Americans and Entitlement

Last Saturday I went to a conference that celebrated the 100th anniversary of the great Lawrence textile strike.  At about 8:30AM I parked my car outside the Lawrence History building to go in and get my registration.  I noticed a parking machine which, if it works like the ones in Boston, you put in your quarters and get a paper that you stick to your window saying you have paid the appropriate fee.  Since I was the only car on the street on a Saturday morning I decided to forego the fee as I figured to be inside for only 5 minutes or so.  But upon my return I was greeted by the telltale envelope that said the parking enforcers had found me being a scofflaw.   What would have cost me maybe 25-cents now cost me $30.  I felt angry as I thought I was entitled to a few minutes inside and, after all, there was no one else on the street!

But I quickly discovered the flaw in my thinking, I had no right to feel entitled to a free-pass.  I knew what I was supposed to do and declined.  I accepted the price I had to pay and once home-made out the check and put it in the mail immediately.

It annoys me to no end when I see a car in a handicapped space that has no handicap plates or placard.  Even more, when I see someone park in such a space with the proper sticker but the person has obviously no handicap.

I always think it funny that some people put their emergency flashers on when they are illegally parked.  What are they trying to say?  Please excuse me for a moment from parking in front on this fire hydrant while I do what I want.  I always think their putting on their flashers draws attention to them, makes them an easier target, if you will.  Then there is the person who, having just been ticketed, decides to assault the parking enforcement person with the excuse that they were only away from their car a minute.  It is really simple.  You do something wrong, you get caught, own up to it and cease with the excuses.

There is always the woman in the 12 item or less aisle who has 15 items.  God help you if you point this out to her as she will assail you with insults and incredulity that you should question her actions.  Adding insult to injury is the checkout person who allows this.  I just don’t get that.

Smokers are some of the worst when it come to feeling entitled.  First, smokers think the earth is their ash tray and that they should be allowed to discard their cigarettes on the ground wherever they want.  Why is that?  Have you ever noticed that the cigarettte butt tends to be the most prevalent type of litter on the street.  But it get worse when you are sitting in an open-air type cafe and someone decides to light up next to you.  I have asked them to not smoke next to me only to be met with their indignation that I should have the temerity to make such a request.  Why should I, a lifelong non-smoker, be subjected to your smoke?  Why are you entitled to foul the air I breath and my enjoying my surroundings so that you can enjoy a nasty habit?

I think too many Americans believe that their indiscretions should be tolerated.  Why is that?  Have we Americans become so lazy that we think we can selectively choose when to be respectful of other people?  It seems that the idea of being respectful is being supplanted with individual entitlement.



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