“Has the whole world gone crazy? Am I the only one around here who gives a shit about the rules?”
That’s what I wanted to yell as I walked from the beach to my apartment a week or two ago. It also happens to be a line shouted by the great actor, John Goodman, in The Big Lebowski.
There I was, a crusty ol’ beach bum, just trying to make it home, but drivers all around me were making it very difficult. An older gentleman entering a synagogue from 65th Avenue North cut across my path and into the parking lot without using his turn signal. A woman leaving the same parking lot didn’t use her turn signal as I patiently, somewhat, waited for her to focus through her granny glasses.
Lack of consideration isn’t restricted to any one faith. While crossing Highway 17, I stood on the median waiting for yet another driver, this one leaving a diet center, to signal which way she was turning. She didn’t bother and my frustration grew as I watched her turn north. I was just south of her and I could have been crossing the highway. A fourth person turning from 65th North onto the northbound lane of Highway 17 failed to use his signal, leaving me stranded on the median, while someone else made an illegal U-turn (in front of me) as if to follow in the previous driver’s wake.
Finally, like a frog in the old video game Frogger, I made it across the dangerous road. Then, patrons entering and leaving the parking area of a convenience store at the same intersection added to my frustration by failing to use proper signals. By this point, I really wanted to borrow Walter Sobchak’s pistola.
A minute or so later, as I walked west on 65th Ave. North, I stepped off the road when a vehicle headed toward me. Holding to form, the vehicle operator turned (no signal) onto a side street before passing me, meaning that, once again, I had stepped off the roadway for nothing.
Doesn’t anyone in our society care about anyone else? Are people really that selfish? What lead are they following? Who are their examples?
The next morning, not long before dawn, I watched as a Myrtle Beach police cruiser zipped past me on Highway 17 heading south. The cop flew by the scene of a gruesome, fatal accident that occurred two weeks ago — just 15 blocks from my neighborhood. He or she had to be driving 70 miles per hour; the speed limit is 45 miles per hour. No “blue light” was activated. I’ve also seen officers fail to use their turn signals — many times, all over town.
When government representatives — those sworn to serve and protect us — don’t lead by example, anarchy will follow. Thus, you have others using Highway 17 as a drag strip, seemingly with impunity.
Is it any wonder that nobody obeys traffic laws anymore?
Smokies, this isn’t ‘Nam. There are rules.