Sorry to say, Americans lack common courtesy and empathy.

In 1795, an immigrant complained that “civility cannot be purchased from Americans on any terms; they seem to think it is incompatible with freedom”.  – John F. Kasson

Kasson nailed it over 200 years ago and his message applies today more than ever.  In the rampant, ideologically “patriotic” quest for individualism America has really become a nation of “me time”, “all about me” and “what about me”?  Zero courtesy for others.  Worse, this individualism and lack of respect for others is embraced and promoted by certain ideological groups in the United States.  I owe no one anything.  That is the lame, narcissistic position now embraced by many Americans.

Everyone has an example: the lazy, slow moving women in the check out line taking YOUR time, not hers.  The guy who leaves his car at the crowded pumps so he can spend 20 minutes shopping in the convenience store.  Hell, everyone knows the jackass reducing the flow of traffic because of exercising their “right” to be in the wrong lane.  Americans lack of respect for others might be at an all time high.

At one time in history this type of discourteous behavior created embarrassment, scorn from the community and local society.   I’m embarrassed for them.   I won’t even get into the misuse and tangled use of terms like “socialist” when applied to those who point out you can’t infringe upon the rights of others to exercise your own.  I’m also embarrassed by how across the American landscape people have become so self-absorbed in general.  You are not going to be famous.  You are not as special to society as you believe.  You might be reading this blog and I don’t even know your name, never will.  That is how truly insignificant most of us are.  Go jump from the bow of a ship into the open ocean.  Drive into a class 5 tornado.  Get back to us with your delusions of grandeur and let us know how much material wealth and self image did to save you.  Luckily we will be spared such narrative for despite your perceived invincibility, you are human.  In certain circumstances you will be humbled to death without help from others.

Yet in most American’s minds we are special.  People look towards us because we are wonderful.  We’re Americans, the whole world is filled with envy, or so I’m told.  Most Americans current moment and activity is all they are worried about so hell, it’s all the world should be worried about right?  Because it’s your world.  Um, no dipshit, it’s our world.  Many could do themselves some good by traveling outside their own mental cocoon, usually built as a security blanket, and realize they live and move among others.  Other people who don’t want to wait on you.  Other people who’s time you are wasting.  No, do not “take your time”.  Hurry the fuck up.  Be efficient in your public activities.  Politely and courteously get out of the path of others.

Also stop pretending their is no community.  Margret Thatcher lied.  It’s all around you.  Those people waiting behind you at the checkout line while you dick around, consuming their time – they are part of your community.  Yes you have a right to travel 5MPH under the limit in the slow lane.  I have a right to flip you off and call you a discourteous asshole when you earn it.  Indeed I believe the right many Americans now exercise the most is the right to be a self absorbed asshole…. with a selfie stick.

This all comes down to empathy, (n) “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another”.  A definition Americans could stand to learn.  Too many now mistakenly think the word empathy is interchangeable with the word pussy.   It is not.  Empathy purveys strength.  If you don’t understand that you have some work to do on your social skills.

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Blueberries are coming!

Blueberries are coming!

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BMX will be dead in America in one generation.

Connor really wants to get into BMX on his own accord but I’m starting to think it’s a bad idea.  Doesn’t seem to be anything near like it was when we were growing up.  Tracks are now privately operated and always closed, the local track is only open for paid practices on Thurs. at 5-7PM.  I suppose it’s now sport for parents without jobs?  He hasn’t even been able to get exposure to a track thanks to access limitations.   Local races are now cancelled when there’s any state points race held anywhere, testament to anemic participation.  I’ve got to go tell him for the 4th time he can’t go today because of rain or another cancellation due to a “state race” somewhere.

I’ve already had some run-ins with parents and race organizers, in person and on-line, who seem less than cordial, expecting pats on the back after making big mistakes the likes of which cannot be made by other USAC officials at sanctioned races without total points disqualification.  To be clear cyclocross, MTB and USAC road officials are volunteers too but somehow manage to avoid total amateur hour.

Now that BMX is an Olympic sport plan to watch the USA continue to get crushed beyond belief by Europeans, mostly Germans, where all cycling is taken very seriously.  In Europe BMX is heavily organized with plenty of tracks still staffed by municipal (ya, government) employees.  Can you say “not for profit”? I don’t know if the private operation in America was because of municipal operators like the City of Raleigh trying to offset liability or because operators thought they could make money?   Regardless, it’s not working.

Sad we start these sports in America, Mountain biking and BMX, but now we can’t get riders anywhere near the podium.  I can now tell this is not due to lack of interest but a failure of how the BMX is promoted, how tracks are operated (privately) and the lack of real training and experience of the officials.  BMX operators would be wise to embrace USAC and the UCI, go to races for other cycling events and see the organization first hand.  If these current track operators had to deal with the number of riders and size of races in the 80s and 90s they would be quickly overwhelmed.

Here’s another odd thing: It seems there aren’t many older kids in BMX (12-16 years old).  Almost comes off like a bunch of dads trying to relive the 80′s by pushing their young kids into it so they have an excuse to go race their own cruisers.  I kept racing bikes, moved to other advanced cycling disciplines.  I never talked Connor into BMX, just built him a bike.  His friend across the street got a dump truck full of dirt delivered last week to build their own jumps.  It’s their interest.  Sad when they want in but can’t easily participate because of massive access restrictions.  Ya, ya… there’s a new super track in South Carolina.  Rumor has it those officials are in over their heads too.  If USA Cycling wants BMX to flourish in America again they better reign it in.  Under the current operating model BMX is gone from America in a generation, no doubt about it.  I better build Connor the cyclocross bike he’s been asking about.  The junior CX division is getting big.

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I endured Wal-Mart hell for the fist time in year. Dear God why?

