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When the decline of civilization gets personal

No, what I’m about to relay doesn’t really show the decline of civilization. Or rather, it’s too early to tell whether it does or not. Hopefully, what’s happened in my small sphere in the last few weeks is just “one of those things.” Two of those things, actually — signs of personal or societal distress that portend exactly nothing about the bigger picture.

But you know how it is. When stuff is happening to you, it’s personal. Then everybody else chimes in, “Oh yes, that happened to …” [me or my next-door neighbor or whoever]. Or “Oh yes, [City X] is notorious for that.” And then you start DuckDuckGoing and find that the statistics bear out that the S really is hitting the F, not only in City X but Cities X, Y, and Z and even in small towns — and you wonder.

Thing one:

Thing one is small. Pitifully small. Its conclusion was almost amusing. But in fact, the small, petty, pitifulness of the deed is part of what makes it so sad.

A couple weeks ago I was working in my sunroom and my eye caught movement on our very un-busy dead-end road. It was a kid. Adolescent boy. Walking up the road. I’d never seen him before, but I knew we had a new family at the end of our road and that they were already a subject of worry. (Small town; all of us knew something or another about these folks before they ever arrived.)

So. This kid got to the edge of my lot across the street, glanced furtively around, then made an arrow-straight dash onto my lawn, grabbed an object, and without pausing continued to run toward the houses at the end. He didn’t know I’d seen his every move.

This is what he grabbed. As worthless an object as can be:

When I flew to the window, banged on it, and gestured for him to put Mrs. Butterworth back, he did a deer-in-the-headlights freeze, seeming (or pretending) not to understand me.

By the time I made it to the front porch, he’d managed to toss poor old Mrs. Butterworth onto the lawn. He greeted my “Put. It. Back.” with total innocence and a claim, “It just fell!” Yeah. Sure, kid.

The good of this is that I got to be the Mean Old Lady who may have scared the kid straight — at least temporarily. The bad of it is that my property is now festooned with “keep out” signs and “Smile, you’re on camera” signs, and bristling with cameras. Not only because of the kid, but because Mama’s boyfriend (yes, it’s one of those kind of families; this boy has had at least three, maybe more, dubious “daddies” in his short life) also has a history of thieving and other bad behaviors and sheriff’s deputies are already becoming frequent visitors.

—–

Now, I was a kid once, too. Weren’t we all? And I was troubled and for a short while at around that boy’s age I stole and vandalized and destroyed in petty ways. I remember how good it felt to take a little power back from the uncaring adults who, in my perception, owned everything and controlled the world. I should have some sympathy. And I do. Or I would if I’d seen him act like a kid. A curious kid might have thought my across-street lot was vacant, nobody’s property. He might have been innocently interested to see what that thing was, walked over, and only on the spur of the moment decided to take what maybe didn’t belong to anybody.

I’d have still given him hell. But I’d also have given him a break.

What I saw instead was a practiced thief and a quick-thinking, fairly skilled liar who had already scoped out what he wanted and knew it belonged to somebody and took it anyway. And why? A 50-year-old jar filled with 50-year-old syrup!

The big thing here is that — so suddenly — the safe, idyllic neighborhood of five years ago — or a month ago, or ten minutes before I caught the little bastard — is safe and idyllic no more.

My good neighbors and I will overcome this. How? Only time will tell.

Thing two:

Thing two is bigger. Much. A serious violation.

In the last four months, I’ve had to travel. More than I’ve traveled in the last 30 years.

I hate traveling.

But I’d finally gotten used to dealing with the TSA, long waits at boarding gates, suffocating through endless mask-up flights, and the general PITAs of airline travel. Or so I thought.

A few days ago I arrived at my destination [Big City Airport] after a long day, discovered a checked box missing (turned out it had been diverted to cargo, then pawed through by the TSA, but that’s not the story here), and was dealing with that by phone as a friend picked me up and drove me to my destination.

