Dolly Merritt: Becoming a curmudgeon

Because of a buildup of small annoyances I've encountered throughout the years, I now stand ready to join the ranks of curmudgeons who steadfastly exclaim, "What's this world coming to?!"

Recently, while eating a bagel next to a window at Panera's, I noticed a stream of people who chose to ignore the steps leading to the restaurant. Instead, they took the beaten, grassless path - right next to the steps - where, apparently, hundreds had trod before them. I don't get it.


Nor do I get why people park smack in front of businesses in strip malls, obscuring views of pedestrians and other drivers who must navigate around them. The lane is always marked with a yellow curb meaning "do not park."

And when it rains, forget pulling up your car in front of the designated spot at the grocery store so you can unload your groceries. There's always someone parked there who is inside doing the weekly shopping. After all, that person didn't want to get wet walking from the parking lot.

I do manage a giggle every time I think of the three buff individuals in workout uniforms who parked at the yellow curb in front of the grocery store where they could get a cup of coffee. Advertising logo on their vehicle indicated an athletic club where the individuals apparently worked - maybe too hard or not hard enough. Either way, they couldn't manage to walk all the way from the parking lot and it wasn't raining. I don't get it.

Crosswalks are worth your life. I never assume because I have the right of way, the cars will stop; most of the time, they don't. I guess that's why blinking lights are used where pedestrians cross throughout downtown Westminster.

Actually, I think blinking lights should be used at four-way stop signs indicating who goes first, second, third and fourth. Apparently, it's either a point of confusion or in-your-face negligence when I see cars either failing to stop or proceeding well ahead of drivers who were at the stop before them. I don't get it.

Owners of raging dogs are another irritant. Let me be clear: I love dogs. As a power walker throughout my neighborhood, I've come across many friendly canines. But there are a couple of sidewalks I avoid - choosing the road, instead - for fear of the dog barking behind the not-so-stable-looking fence.

On two separate streets lurk super-ferocious bowwows that confront me like a speeding bullet and seem as if they might be able to leap tall buildings with a single bound.

Though the dog owners have shown responsibility in erecting a fence, I resent having to resort to imagining my line of defense should any of these beasts escape their confines. If I were to meet the dogs' owners, they would probably insist, "He doesn't bite."

The most colossal annoyance of all is the able-bodied person who has no problem parking in a handicapped parking space because it's a shorter walk for him or her. I don't get it.

Lastly, I (ahem) don't like grouchy people. After all, what good can come of complaining about this and that and never looking at the glass half-full? Don't they realize the good far outweighs the bad? Haven't they ever heard of the sunny side of the street and that negativity yields negativity? I get that.

Next month's column: Becoming an optimist.