The Villaj Idiut: Disrespecting the flag

Virtually any time I’m driving the IdiutMobile around the Village these days, it feels like every street in the city has some form of construction – either of the road itself or a new building or a new home.

It’s a good sign of prosperity in our little bubble, to be sure, but you know what absolutely makes me want to drive rivets into my toenails and then stick my feet in a bucket of ice water? Flag men.

You know who I’m talking about, right? As you pull up to the point of construction, there is some guy standing there with a yellow flag who acts as if the queen had just anointed him a knighthood and he now has the right to order around all the peasants to do as he pleases.

There is a long, proud history in our country of carrying flags – though I’ve never quite understood why the color guard in the Civil War would stand at the point of a regiment with its flag, roll into battle with no weapon and essentially declare: “Hey, guys, shoot me first!”

Can you imagine what that guy is thinking? You’re bivouacking (I’ve always wanted to use that verb) along the Delaware River, playing some cards with your buddies and eating some tasty dried, cured meatsicles, and your commander rolls in and announces, “You’re color guard tomorrow. Get the flag.”

All of a sudden you have to convince yourself, despite seeing evidence to the contrary in the last 183 battles, that the enemy wouldn’t dare shoot an unarmed gentleman carrying a flag. You keep telling that to yourself all the way up the point where somebody screams, “Charge,” and then you quickly realize that a flag is not that great of a weapon – or a shield.

I wish these Los Altos construction color guards would realize their flags are not great weapons either, because I’m about to go General Sherman on a couple of them.

First of all, why is the cement truck that wants to back up in perpetuity – with that annoyingly loud beep – more important than the 50 law-abiding residents who are trying to get to work on time? I’m pretty sure the flag guy should wait for a more opportune time to step into the middle of traffic waving his stupid flag and telling everybody to stop.

Second, lose the attitude. You are not a cop. You are not apprehending hardened criminals. You did not have to go to flag-waving school to get your job. In fact, you are probably the worst construction worker on the job site, the reason your co-workers told you to go hang out in the middle of the road.

So stop scowling at drivers you think are not obeying your orders. Stop sneering at folks you deem to be driving too fast. Try, for once, to be nice to the people you are inconveniencing.

I once knew a guy who got so fed up with the flag wavers and their attitudes that he swore that he would never stop for them. He’d keep driving, roll down his window and yell at the guy to get out of the way.

I’m not advocating that, of course, but I do think there should be some rules implemented around what feels like some rogue flag guys.

The city regulates everything else anyway. The height of the buildings. The number of parking spaces. The types of businesses that can be on street level. These new council members that just came onboard should put this flag-waving atrocity at the top of their agendas and Make Los Altos Great Again.

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