While I was on the phone sorting out lost and molested baggage, two calls came through from [Other Big City] I’d flown out of. They were from the manager of the “secure” parking lot where I’d left my KIA. Before I’d ever even landed, and in broad daylight, my car had been vandalized beyond drivability.

In a “secure” lot with gates and card-key access and cameras.

Somebody got in — tweakers no doubt; tweakers are a waste of space in the universe — and tried to steal my catalytic converter. When their first method didn’t work, they attached a chain to the cat and tried to pull it off. They never got the device. Minutes later the hourly security patrol came through and recognized the problem because the wannabe thieves managed to drag the KIA sideways out of its parking space and it still had their chain dangling from its underside. They were nowhere to be found. (The friend I’m staying with believes this was an inside job, and there’s considerable reason for his suspicions; but I’ll never know and right now I’m not sure I care.)

So. I live and am insured in State A. My undriveable vehicle is in State B. I am in far-away State C. And suddenly I’m in a state of confusion, violation, stress, lack of information, fear (of the extent of the damage inflicted, since the attack on the KIA and its being dragged out of its parking spot sounded brutal), and growing outrage. And what on earth am I even able to do about it?

Well, after several days of phone calls and texts, plus an $80 overnight shipping of my car key, things got sorted out to the point where the car was delivered to a KIA dealer. Now matters lie between them and the insurance adjuster and it’s likely (cross fingers) I’ll have a working car and no more than a few hundred in charges when I go home. I had to extend my trip by nearly a week, but that’s not entirely a bad thing.

It was days before I had mental space even to wonder whether anybody on site called the police. Probably not. Big City cops no longer care about “minor” property damage crimes.

It was all harrowing to me, though. So much to manage. So many calls to make. So much worry. And everything needing to be done from a distance and in a city where I know nobody and nearly nothing.

I don’t know how I’d have gotten as far as I have if not for two factors.

One was the parking lot manager who worked with me all the way — finding the best local dealer service center and agreeing to receive the key and serve as my stand-in with AAA. She was also blessedly candid in admitting that her organization had one unfortunate policy that probably resulted in tweakers being allowed in. Their cameras weren’t covering the area where I parked. So the culprits will never be caught, but then they probably wouldn’t have been, anyhow. Bottom line, though: her company is partly at fault, but she was a mensch and a godsend.

AAA itself was the second positive factor. I have no great love for them (they give poor service in rural areas like the one I live in), but boy, dealing with them was sure easier than finding an honest unknown towing company from 2,000 miles away.

Now, in practical terms, I have only two concerns: has the dealer really found all the damage and will the insurance company cover all that they should?

But it does turn out that as precious metals prices have gone up, government shutdowns have left more marginal people with more time on their hands, and government handouts have kept those marginal beings more mobile, catalytic converter thefts have about doubled in the last year. Reports say that [Big City where I parked the KIA] is among the most notorious. Friends also say it’s happening even in my home territory.

I find I’m suddenly one big passel of paranoia. At the very least I will never want to leave my vehicle in any parking lot again — not even and perhaps especially a “secure” one. I will certainly never want to go to any Big City again (of course, I never did want to; only necessity sent me there). But the sense of past, present, and potential future violation runs deep.

It’s another case — and a large one — of my old saying that no matter how paranoid I am, I’m never paranoid enough.

Even in our small town we have tweakers, and tweakers are as boneheaded, venal, thieving, and casually destructive in Rural Paradise as they are in Big Cities A, B, C, etc. There’s just more chance small-town cops or someone else will catch them in their misdeeds.

Decline of civilization? Well, these incidents may or may not be signs of it. But as we all know, the decline is certainly under way. I’m just suddenly a little bit more aware of what it might feel like when it goes down.

27 Comments

  1. Simon Templar
    Simon Templar March 15, 2021 12:19 pm

    That is an awful situation! I hope that between AAA, the dealer repair shop, and the insurance company that it doesn’t turn into any more of a disaster than it clearly already is. It is also a good example of just how much a single good person (the parking lot manager) was able to do to help you make the best of a very bad situation.

