During the recent power outage, which has yet to end for some, shamefully, I was in a couple of local cafes and coffee shops searching like so many others for Wi-Fi and a place to plug in.
As I was working away inside one establishment, it was hard not to notice a woman who walked in and sat down at her computer, accompanied by a fine looking and well-behaved German shepherd.
A few minutes later, another woman walked in rolling a square filing box containing another dog whose breed I could not describe except to say it is of the small, nervous variety.
A few days later, inside yet another eating establishment, a close personal friend and I could not help but notice, as we bit into our sandwiches, another customer walk by with a midsized dog.
In a few minutes we had devised a new game. Feel free to send me your own submissions.
We are calling this game When Did It Become OK …
As in, When Did It Become OK … for people to bring dogs into restaurants?
Heck, I thought it was against some kind of health and safety code to bring a dog into a restaurant. Not anymore, it appears, sort of. In 2014, Gov. Jerry Brown, who owned a corgi, signed a law allowing pets in restaurants that provided outdoor patio dining facilities. There are supposed to be separate entrances for dog and non-dog people. So, no, this willy-nilly bringing of Bowser (nobody calls their dog Bowser) to any restaurant quickly went by the boards.
You get the game. Somewhere, somehow, a set of rules changed and things that once were never done now are done with a seeming indifference that is admirable in its carefree manner — as in carefree of what actually might be good for other people. As George Costanza said in his distinctive manner: “We live in a society!”
Continuing on, When Did It Become OK … for people to drive with little dogs on their laps? You will see the dogs looking out the driver’s window at a stop light and wonder a) how this can possibly be safe for the driver, b) how this can possibly be safe for the dog, c) why it is so hard to put the dog elsewhere in the car where it might be less of a distraction, and d) why it is so hard to leave the dog home. I do not need to look this one up. This has to be illegal. And if it is not, I would rather not know.
When Did It Become OK … for people to wear pajamas anywhere they want? Wander someplace like Burlingame Avenue and you will encounter more than a handful of young people dressed, at minimum, in flannel pajama bottoms. I know they are comfortable. That is among the reasons they are good to wear in bed on a cold night. But when did jeans, or almost any other kind of trousers, suddenly become so dreadfully uncomfortable that the only solution is to look like you got out of bed and ran out of the house without thinking: “Wait, I should get dressed first.”
In a similar vein, When Did It Become OK ... for people to wear slippers anywhere they want? In an era featuring the most comfortable shoes known to mankind, it cannot be that hard to put on some socks and lace up some shoes. I still do it every day. At my advanced years, it is not always an easy reach, but I never expected to regard it as a special activity. Here’s a career tip: Go into podiatry. A generation of flat feet is headed your way.
When Did It Become OK … for people to hold phone conversations in public with the phone on speaker? It is bad enough when people walk down the street in rapt conversation via earbuds, although it has made it harder to tell when someone is on the phone or having a conversation with internal demons. But, really, I feel no need to hear both sides of the conversation. It is noise pollution, nothing more. And maybe some of those conversations deserve to be a little more private.
And so on. This is only a partial list. I suspect you have your own additions. Feel free to share. We are all in this together.
Meanwhile, let’s wrap with two good ones: When Did It Become OK … for me to become such a grouch?
And: When Did It Become OK … for Mark Simon to have a column?
Believe me. I feel your pain.
Mark Simon is a veteran journalist, whose career included 15 years as an executive at SamTrans and Caltrain. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Regardless of the Edmund G. Brown utterance I believe the Health (code) Dept. located on 37th ave - inside SM County General Hospital - has precedence over the whims of society's finest emotional needs (another made up word/phrase is "Fido/Muffy is an emotional needs dog".
At the old Burlingame Post office county a widow once picked her Fifi and placed it on the counter as the owner wanted to buy stamps. The dog went wee wee on the counter in front of the USPS window clerk.
The dog owner asked the clerk "What did you do to my dog to make her do that"?
When did it became OK for people to wear their pants belt at the knees and baseball caps backwards? Great column, Mark. Hope you started something.
Bill Walsh - late great 49er coach and GM has been given credit for 'caps worn backwards. - The tale reads like this: Players coming off the practice field for lunch were wearing their new 49er baseball caps and as they sat down and began eating, several if not all found that the bill of their respective caps were ending up almost in their food. Coach Walsh suggested to turn their caps backwards.
The other person to point to is Ken Griffey Junior.
Get off my lawn! ; )
You've got some serious Andy Rooney vibes going on! Thanks for the smiles you brought to lots of faces today. I was in the supermarket a while back and a man had his dog on leash and the dog lifted its leg and urinated on a veggie display. I yelled out and the man watched the dog's last drops hit the box and just started walking further into the store. He was really upset when insisted that he leave.
those darn kids and their devices and dogs and pajama pants how dare they
Humorous column today, Mr. Simon... I’d add that these days, many might prefer the company of dogs to the company of some humans… Keep those “grouch” columns coming… We need more humor in these pages…
Mark - regarding Governor Brown's dog, it was allowed to run around in his Capitol office space. I remember attending a few meetings in his conference room when that animal made its rounds. Nobody had the nerve to kick it out, quite annoying.
I agree with Mark Simon... also it is snowing in (not heaven) aka Southern California.
Great column! I'm still laughing as I write this comment.
You are saying what most everyone is thinking when they see someone with dog in tow in nearly every type of business imaginable. Home Depot? Seriously? I like dogs... a lot more than cats... but they can be left at home while errands are being run. I have never seen a dog using a ratchet or buying a bag of gardening soil to make digging in the backyard easier.
Somehow, I feel dogs would rather be running outside than walking down cement floor aisles in hardware stores, grocery stores or the post office. Somehow, I feel they would rather be getting attention from the person at the other end of the leash instead of processing unusual sounds, lights and smells inside a local business.
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