Sunday, August 30, 2009

Rant & Rave

Confession of the Week: I love the Seattle Times' Rant and Rave column. Anonymous folks write in to the paper to get public recognition for a kind and caring act on the part of a stranger. Or, a thoughtless, idiotic and annoying action. Either way, I love them all. They're sweet, funny, and often very, very petty.

Writing this post, I am reminded of a conversation I had with my dad regarding the comment sections that are included in online newspaper articles. It's amazing (and often quite disheartening) what people will write when their name/identity is concealed. For example, here is a post that was written in response toTed Kennedy's passing:

"He will always be remembered as a coward and murder [sic] to me."

Yes, everyone has an opinion on Ted Kennedy. We get that. But I’d be willing to bet that this reader would be less likely to express such a sentiment had his name been publically attached.

There are a million other instances: The author of the NYTimes article who wrote about raising a puppy and was eviscerated by commenters who thought that the Times should have set a better example by profiling an owner who obtained their dog from a shelter, not a breeder. I agreed...but didn't feel that it was necessary to condemn the author to the inferno for her actions.

And I saw red when I read an article about a bicycle rider that had died in an accident and readers suggested that he deserved to die since he had run a stop light. Yes, running stop lights is bad and illegal, and it drives me nuts when I see bicyclists do that, but nobody deserves to die. I hope his family wasn't reading the posts.

I don't begrudge people their thoughts or opinions but do feel some of the anonymous vitriol is tacky, to say the least. It's amazing what people will say behind to the cover of anonymity. Prime example: Formerly anonymous blogger Rosemary Port.

But then I read about the kind-hearted actions of strangers in the Rant & Rave section and everything is better again.

Like this one, for example:

Rave: To the Mariners fan at a recent game who caught a foul ball and immediately tossed it to a young girl with a glove who was seated a few rows in front of him. The smiles lit up the stadium.

Or this one:

Rave: To the woman at Target who discreetly pulled me aside to let me know I was walking around with the back of my summery skirt caught up in my underwear.

Rave: To the person who took the time to get the license number of the car that hit my car in a parking lot and left me the note with the info. Thank you for your thoughtfulness and efforts. I've given the information to the local police. To the person who hit my car — you may have "hit and run" but you can't hide.

Rave: To the folks driving on Interstate 405 in Renton who caught up to me to tell me that my tail bag had fallen off my motorcycle, and to the folks traveling on the other side of the road who picked it up and left it intact on the median where I could find it. The bag was ruined, but the important stuff, including my camera, was alive and well.

Or this sweet one:

Rave: "This is a rave for the anonymous person who leaves a yearly gift hanging on my fence in appreciation of my garden. Thank you."

But I won’t lie. The rants are more entertaining:

Rant: "A jumbo rant, with a rotten cherry on top, for my idiotic neighbor in North Seattle who insists on letting his dog out several times a day so it can come to my porch and pee and poo there, leaving me wonderful little surprises every time I come out to get my paper every morning. Housebreak the dog, for goodness' sake."

Rant: To the young mother who drove into a restaurant parking lot, parked in a handicapped spot, left her car door open and went in to order food. Meanwhile her toddler son got out of his car seat, climbed into the front seat, played with dashboard equipment and then got out of the car and wandered around the parking lot unsupervised. Shame on you.

Rant: To the bicyclists who do not observe the rules of the road. You do not get to breeze through stop signs. Your bike is a vehicle and is bound by many of the same rules as a car. I am more than willing to share the road with you, but you can expect drivers to honk if you act like rules don't apply to you.

Rant: This is a rant about the welder complaining that he did not get his Christmas bonus from Boeing until Jan. 20. At least he got one. The engineers have not gotten bonuses for five years, so I think he should be grateful and stop his whining."

Rant: " I'm an operator at a local retail store, and I really get annoyed when people call me and I answer the phone and they're eating on the other line. It's really disgusting, and I wish they would swallow their food before they made any calls. If they were in my position, they would see how gross it really is."

Rant: "To the poorly groomed man with droopy pants who called me a `fat cow' after nearly knocking me over on the sidewalk of the 5200 block of Brooklyn Avenue Northeast on Sunday, May 21: If you have a mother, sister or other woman you care about, if you are capable of caring about anyone other than yourself, then I urge you to educate yourself about the impact of comments like yours on the self-esteem and body image of women. Get some sensitivity training.

Rant: "I'd like to rant about the dad attending a West Seattle Elementary School spring concert whose cell phone constantly rang while the children sang. You are one tacky daddy."

Rant: "A huge rant to the Seattle police officer who threw a 3-inch cigar out of his patrol car in downtown Seattle. Besides the gross littering, what would the fine cost you or me?"

Chris will like this one:

Rant: "I want to rant about all the people who pronounce Nordstrom `Nordstrom's, with an `s.' It's `Nordstrom' - no `s.' The media keep getting it wrong. No `s,' no `s,' no `s'!"

And perhaps, my very favorite:

Rant: "This is a rant for the women who return their old, nasty, used underwear to our store for a refund. This is so disgusting. Ladies, if your underwear gets old, throw it away. We don't want it!"