    As far as “cops no longer care about “minor” property damage crimes.”

    Of course not. There’s no fun or profit in that, just paperwork. And THAT really IS a bad sign, but not a new one.

  2. Thomas L. Knapp
    Thomas L. Knapp March 15, 2021 1:16 pm

    It seems to me that if a car is stolen or damaged while you’re paying a “secure” lot for being a “secure” place for it, the operator of that lot should be writing a check for the damages. Just sayin’ …

    Hope it works out without too much damage to your pocketbook!

  3. Claire
    Claire March 15, 2021 1:36 pm

    Yes, at some point I will be “having the talk” with the owners of the lot. I’d just rather get the damage fixed first and know what the financial damage is likely to be.

    It’s also possible that the insurance company will go after the lot owners.

    I thank you both for your sympathies. It’s a mess, but thankfully one that seems on the way to being cleaned up.

  4. Val E. Forge
    Val E. Forge March 15, 2021 2:52 pm

    Claire:

    The insurance company most likely will go after the parking lot. I had a similar incident with debris left in the road by a PG&E road crew that totaled my car.
    Insurance company sent me check and letter that said “We’re not blaming you, we’re going after PG&E.”

    As a 30+ year now retired middle school science teacher who (attempted) to teach in the hood, I’ve seen more than my share of adolescent practiced thieves and skilled liars. Unfortunately the only thing that really worked (i.e. that allowed the kids who wanted to learn to get an education) was to videotape my classes. I did that for 12 years until my district made me stop (Note I said district, there is NO STATE law against it – most videotape law deals with how the footage is DISPLAYED, NOT about the fact you are taking it – but I digress). After that I just marked time till retirement because when a 14 year old thug’s word is better than yours to a school administrator, nobody learns nothin’.

    Mr. Templar – You got THAT right about the ticketwritindoughnuteatin barney fifes not deigning to stop to assist with “little” crime. They’ll sure put the cuffs on you though, if they catch you applying, as my late father used to say, “massage therapy” in an attempt to persuade the lil darlin to change his ways. OK, Val’s done ranting.

  5. Bob
    Bob March 15, 2021 3:13 pm

    Claire, hope things eventually work out to your satisfaction. Nobody deserves those kinds of hassles.

    Nothing is as it seems. There’s a smiley face on everything these days. I think what we’re not hearing/seeing is way more important than what we’re being told.

    Good luck to you.

  6. kentmcmanigal
    kentmcmanigal March 15, 2021 3:41 pm

    Makes my trigger finger itch just reading about it.

  7. thatmrgguy
    thatmrgguy March 15, 2021 4:15 pm

    New reader. Like what I see!

    I live in a semi- rural area, but have never had any trouble with AAA. Even out on the road in the middle of nowhere, never had to wait more than an hour for service. We always get the premium plan. Several years ago, we broke down in Foxboro Mass and we got a tow all the way to Saco-Biddiford Maine. It ended up being 103 miles on a 100 mile free tow.

    On the car damage, I sincerely hope you can hit up the parking lot for the damages. But most places I’ve seen, even so called “secure” lots, often have signs saying they’re not responsible for theft, vandalism or damage to your vehicle.

    Had a tweaker come on to my posted vacation property when I was there. After telling him to leave and him starting to give me some lip, I just lifted my shirt to have access to my pistol. That dude couldn’t get out of there fast enough. I don’t think his feet touched the ground.

  8. Comrade X
    Comrade X March 15, 2021 5:22 pm

    On those neighbors and the not so good kid, sounds like you need a barking alarm system with fringe benefits.

    When I use to travel I would always stay at the airport I was flying out of and do a stay and fly.

    Stay the night before and they would watch your car till you got back in their lot. Never had a problem when it was a name hotel. Peace of mind has a value.

    If you have a problem at the airport and need a ride home, just holler.