Went to Wal-Mart for the first time in over a year to pick up prints from the photo lab I needed in a hurry.  The only woman covering the photo and electronics area was a mother they won’t let off until 7 PM.  Her kids flight leaves at 5 PM so she won’t see them today.  This so a couple of other people could be off today, who are not mothers.

When I told someone this story I said “This is why I don’t spend money at Wal-mart” they replied, almost predictably, “Then she wouldn’t have any job”.  Way to surface dwell brain fodder.  Don’t spend any energy thinking anything through.  Wouldn’t want ya to throw a spark and hurt yourself.

No, she wouldn’t have that job.  Perhaps she would have a better paying full time job at one of the 1.9 million small, local retailers Wal-mart drove out in the name of lame ass “Always low prices, always”.  Wal-Mart and other big box hell stores are America’s punishment for lusting over cheap shit, refusing to acknowledge any real value or quality in the cost of goods.  Enjoy your Pakistani-Chinese made plastic.  All you can afford?  Ask yourself why that is.  Think it through including the personal accountability part.

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Empty shells on the Little John Rd. Greenway Extension to Crabtree Creek trail.

Empty shells on the Little John Rd. Greenway Extension to Crabtree Creek trail.

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Turned bringing my keys into a "field trip".

Turned bringing my keys into a "field trip".

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There are now more outside not deemed worthy of the valuable shed space.

There are now more outside not deemed worthy of the valuable shed space.

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America Embraces 21st Century Lazy

American’s like to project. Too many now blame others for their own failings. Taxes too high? It’s the “illegal’s” fault. Lost your job? It’s those God forsaken minorities. My own father was a projector for a long time. Every problem in his world came down to Muslims, Jews and Blacks. He wasn’t afraid to let us know it. He’s toned down and I don’t know if this is because of social acceptance diminishing for blatant racial rants or if his position has really changed. Regardless, his past behavior is a great example of how unaccountable so many American’s have become for their own failures.

Never mind he lost a job when I was thirteen and NEVER really went back to work until recently. We lived off my moms income as a nurse. He dabbled in real estate, an endeavor that might have lost more money than it ever made. To ask him, the lack of opportunity and pay he faced came down to Muslims and his claim they “can’t be trusted”. I trust every Muslim I’ve ever met. Of course, unlike the conservative fear mongering implies, they are not members of ISIS here to perform covert terrorist operations on the US. They are here to do things like raise families and source cheap textiles from overseas, which may be the most threatening thing they do to America.

I reflect on the 80′s and 90′s. Yep we wore disturbing clothes, Pana D’or Parachute Pants happened to hold a level of awesome unmatched by any 2000 era article of clothing, but we were a nation of high physical standards, “No Fat Chicks” and embraced fitness. Flash forward 2015: American’s justify “Plus Size” as the new normal. Apparently so many men have gotten fat they can’t imagine “No Fat Chicks”. But that doesn’t mean we’ve avoided double standards. Not by a damn mile. American’s make sure it’s understood that while we actually produce less we will tout “hard work” as the reason for success. Never mind that what we are “producing” is phantom bullshit thanks to the “investment” or “ownership” economy. All those “hard workers” watching money compile on computer screens. They must be too sore to get out of bed the next morning.

Meanwhile, as usual the people actually doing work continue to lose money and spending power. We’ve given up on higher standards. We don’t want to offend. Great. Now we are just a bunch of lushes making sure laws can be passed to keep the laziest the wealthiest… “Work Smarter, not harder”? WHAT THE FUCK EVER. How about produce an actual damn result besides money in your personal bank account. We must stop measuring accomplishment by monetary gain because it’s now a piss poor indicator of what a person’s actually accomplished.  Some of the dumbest, laziest people win society are the wealthiest.

I will judge a person by the contents that make up their character, not giving one turd about anyone’s concern that I do it.  So if you’re a fat, lazy, non productive ass wipe just trying to make it through your day to your next beer and eventual paycheck don’t expect to be treated by me as anymore than that. In particular I think of fat hillbillies. American’s embrace these losers because they are “Good ‘ol boys” representative of “America values”. So “American Values” are now…

  1. Skoal dripping from a beard.
  2. A lack of desire or ability to shave that beard.
  3. A shotgun rack in a gas guzzling, “coal rolling” pickup.
  4. An obesity fetish.
  5. A fat partner so neither feels bad about being fat.
  6. Social acceptance of your “plus size” ass.
  7. All the sugar than can be crammed into a human body without causing immediate death.
  8. A healthy dose of alcoholism to destroy any memory or regret should the denial fade.

Hillbillies aren’t cool.  Thugs aren’t cool.  Fat chicks aren’t cool.  The decision to embrace them because you are one isn’t cool.  It’s embarrassing for a country to denounce health, the environment and intellectualism as pretentious and arrogant while embracing bad lifestyle decisions.  That’s where we are.  Simpler, easier, lazier and dumber… “Don’t tread on me”!  Yep, it’s your right to be a fat, uneducated hick or wannabe gangsta.  Expect to be treated like one.  All in the name of “simple folk”.  Ya, you’re fucking simple alright.  Too simple to understand or even try to comprehend the problem: Fat, lazy people in denial.  Now, get mad and blame Obama, minorities, gays, Benghazi, gland problems or whatever fuels your denial.  But for the sake of Buddha don’t take any personal accountability for your own failures.  Not your fault right?  “Land of the free” and therefore home of the under paid, heavily armed, uneducated, lazy and fat people.  These are the freedoms you choose to embrace over the last 20 years?  And yet we argue over what went wrong.  Apathy rules!

 

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From this bridge over 440 I feel bad for these people.

From this bridge over 440 I feel bad for these people.

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It's getting crowded in here.

It's getting crowded in here.

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