently, I perpetrated a series of actions which were not at all thought through...and that is a story for another time. But the memory is fresh within me, and the gratitude that all ended well, and far better than I deserved. So, as I ventured forth today, I was prepared to give my fellow man more latitude than usual--that lasted about a mile.
For those who aren't aware, I live in a very rural area, the wilds of north-central Pennsylvania, where there are more squirrels than people, and the people can be somewhat squirrely. Especially the imports--ah, the hermit springs forth again. Let us quash him, and see if our reasoning side can bear forth for just a bit.

I understand that cultural mores vary widely throughout our land, and that one cannot always judge another by one's own standards--or one's mother's. But sometimes, I find the hermit rising up to growl through the car window--'dija have no raisin' at all? your mother teach ya them manners?'
I come from an area where interruptions in speech were considered very rude--where waiting for the other person to go first, speak first, have first choice, were simply what was done. In many ways, we're very casual, but there are unspoken 'rights' and 'wrongs.'
We find the manners of those who come in from more populated areas, somewhat irritating. We try to keep to our own ways, but sometimes it rubs off.
For instance, today I was waiting patiently to make a left turn up a side street, just past a brand-new traffic light in our town. There was room for those in my lane going on straight to go by me on the right (without crossing the white line--a pet peeve I have which will probably be repeatedly mentioned here. Passing on the right is illegal in PA, folks! That's why the white line is unbroken? Can I get an AMEN?!)
As the lane of folks going the other way finally dried up and I began to turn across it onto the side street, a 'gentleman' (Mom taught me not to lie--but also not to use those words, so what else can I call him?) pulled out from a gas station directly into my path. He had been sitting there, had seen that it was "my turn" and instead, had to jump in front of me. Fortunately, my lightening-quick reflexes stopped my car before I transferred paint--and the hermit's lightening-quick reflexes hit the horn before I could stop him (also considered rude in this area, and only to be used against those truly in the wrong. Unlike certain large cities, where drivers have one hand on the horn and the other in the air--letting other drivers know they're number one.)
This 'gentleman' responded by shouting out his window, "What're ya honkin' at me for?" and driving away confident in his self-righteousness, and I strangled the hermit and kept him from letting that man know that we felt he was number one--with both hands.
I don't know what the point is, that I was attempting to make when I started this post--just ramblings and rumblings, I suspect. I will be more careful when taking the hermit out for an airing--wouldn't want the manners, or lack thereof, of those people sharing my beautiful hometown with me, to rub off on him. He has enough bad manners of his own.


  1. You can be fined for honking in NYC...

  2. That's pretty funny Shirley. One of my (many) pet peeves is that if someone ever gets hit (for whatever reason) while legally passing here, they always get dinged with at least part of the blame because our Motor Vehicle Act requires you to honk your horn when passing. Nobody ever does this, of course (including the hypocritical judges who find these poor souls partially at fault) - just think of the resulting chaos if everyone honked when passing.