quiet person day

Today (i.e. whatever day you’re reading this) is the day when we celebrate the quiet person. The quiet person among us is often overlooked and even scorned. This occurs for many reasons, all of which are rooted in the very nature of being quiet. Quietness can be interpreted as a supernatural state. This has caused problems for certain quiet people. Back in the day, the quiet person was often suspected of witchcraft and either burned or crushed to death under large boulders. Throughout history, quiet people have been perceived as oracles, goddesses, world-creators, world-destroyers, saints, sinners, aliens, demons, angels, lunatics, et cetera. An urge to fear the quiet person presents itself. The quiet person rarely speaks unless spoken to. What is going on in their heads. How menacing. Some people think this means the quiet person is a snob. In fact, often a quiet person will open up like a rare flower (e.g., an orchid) when spoken to. Or the quiet person will simply wilt into a pile of rotting organic matter. You’ll never know which unless you try.

Some people think the quiet person has no opinions, but get that person alone and look out! You will not believe the endless stream of words flowing forth from the quiet person. You may wish you had never engaged the quiet person in conversation. At times during this ‘conversation’, it may seem like the quiet person has been possessed by some manic force. When will this person ever shut up, you may find yourself wondering, I can’t get a word in edgewise. However, the quiet person is usually smart and insightful (if you have the right decoder ring), leading you instead to wish you’d not previously overlooked this person. In fact, you may wish you could bottle the quiet person’s wisdom and keep it with you at all times, so that you could take it out when needed and breathe deeply of its essence. Too bad for you that is not possible (yet). Besides, that’s just being greedy! It’s not your place to package the quiet person into a commodity to be bought and sold on the open marketplace, you capitalist bastard. The quiet person will resist the tyranny of your economic systems!

Unfortunately, the quiet person can be perceived as ‘creepy’ or ‘weird’ due to an inherent tendency to hang back and observe instead of participate in whatever inane activity the non-quiet people are currently engaged in. This is blatant discrimination. Quiet people are not all serial killers. It’s unfortunate that the description ‘seemed nice, kind of quiet, kept to her/himself‘ can apply to both sociopaths and non-murderous quiet people. Being quiet carries a heavy stigma, whether the loudmouths among us realize it or not. So step off, fools.

To help celebrate this important day, here are a few helpful suggestions on how to honor the quiet people in your life:

1. Leave them alone. (Can’t go wrong with this one, folks.)

2. Smile and nod at them in tacit approval of their right to remain silent.

3. Refrain from ‘volunteering’ them for public speaking.

4. Do not suggest that they ‘mingle’. They’re leaning against that wall for a reason.

5. Excuse them from any ‘icebreakers’  or other forms of forced socializing (see #4 above).

6. Learn to read minds so that they are not forced to articulate their thoughts.

7. Stop asking them to speak up all the time. Instead consider buying yourself hearing aids.

8. Engage in a ‘not-talking’ contest with them. (And don’t be a sore loser, chatterbox.)

9. Invite them to a mime performance.

10. Do not assume their quietness equates to a dislike for you.

mixed messages

Fact: it is illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk here.

Fact: people have been issued tickets for this offense.

Fact: it is illegal here for a cyclist not to stop at a stop sign or red light.

Fact: the other day I was riding home from work and saw a police officer directing traffic up ahead at a light that I usually run. So I opted to pause and wait for it to change. However, a young woman riding her bike on the sidewalk in the same direction that I was riding reached the intersection and was waved through it by the cop!

Not only did the cop see her riding on the sidewalk and did nothing about it, but she also waved her through a red light!

What is the point of these so-called laws then when they are not enforced and, in fact, violation of them is even encouraged by law enforcement officers?

Fact: Idaho has a law on the books that says a cyclist is permitted to roll through a red light or stop sign provided the intersection is clear.

All states and cities should have this law. It is ridiculous that a cyclist should have to wait at a light or stop sign if they can pass safely through the intersection. One of the many benefits of cycling in the city is that you can get places quicker than a car. Part of this involves running some red lights and stop signs. And I don’t buy the argument of drivers who say cyclists don’t deserve to be on the roads because they are generally irresponsible (e.g. run stop lights). I see drivers run lights and stop signs ALL THE TIME. But a 2-ton hunk of steel moving through an intersection at 30 mph is WAY more dangerous than a 160 lb person on a 20 lb bike moving at 5 mph. If a cyclist wants to assume the personal risk, then they should be allowed to. But a driver is piloting a deadly weapon capable of killing a person and as such, should be subject to much stricter traffic laws.

This great animated video explains how the Idaho rolling stop law works.

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