XXXIX – That Really Bothers Me!

Okay, boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen…..wait a minute. Why does one expression start with the male gender (boys and girls), while the other one starts with females (ladies and gentlemen)? I realize they sound weird the other way around, but why the difference? Can anyone explain that? I don’t understand, and it bugs the hell out of me.


PAIN IN THE GAS

Know what else bugs the hell out of me? The price of gas. Recently, it’s been going the wrong way (that is, up). Recently, as in about the last month, gas where I live in southern Utah has risen roughly 50¢/gallon. In one day, one local station’s price jumped 16¢—from $2.59 one night, to $2.75 the following morning. Some places are even flirting with the $3.00 mark. Why? Probably because the weather is warming up, summer is coming, and because oil companies are greedy as fuck. Even worse is in California. For the first time since 2015, Los Angeles County is averaging over $4.00 per gallon. In fact, according to gasbuddy.com, three of the four highest-priced gas stations in California are in LA (as seen in the graphic below).

LA Gas.jpg
Stupidly high gas prices in Los Angeles, California. Three of the four highest priced stations listed at californiagasprices.com are in Los Angeles.

If I remember, right after the economy took a dump in 2008, I saw the highest price here in Utah get to $4.299. My van at the time took like $72.00 to fill the tank. That was the Mazda MPV I had before it got totaled in my accident in 2010. I can’t believe I’ve had my Toyota Sienna for 9 years now. Nine years and nearly 150,000 miles. And somehow (*knock on wood*), it’s still going good. Going back to the subject of increasing gas prices, don’t look for relief any time soon. Summer’s coming, and Memorial Day tends to give people major sticker shock. To add insult to injury, the oil companies are blaming the “summer formula” gas, as well as refinery maintenance and problems. Uh huh, yeah right🙄. So yeah, the greedy bastards at Big Oil blame everything they can, so they can gouge the customers (because why not) and line their coffers and pad executives’ exorbitant bonuses🤬. I get that companies need to make a profit, but to post “record profits” nearly every reporting period? Here’s a novel idea: why not give up one of those bonuses and give customers a little bit of a break at the pump?

ROAD WORK AHEAD

Something else that drives me crazy? Road construction. In Utah, it seems like there are not four seasons in the year. There are two: winter and road construction. Almost every year, around February or March, like clockwork, the goddamned road cones come out. Electric signs start blinking everywhere. Insipid orange diamond signs are resurrected: road work ahead, speed limit reduced/fines doubled, lane closed ahead…bullshit like that. The problem with road work is that 1) it’s a headache for the seemingly-infinite amount of time it takes; 2) it’s ugly, and the reduced speed limit is a pain in the ass; 3) people are fucking stupid and don’t know how to drive. They see the signs, but wait until the last possible moment to merge; that, or when they attempt to move over, they practically force themselves into the other lane, as if to say fuck you, buddy; move over or I’m ramming your ass! Some wedge themselves in without even the use of a blinker. Others use their blinker, but it’s more of a way to say to get out of their way, because here they come, rather than the “I’d like to move over” attitude it’s supposed to be. Shit, people seem to have no common courtesy in traffic anymore.

Besides those idiots, there’s the ones who see a speed limit sign and interpret it as “you should drive 5 mph under” that number. When approaching a lower speed limit, instead of coasting to decrease to the desired speed, these dolts slam their brakes in a panic, causing everyone else behind them to do the same, causing unnecessary slowdowns and tie-ups. Possibly worse than the slowpokes are the tailgaters. You know, the assholes that think that, even though you’re already doing 80 on the freeway, you’re still too slow for them. They ride your car’s ass, literally a few feet behind you—so close that if you were to stop quickly, they’d ram the rear of your car. When I see a car approaching quickly, I’ll try to move out of their way, or at least give them a way around. One thing I’ve never done is the dangerous “brake check”, or tapping the brakes enough to wake the jackass up and get them to back off. Sometimes these brake checks are simply an annoyance, other times it leads to road rage, and yet others wind up with an accident. You can find a myriad of examples of these on YouTube.

POLITICAL BULLSHIT

Just one more thing to add to the list of hateful crap. Politics is a subject that I’ve gotten really fed up with. I have my political views. I try to avoid political discussions, especially with those who are far-leaning one direction or the other. I don’t like to hear the rantings of many staunch Trump supporters, as am I really sick of the Democrat and Socialist left who have the most extreme and absolute hatred towards Trump and want to see him removed from office, if not assassinated. Now, everyone is entitled to their opinions and beliefs. I’m also not saying that everyone on the right loves Trump, and that everyone on the left hates him. However, the overreaching tone of politics in the United States in the 21st century is that there is such a huge division between the two major political parties. I would venture to say that the political difference is larger than the
width of the Milky Way Galaxy. There once was a time when both parties would actually compromise and get things done.

Political Divide.jpg
Image of Milky Way Galaxy, diameter 105,700 light years: the perceived political divide in the United States in 2019.

Not now. Each side (especially the Democrats, in my opinion) has developed a “my way or the highway” attitude. Unfortunately, this attitude is one thing contributing to the eventual downfall of this once-great Republic. Many other factors are involved, and not one party is to blame. Every single one of those dumbfucks in Washington, DC, are there for their own power and interest. The US has become a government of the people and by the people, but it sure as hell ain’t for the people anymore. Politician are supposed to listen to their constituents. Unfortunately, everything they do is in their own interest and to keep their power. There is a quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson (though that attribution has come into doubt) that says, “When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.” It would appear we’re headed for the latter. I hope that’s not true, but the federal government is massive, bloated, way overreaching and has an insatiable appetite for taxing and spending. It doesn’t matter who occupies the White House, the National Debt is rising daily. In fact, the government spends about $114,000 per second. Let that sink in for a minute. The US is in debt currently to the tune of $22 trillion (about 157 times Jeff Bezos’ net worth). At the current rate, in four years, the debt will have increased by over $6 trillion, to over $28 trillion. Will the US ever be debt-free again? No. In fact, the only time the US had no debt was in 1835. It has not happened prior or since. Fast forward 184 years, we’re drowning in debt, to the tune of $67,500 for every single person in this country. A bit ridiculous, don’t you think?



And there you have it. Just a couple of the many things that bug the ever-loving crap out of me. Yeah, I have many pet peeves (or, as George Carlin called them, “major psychotic hatreds”). With recent gas increases and road construction locally, I needed to get it off my chest. I guess I feel a little better, but they still irk the hell out of me. I’m sure you guys get incensed by these things, as well. So, we can all commiserate and try to give each other some moral support. Until the next time we meet and enjoy a good rant, be safe and be well.

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