So here we go, another year, another moment to consider what has been, what might be, blah, blah, blah. Cynical, I know, and not the best way to enter the new year. But here’s the story:
This morning, we stop at our local coffee shop to grab some breakfast. As I pull into the small parking lot, two spots are taken up by a black Jaguar, so I have to squeeze the Prius into a smaller, puddle filled spot near the curb. Grrrr. We get out. The Jaguar is idling.
“Hey Dad,” Tucker starts, pointing. He’s a trained idling spotter.
“I know,” I say. “Knucklehead.” Grrrr. There is a local police car in the lot as well. Hmmm…
We go inside, refill cups in hand, and standing at the coffee bar is the Jaguar’s owner. Easy to spot: Long, Western leather cowboy coat with a brown Stetson hat. Right out of a Jaguar commercial. (I know, stereotyping. Sue me.) Wendy is better at this than I am, asking people to shut their cars off. Making the point that idling is among the habits that is slowly killing us all. But he looks like he’s leaving, so I sheepishly give him a pass. I’m a wimp.
We sit down to eat, watch as the local morning coffee klatsch breaks up, and flag down the township patrolman as we walks by our table.
“Can I ask you a question?” Wendy says. He nods. She asks “There’s a new anti-idling law in New Jersey, right?” He nods again. “So what do you do when you see a car that’s idling out in the parking lot? Ticket him?”
The patrolman gives a little shrug and shakes his head. Smiles a bit. “Well,” he says. “We don’t really do anything.”
“What do you mean?” I ask.
“Well,” he smiles. “I mean, we don’t really enforce that law.”
Oh. I. See. I look at Tucker. He looks at me, then at the policeman, then back at me. Message received. “And what other laws don’t you enforce?” I want to ask, just for future reference. But I don’t. He wishes us a “happynewyear” and leaves.
I have one resolution that I think is worth making: At every moment, as much as I can, be the change.
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