|Bob Dylan - The times they are a changin'|
October is one of my favorite months here on the Gulf Coast. I love the sunny dry days where I can go outside and not be covered in sweat. Come Springtime, May is like that. There is a correlation between the changing seasons and the social environment which has devolved. Yea, I said devolved, because that is the way I see it and I can safely say others feel the same. In many ways our social interaction with strangers has taken a step backwards.
Whereas I welcome the changing of the seasons and the cooler air, I don’t necessarily feel the same way about some trends in our country. One of them is the erroneous sense of privilege that seems to be cancerously growing. Rude manners or no manners at all are becoming so common; no one even expects anything else. When someone waits to hold a door, 15 strangers rush through like rabid linebackers. I witnessed this at El Toro’s, not too long ago.
In fact, I was the one holding the door.
In my front yard are thousands of little pine cone chips scattered on the sidewalk and street. In case you haven’t noticed, we have a bumper crop of tree rats. Our only hope of keeping these litterbugs in control is their bizarre propensity to run under a moving car. At one time I would sit in the woods and try to harvest as many of these tasty animals as I could. Now, I only clean up after them. They don’t even notice the mess they are making or the work it takes to make the ground clean.
A month or so ago, I was parked on the side of Sjolander Road repairing a geocache I have there close to the historic marker. There is no road shoulder, so I was very close to the edge of the road at the back of my Jeep. A car came by slowly and stopped in front of my vehicle. Hanging out the window on a leash was a white pit-bull weighing about 40 pounds.
A man came around the front of the car and angrily threw the dog back inside, cursing in Spanish at the jaw-snapping carnivore. “Your dog jumped out the window?” I beckoned. He looked at me and said something that made my short hair stand up.
“No, he was jumping to get you!” He didn’t apologize, but drove off and I stood in shock. I would have had no chance against this dog, as my handgun was in my Jeep. Never mind that the guy didn’t care about my safety. Never mind that he didn’t roll up the window. Never mind that I was that close to being mauled or killed. I doubt he even thought about it.
On a regular basis I pick up trash. As a geocacher, it is something most all of us do in this high-tech game. We visit a sight where a geocache is hidden and we pick up trash as we leave. Collectively, this is tens of thousands of tons of trash picked up all over the world. Yes, uncaring people throw stuff out the windows of their cars and trucks and it doesn’t matter to them who sees it. Prior to about 1970, this was a common practice. What has happened that people feel free to do it again?
I often wonder what their reaction would be if a couple bags of trash were scattered across their property on a weekly basis. It would probably be the same reaction a thief gets when someone steals from them, which of course is anger. I watch how people drive every time I get in my Jeep and my bride tells me I should simply ignore their poor driving habits. Maybe so, but it appears that anyone can get a license these days. The only people I see who have an excuse of sorts are the elderly.
I am looking forward to those cool nights when camping is enjoyable and plan to camp in about a week. Like last year, I’ll most likely deer hunt in the Hill Country and like last year, I’ll most likely watch many deer pass in front of me, aim, and not shoot. I’ve killed enough animals for a lifetime and I have enough money to buy processed food. I’ll leave these animals to those who still enjoy taking game.
The changing of the seasons is a good thing, but when it comes to society, we need to proceed with extreme caution. Unlike the predictability of our seasons, too many changes too quickly cannot possibly be a good thing. I’m fearful many of the changes we’ve experienced in the last 6-7 years will be our undoing.