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Hey, kids!  Do you have a burning desire to express your narrow-minded, ill-informed, half-baked political / ideological viewpoint, but don't want to bother taking the time to do it in a positive, constructive manner?  Here's your solution: vandalize public property!

Last year, my neighborhood was visited by morons who used stencils and spray paint to add what they no doubt think are witty, important messages to all the stop signs.  They paint the words "HATE" and "AND THINK" below the "STOP" message.  So the signs now say "STOP HATE" and "STOP AND THINK".  They also have a little symbol that no doubt means something to someone, but who cares.  (Take a gander at the attached "stop01.jpg" file for an example.)

You know, this wouldn't be such an annoyance if they'd done something humorous, like adding the old "HAMMER TIME" below the "STOP."  But no, every time I drive through my neighborhood, I'm reminded that I need to stop hating, and that I really ought to stop and think.

Here's the icing on the cake.  My city has an anti-graffiti task force that cleans up this type of thing.  So they came out and "fixed" about half the signs.  Rather than replacing the signs, they simply busted out their own cans of non-reflective red spray paint and sloppily painted over the vandalism.  You can still see the outline of the message beneath, and the overspray looks just lovely.  (See "stop02.jpg" for another example.)  Repeated calls to the city for them to come "fix" the rest of them have gone nowhere.

These days, every time I see the "STOP HATE" signs, I insert my own punctuation in my head as I read it, so the message is now: "STOP.  HATE."  Why, thank you, hippies.  Don't mind if I do.  I think I'll start with you.


tOdd, I have one very big annoyance right now, and Iíd bet Iím not alone.

Got into a car accident a few months ago.  Only I donít carry collision cuz my car is 13 years old and I bought it for $1,200 2 years ago.  It has 180,000 miles for crying out loud.  But itís still fairly mechanically sound, and no cosmetic problems.  Until the accident.  Which was totally the other driverís fault.  She pulled out in front of me when I had the green light.  Only because I donít carry collision (why should i?  I am a safe driver and I have never been in an accident!  My last ticket was 13 years ago!) all she has to do is claim I was speeding, her adjuster says Iím at fault and nobody pays to fix the broken turn signals or the scratched up side of my car.  If I want those fixed I have to pay myself.  I work for an airline that just came out of bankruptcy!  Plus, I WASNíT AT FAULT!  But I have no one in my corner (my ins. Co wonít benefit financially so they have no stake in the matter, and no lawyer wants to help me for free, and itís not worth it to pay one for the little money I might get) so I have to fight by myself.  This is bull!  She pulled out in front of me and I KNOW I wasnít speeding!  I drive that road every day, sometimes twice.  Been doing that for 5 years.  I unconsciously go the right speed.  Of course she thinks I was ďflyingĒ- I was going 50 and she pulled out slowly from a full stop.  I didnít rear-end her, I actually hit her when my car spun after swerving to avoid her.

But yeah, thatís MY fault.  Sheís 8 years younger than me and only been in MN for 8 months, whereas Iíve spent my entire 33 years here, I know MN winters and how to drive in them, plus I never pull out in front of someone expecting theyíll slow down for me- itís not their responsibility!  The last time I got a ticket, she was in elementary school and I was in college!  HELLO!?  Oh, I see the problem.  My car is a cute little red 2-door jobbie and hers is a black sedan.  Yup, I must be some aggressive, irresponsible driver because my car is red and has a spoiler.  Nevermind itís a 2.2L SOHC and canít get out of itís own way in 5th gear! 

Iím not asking for a fortune- even if they total the car Iíd only get about $1,500.  but I shouldnít have to pay out of my own pocket when she caused the accident.  Now I have to write letters, get estimates, threaten her insurance company and her adjuster, send in complaints to the dept. of commerce when the threats donít work, take her to small claims courtÖ all because she made a stupid decision.  Would she have made the same decision had it been a semi coming at her?  How about in the summer, when Iím on my motorcycle?  What then?  Would she sleep well at night believing Iím dead because I was speeding and it's therefore not her fault?  Idiot.

thanks.  =)



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