I don’t even know what to title this post: more bus stop drama

Remember this post about the lady who blocks the bus with her SUV every school morning during dropoff?

This year her youngest daughter is the only other person assigned to our bus stop.  Everyone else is now in middle school.

On the first day of school, she informed DH that she was moving the bus stop so that it would be the de jure bus stop listed online rather than the de facto bus stop that the neighborhood kids had been using for years.  Since the one listed online is directly across the street from our house, we did not complain.  The bus first stopped at the old stop and then moved forward to the new stop.  The new stop is 3 houses away from her house rather than the 5 houses before.  (Yes, it is ~80 degrees in the morning.  Yes, there are sidewalks, though she would have to cross the street from her house to use them.  Yes, I have seen her and her two daughters walk longer distances from the school parking lot to the school front door and I’ve seen the daughters run around the playground without any apparent ailments so I don’t *think* there’s a disability, but disabilities can be invisible, so maybe there’s a reason for her to drive instead of walk.  They all look like they’re in great shape, and they have a ton of equipment in their backyard but you still never know.)

Importantly, with the new stop, she can just drive straight to get there.  There is no need to turn on the busy street.  There is no need to park where the bus is supposed to pick up kids.  And indeed, on Monday she just pulled through and stopped on that corner.  I thought, how lovely, this solves the problem of her being a thoughtless person.  I don’t have to seethe silently this year whenever DH is out of town.

On Tuesday she got to the stop early and decided that she wanted to make her U-Turn *before* the bus got there rather than after (note:  there are actually several ways to get turned around on this street without doing a U-Turn or 3 point turn at all because it’s a cul-de-sac with a side-loop and also there’s nobody living in the house where the bus stop is right now, so she could even park in the driveway there), so she U-Turned and then had to cross the street with her daughters on foot.

On Wednesday she decided that was a terrible idea and instead of pulling through, made a right on the busy street, made a U-Turn in the middle of the busy street, and parked right where the bus is supposed to stop.  Then, because she had come early, she came out with her daughters and I think wanted to chat.  But instead I asked, politely (honest!), “Isn’t that kind of dangerous?” and she asked what?  and I said, “blocking where the bus pulls up?”.  And she said that the bus driver didn’t mind in the afternoon when she does it at pick-up.  She had asked him at pick up.  She could ask him now.  How is it dangerous anyway?  And I said that the bus had to stop in the middle of the street and the kids had to walk into the street to get on it, and it seemed dangerous to the kids and to the cars.  [Yes, I know cars are supposed to stop both ways for school buses, but while the ones behind usually do, the ones going the other direction often don’t.  And although this street isn’t that busy at 6:50 am, there are still cars whipping around the corner of my house which is a bit of a blind curve in the road.] And she repeated she could ask the bus driver.  And I repeated it was dangerous.  And she asked if I wanted her to move now, and I gave a micronod.  And she moved her car to the corner of the cul-de-sac (after making a U-turn so she would be pointed in the direction home) and crossed the street.

And the bus came and I told DC2 to stand back on the sidewalk.  And her kids remained balanced precariously on the curb so the bus couldn’t really pull up that closely without endangering them if they fell.  The bus came, I left, she talked to the bus driver, but I did not overhear their conversation.

The next morning I thought to myself, omg, I sure do not want to see her again, but DH is on a business trip and I have to be home to take care of Little Kitty (it would turn out to be her last week with us) and lock the door behind DC1 before heading into a long day of work.  I am an adult, I told myself, this was not that big an altercation.  I can do this.  So I went to the bus stop with DC2.

And the SUV didn’t come.  The bus got there on time at 6:59 and her SUV turned right on the main street at 7:01 after the bus had left and I was almost to my house.  Ok, I thought, either she had trouble getting everybody ready this morning, or she misjudged how much time it would take to avoid me, not expecting the bus to get there on time since it hadn’t the first three days of school.

Then on Friday she didn’t show up either.

And here’s the funny part.

When DC2 got home, zie told me the daughter was *already on the bus* when DC2 got on.  That means this woman is driving to another bus stop to avoid me!  All because I suggested she park someplace that was safer and *actually less effort* for her to wait.  I hadn’t said anything before because it was more effort for her to pull into one of the side-streets last year, but in this case it seemed like there were easier alternatives (if there’s a disability, then parking on the side-street part of the corner is the same walking distance and less driving!).  I didn’t even tell her it was less effort, I just used the questioning tone women use when they’re being polite to suggest that blocking a school bus could potentially be dangerous, explained why when asked, repeated that I thought it was dangerous, and then thanked her for moving her vehicle.  None of the kids had even seemed to notice the conversation and DC2 was confused about why the daughter had moved bus stops, which is how we found out.

The big question I have (well, actually I have two, but I will never know the answer to the question of whether or not she blocks the bus at the stop she drives to because I am an adult and I have better things to do with my time) is whether or not she will return to the bus stop when she realizes it’s DH standing there with DC2 (and will she block the bus?– DH tells me he has no intention of fighting this fight.).

