Is it just me or have you noticed a shift in the behavior of people as of late? I say people in a general sense, but the more people I observe, the more I notice bad behavior. I am not necessarily talking about violence. I am talking about entitlement and a me, me, me attitude. Just think about how easy it is to interact with people from all over the world on social media these days. Every day I see people bickering, arguing and being nasty to others on social media. I believe this is because there is no real accountability to have face to face interactions with each other and that the aggressors and argumentatives are hiding behind their computers and using this as an excuse to be nasty to other human beings.
I honestly think this is a case of the “keyboard warrior” for lack of a better term. A keyboard warrior is that person who would just assume call the cops on a neighbor for something stupid than be bothered to walk across the street, knock on the door and tell the neighbor that their behavior is annoying to them. This is a very sad thing that is happening. It seems that people no longer feel a sense of responsibility to be an adult. Instead of talking to our neighbors face to face we send in the government to do our dirty work for us. This is not the best way to make friends, in my opinion. I can actually speak from experience on this. Not only have I had the police called on me in the recent past (keep reading for more on that), but it seems that the police are called to my street on damn near a weekly basis these days. If it weren’t so sad, it would be funny. It does give us something to gossip about with the neighbors that we still like in the cul-de-sac in the evenings.
A couple of months ago I was at home, minding my own business when there was a knock at the door. I don’t usually answer the door, but I looked thought the peep hole and noticed that there was a police officer on my door step. This caught my attention and I begrudgingly opened the door. I greeted the officer and asked if there was a problem. He told me that someone had called to report our vehicle as being abandoned. Now, a quick aside, sometimes we would park our pick-up truck in the cul-de-sac across the street from our home, roughly 30 feet from the property line of the cop-calling neighbor. It was not there daily, one or twice a week at the most. I asked the officer what it took to be considered an ‘abandoned vehicle’ and he told me that it had to be there for 72 hours without being moved. I responded by asking the officer if he thought that we would really abandon our own vehicle across the street from our house. The cop laughed out loud in response and apologized for having to waste our tax dollars on such a “silly” call. His word, not mine. “Assinine” was my word. He said that it was clear to him that this was not actually an abandoned vehicle and that again, he was sorry that he had to come have this chat with me. I asked him who called them to report this abandoned vehicle and he would not say for sure, as he did not want to cause strife between neighbors (I can assure you that ship has sailed). I promised the officer that I would move the truck right away (which I did) and I thought that would be the end of it. Boy was I wrong.
Later that week we parked across the street again and woke up to find the vehicle of the passive-aggressive neighbor parked in front of our house. Now, this would not be a big deal, except for the fact that we’ve never actually seen this guy’s car anywhere other than his garage for the 2 years that he has lived across the street (two years, this neighbor has lived across from us and never so much as glanced our way, let alone speak to us). It was not lost on me that his bad behavior was escalating.
Fast forward a couple of week and this parking in front of house overnight happens again. At this point Jeff decides to go over and talk to the neighbor. This went about as well as can be expected. I watched from a window, just to be in the loop without having to confront anyone. The neighbor starts in about how he thought this neighborhood was different and that he had never felt welcomed. Jeff did mention to him that every time we had made and effort to say hello or wave that he ducks his head or looks right past us without making eye contact and runs into the garage as fast as he can. One day about a year after this guy moved in, he and I went to the end of our driveways at the same time, to collect our garbage cans. I waved and said hello to him. At that point he lifted the lid to his trash can to hide behind and walked backwards ito his garage so he wouldn’t have to acknowledge me. (never felt welcomed?! Hmmm, I wonder why that is?) What are we supposed to do with that type of behavior? I am honestly surprised that he answered the door to Jeff when he went over to talk to him about the parking situation.
He is still avoiding us and we are still amused by it.
Since this incident, there have been numerous cases of the police being called to our street. One incident involved a dog attacking a neighbor, who defended himself with a plastic broom handle. The owner of the dog called the cops on the victim of the dog and made up some story about how he attacked her with a weapon of some kind. BTW, I saw the broom handle, it was in fact plastic and not a very effective weapon. There was no mention of the victim defending himself from the violent dog (who has since been sent to the pound after he attacked another dog who was walking by).
A couple of weeks ago, the dog owner called the cops on another neighbor for having a loud party on a Saturday afternoon. I think simply knocking on the door and asking them to keep it down probably would have worked, but that is just me.
I have so many more examples of this. Just last week I was at the airport and one of the escalator banks was broken. This meant that everyone was using one bank of escalators, so there was a large crowd of people all trying to get to the same place at once. I had to squeeze into line to take the escalator (more like merging into traffic really) when the woman behind me proclaims “RUDE” in my ear. I turned my head and said “excuse me, there is nowhere else to go.” She then promptly says “oh, not you” looking embarrassed. I am pretty sure she was upset with me but as soon as I commented to her she had to make light of it. This is an interesting phenomenon. Everyone is a bad-ass until they get called out to their face. Once called out their reaction is usually in the line of ‘what, me?” If they are called out online they double-down on the bravado. It’s more along the lines of “Who do you think you’re talking to?!” The chest beating starts and things go down hill in hurry.
All of these situations speak to the keyboard warrior mentality, my friends. It is so easy to behave badly from the comfort of your own couch when you lose accountability of your actions because you don’t actually have to face other human beings.
I will leave you with one final thought on this. Please be responsible adults. Our nation was founded on being responsible. If we act like children, we empower more government control in our lives. Be a grown up. It is perfectly acceptable to speak your mind and have differing opinions from others, but that doesn’t mean that it ok to be a jerk about it. There is enough drama in the world without millions of keyboard warriors behaving badly.