  9. Fred M
    Fred M March 15, 2021 5:33 pm

    Claire living in the country you don’t see the evil that lurks in crowded areas. The greater the concentration of people, the greater the evil. You are fortunate you live in a rural area with a decent neighborhood watch program. Eventually that family down at the end of the block will be moving on and your life will return to your normalcy. Next time take the shuttle to the airport and save yourself the parking fees and headaches. But I do have two questions, and the first is what are you doing with a 50-year-old jar filled with 50-year-old syrup? and the second is I like AAA. They one saved my bacon when I was at a shooting a match miles from somewhere and locked my keys in the rental car along with all my gear. They sent a locksmith out over 100 miles to open my car door. Boy did I feel stupid. You have a great week, and send some pictures of your Spring flowers and new plant growth.

  10. Toirdhealbheach Beucail
    Toirdhealbheach Beucail March 15, 2021 7:48 pm

    Aargh, I am sorry Claire. This happened (in at least a much less destructive fashion) to my sister in law, who had the catalytic converter stolen from her deceased husband’s truck in her driveway last November (she was trying to sell the truck). Local law enforcement may have taken a report, but that was all and there is no sense that any investigation will ever be done. She had to replace it on her own dime as in this state, you cannot sell an auto or truck without one.

    Likely the insurance company will go after the parking location – as they should, if they know they have a part of the lot that is not covered by the camera. And even though we have not had AAA as insurance for many years, we still keep them for the towing policy for exactly the same reason.

    I, too, went through a period of being politely rebellious (honestly, how I did not get into more trouble I will never know. I certainly deserved it.). That said, you are right on the money – you can tell the difference between a sort of “innocent” sort of tomfoolery and the practiced actions of someone who regularly does that kind of thing.

    A great many people will ignore or minimize this sort of thing, stating “it is just to be expected”. To those of us that remember a different time – at least within my lifetime, a time when bikes were not locked and we wandered until night without a single concern – the tide going out is very visible.

  11. Ron Johnson
    Ron Johnson March 16, 2021 4:06 am

    The personal violation was probably more damaging that the insults to Mrs. Butterworth or the car, am I right? We have all had to deal with the mental bender that there are human units out there who mean us harm…and we know it intellectually…but it is a concept so foreign to our psyches that when it actually happens to us we are thrown into confusion, anger, and hurt. How could a person be so anti-me? What have I ever done to him/her? Trust, tenuous to begin with, is now gone.

    I’m projecting here, because that’s how I feel when some turd does something like this to me and mine.

  12. Jolly
    Jolly March 16, 2021 6:52 am

    When I was in the Navy, I was stationed in Naples, Italy for three years. This was in the 1980s, and I’ve heard that nothing has changed in the intervening decades. Living “on the economy” – aka off base, one had to find places that had, erm, a “reputation” – as being associated with the mafia. If you found such a place, you were usually left alone. I am not making this up. I found a dive with such a rep ( though I didn’t know it at the time ), and was never broken into.
    A colleague, who lived less than half a kilometer away, was broken-into at least three times over a two year period. He eventually gave-up buying anything valuable, and had only junk in his house. The accidental side-effect is that he was able to save lots of money and go on a three month road trip around Europe.
    The petty theft in Naples is legendary. Purse snatchers road on Vespas – driver & snatcher. They were every where. Once, just outside of Bagnoli NATO base, I witnessed a pair take the purse of a woman right in front of me. They were headed right at me – and I reflexively clothes-lined the snatcher ( he was standing on pegs on the back ). I stepped on the purse straps and he struggled briefly to get the purse, then gave up as I wound-up to strike him. ( My New Orleans Mardi Gras training helped with knowing to step on the purse straps, rather than trying to pick it up ).
    I witnessed numerous other crimes during my time in Italy. Pickpockets were EVERYWHERE. Half of our in-country training was about keeping ahold of your wallet. Numerous colleagues lost their IDs. I had a watch lifted off my wrist!
    The general feeling of lawlessness pervaded the whole area. You were on watch at all times, and suspicious of all young people. The old people all wore a look of wary resignation. I cannot count the number of people whose cars were stolen or vandalized. I drove a POS Peugeot that was basically “unstealable.”
    That same feeling of hyper-sensitivity towards the world is the same when I go to New Orleans, or NYC, or DC. I can’t wait to leave.
    Here in the boonies of NH, we can still relax, but the crime is creeping north of Boston more and more every day.

