Dear Uptight Seattleite,Since you just dealt with the pedestrian cross-signal issue, maybe you can help with a related topic. What is the deal with motorists who fail to yield to pedestrians at intersections? How can we civilly shame them and correct that behavior? And how exactly should I handle the case of tinted windows?Acoustic Stylings
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Dear Stylings,A pedestrian in the city is a lonely warrior, treading a path between her rights and her physical well-being. My heart beats in solidarity with the brave ones who walk into traffic because cars should stop. So strongly do they believe in the traffic-stopping power of this should that they make it a reality. I hope I needn't quote the relevant passages from Jonathan Livingston Seagull to prove that I too believe we can change the world through our perceptions of it. But even Dancing Wu Li Masters must sometimes defer to old-fashioned physics. Meaning: I hope none of you gets killed out there. And, yes, I was modeling some gynophiliac language just now, but let's save discussion of that for another time and move on to your question.Short of suicide-by-minivan, what's the best way to create shame at intersections? With baby strollers. As a non-reproducer, I do not in the least begrudge parents the respect they command with their little bundles of environmental impact. No, far better to borrow a little of this respect and use it to advance pedestrian rights. Meaning: You don't need a baby to exploit the potency of the stroller. I got one of those sturdy jogging strollers for carrying groceries, and find its power to shame-stop drivers to be fantastic.There's a certain sheepish grin you can do to amplify this power. Real parents are able to execute the grin with great authority, but I believe my own imitation of it is pretty plausible at distances beyond two meters or so. Of course, some drivers are immune to shame. No amount of stroller brandishing, sheepish smiling, and adorable shrugging can penetrate their windshields. Sure, I've heard rumors that there are more extreme tactics you can use on this type, but as for who might have rolled a baby stroller containing balloons full of red paint across the path of a rampaging Escalade on Queen Anne recently, I have no idea.Now, is your last question designed to trick me into implying that there's an association between tinted windows and a particular group of people? Because all I can say is, tinted windows, tinted windows, wherefore dost thou tint thee, window? Sorry, I had to get a little silly there, just to show how ridiculous it would be to think that I'm not a huge fan of hip-hop.Dear Uptight Seattleite,At work, when colleagues are pointing to something on my computer, they TOUCH MY COMPUTER SCREEN, LEAVING GREASY FINGER SMUDGES! I don't want to come across as a Howard Hughes germaphobe, but this freaks me out, and I have to clean my monitor again as soon as my co-workers walk away. Is this my problem or theirs?Auntie Chlorine
Dear Auntie,For me to answer that, I need you to answer this: Are there really greasy fingerprints on your monitor? Because when I did a test just now, by touching my own monitor, there was nothing. Not that I want extra appreciation or anything, but I did perform this experiment on my brand new MacBook. I mention the newness because you might have been fooled by the worn-out Obama sticker. I razored it off my old MacBook and applied it to the new one with a special epoxy. The personal identity I was able to salvage there was well worth the three hours it took me to achieve the transfer. (I know some people are getting impatient with Barack, but keep in mind that our man plays a long game.)For the sake of argument, however, let's say your co-workers are leaving smudges. You have to do as you would with a misbehaving pet: Make sure your reaction is clearly linked to their action. Don't wait until they leave to clean it; spray your monitor with Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner the very moment their fingers leave its surface. Wipe vigorously while smiling and maintaining eye contact.I don't mean to offend any of my own co-workers by comparing them to naughty dogs, by the way. I hope they'll agree that my behavior-modification methods have been whimsical and humane. Like how every time that sys admin dumps her tea leaves in the sink, I ceremonially march by her cube holding the sodden pile in my outstretched palms and playing the five-note message from the aliens in Close Encounters of the Third Kind on a kazoo. Make 'em laugh and/or make 'em ask you to go away, that's my philosophy.Wanna be BUFFs? Find the Uptight on Facebook! Or write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.