It’s tempting to think in broad terms that what we want for ourselves is also what other people want, or what should happen in general. And yet that’s wrong – our individual lifestyle preferences are not something to impose upon others. To separate what would benefit you from what would benefit the community more broadly is a task that is difficult, and in any case something many people just don’t bother doing. Therefore I have generally tried to avoid speaking out in favour of things that I think would be good for me personally (more science funding, more math-centric education in high school, a more open US-Canada border, easier student immigration standards into the US, benefits for craft breweries over crappy giant breweries, subsidized sour cherry dumplings for Washington State residents, everyone agreeing that everything I say is correct, etc.), whether I think they are a good idea in general or not (or, to put it more accurately, being unable or unwilling to calculate whether they are a good idea in general or not). This is also why, for instance, I have scrupulously refrained from saying more money should be spent on bike projects in posts about biking. But you have to draw the line somewhere, and this week I have reached and crossed that line. First, thursday morning, I was lying in bed enjoying that wonderful half-asleep, half-awake sensation of knowing you don’t quite have to get up yet, when what happens but a fucking leafblower gets turned on and deprives me of one of the best parts of the day. Leafblowers are loud, obnoxious, and don’t achieve anything a vast supermajority of the time (if “the time leafblowers actually do useful shit” was a political party in the US Senate, no one would even give a shit about filibusters). But, like a good liberal, I was all, “Well, that sucked, but I guess the guy with the leafblower has a job, at least, so there’s that positive”. But then tonight I was biking over Ballard bridge and there was a portion of path where broken glass was strewn EVERYWHERE. There was literally no way to ride through without riding on (various shades of) broken glass. And WHAT THE HELL. First off, why is there broken glass on the street? Who are these jackasses who break glass and leave it on the street? They should be fined mercilessly. Second, the variegated colours of the glass suggested diverse provenance. Which probably means that this glass was sitting there for a while, and nobody got rid of it. And yet there’s a bunch of people with leafblowers in the middle of summer? The only rationale for any money to be put into the leaf-blowing budget is that the getting-the-motherfucking-broken-glass-off-the-motherfucking-street budget has all the money it needs and has completely alleviated the there’s-motherfucking-glass-on-the-motherfucking-street problem. So, now I have a flat tire today, no half-sleep on Thursday, and all because someone got their city maintenance priorities all wrong. Get them right! Let’s do this, New Mexico!*
*Assuming New Mexico has trees. Which, actually, I’m not that sure of.