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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Thursday, April 05, 2007

It was a good day...again

I just had a train day (day when I do mass transit and don't drive to work), and I saw two of the coolest things I've seen over the past few weeks.

First, on the way to the train I saw a driver jibber-jabberin' on her cell phone (and yes, the driver really was a woman) at a freeway exit adjacent to the train station. She was waiting to turn right and either didn't see or didn't care that about the large sign above her traffic signal that read "No Turn on Red."

In typically Miami fashion she turned against the red anyway, causing an oncoming car to slow down dramatically to make way for her. Seconds later a motorcycle cop who sometimes stakes out that exit from under a nearby overpass turned on his sirens and lights and chased that numbnut down.

Yeah! The mouth breathers do get busted sometimes.

Second, while on the train I was doing my favorite commuting thing - reading a book. I'm on page 400 of Lawrence Sanders' The Second Deadly Sin. If you like old-school cop/murder mysteries this is a great one. And Sanders is one of the best. I'm a huge fan.

Anyway, I was reading, and I heard a young guy - maybe in his early 20s - about four rows up and across the aisle answer his cell phone and start talking. It's ironic. His subject matter wasn't bad. He was telling the person on the other line about how he was maturing and realizing that hot cars and hot clothes and hot tunes and hotter women weren't anything compared to stability in your life. He even cracked a joke about a friend of his with bad priorities who recently spent several hundred dollars on a new high definition radio, but that friend didn't even own a car to put it in.

The problem was this guy was really loud and every other word was a swear. Well, sitting right next to me was a woman with her grandson. He was probably six or seven. I know he was her grandson, because his mother had taken his other siblings to the upper deck so they could look out the windows.

After a few minutes of the phone call grandma calls out "Excuse me young man, I'm sitting here with a little boy. And he does not need to hear what you're saying or how you're saying it."

It took phone guy a second, but he realized what she meant. And would you believe it, he was embarrassed! He actually expressed shame, covered his mouth, stammered an apology, and carried on his conversation at a lower tone, minus the swears. And when he got up to exit the train at the next station, he stopped at grandma's seat and apologized profusely again.

Very cool. There's hope.

Also, my last post was one I started writing on Monday but didn't get around to finishing till today. So you may have missed it. It actually posted as two items ago. Give it a read. It's on a stupid political move in Florida.

Good even, and peace and hair grease. I'll post more tomorrow.

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  • storis like that do help us realize that the 'trials and tribulations' we 'suffer' with our imps do have a purpose.

    Nice to see and hear!!

    By Blogger dennis, at 11:15 PM  

  • oh jeez! so much for my college education!!

    Stories like that...

    By Blogger dennis, at 11:16 PM  

  • James,
    You should have gone Dirty Harry on the inconsiderate lout. Letting grandma do it is embarrassing. We need less politcal correctness and more Dirty Harry courage in America. I know, Harry had "the most powerful handgun in the world" with him which made it easier to confront assholes. But you had Sanders' hefty tome The Second Deadly Sin. You could have whacked him a good one or at least threatened him with it. I'm sure he's never seen a book that size before much less read one.

    By Blogger Verticus S. Erectus, at 12:55 AM  

  • Ironic, I took the train into town today with my little girls to celebrate Good Friday and I had the same thing happen, a young girl swearing and carrying on talking on her mobile phone. Another passenger told her off and she pulled her head in, which was good. I swear, but I try my darndest not to in front of my kids.
    Gee, there are so many instances I wish there was a cop on the road to see some "numbnut"like that lady..good for them for getting her on her red light.

    By Blogger Cazzie!!!, at 6:51 AM  

  • JB,
    Long time... I think if we here who are making South Florida our lives would sit back and think about what makes a community good or great, we would realize that it isn't about what someone else does, but about what WE do. We can all remind each other of our civility and humanity in times where anonymity encourages callousness. I know we all like to beef and riff about the actions of others, but it's important to remember that personal action transforms hopes and dreams into plans and schemes.

