Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tattletales

Apparently our society thrives on tattletales. I've been thinking a lot about tattletales lately. I remember as kids that we'd be admonished to not be a tattletale. But who can resist getting a sibling in trouble? Or the shitty bully? Or, later on, the pompous racist biology teacher? The scofflaws in the midst of a Virginia drought watering their lawns under cover of night?

[An aside on that last one. I was in high school. It must have been in the latter half of the 20th century. Yeah, I'm that old. There was a teacher I despised -- not the biology one, the bad theatre one -- and the county had called for a moratorium on watering lawns. A few of us debated driving to the teacher's house under cover of darkness, turning on the sprinklers and then heading to a pay phone to anonymously call it in. We didn't do it, but boy was it tempting. That biology teacher? Yeah, sugar in his gas tank and shaving cream on his car. Y'all already know I'm evil. I cite proof on a regular basis.]

[Another aside: how bad is vandalism compared to tattletaling? Worse, sure, but my felonies aren't the current point.]

Spare the Air days during a six-month period here in California means you can't use your fireplace. Even if it's one of those fancy-schmancy "clean-burning" wood stoves you paid a fortune to install. Even if it's windy enough in your city, county or tri-county region. Even if.

So folks tattle on their neighbors. I'd hazard a guess that very few of the tattlers are actually sensitive to the smoke of a neighbor's fire. [Shout-out to my very good friend Joanne who would be impacted by a neighbor's fire.] [Further shout-out to my very good friend Joanne that I'm glad she doesn't live next to me.] [Final shout-out to my very good friend Joanne that I'm kidding about that last shout-out.] No, I suspect the tattlers only tattle on the neighbors they hate. You know, the ones who built that spite fence or the ones who built a house blocking their view of some far-off ridge.

In Daughter's recent case, I believe someone ratted her out to do her harm or to suck-up to the teacher not because the tattler gave a rat's ass about what Daughter had done. The tattler saw a chance to stick it to Daughter or get Brownie points with the teacher. Or maybe, just maybe, the tattler did it because she hates both Daughter and teacher. [That makes the tattler sound a lot more devious...a lot more like me.]

We're in a drought. We've been asked to cut back on water usage by 20%. I suspect, given the lack of rain in the forecast, that we'll have mandatory rationing soon enough. All of which brings me full circle on the tattling. My neighbor's sprinkler system went off at 5:30 this morning. It's not the neighbors with the incessantly barking dogs and the constant calling to them as they bark, "Jessie, Molly, come get a cookie! Jessie, Molly, come get a cookie! Jessie, Molly, let me reward you for your bad behavior!" But if it were and watering lawns was banned, you bet I'd be the biggest tattler of them all, but only after I had filled my pool at 3 a.m.

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