Inner curmudgeon eats local cheerleader

By Chris Carrel, Thinking Locally

Not too long ago, I stopped by my dry cleaner to pick up my clothes.

There was a new face behind the counter and she asked for my name so she could locate my order. I was shocked, however, when upon hearing my name, she blurted out, “Oh, you’re Federal Way’s cheerleader!”

Cheerleader. That’s not quite how I picture myself. (Visually-oriented readers may suffer nausea and other discomfort at the image of me wearing a short skirt and shaking pom-poms).

In fact, being thought of as a “Pollyanna” was enough to cause my inner curmudgeon to pop out again. With that in mind, here’s what I’m not cheering about:

1. Weather. Rain (in all its forms: Drizzle, driving rain, downpour, Biblical flood). Hail. Snow. Cold that just doesn’t seem to go away. I know the joke is that if you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes. But come on. Enough already.

2. Left Lane Hogs, Part II. Apparently these auto-ignoramuses have not gotten the message from the last curmudgeon column. They’re still willfully blocking traffic in the passing lane of the freeway, clogging the state’s arterials and causing blood pressure (and middle fingers) to rise. What do I have to do, act all Tim Eyman on them and run an initiative on this?

3. Road construction and maintenance. I know we have to maintain our roads. And if we didn’t, I’d be griping about that. But I’m starting to run out of ways to get to the office without running into construction delays. I’m beginning to think the paving crews are starting to follow me.

4. Web site redesigns. A certain Web site makeover has left said Web site with a substandard search engine. Considering how crippled my memory is, search engines are critical to my ability to appear knowledgeable on any given subject. Because of that Web site’s inadequate search engine, I had to turn to an even clunkier search engine technology known as Mirror editor Andy Hobbs.

5. Presidential election. Is it over yet? It seems like each presidential campaign season just gets worse. Can someone explain to me how the country that gave the world the Bill of Rights, the Marshall Plan, the political brilliance of Abraham Lincoln and the bravery of George Washington has been reduced to this drudge of an election? After sorting out the non-contenders, we’re left with three (maybe two by the time you read this) candidates who couldn’t shine the shoes of an FDR or Lincoln. Who here believes Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain are really the best we’ve got?

6. Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana). I know I shouldn’t be complaining about this squeaky clean teen phenom. In an age that’s seen Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan vomit themselves and their emotional and substance abuse issues into the public consciousness, Miley is a parent’s dream come true. But, man, if I hear one more Miley Cyrus song, I’m going to vomit.

7. Off-leash dog parks. I see that the parks department is contemplating adding another off-leash dog area to the city’s parks system. I’m in favor of the plan to convert the unused horse enclosure at Adelaide Park for dogs. In fact, my dogs have been using this for years. But I’m concerned we’re focusing too much on dogs and omitting another pet-owning population. I got in a lot of hot water for saying some unkind things about the city’s cats, so I’m going to stand up for them here. When is the city going to get serious about Federal Way’s cat lovers and give them an off-leash cat park?

8. Text-messaging ban. The relatively new state law banning texting while driving is definitely a good thing. Kudos to Sen. Tracey Eide for her work on this. Of course, it won’t affect me. I never text while driving. I’m usually too busy watching movies on the car’s DVD player.

9. The Best of Federal Way has come and gone. One item caught my attention. Supposedly, the best place to kiss in Federal Way is Redondo Beach? I thought it was the mouth, but then I’m old-fashioned.

10. Skunk Alley. OK, what’s up with Dash Point Road between 1st Avenue and 10th Avenue SW? Every time I drive that route, I get hit with the aromatic equivalent of a Bunker Buster. At first I thought it was the unfortunate hit-and-run death of a single skunk, but it’s been going on for weeks now. Is this stretch of road the skunk equivalent of Aurora Bridge? Are despondent skunks throwing themselves in front of cars? Has the sea lettuce grown legs and started migrating inland? I don’t know what it is, but drive Dash Point at your own olfactory risk.

With that off my chest, I can fit back into my cheerleader outfit.

Chris Carrel is a lifelong Federal Way resident and executive director of the Friends of the Hylebos. Contact: chinook@hylebos.org or (253) 874-2005.

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