    The ultimate DIY project where your transform your community from one where people are uncaring strangers into one where everyone's lives are connected by vested common interests. My folks turns into our parents. My kid turns into our children. It's when a community takes that leap into shared destiny that it becomes a truly great place to live. It can't be manufactured like some Disney experiment; it must be grown from the roots up.

    And it all starts when people who decide to make a place more than a stopover in their life--a place must become a home for which they are willing to sweat, bleed, and die to maintain and improve. I've made that decision about this here place. I hope others will make it as well.

    By Anonymous Big Daddy, at 10:24 AM  

  • I'm glad that cop got the woman on the cell phone.

    Whenever I'm driving on city streets and there is somebody tailgating me and they are talking on a cell phone I slow down. I try to bait them into passing me and hope there is a cop nearby when they do it. It's never worked yet, but someday it will!

    Train full of a bunch of people and a little old lady is the one to shut the dude up. That's pretty funny.

    By Blogger Jay, at 11:07 AM  

  • Goosebumps, James, goosebumps.

    Good things.

    By Blogger Matt, at 11:23 AM  

  • I had almost forgotten what it was like in the city, until my recent trip to D.C. I was with a Christian lady, and I could tell she was shocked at how many of our fellow Metro passengers dropped the f-bomb casually in conversation.

    Seems like the cops are never around at the right time - and good things happen in 3's, right? So looking forward to hearing another good thing!

    By Blogger Tiggerlane, at 12:00 PM  

  • Regarding the red-light turning jibber-jabberer, I'm glad to see she got her due after breaking the law "in typically Miami fashion."

    As for the toilet-mouthed caller who later apologized, all I can say is, "Of all the goddammed, mother-fuckin' assholed, shit-for-brains pissheaded ... sorry. My bad." No damage done.

    By Blogger The Sarcasticynic, at 12:32 PM  


    Drivers like that are why I wish my car had RPG launchers, and missile tubes, and machine guns, and most important of all: shields!

    By Blogger Malnurtured Snay, at 4:03 PM  

  • I love it when someone who's behaving rudely is kindly-yet-firmly called out, then recirpocate said action by being cool about it. It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

    ...and yes, rainbows do start shooting out of my eyes, the heavens open up and a bluebird lands on my shoulder while a fairy sprinkles pixy dust on me.

    Then I sing.

    By Blogger Queen of Dysfunction, at 4:43 PM  

  • hey i know this has nothing to do with anything, BUT i was expecting a Ask James Anything Friday - I was going to ask you, ''Have you ever seen this website?'' It is SATIRICAL and one of the comments there reminded me of you ....have a wonderful weekened!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:57 PM  

  • That reminds me of the time in college when some guy friends and I were eating in a local diner and talking, apparently rather loudly and in explicit detail, about common misconceptions among teenagers regarding the birds and the bees. The woman sitting behind us with her young daughter turned and gave us an evil look. We shut up right then and there.

    Poor kid learned more that day about where babies come from than she should know at that age.

    By Blogger GrizzBabe, at 7:17 PM  

  • Some good news! I'm glad to hear that the cell phone chatterer got hers, and that the young man corrected his ways. I work with teenagers. Not all of them are disrespectful and rebellious. It bothers me when people automatically make negative judgments about all young people. It's akin to racism and sexism, to me.

    By Blogger katrice, at 11:44 PM  

  • "Mouth Breathers" it!

    I take the bus into DC when I've got to go in...and I love it. I save money, the earth and I get to read! Isn't it great when an actual asshole gets a ticket?! That's the best.

    And good news about the kid with a sense of shame. Very good news indeed.

    By Blogger Lee, at 1:04 PM  

  • Therer are some good folks out there, dispite the evidence to the contrary.

    By Blogger Fathairybastard, at 6:34 PM  

  • Could it be the burnettiquette is rubbing off? just a bit? Good for her for calling him on it. Better for him for realizing his mistake,changing his behavior and seeming to actually mean it.


    By Blogger briliantdonkey, at 1:43 AM  

  • Of course there's hope James. Wherever we look we can see bad things. But if we're open to it, we can see good things too. But often we just filter those out!

    Happy Easter!

    By Blogger Dan, at 8:58 AM  

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