  13. Fred M
    Fred M March 16, 2021 8:30 am

    Good comments Ron, your evaluation is spot on!

  14. Claire
    Claire March 16, 2021 9:29 am

    Val E. Forge — Man, that must have been terrifying. Yes, I hope the insurance company will go after the owners of the lot. I don’t want to do it myself, but somebody should. “After that I just marked time till retirement because when a 14 year old thug’s word is better than yours to a school administrator, nobody learns nothin’.” Sigh. What a commentary on our times. Much though I hate the the thought that you felt compelled to video a classroom to achieve any learning at all, I hate what you describe even more.

    Bob — Thank you. So far, so good. But at the moment things are slowing down on the insurance company’s end, so we’re back to wait-and-see.

    thatmrguy — Welcome! And thank you. I’m glad you’ve had good experiences with AAA. They can be a great organization and a great service, but in my area they’ve left me stranded up to two hours several times, once due to unavoidable circumstances, but other times out of pure carelessness or bureaucratic thinking. Still, I renew every year.

    Comrade X — Dear old friend, thanks for the offer of help. I think I’ll be fine, and if I’m not I’ve also had an offer of help from one of my near neighbors. But you comfort me with your offer — and I know you’ve gone long distances to help others before. Unfortunately my life is too unsettled right now for a barking alarm system, but I miss having dogs more every day.

    As to hotels … I didn’t say it in my post, but the parking lot does belong to a hotel — and a name hotel, at that. Recently airport hotels like that one have begun marketing their parking facilities as a service open even to non-guests, sometimes at rather high rates. I was both a guest and a paid customer of their lot. (A friend has been covering my trip expenses, otherwise all this would be out of my league.) Given that, I would have expected better care. But things are changing rapidly.

    Fred M — Thank you for your good wishes and hopes including anticipation of spring flowers. I share them. I don’t know whether the new family will move on; I believe the “daddy” may have inherited a share of the house they’re occupying. But we’ll find ways to deal with them. As to taking the nice airport shuttle, which I would love to do: I’m three hours from any commercial airport. No shuttles or limo services here. But I will explore other options than parking my car in or near any big city.

    Toirdhealbheach Beucail — More thanks. I knew I’d “met” a kindred spirit when I saw your first comment on the blog not long ago and followed your nym to your website. The more I see of you, the more I know you’re a man after my own heart.

    Ron Johnson — “The personal violation was probably more damaging that the insults to Mrs. Butterworth or the car, am I right?” Everything you said. Exactly. I’ll also add that the casualness with which the vandals wrought their harm was a huge part of it. I know they probably bore me no personal malice; they just didn’t care about my existence at all or how their actions would affect me. And all because they wanted a device that would net them, at most $200. Surreal values. Not fit for humans living among other humans.

    Jolly — Well, that definitely flattens any remaining desire I had to live in Italy! (Most of which actually died years ago, and in any case involved Florence and Tuscany, never notorious spots like Naples.) But I agree, urban problems are creeping into rural areas. Where I live I haven’t yet seen those problems reflected in crime news, but aggressive homelessness with all its filth, substance abuse, and entitlement has moved from Portland and Seattle to smaller towns like Olympia (which, alas, welcomed it in proper “woke” fashion). Even smaller towns that have never seen such things before are feeling it. Last time I was in the place I laughingly call the Big City (population 10k), there were blue tarps and trash right on the main streets of town. Pretty ominous.

  15. jed
    jed March 16, 2021 11:02 am

    > what are you doing with a 50-year-old jar filled with 50-year-old syrup?

