The combination of the cold weather, the holidays, being back in the land of sick kitties, and general year-end craziness has forced me into more "encounters" with the outside world than I would normally have, and I have to say, it hasn't been pretty.
I've spent what seems like an incredible amount of time in my car, I've had to keep some odd hours (like the ones that most Americans keep every day), I've eaten all sorts of crap that I wouldn't normally consume, and I've dealt with more crowds & bureaucracies than I care to think about.
Yesterday is a perfect example. I needed to go to the grocery store. I wanted to get it done yesterday because more snow is coming this weekend (it's falling right now, in fact) plus I wanted to be able to stay home and watch the playoffs over the weekend. I also needed to stop at the credit union and make my contribution to my HSA account for the year and I needed to go by the pet food store to pick up some different varieties of low phosphorous cat food for Princess to try.
Since the credit union is a few miles away in the land of suburbia, I calculated that it would be less total miles to drive a bit further into the land of McMansions, combine all of the trips into one and shop at the "nice" grocery and pet food stores, rather than the smaller ones closer to home. What a mistake!
The net result was that running those three errands ended up taking nearly 3 hours, during which time I had to battle incredible numbers of people and cars, and got really, REALLY grumpy. Seriously, by the time I was finally headed home I was doing some serious windshield screaming and vowing to never EVER put myself in that position again.
But here's the thing... "normal" people deal with this sort of thing pretty much all day every day. Honestly, I just can't fathom how people tolerate this sort of thing on a regular basis without becoming completely homicidal.
Now... you all know that I'm a HUGE fan of the Denver Broncos, but what you may not know is that my Broncos obsession is such that I can't just listen to the announcers on television, I have to turn the volume down on the set and listen to the fabulous Dave Logan calling the games on the radio (with my special sports sync radio that lets me get the timing of the two signals perfectly lined up.)
At any rate, the radio station that broadcasts the games is... well... let's just say that when they aren't broadcasting football games they're busy filling the airwaves with right wing garbage like Rush Limbaugh. And since their normal clientele is a tad bit more conservative than I am, their advertisers tend to cater to that crowd. So during the games, I get subjected to all sorts of ridiculous propaganda from the fossil fuel industry using fear tactics and threats of economic ruin to convince people how important coal and petroleum are to "preserving our way of life."
Soooo... yesterday as I was fighting my harrowing battle against crowds and traffic, all I could think was that anybody who wants to "preserve" this "way of life" seriously needs to have their head examined!
Honestly, it just doesn't seem to me that the harried existence of stress, and commuting, and crap food, and sleep deprivation, and generalized misery that defines the lives of most Americans is something worth destroying the planet for.
Call me crazy, but I just think that there MUST be a better way.