Thursday, August 28, 2008

Playing By The Rules ...

I've never been a rebel.

I've always towed the line.

Early on, my mom did a really good job of keeping me (and my brothers) on the straight and narrow.

Even today, I behave. I can't even ignore the flight attendants when they give their safety demonstrations. Not because I'm ordered to watch them but more because I feel bad that so many people ignore them (if I was up there, I'd want someone to pay attention).

I am, in a word, a sap. An obedient sap.

But I don't understand why some people think that they're above the rules.

I'm not talking about hard-core criminals. They're another collective animal entirely.

But little everyday infractions bug me. Like littering. I came home yesterday and saw an aluminum can on my parkway lawn near the street. Why? Couldn't the person who tossed it out their window have just left it their car until they got home and – gasp! – put it in a recycling bin?

Or people who refuse to use directionals while driving. Or who roll through stop signs. Or who blow through stop signs. Red lights are red for a reason, you morons. Why do you think that the laws don't apply to you?

Laws are laws for a reason.

And some rules and regulations annoy me – I could do without taking off my shoes in an airport – but I abide by them. Not just because I fear the repercussions if I don't, but because my comportment contributes to making the world a more pleasant place in which to live.

And nothing I'm expected to do restrains me. Well, the seat-belt law restrains me, because it's meant to restrain. But I've worn a seatbelt voluntarily for almost as long as I've driven a car. It's amazing what one bad accident will do to make you want to buckle up. At this point, putting it on is involuntary. I get in the car, I put the key in the ignition, I reach over my shoulder and pull the belt around.

Of course, there are instances of arcane laws that are still on the books that need to be removed. There are instances of laws that serve to constrict my behavior in my own home that I might find objectionable.

But basic rules and laws that govern public behavior? They're not so hard to follow. And when one person shrugs and tosses their trash out their window, that opens the door for the next person to do it. Not everyone follows suit, of course. But wouldn't it be lovely if everyone played by the same social rules? If no one thought themselves above them?


Blogger Jen said...

I am a rules follower for the most part myself. The rebel in me comes in when a rule is stupid or counterproductive, but even then I am not a rule breaker; I am a rule changer. I set out to do the unthinkable and get bad rules changed so that I don't have to break them. Some people think I am crazy to try, but I am just a 'crusader,' I guess.

9:39 AM  

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