    Mrs. Butterworth is a totem of sorts, or perhaps just a quirky simulacrum of a garden gnome. Maybe it’s even an offering to the ant gods.

    https://www.clairewolfe.com/blog/2019/09/03/we-are-about-to-venture-across-the-street/

    (Now I’m wondering what’s happening across the street, if anything, beyond the cleanup. IIRC, the plan was to let it be.)

    Sorry to hear of the troubles. I hope these new people don’t commence with garage parties when the weather gets nice.

  16. egarrettperry
    egarrettperry March 16, 2021 11:21 am

    Damn that sucks, Claire. I hope your insurers take that parking company behind the woodshed.

    I recall seeing, during the 2008 Crisis, a big spool of fiber-optic cable sitting outside some business or another in my little University town. On both sides of the wooden spool (no small thing, probably four feet across and a thousand pounds mass at least), in bright Safety Orange spray paint, were the words “NO COPPER!!” complete with exclamation marks. Around the same time, the local Subaru dealership had about forty converters ganked in one night by some enterprising locals with a DeWalt angle-grinder and a trunk load of battery packs.

    Now I’ve known a goodly number of functional amphetamine users, especially after working in the restaurant business. But crystal methamphetamine, or Pervitin as it’s called over here, is a whole ‘nother story, even if it’s pharmaceutical-grade crank. The bootleg stuff, made from batteries and gasoline? Ugh- they (and the rest of us) would be better off with Krokodil. It’s gone through the Roma and Sinti over here like canister shot, almost destroyed whatever remained of their culture once the Communists were finished with them.

    A Finnish friend of mine once related, deep in his cups, the saddest after-effect of the Winter War and Continuation War: a whole generation of Pervitin addicts. In order to meet the operational tempo needed to stop the Red Army, Mannerheim allowed the Finns to copy the Germans and feed their troops methamphetamine in the form of candy known as Tanker’s Chocolate. Then, after the war was over, those men were allowed to spend the rest of their lives as addicts, in many cases barely functional. It absolutely ravaged the Finns and resulted in a terrifying rate of birth defects and, especially in the countryside, domestic violence. Unwilling to confront the dysfunction of a generation who had literally saved the country, the Finnish government just ignored it all.

    And all this is just the nonsense created by the end users: the illicit market in crystal meth fuels and funds some of the most brutal criminals in existence; the Mexican cartels, Russian mafias, and North Korean intelligence services.

    Of all the perverse creations of 20th Century science, I figure Pervitin ranks right up there with telemarketing, organophosphates, and Facebook.

  17. Claire
    Claire March 16, 2021 12:12 pm

    Ah, thank you, jed. I neglected to answer the “50-year-old syrup” question, but that turned out to be good, since you provided a much better answer than I would have.

    My short answer is: bottle dump. Until I bought the place, generations of owners had used a steep slope across the road as a place to dump trash. Although I haven’t dug down deeply (and never plan to), the area has already yielded several vintage bottles that once contained everything from glue to aftershave. Why Mrs. Butterworth emerged 3/4 full of what appears to be syrup, I don’t know. But yes, she has become a garden totem for me and the neighborhood.

    The Monk and I did plant a lawn over there and last spring when another neighbor had some earth-moving done, the contractor’s crew used some spare time to create the beginning of a path for me. Also late in the season the neighbor boy made a nice, graveled sitting spot under a grove of trees. But that’s it so far.

  18. Claire
    Claire March 16, 2021 12:32 pm

    “Of all the perverse creations of 20th Century science, I figure Pervitin ranks right up there with telemarketing, organophosphates, and Facebook.”

    I don’t know about organophosphates, but I agree that crystal meth is right up there with telemarketing, FB, and maybe even Google, Palantir, and the CIA/NSA/ETC complex.

    I was aware that in WWII (and today) governments, including the U.S. fedgov, fed amphetamines to some military folk, but have never heard a story as sad as the one you tell about the winter war.