Advertisements

Do you twirl your spaghetti?

And if you do, do you use a spoon to assist with the twirls?

What are your thoughts on cutting spaghetti noodles?  Pro/Con/Ambivalent?

#1:  I twirl but don’t use a spoon. A very small part of me cringes at the thought of cutting spaghetti noodles, but the bulk of me thinks it makes total sense.  This is somewhere around the level of split infinitives for me, maybe some other grammar thing that I don’t do in formal writing myself but don’t mind when others do it.  (I’m pretty sure I occasionally split infinitives in formal writing.)

#2:  Yes twirl, no on the spoon, I think cutting it is wrong but my dad does it (and I continually give him [excrement] for it)

Who is selfish?

Warning:  cattiness below.

So I was waiting at the bus stop with DC1 because you have to be I forget how old to wait without a parent.  This is usually DH’s job, but he was out of town on a business trip.

While we were waiting for the bus, a truck with a kid pulled up and parked at the corner across from the bus stop.

Then a mini-van/suv thing came and parked right where one would expect the bus to you know, pull up.

That meant that when the bus finally came, it had to stop in the middle of the street and the kids all had to walk into the middle of the street to load the bus.  The truck discharged one little girl with her dad.  The van discharged two with their mom.  (The two little girls and their mom, incidentally, live maybe two houses farther than we do from the bus stop, so maybe 5 houses away from the bus stop total.  I don’t know where the truck people live, but the bus does stop every block and a half to two blocks and our cul de sacs aren’t very long, so it can’t be that far.)

Let’s see if I can make a picture of the bus stop area using nothing but keyboard characters.

I feel like this is totally selfish.  That bus really should be able to pull safely up to the curb, which would be easier to do if the truck weren’t there and and is impossible with the van there.  (When the van isn’t there, the bus does pull up.)  The van had to make a U-turn to park where the bus is supposed to go and could have very easily parked across the street (on the side that didn’t make it into my picture), though if they’d done that, it would have only been like 4 house lengths away from their house instead of five.  The truck could have parked back a little further to make it easier for the bus to pull up.

But then, maybe I’m the totally selfish one.  I make my DC2  walk three house lengths to wait for the bus out in the cold.  I mean, sometimes it gets down into the 40s(!), and sometimes the wait is as long as 7 min (if the bus is late).  Maybe if I weren’t so selfish, I’d be keeping hir nice and warm in a heated vehicle while we waited for the bus instead of making hir suffer.

I should note that there’s one other family that takes the bus from this stop– their parents are immigrants and connected to the university somehow.  Their kids walk– I don’t know how far, but it’s longer than 5 houses.  (The dad used to walk with them, but the youngest had a birthday and is now old enough to wait by hirself, so they do.  Both kids are super nice to DC2.)

So that’s my catty parenting rant.  I guess if it really bothered the bus driver, the bus system would send out a reminder not to block the bus stop while waiting for it.  It’s a good thing waiting for the bus is usually DH’s job.  (Which is at least partly selfishness on my part, even though it makes more sense logistically and from a who needs to interact with adults standpoint.)

Activism: Should you go broad or deep?

A lot of the taking care of yourself while fighting for America recommendations out there say to go deep on one or two issues.  Not because the other issues aren’t important, they are.  But because you’ll get burned out if you try to focus on too much stuff.  Better to pick an issue, join a specific-interest group, and do things for that issue.

We at grumpy rumblings have been recommending a different approach.  We’ve been telling people that if you have 15 min a week, to sign up for one of the weekly mailing lists going around (see our activism tab) and just do what it says on that list for that week (if you agree with the items, etc.)  We argue that doing this is a way to compartmentalize all the craziness and use your limited time and attention to make your voice heard.  Someone else has done all the research, made decisions about what to focus on most immediately, and needs you to provide the power of your voice and beliefs.  If you’ve got more time, you can subscribe to more lists or follow one of the twitter accounts that provides daily actions.

We don’t think that going deep is wrong either.  We think both are needed.  We need the people willing to go to meetings and do the initial research.  We need people willing to aggregate across those different groups and figure out what is most timely.  We need people to do the finger work to make calls across a wide variety of issues.  And we need those people to not burn out.

So do whichever works best for you and whichever fits with your life and personality best.

I can’t focus on just one issue– there are too many.  But I also get overwhelmed just looking at CNN.  So… I’m letting @Wandsci, @ActionsUSA, and others do that reading and aggregating and figuring out who to call for me.  And then I mostly do what I’m told.  (I’ve also been doing weekly proofreading for one of the groups in my state and I’ve been keeping and adding to a list of progressive groups in our county which I then give to groups so they can connect with each other, and I’ve been helping people figure how to do the activism they want to do.  So I guess you could say I’ve been going deep on networking.  Even though I’m a total introvert.).

