Sunday night I went to dinner with a friend to my favorite casual Italian joint, Fritto Misto. It was packed with people. We had a 35 minute wait. I almost walked away, thinking to myself of the old Yogi Berra line, “nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.”

Dinner was as usual wonderful. There were two of us largish men and we split a medium salad, an appetizer and an entree pasta – and it was more than enough, but thankfully somehow I was able to still split the chocolate flourless cake.

As we were driving back to my office, there was of course a paramedic trying to get some place. Lights flashing, sirens blaring. And idiot drivers ignoring the basic law of move to the right. I don’t understand why this is hard for people to do. It’s a pattern I see with many of today’s drivers – they ignore the lights and sirens as it they are just there for the decoration.

Do these people not realize that when you see the paramedics or the fire trucks or an ambulance racing down the street, with everything going it’s to warn you to move to the side of the road because someone’s life may be in danger? This is not just a convenience factor for them to avoid having to stop at the intersections – it’s crucial to have a free path of movement for them.

Given the near constant wail of sirens in our city you’d think that people would become trained to the basics of transportation logistics. The fire department does some few hundred calls per month, it’s not like we have only the occasional fire truck and it’s a novelty.

I’m sure someone somewhere wants to blame the millennials for this uptick in rudeness and inconsideration, but they’re not driving, they’re being passengers. It’s the more established drivers who are causing problems and frankly i think they need to start paying attention more.

We have this new awareness campaign of yard signs to remind people look up and pay attention, but I think we need to expand it to a much more comprehensive driver’s training program. Maybe the police department could take a week off of parking enforcement and do some enforcement of more important laws.

But we know that won’t happen, too much money involved. The city is more concerned with their cashflow than creating a community that is considerate. This of course is reflected in the larger community that we are seeing across the country.

I don’t know where it will all lead. It seems like we have become a country that rushes to tear down each other, rather than build each other up. In the latest burst of finger-pointing, Vice President Joe Biden is now under attack for his well known affectionate ways. I know the whole rap that sexual assault is defined by the victim. I know that we’re supposed to “always believe the victim.” I know that we are now pathologizing all human contact as “inappropriate sexual touching” and that you can’t open a door for someone these days without offending someone.

Frankly I’m sick of it all. There are Victims who have been assaulted and raped and abused and they deserve our full throated vocal support. And then there are the “oooh Mom, he touched me!” type and they are not harmed, they are seeking attention and jumping on a bandwagon of overreaction that should be shut down. We cannot continue to pathologize that which is normal human behavior and expect that it will not have long term negative effects on our society.

I just posted on my MensFamilyLaw.com website an article about how important human touch is premature babies and a study about how much of a difference it makes in child development when there is regular contact. Literally there is an increase in cognitive ability when there is more human touch. It makes me wonder if these people who are making these strident claims about how “demeaning it was” to be touched by the Vice President don’t have a much more sinister agenda. And yes, that probably is “victim blaming” and I’m fine with it.

I’m fine with it, because we need to have more honest discussion about how we as a society are going to interact, about what is truly important, and how to be more attendant to the needs of the wider society, and each other. If every time someone says something they are shut down as “victim blaming” “body shaming”, “fat shaming” or “misogynistic or sexist” then we’ll never get anywhere in a conversation. We have to have a thicker skin to deal with real issues, that impact real lives.

And speaking of real lives, move the heck over to the right when you see the red lights – someone’s real life is in crisis and you’re blocking their help.

David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at dpisarra@pisarra.com or 310/664-9969.You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra

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2 Comments

  1. So, Mr. Pisarro, would you be OK with another man sniffing your hair, putting his hands on your shoulders, and rubbing noses with you? Or are only women supposed to put up with this weird invasion of their personal space?

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