    I have, however, known a few meth heads and I would pity them if they weren’t so destructive. We hear about how meth wrecks teeth, saps health, leads to paranoia and violence, etc. But the #1 thing I’ve noticed is how tweakers abandon common sense and perspective. They’ll go to enormous effort to achieve some pointless and often criminal aim when a much smaller, more focused and less criminal effort, would yield better results.

    I once had a tweaker son of a (former) friend go 30 miles southeast to show up on my doorstep because he needed me to drive him to a gas station a mile away from my house — so that he could get two gallons of fuel in order to go 30 miles northeast to a town where he could sell a load of metal he had “acquired.” Somehow it made perfect sense to him.

  19. Val E. Forge
    Val E. Forge March 16, 2021 2:29 pm

    Ron – I know EXACTLY what you mean about finally wrapping your head around violation when it happens to you. My truck was stolen about seven years ago. I got it back in 48 hours, but minus my tools and guns. Insurance covered everything except my damaged psyche.

    Claire and Ron – There is a great line in the movie, The Magnificent Seven. It sums up the first thing that one must keep in mind when dealing with criminals, tweakers included (maybe especially).

    The villagers are elated that they drove Calvera’s (Eli Wallach’s) bandit gang of roughly 30 to 40 men away, killing about 25% and in turn capturing their firearms and horses. As the villagers celebrate, Chris Adams (Yule Brynner) the leader of the mercenaries who have been hired to train the villagers to fight, doesn’t share their happiness. When one of the villagers tells Adams of Calvera’s losses and asks, “If you were Calvera, wouldn’t you leave us alone from now on?” Adams shrugs and replies, “Sure, if I were Calvera I would leave you alone. There’s just one problem; I’m not Calvera.”

    Moral – A CRIMINAL (including or maybe especially a tweaker) DOESN’T THINK LIKE YOU. To Calvera that’s 25% more he gets to keep.

  20. Joel
    Joel March 16, 2021 5:02 pm

    Interesting about the winter war. I wonder if that’s where Finns got the reputation of being kind of stabby. All the younger Finns I’ve met seem pretty chill.

  21. Comrade X
    Comrade X March 16, 2021 6:47 pm

    Well you have changed my mind on fly and stay for sure.

    They being a name hotel chain means to me you have a bigger target to hit now if they don’t treat you right and I also would like to know.

    Not having a camera in that area is definitely on them and people should hear about what happened to you to help them in making their hotel decisions for stay & fly, sounds like a trip advisor comment to start with……..

  22. John Wilder
    John Wilder March 16, 2021 7:55 pm

    The bigger the city, the more transient the population, the great the perceived anonymity. The child down the way is a symptom. He is used to anonymity. Thankfully, he knows he’s anonymous no more. It’s also one of the basic reasons city folk don’t like liberty – the anonymity brings out the worst in large cities.

  23. E. Garrett Perry
    E. Garrett Perry March 17, 2021 3:18 pm

    Claire: No joke on the loss of rationality. Methamphetamine seems to just blow all forms of thought beyond “my Objective is X” into the weeds after a while. I’ve heard in more than one interview from British, Commonwealth, and American veterans and several modern drug specialists that this was a discernible difference between Allied and German soldiery: Anglo-American “wakey-wakey tablets” were a fairly low dose of amphetamines, which wore off in 8-10 hours, so the user could actually sleep at a predictable and reasonably appropriate interval once combat operations were over. Tanker Chocolate, on the other hand, was a fairly strong dose of crystal methamphetamine, which lasted 2-3 times as long. German and Finnish soldiers (especially Finnish the machine-gunners on the Mannerheim Line) were kept dosed up for days at a time, then given a day or so to recover (hah!) and sent back to their posts. That level of sleep deprivation can cause all sorts of neurological and psychological problems even without meth, from object-fixation (like your former friend’s son) all the way up to full-blown psychosis. There was a reason that German pilots and Finnish snipers alike were, at least as far as I know, “strongly discouraged” from using the stuff. The German government was aware of the problem, and Rader, Dörnitz, and Göering all protested that it should be banned (and technically it was) but the Heer and Waffen-SS leadership, who depended on the stuff for the same reason the Finns did, essentially told them to get stuffed. By the end of the war, Hitler had become so firmly addicted to Pervitin (mostly to counteract the effects of the madcap cocktails his doctor was shooting him up with) that there’s some debate as to whether his mental and physical collapse in 1945 was the result of Parkinson’s Disease or methamphetamine withdrawal. His object-fixation and delusions in particular just scream “tweaker” to me: the actor who portrayed him in “The Downfall” based his performance, in part, on methamphetamine addicts and it -works-.

