Monday, February 8, 2010

A litany of little things that irk me.

Certain little things add to the accumulative stress and subsequent costs of living in a community and few will speak up for fear of hurt feelings. Yet the less stress we have to go through in little things makes our community a nicer place to live and enjoy. It would be immature to complain about something without offering an idea to fix it, so here are some examples of annoying little things and ideas for solutions. Simple manners and courtesy for neighbors and visitors and to improve our lifestyles and neighborhoods and de-stress our lives.

Board meetings in cafes: Get an Office!
It’s one thing when folks are quietly tapping at their laptops with headphones on. It’s entirely another when they have several people talking loudly about their business at the next table while you are trying to have your break.  People need their break time, so they can be better at their jobs.

Baby strollers in coffee shops and restaurants: Leave them outside!
How many times have you hurt your ankle on a baby stroller in a too small space then felt crushingly guilty for jolting the baby, which put you on eggshells for the rest of the day? It’s not your fault, it’s the fault of unthinking parents. Modern strollers come with a pod that parents can take out of the stroller and carry the baby in and sit on the chair next to them.  Simply chain up the stroller outside like people with bicycles have to do.  Kids too big for the pod can usually walk and sit in a high chair, which can be a fun learning exercise.

Pets in strollers: Put the pet on a leash and let it walk!
How embarrassing and unlearning for the poor pet to be walked around in a stroller like a human infant.  How embarrassing to watch an adult walk the stroller with the pet in it, like the adult is still five years old in the head. Plus the pet needs exercise just as much as you do, so it can ease its stress and won’t be so whiny, yappy, and neurotic.  (FYI: I’m not talking about pets with disabilities.)

Noisy vehicles: Use electric!
Rrrrrnnnngggg reeevvvvv pompmmp  rrrrrnnnngggg reeevvvvv pompmmp rrrrrnnnngggg reeevvvvv pompmmp  rrrrrnnnngggg up and down you street or 3 streets over, very loud, very annoying, very smelly, and very polluting.  Road noise is pollution too.  Needless city noise stresses folks so they also complain about music noise and our venues and festivals close down. Save the planet and the music and easier to park!

Howling, barking, cold, and/or thirsty pets tied up outside: Don’t leave your pet uncomfortable! How do you think it feels to the pet or the animal lovers passing by? Get your pet a warm dry coat, bring a portable water container, bring a friend to keep your pet quite while you shop, or reorganize your pet-time schedule.

 Screaming kids in restaurants: Take kids to a kids’ restaurant!
How often are you on your break or looking forward to a nice meal at your favorite cafĂ© and then gut wrenching screams suddenly kill your appetite and peace of mind? It’s very bad for digestion as well as public stress levels and that can trigger anger, stomach problems, and even road rage. Kids can’t be expected to act like adults, they need to be kids to distress themselves and not stress you. A public place is not a nursery, like it or not, and grown up establishments can be stressful for a kid, which may in part be why the kid is screaming.

 Paper napkin pollution: Carry a handkerchief!
Paper napkins are a disgusting habit, incredibly bad for the environment, and totally unnecessary.  No matter how many cute little signs say “save the planet” there are always A Holes who take more napkins than they need and leave a mess. If people carry their own reusable cloth handkerchiefs we create jobs in the textile and sewing industries, save forests, keep millions of tones out of landfill, and save millions of dollars for cities.  Do the math.

Public bathroom crimes: Put the seat up, don’t leave a mess!
We’ve all been nauseated by the sight of it at one time or another. With the virus scares and all the other public “nasties” one would think that adults have more courtesy and awareness for public health.  Body servants went out of fashion two centuries ago and you are way too old to be having somebody else wipe your backside and clean up your urine and excrement and toilet paper. We all like clean bathrooms; let’s all keep them clean.

Neighbors lights in your bedroom: Turn it off or shade it!
Light pollution is why you can’t see the stars at night, plus it uses up a lot of electricity.  It also may be why your neighbor won’t say hello. Go over your whole house or building, Turn it off and you save money, see the stars, and de-stress your neighbors.  If the light is for security, put it on a motion sensor and shade it so it doesn’t shine in your neighbors’ or into the sky.

Fuel powered lawn mowers, cutters, and leaf blowers: Use electric!
Forget your mid afternoon nap on your day off or getting the baby to sleep, or concentrating on work. Industrial noise and domestic fuel use are pollution, which poisons the air and ground and stresses people out. Ever seen the sperm decline and cancer increase statistics and how they correlate with the rise of fossil fuel and man made chemical use? It’s kind of scary.  Plus fossil fuel machines are very high maintenance, which adds up. Electric is much quieter, very clean, way more reliable, and you can go solar to save even more money, as well as the planet.

Ugly buildings: Grow a fence and groceries!
There is such a thing as visual pollution and it stresses people out, mostly without them knowing it. The Chinese design tradition of Feng Shui addresses this problem, but it’s a lot to explain, so here’s a quickie...  In most cities one cannot build a fence beyond a certain height. But you can grow bamboo and trees almost tall as you like, and there are many varieties of trees with edible fruit and nuts, and even some varieties of bamboo shoots are edible. Green views also increase real estate value.  Don’t plant without consulting with a local nursery for the right kind of plants. Not all plants are edible or suitable for urban gardens.

Lack of local entertainment: Singer-songwriters in cafes, art gallery parties, neighborhood picnics, block parties, community gardens and halls etc.! People need to get out and socialize, but not everybody wants to go to a bar or drive. Neighborhood residents need to meet and socialize with each other in their neighborhood, so they can recognize and trust and lookout for each other. Get it together and have a get together.

Some of these ideas are excerpts from my book “The Big Girls Guide to Saving the World” , others are ideas and observations I was pondering this evening. Help me finish editing the book and get it published – please make a donation to Interesting Minds today!

Images with this text are random clip art from the web for personal blog only, not included in book.

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