On Comedy Central’s Colbert Report (both t’s are silent) the host Stephen Colbert presents a nightly word that describes the state of our society. While he’s pontificating, asides pop up on the screen next to him. For our purpose, we’ll use parentheses.

My word is “inconsiderateness” and it describes a good deal of our behavior in Forest Park (with the notable exception of my behavior). We see it in many forms. The most obvious example is the tons of litter (that’s not my wrapper) that festoon our streets and sidewalks.

When it comes to driving, we see many forms of inconsiderateness. The one that gets to me is people parking their cars in front of a home and playing loud thumpy music. (I prefer my music unthumpy).

Tailgaters ” I hate them. (I only do it when I’m in a hurry). People speed down residential streets, (I confronted a speeder once and, instead of shooting me, he shook my hand). They endanger our children.

Then there are the folks who block streets and won’t let you into traffic (I at least give you a five second opportunity). Many of these drivers are on the phone, so they’re oblivious to their surroundings (Any idea how I work this headset)?

Cell phones constitute another whole area of inconsiderateness. People are on them at bank counters and checkout lines (cashiers understand my calls actually are important). They talk loudly in restaurants and on the “L.”

I’ve also seen inconsiderateness on the part of pedestrians. (Sometimes even I find the intersection to be too far out of way). They wait until the light turns green for traffic, before they start lollygagging across the street. They’re practically daring you to hit them (tempting but illegal).

There is so much late-night noise in our village: boisterous bar patrons, (I prefer to drink myself into complete silence), crying babies that are out much too late and howling dogs.

Not to mention daytime noise from construction and home improvement projects (I don’t own a hammer) and lawn mowers and leaf blowers (they haven’t been a problem lately). Not that we should silence building and renovating, as long as it isn’t being done too early or too late (to accommodate my weird sleep schedule).

Even at the highest level of village government, we see inconsiderateness. Sometimes (to steal from a reader) our commissioners clash like kindergartners (I was expelled from kindergarten). No matter how much we disagree, we have to control our emotions and keep our professional calm. Otherwise, we could end up with (gulp) a bitterly divided village council. Personal infighting by politicians is a poor example of inconsiderateness.

So, let’s review: stop littering (start with my property) develop better driving manners and cell phone etiquette and (I almost forgot this one) if you answer a phone for someone else, cover the receiver before screaming out their name.

John Rice

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.