You must have been there, heard that.
Maybe you were sitting on a bench in Veterans’ Square, or pushing a cart through the parking lot at Save On Foods.
Perhaps you were strolling along Vermilion Avenue, or enjoying lunch while watching the kids splash in the water park.
The idyllic and peaceful nature of your surroundings was suddenly shattered –
WHAT THE F#%! MAN!
WHAT KIND OF F*%$#!@ SH?% IS THAT?
I AIN’T F*%$#!@ TAKING ANY OF THIS F*%$#!@ BULLSH$# MOTHER*%$#!.
Welcome to Princeton. Please enjoy your stay.
Of course this scenario is not unique to any community.
It seems where ever you go half the people not yet old enough to vote (sure, that’s ageist but stereotypes become stereotypes for reasons) can’t form a sentence in public without expletives.
And they can’t do it quietly either. It’s like the F-Bomb has to explode with sound and fury in order to be properly appreciated.
Like all municipalities Princeton spends time and money to create a comfortable and attractive place to live and visit.
There are noise bylaws.
There are bylaws addressing unsightly properties.
The grass is cut, the trees are trimmed and the flower baskets spill over each summer with colorful blooms. Community clean ups are organized.
The downtown is neat and tidy. In the past couple of years several property owners have put efforts into improving their storefronts. There are at least half a dozen restaurants and cafes that offer seasonal patios.
It’s sometimes difficult to fully appreciate all that when there is so much SH** flying around.
Going out on a limb here and surmising that anyone who can swear 26 times without pausing for breath can’t or doesn’t read the opinion page of the local newspaper.
So a lecture on decorum likely isn’t going to help.
Confronting a boorish, obnoxious speaker isn’t a safe plan.
Did you know that is a verb?
Would you like to borrow a Thesaurus?
Young – sigh – and even older adults who behave this way in public are frankly, intimidating.
Imagine the fear of an old dear pushing her walker across the street to pick up her prescription at the drug store, or the disgust of a mom and dad with their small children, who just pulled off the highway for a spot of lunch and some sightseeing.
There are options that extend beyond carrying around a bar of soap.
Many communities have challenged unacceptable public behavior through bylaws.
Whistler passed a ground breaking anti-nuisance law 20 years ago. Last summer Tabor, Alberta passed a bylaw outlawing public swearing, spitting and yelling.
It may seem silly to suggest that civility, respect and consideration for others needs to be legislated.
In the same way it would be nice to think that homeowners don’t need a bylaw to force them to shovel their walks after a snowfall.
But laws are really written for people who don’t know any better.
Nobody quite enjoys a good chew over a proposed bylaw than the residents of Princeton, BC.