Here's a pet peeve of mine that I'm sure you all share: arrogance. We can't stand arrogance. All of us hate it. So how come it keeps happening? My biggest gripe is with people who justify crimes with arrogance.
Once while walking up the Ave in the U District I saw a couple walking toward me, the woman holding a balloon. Before they reached me a group of five frat guys came up and snatched the balloon away. When the woman's partner demanded it back the guys laughed and threatened to beat him up. Just then a policeman appeared and the matter was laid before him.
Incredibly, the frat guys complained to the cop that the couple had no business demanding their balloon back, ON THE GROUNDS THAT THE COUPLE WAS OUTNUMBERED AND EASILY OVERPOWERED. "There's five of us; we could take them; if they cause trouble by telling us we can't have their balloon, don't they know they're asking for it?" They actually said that the policeman should tell the couple to leave them alone, because not to do so would result in a fight that would get them hurt. They were concerned about maintaining the public order!
As amazing as it sounds, there are people in the world who think that way all the time. I first realized the truth of this when I was a cab driver. Hardly a shift went by when there wasn't some cowboy in the cab telling me I had to run red lights to get him where he was hurrying to, ON THE GROUNDS THAT HE WAS PAYING ME.
Once the dispatcher sent me to a house in the neighborhood of 85th and Roosevelt, and when I arrived nobody came out to get in the cab so I had to go to the front door to announce myself. Two men greeted me, one with a pistol. While I stood in the doorway, not knowing if I would be shot if I said something they didn't want to hear, they told me they were hiring me to drive downtown by myself to fetch them two hookers. They told me I should do what they said BECAUSE THEY WERE GOING TO PAY ME $100. They said it would be OK if I couldn't find them good-looking hookers, ugly ones would do, and that they would share them with me. I said thank you very much, but that nevertheless I would decline their kind offer. They were shocked. I never did figure out why they pointed a gun at me. Maybe it was to keep me from running off with their welcome mat. They were probably thieves as well as johns. No one is less trusting than a thief.
The general rule seems to be: If I'm a monkey and I want to take a dump on your head, it's all right because I'm a bigger monkey than you, or I am just one of a gang of five monkeys and we outnumber you, or anyway I'm paying you so you have to do what I say BECAUSE MY MONEY SAYS I OWN YOU. You could call it Karl Rovism: this is our planet because, owing to our previous thefts of its wealth, we now have all the money, so we own all the people everywhere that we have stolen from.
This rant was inspired by the tiniest of provocations, namely Jeff Tweiten's theory that Seattle's No-Sitting Ordinance shouldn't apply to him while he's trying to set a new Guiness World Record by waiting in line for a movie. As best as I can determine this theory is founded on the principle that he should be able to sit or lie on the sidewalk for 136 days or more BECAUSE AT THE END OF THAT TIME HE WOULD BE BUYING A MOVIE TICKET, THEREBY PROVING THAT HE DESERVES MORE CONSIDERATION THAN HOMELESS PEOPLE, who are just about surviving, and other stupid crap like that.