Are you ready for an excellent ***TAKEDOWN*** of why drivers here suck?

I was sent this excellent essay on what it's like to live and drive around the Hub City, and I just had to pass it on. I'm sure those that truly need to read it won't, but maybe it will help the rest of you to become a bit more educated on the topic.  With that, I will you to it.

The Arrogance Of Entitlement

I love the idea of living in a small city with many attributes of a small West Texas community.  Citizens offering each other a helping hand when possible.  Pitching in to make local improvement projects successful.  Having strangers exchange pleasantries when running into each other in our shared public spaces.  Unfortunately, I do not live in such a place today in Lubbock, Texas.

Entitlement means “the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.”  That is what I continue to experience in our community.  Arrogance means “an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions.”  I believe these two concepts have manifested themselves into a large segment of our local society.  Everywhere from the I-27 construction zones to the Wal-Mart parking lots, the arrogance of entitlement is on full display.

I understand jurisdictional issues when trying to coordinate road construction projects between the federal, state, and local authorities.  However, I do not understand the insistence of such government agencies to close sixty percent of traffic flow, both North and South, on I-27 at the same time.  Poor planning aside, the contractors have done a good job of marking the required lane closings and provided ample distance for motorists to move into the correct lane prior to the closures.  The motorists, on the other hand, do not believe that these instructions apply to them.  That somehow, they are “special”.  They do not have to follow the instructions provided because are “entitled”.

With a quarter mile in which to position their vehicle in the only lane open in the construction zone, more than forty vehicles decided to race to the convergence point in hopes of bettering their position and perhaps saving a few seconds in their commute.  A school bus sped past me with children smiling from the windows.  An excellent opportunity for students to learn from adults on how important it is to be “special”. I travel I-27 twice weekly to Plainview, Texas and back to Lubbock, Texas in order to hold classes at South Plains College’s (SPC) Plainview Center.  I have done so for more than seventeen years.  This portion of “The Ports to Plains” highway has seen construction during all my time traveling the fifty miles to the Plainview exit I utilize.  I also travel from the South Loop “flyover” to I-27 North exiting at 19th Street to get to the SPC Lubbock Downtown Center three times a week.  Unfortunately, this “entitled” behavior has been evident during this entire time.

I usually visit one of our local Wal-Marts on Friday afternoons with my teenaged son.  He is sixteen and working towards earning his Driving License.  Each trip we comment on the “Arrogance of Entitlement” demonstrated by the drivers in the parking lot.  From the Fire Lane blockers who “camp out” in their vehicles in front of the store, to the “closest spot possible” circling brigades, completely ignoring the well-marked traffic flow direction arrows.  Obviously, these vehicle operators arrogantly believe that they are special, rules apply to other people, not to them.  I am an RBK amputee with spinal fusion and a metal left hip.  I can find a Handicap Accessible space approximately twenty percent of the time.  The other eighty percent of the time I pass the Handicap spots once and then park some distance from the door.  The walk is usually about one hundred fifty feet or more, but I accept this part of our social contract.  Sometimes we can park closer, other times we park farther away.  But not so for the entitled.  Often the extra area provided to Handicap vehicles (the diagonally painted lines to accommodate the extra room many of us require to ease access and egress from our vehicles) is filled with vehicles illegally parked.  Many of these drivers appear to be hale and hearty, but perhaps their handicaps are not immediately noticeable.  Although mental handicaps are usually a proscription in applying for a license.

In these same parking lots are other pieces of empirical evidence indicative of “entitlement”.  Take shopping carts.  Most Wal-Marts have placed “cart corrals” every ten parking spaces or so, to ensure no shopper has to walk an undo amount to remove their cart from active areas in the parking lot.  By returning our carts to these “corrals”, we reduce the probability of carts hitting vehicles, blocking parking spaces, or creating hazards for pedestrians and vehicles alike.  However, our “arrogant” “entitled” feel completely free leaving their discarded carts anywhere they please. They are too “special” to be regulated by social norms to place these carts in their intended “corrals”.

We can also mention the vehicle operators who are exceedingly proud of their conveyances and wish to protect their paint finishes by utilizing parts of more than one parking space.  Frequently these operators park their machines diagonally across two parking spaces in order to minimize the chances of “door dings” caused by errant drivers that do not value the “entitled” paint finishes as much as the operator does.  Very few of us actually want to damage our vehicles through “door dings” or other parking lot mishaps, but we accept them as an inescapable part of the social contract we have with each other.  If we choose to park our cars in parking lots, we have to expect a certain amount of “ding damage”.  I suppose our “arrogant” “entitled” are above the social contract and that allows them to be “special” and have more rights than the rest of us.

Another piece of our empirical evidence collection includes trash removed from vehicles and left in the parking spaces because the generator of said refuse is too “special” (or read “lazy”) to actually place their trash in an appropriate container.  This trash includes such as items as “soiled diapers”.  I am father to seven children, grandfather to six, great-grandfather to one, and foster father to dozens of others.  I have changed, and continue to change, diapers fairly regularly.  I have never had a situation arise where it was incumbent upon me to dispose of a “soiled diaper” in a parking lot in order to avoid a catastrophic event.  The arrogance of this entitlement may well be the most extreme manifestation of this phenomena.

So, where does this Arrogance of Entitlement come from?  Is it from parents over-inflating their children’s self-esteem and self-concept?  Is it from our American system of Family Values that each and every one of us is truly “special”?  If we are all “special”, then what is the norm?  The average?  Can we possibly have a sustainable society where everyone is deemed “special”?  No, we cannot.  This sense of entitlement has grown as narcissism itself has grown in our society.  More and more citizens are proclaiming their entitlement, and showing their arrogance, through the myriad of ways that they act towards each and everyone of us, every single day.

***Name withheld by the publisher***

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