anne mikolay 2012 120The New Year is the perfect time to adopt a fresh attitude and cease complaining about things I can do nothing about, but you know what they say. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. So here goes the old dog….

This morning, four separate elderly people stepped off the curb in front of my car in the Shoprite parking lot. As a driver striving at all times for safety, I do my very best to watch out for oblivious pedestrians, but oblivious pedestrians, especially senior citizens, have to do their share and watch out for the cars on the road! I do not understand why seniors step into the street without checking oncoming traffic. Do they lack common sense, or do they naively believe drivers always give pedestrians the right of way? There is no good reason for this foolish and dangerous practice! Listen, folks, gray hair does not grant you special, navigational privileges or exempt you from the need to be defensively self-aware. While most drivers yield to pedestrians, others recklessly do not slow down for anyone or anything. Don't be stupid! Look out for yourself; do not take for granted that drivers are looking out for you! In the great scheme of things that is life, or in this case, the Shoprite parking lot in Middletown, you can easily be crushed. You do NOT want to play a deadly game of Frogger. Good heavens! Look before you leap!

The same goes for mothers of young children. As soon as your child gets out of your car, take hold of his/her hand. A little one darting into traffic from between parked cars is a tragedy waiting to happen. Yours is precious cargo. Your hands belong tightly holding your babies, not firmly clutching your cell phone.

Ah, the cell phone, that technological wonder that keeps us connected to the world 24/7. What on earth, excluding emergencies, of course, is so vital it must be discussed immediately? I’ve overheard enough cell phone conversations to know the answer is nothing! Not everything is urgent. Not everything must be dealt with asap. I have seen mothers ignore their screaming toddlers while gossiping on the cell phone. I have seen women struggle to back their giant SUVs out of their parking spaces with only one hand on the wheel and the other on the cell phone. Men are equally at fault. In the parking lot yesterday, a middle-aged gentleman deeply engrossed in a cell phone exchange stepped directly in front of my car. He never looked up once. Moral of the story: open your eyes. Put the cell phone down. Look to the left before you step off the curb, then look to the right, and left again. Proceed when the coast is clear. Nothing is more important than safety.

I’m picky, you say, and perhaps obnoxious? You’ll get no argument from me. Indeed, I am picky. I am obnoxious. And I’m an “old school”, complaining, critical dog, and I’ll keep growling until people wake up, open their eyes, and notice what’s going on around them.