22 Going on 72

I’m turning into an old lady.

I like to go to bed early. I enjoy a warm cup of earl grey tea. I have a pair of slippers in the car. I can’t stay out late like those young twenty-somethings without paying for it the next few days. I reprimand hooligans.

The first few points need no explanation. However, the hooligans thing probably needs a little attention. Today, I was with my Mom and grandmother on the way to get ice cream to celebrate Canada Day (the fireworks were on too late for us!). We were driving to the ice cream parlour when we stopped at a red light. Next to us, a white car pulled up with its windows down and R&B music cranked up, at least I think it was R&B (you know, the music that has a really loud beat with lots of curse words but isn’t quite rap). Our windows were down too, since it was a nice day.

After the third f-bomb and a quick glance at my Mom, I proceeded to call out to the punk a few meters away, “Excuse me! Could you please roll up your window? Your music is absolutely vulgar!”

Yes, I did use the term vulgar. I’m pretty shocked at myself. Shocked in a good way though. I am happy that I stood up for my family. There is no reason why we should have to listen to that curse-laden stuff. What if we had a child in the car?

This got me thinking about civic responsibility. While it isn’t illegal to blast f-bombs from your car, there is some degree of public accountability that often goes untouched. How many times have you listened to someone on their cell phone having a heated argument, cursing, with arms flailing? I normally don’t say anything. I might give a disapproving look to a fellow bystander, but I never actually approach the flailing offender.

Part of why this struck a cord with me tonight has to do with facebook. I’ve befriended a girl that used to twirl with my club. She’s about 4 years younger than I am, but I’m not picky about who is on my facebook friend list, so long as I know them. This girl has had a tough life in the last couple of years. She recently had a child at age 18, and also got engaged. She’s not one to be very private about her private affairs either. She recently posted “I hope karma gets you back by raining like a *** tomorrow on your wedding day 🙂 ****. Have a great outdoor wedding to my wonderful mother inlaw LMFAO.”

Naturally, I removed all the vulgarity. Ugh. That was a horrible post that popped up in my newsfeed right between a friend wishing Canada a happy birthday and another friend excited about a trip. I had an email completely drafted to this friend, but I never sent it. I wanted to kindly tell her as a friend that she really shouldn’t put this kind of stuff online. Once it’s up, it never goes away. Ever. I totally get that sometimes family dynamics aren’t always fantastic. I completely understand not getting along with someone. However, facebook certainly won’t help the problem.

I never sent it. I don’t know how it would have been received. What should I do? Do I reach out to her? Do I just ignore it? Do I delete her from my friend list? I really don’t know. I am worried for her and use facebook as a way to check up on how she is doing. I’m waiting for the day when I can finally think that she is A-O.K., but it will be a while down the road.



One thought on “22 Going on 72

  1. I think this is a nice example of the whole notion of citizenship. Digital or not. It begs the question as to what level of responsibility we have for making our world better. The incident with the kids in the car should be more than simply about your preferences but about protecting others from noise pollution as well as some civility in the way we talk. Some would argue freedom of speech but in those large public spaces, that to me is a cop out. This is really the challenge of democracy, allowing individual freedoms but not at the expense of others.

    As far as what’s the best response, I tend to lean towards more modeling of behavior. Yet, there are times when we need to step in with some direct action. But again, these are great examples of how citizenship is simply citizenship, not digital and non-digital. Both misdemeanors are public acts and need to be viewed as such.

    Now get off my lawn and turn down that music! 😉

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