    “That attack was an ORDER!…I should have purged the entire Army, as Stalin did!”

    Joel:
    Naah, the Finns have always been stabby. Still are. Thing is, that chilled-out vibe is regarded as a Virtue among the Finns, even when angry. Their term for it is “White Rage,” and the essential quality of it is precise, unflinching, unfeeling control. It utterly terrified the Germans who advised them during the Winter War, like watching terminators at work.

  24. DH Young
    DH Young March 19, 2021 10:34 am

    Welp. I don’t want to seem to be trivializing anything, or competing, so I’ll just say this: man, parking lots (or storage lots?) and travel do sometimes suck of late. And I miss my RV.

    But in my case it turned out to be more of a “desperate person with nowhere else to live” scenario rather than an anonymous tweaker type of thing, and I do feel some sympathy for the actual miscreant. Though, you know, none at all for the establishment failing to inform me of some basic facts while still taking my money.

    Gotta say: with a buncha lemons comes, anyway, the occasional glass of lemonade? I just got myself a commercial driver’s license & have plans to buy a truck in a year or so. I personally think the interstate highway system was a bad idea & would strongly prefer a world with not only local food production but maybe also flying cars…still, though: I like being in a truck on a highway. It’s peaceful. And it’s not too dissimilar, feelingwise, to the RV of (fairly recent) days agone.

    I’m a bit weirded out by all the time away from my family lately. But they seem to be doing fine. And writing software for small businesses has been experiencing what I might as well call a lull. Or at least my version of it has so been doing.

    Life moves on. In ways we may not have expected, sure, but there’s often a positive aspect.

    Anyway. Mostly, I’m still having fun. Hope you are too.

  25. larryarnold
    larryarnold March 20, 2021 2:49 pm

    Not sure which Mrs. Butterworth bottle you have, but some of them are offered for more than $100 on eBay. Average seems more like $20 to $50.

    We have a similar family down our street. The local PD has them on their “frequent flyer” list, and after a couple of them took county or state-funded vacations from society things calmed down considerably.

    Big City cops no longer care about “minor” property damage crimes
    I can’t judge about “big city cops,” not living in a city. But cops anywhere can only care about what their bosses allow. City councils hire and fire chiefs, print the officer’s paychecks, and set policies and procedures. County sheriffs, at least in Texas, are elected officials, and thus have to keep voters happy.

  26. John
    John March 21, 2021 2:02 am

    Dear Claire,

    I see a Polish refugee immigrant is targeted, but not for being that.

    Marlena Pavlos-Hackney is making a statement that seems to be for liberty.

    A lot I do not know…

    That her supporters are being politically partisan, instead of pointing at the fundamental idea of individual liberty and choice, misses the fundamental divide between liberty and statist tyranny.

    Many actual liberals ( like myself ?) will be repulsed by the perceived excess of the governor etc,. There are no color, gender, race, or other bla bla idiotic lines enough to differentiate us here, are there?

    How many of us working at making a life, be ignorant enough that any really wish be oppressed, in the name of spurious safety or dubious plenty?

    Space for common cause?

  27. Comrade X
    Comrade X March 21, 2021 8:53 am

    More on Marlena;

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