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Most of the people I encounter appear to be normal and sane and yet I routinely encounter what appears to me to be irrational behavior. I am shocked at how many new expensive automobiles there are downtown, and yet the public refuses to vote for money to pave the streets properly. Also, when building new houses even the concrete turns to gravel within a few months of occupancy. And, on the 4th of July when there is a clear and present fire danger created by hot dry weather people are setting off fireworks. There is presently a fuss over a teenager who was seen tossing firecrackers into the brush and caused a fire that burned about twelve miles of forest along the scenic Columbia River Gorge. That isn’t close to my home but the smoke from the forest fires has been such a health hazard that some people are publicly wearing face masks. I have a high-quality one in my pocket and have worn it when the smoke is particularly bad.

Those are just a few of the many self-destructive behaviors that the local public seems to tolerate or even encourage. Our city of Bend, Oregon, is largely forested with old-growth ponderosa trees on the west side of town and junipers on the far-east side, and the houses are built in such a way as to preserve the trees. It makes the town look very nice, but a massive city fire is inevitable in the long run. The city is as flammable as the forests to the west of town, and they have had multiple fires this summer. If those fires can’t be stopped there is the probability that those same kinds of forest fires here in town will be just as difficult to put out. I was almost a victim of the Oakland, California, fire of 1991 which burned some 3,000 homes. That fire wasn’t put out by the firefighters but by the fact that after burning for five days a heavy fog finally blew in from the ocean and moistened everything.

I have complained, on this blog earlier, that people were rolling through STOP signs at fairly high speeds. Earlier today I saw a personal friend, whom I love and respect for his good sense, do that. In an unrelated event this morning a guy came out of a restaurant parking lot driveway right in front of me at a goodly speed. Obviously, he hurried a bit so we wouldn’t collide and I only had to slow down a little. Of course, he politely got out of my way by turning at the next intersection. I don’t confront these actions in the slightest, only note them in my tally of questionable behaviors.

I sometimes hear people proudly proclaim that they don’t obey laws.