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Home arrow COMMUNITY arrow Columnists arrow DORY'S DIARY: Rules still matter, don't they?


DORY'S DIARY: Rules still matter, don't they?

The sun was shining when we left home, but as I drove to town I could see the shelf of blackening clouds sliding into the valley and into my attitude because Daphne had decided to go along with me. She was wearing her little black tam that always reminded me of a dark cloud just like the one in the sky. She always wore it when she had her chin stuck out looking for trouble. A little breeze chased the remaining dead snow-free fallen leaves around the streets, the sidewalks, the lawns, making me feel a bit more uneasy.  It wasn’t a proper winter.

Yes, we went to town that day, but she found a world that I no longer wanted to recognize.

The weather was growing quite dreary as we entered a store to shop, and I guess we may have taken it with us. Wending our way through the crowded aisles with racks of every size look-alike clothing, I found the department where I hoped to find something in my age bracket that I could wear.

It was rather crowded with other ladies bent on the same errand, but one voice stood out among the others who were quietly discussing the pros and cons of that which they searched. 

The one woman spoke very loudly above the others, making me think that her companion must be rather hard of hearing, but I could hear no response. Daphne, with a scowl on her face, stood with her arms folded in front of her and stared at the woman. It had no effect.

The lady had her cell phone held snugly to her ear as she would at home, quite comfortable as she shared her life with all of us around. As she talked, she thumbed her way through the clothing hanging there and described her findings with her distant companion and the rest of us.

It didn’t seem to bother her in the least that we were all within earshot of her one-sided conversation, unable to escape whether we wanted to or not without actually leaving the area. I found it a little hard to concentrate on my task at hand, especially since I was trying to watch Daphne, too, who was wondering if the use of the cell phone could be considered bad manners in such close quarters. I couldn’t be sure because of being a member of an older generation, so I linked arms with Daphne and pulled her away, giving up my clothing search in order to avoid my companion’s speaking unkindly to the woman.

As we left the store, Daphne was grumbling under her breath and I knew we had made our getaway just in time. As we did, though, I wondered why I also felt about it as she did, thinking back some days ago when I had been told by a younger person that things have changed and that there are no longer rules and that I would have to get used to it.

Rules, I had thought, were made for a reason. To discard them and have everyone do exactly as they chose without consideration for others seemed to set mankind forward into a dark and foreboding generation. I could see changing rules once they were no longer needed for the reason that had at first required them, but not just at one’s whim to disobey them.

Comparing the two situations, I decided the first a show of terribly poor judgment in a public place. Other than making other unwilling shoppers part of a community public hearing, I guessed it did no real harm, although I was trying to concentrate on the merchandise for my own needs and left the store before I was ready, losing a potential sale for the store.

But, as for discarding rules that were meant for a specific reason and letting the aftermath occur without concern, that seemed more worrisome. It made me wonder what was going to happen to civilization if everyone did exactly as they chose at any given moment in any situation.

At least I had held my tongue (and Daphne’s) as we walked away from the rows of not-my-style of garments, out onto the street where themes of coming movies added to Daphne’s agitation. We sat in my car watching vehicle after vehicle gun it through the changing red light intersection at the peril of anyone immediately starting through on the green light.

Later, parked in another area of town, we watched a car turn around in the middle of the busy street in order to park on the opposite side. I see that every day I am in town. It used to be illegal, but with no enforcement, no one pays attention now.  I wondered why we had that rule and if it had been changed, but I didn’t discuss it with Daphne.

More leaves scurried helter-skelter and the overcast of the sky had increased, making the town look dirty and uncared-for.  Daphne sulked. All of a sudden I wanted my Mommy and Daddy to make the world right again. I didn’t want to be the adult anymore.

Yes, I was spending time in an unknown world, and I wasn’t sure I liked it.

And, yet, I wasn’t quite ready to give it up, knowing what had come before and hoping that the pendulum would swing at least halfway back in my own lifetime.

Then I remembered the nice clerks at Bear Mountain Pizza and a fire in the fireplace for our comfort; the kindnesses offered at Kentucky Fried Chicken; the cheerfulness at Joe Beans; the  friendly folks at Dairy Queen and all the other eateries; those in a hurry at the post office smiling at me; young and old alike who politely hold the doors open for me to enter or exit; the helpful attitude at the Sunridge or Flying J on DAR day; the special care by editors Andrew and Jayson and all the crews at The Herald and The Observer; the caring nature of all the folks where I do business; the helpfulness of my relatives and friends; and I knew the world wasn’t all bad, especially when coupled with a stop at Betty’s Sub Shop 21 and the friendliness always therein.

This was one bad moment out of one day.  I knew how to cheer up Daphne. It works every time.

 “A kiddy scoop of ice cream, please.” 


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