Gatsby, Bonfire of the Vanities and the Would-Be Masters of the Universe

The following is a terrific piece of writing about “careless” people:

I have a “careless” neighbor not unlike the characters in Gatsby and Bonfire. He believes rules are for others.

Twice he has endangered me, wife Chris and our chocolate lab Buddy Baloo by “carelessly” driving his BMW SUV (to go with his BMW sedan and BMW sports car) right up against the bumper of our car, passing in a no passing zone and speeding (I use the term loosely) around a no passing curve — twice!

The second time was with a cyclist in front of us. Neither time did he know who the driver was he passed so it wasn’t personal and I don’t think it would have made any difference if he did know. It just was. It just was complete carelessness redux.

After the second time, I lost my cool, stood on the street in front of his house as he and his wife were unloading groceries and cussed him out. He didn’t care. His wife laughed at me. That’s the whole point. He doesn’t care. She doesn’t care. They don’t care.

I reported both incidents to a sheriff’s deputy and he told me that if it happens again, document it and call the deputy but under no circumstances confront the neighbor again.

I regret losing my cool. I succumbed to co-dependency where I let another person’s action, influence or determine my action, reaction, response instead of self-determining.

This guy’s next door neighbor (a former parishioner of mine) lost his cool when this “careless” neighbor wouldn’t stop blowing grass cuttings off his yard on a Sunday afternoon, a routine, two-hour occurrence. My former parishioner asked him three times to please stop. The “careless” neighbor put him off by saying it would be just a few more minutes and then kept right on blowing grass and polluting the neighborhood with gas fumes and noise. Finally my parishioner lost his cool and yelled at the “careless” neighbor.

Didn’t do much good. The guy still blows grass and leaves depending on the season regularly for two hours on Sunday afternoons.

Yelling at “careless” people doesn’t work.  Because? Right. They don’t care.

My former parishioner regrets losing his cool, too.

We allowed this “careless” person’s behavior to determine our own less than appropriate response.

I think we are a nation of citizens of growing anxiety and the attending anger at the utter, total “carelessness” of the family in the White House and the permission this president gives by example for others to act “carelessly,” as well.


I can only gather, somewhat optimistically, along with the author of the article that the “Masters and Sub-Masters of the Universe” are now in way over their heads.



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