The ongoing decline and ultimate downfall of civilization as we know it

From Ross Gay, author of The Book of Delights, 51.Annoyed No More:

At the Afghan restaurant today I identified in myself a burbling in my reservoir of annoyance when I realized that people were going around the buffet in the wrong direction, which was, the annoyance felt, a kind of wretched incivility, a sign of our imminent plummet into lawlessness and misery.

He’s not wrong. First small conventions of courtesy fall, then comes reckless abandonment of rules meant to keep us safe, then we have utter pandemonium leading to the dismantling of all social norms and the destruction of society as we know it.

Today a driver ignored the one-way arrows in the parking lot and went in the out because she saw a convenient parking spot she wanted to grab, and didn’t want to take the time to loop around and come into it from the proper direction. Recently a neighbor did not pick up poop deposited on our lawn by their dog. Yesterday, out walking along the Alameda Ridge in the fine spring weather, I went down a staircase – one too narrow to socially distance – and abruptly encountered 3 people coming up, one with no mask and no apology, and apparently no embarrassment for ignoring social norms as we experience a huge uptick in Covid-19 infections from super-contagious variants. That is just wrong.IMG_8810

Need more signs of the decline of our civilization? What about a pill, prescribed in the dose of half a tablet, that won’t cut in two equal portions but instead disintegrates into a fine powder, requiring a person to wet a finger to lift the powder off the pill cutter, then lick it off the finger like a cocaine addict? An annoying process to get the full dose. What was the doctor thinking to prescribe medicine this way?


What have we come to? I am left to wonder. Unfortunately, I think it is too late to reprogram my brain to be happily oblivious to rampant rule breaking. Ross Gay manages to turn his annoyances into a delight, but I’m not that highly evolved, not yet.

Peeps flavored Pepsi and bar-scented candles are not strictly rule breaking (other than the rules of common sense), just more evidence of a precipitous decline (thoughtfully pointed out by Saturday Night Live Weekend Update). Thank you to them for the important service of keeping us up to date on these milestones in our demise.



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