DH is currently drilling down on a project to protect immigrants because that’s what the local democratic party has decided to focus on and DH was willing to figure out who to talk to to get the the information they need to set up their own program in conjunction with an immigrant group.  He’s also making weekly phone calls.

So no, I don’t think you have to go deep to avoid burnout unless that’s what you want to do.  You probably can’t dive deep into every issue, but you can dive deep into one or two, or you can be an intermittent voice for a broad array of issues.  Not burning out is important, but you don’t have to focus on only one thing to avoid it, you just can’t focus on everything.

How do you avoid burnout?  Do you prefer broad or deep (or a little of both)?  Do you think one is inherently better than the other, or does it depend on the person?

Should we empathize with Trump voters?

In a word, no.

People who vote for Trump care about racism, and to a lesser extent, misogyny over *any other issue*.

There’s a movement among some liberal white folks (even our beloved wandsci) to empathize with these jerks.  They’re poor.  They’re seeing privileges stripped away.  They’re not used to being so close to the bottom.  They’re uneducated.  They’re scared and don’t know any better.  We should try to understand their point of view.  That’s the argument.

First, although the media narrative is an economic one, it’s not actually true.  White Trump voters are better off than the average American.  It is true that they’re generally not college educated.  But that’s on them.  They’re making plenty of money without the fancy degree that they could still get if they wanted.

Second, even if the media narrative were true, which it isn’t, that’s still no excuse to be racist.

Racism is deplorable.  As the ladies on the Here to make friends bachelor podcast note, plenty of people have bad things happen to them and don’t become assholes.  Your reaction to hardship or tragedy doesn’t have to be voting against your economic interests so that you can feel superior to someone with a different skin color.

There’s no point in trying to empathize with racists anymore than there’s a point in trying to empathize with dangerously misogynistic Chad on the Bachelor franchise.  Empathy will not change their behavior.  Shaming might.  More likely these hardcore racists are just lost to humanity and will either someday see the light or they will die bitter horrible people.  And that’s ok.  The importance of shaming is not to change their beliefs.  Shaming does two things.  First, it changes the behavior of the bulk of these horrible people because it forces them to watch what they say and how they act, so it is harder to hurt minorities.  Second, it shows that bulk of easily-led people that casual racism is not cool and tilts them for good over evil, which means they too are less likely to commit acts of overt racism.

Empathy has no place.  These people are racist.  Their behavior is deplorable.  They should be ashamed of themselves.  We should shame them.  This behavior has no place in mainstream society and if it can’t be removed entirely, it should be treated as the abomination that it is.  Let them dress up in their costumes and play their stupid games by themselves where we can laugh at them as losers who can’t get past 1865.  But when their behavior starts affecting normal people, and when it starts having a negative effect on people who are already discriminated against, that’s when any residual caring about their racist fee-fees should disappear.  They are bad people with bad beliefs and hopefully one day their children will escape and see how much better the world can be without their hate.

Growing up (a money post)

So here’s another post started in 2011.

I was struck by a comment by “brokeprofessionals” (they used to have a blog, but sold it many years back!) on an old get rich slowly post (remember when that blog was worth reading?  Man, we need to clear out our drafts from 2011.).  The commenter said, and I quote, “for most of us, growing up we never saw our parents or our parents [sic] friends struggling.”

He makes the argument that in general we were born after our parents were settled financially and we didn’t see them just starting out.

That, of course, does not mesh with my personal experience, nor probably with the experiences of the bulk of Americans.  My parents struggled financially when we were growing up.  That’s part of why my sister and I chose jobs that pay well and have saved a ton.  We don’t *want* to have to worry about the rent or be insanely frugal or have to worry about small over-charges or larger emergencies.  So much of our childhood was spent worrying about money.  That tends to leave a mark.

And actually, our parents were doing better before I was born and were doing much better before my sister was born.  For a while they got to live in the same city and were both employed.  After my sister was born things were less stable because of jobs in separate parts of the country, spells of unemployment, etc., etc., etc.  But hey, at least we still had the nice couches and the stereo system and the VW bug (man I loved that car) from before I was born.  Those lasted through high school.  My parents still have the couches.

My DH lived in a trailer in the woods when he was a little kid and his dad broke his back and had to retrain from being a carpenter to being an accountant while his mom was getting her RN.

Children are expensive.  Starting jobs don’t always lead to stable careers.  Families can interfere with flexibility.

And, of course, much of America is struggling and has been.  Inequality has been widening since Reagan, and was wider before Johnson.  Families struggle, especially those with children.  Not everybody has the blessing of being upper-middle class.  Most people don’t.

How about you?  Did your parents struggle financially when you were growing up?

ask the grumpies: Favorite sing-a-long?

Leah:

What is the best sing-along song ever?

I can tell you my current least favorite is this one song on Starfall about the days of the week.  Today is Friiiday.

Let’s go with the Wheels on the Bus.  They go round and round.