Drivers in need of Ed
I think I’ve done a pretty good job of not slamming Massachusetts drivers, but I’ll try to make up for it tonight.
It’s really distressing, because New Orleans isn’t at the top of most lists, but until I moved here I thought that New Orleans was at least #1 in bad drivers. But I was wrong. I was very wrong.
It’s not that drivers here are necessarily reckless or necessarily rude. Some are, but the vast majority just have no clue. And the scariest thing they have no clue about is right of way. Massachusetts drivers have no idea which car has the right of way. I’ve seen this play out in so many scenarios it’s ceased being funny. People in the right lane of the highway have no idea that they are supposed to allow cars to merge onto the highway. They tend to tailgate the car in front of them at merge points, in many cases forcing merging vehicles to drive along the shoulder until someone allows just enough room for the merging car to sneak in.
Possibly, they make up for this highway rudeness by being overly polite, or perhaps just ignorant, on city streets. I’ve actually been behind people, on more than one occasion, where we were going down a main street, we clearly had right of way over cross streets that had stop signs, and for no apparent reason, the car in front of me came to a complete stop in order to let someone at a stop sign go.
This might seem like the ultimate in politeness, but it’s actually the ultimate in stupidity, because I’ve had to slam on my brakes to avoid plowing into the back of these people. You just don’t expect the person in front of you to come to a complete stop in the middle of a main street. And it always takes longer for the person at the stop sign to realize that the idiot in front of me is not going to move until they do, than it would have taken for him and me to have driven past and given the driver a clear path to proceed.
I have not figured out if people are trying to make up for their rudeness on the highways by being overly polite on the surface streets, or if people here honestly have no clue whose right of way it is in any given situation. But I know what I think.
There are certain things you just “know” as a driver in the Boston area. You just know that, when coming to an intersection where a car is waiting at a stop sign, unless you’re right on the intersection, the car is going to turn in front of you. It just is. After you’ve seen it a few hundred times, it’s just something you know is going to happen. Same thing if you’re coming upon someone who is poised to turn left in front of you.
Today I was coming back from the bank on a two-way street going about 30mph. At one point the lanes widen to allow a center turning lane near some stores. I was about a block and a half away from the turn lane when a late-teens, early-20ish guy pulls into it, so naturally I think that he is going to turn in front of me. I’m getting closer and closer and he still hasn’t made a move so I figure I’ve found the one driver in the greater Boston area (besides myself, of course) that actually understands the whole concept of “right of way.”
Well, I was wrong. He sat there and for some reason waited until I was about 30 feet from the intersection and turned in front of me, causing me to slam on my brakes and screech to a stop, barely missing his bumper. Why would he do this? If you’re going to turn in front of me, why not do it when I’m more than a block away instead of sitting there until I’m almost on you and then decide you just cannot wait three seconds more?
People are idiots.
Some things are just so easy to do. Like when you’re walking through a door, it’s just so easy to hold it open just a little longer for the person behind you.
I do this all the time. It’s become second nature to me. Sometimes I’ll hold the door open even when there isn’t anyone behind me, just to keep in practice.
Most people are very polite right back, saying thank you, nodding, or smiling. And on those occasions when people aren’t polite, it really doesn’t bother me. Sometimes people get caught up in what they’re doing and just don’t notice little acts of kindness that occur when they’re focused. They should, but it’s not the rudest thing in the world so I just don’t pay them any attention.
There comes a point, however, in which it becomes less of a social nicety and more of an actual personal favor to hold the door for someone. In that case, I think that it is incumbent upon the person to actually say “thank you.”
That happened for me today. I was coming out of the post office, and there is a heavy door that leads into the foyer where there is an entrance door on the right and an exit door on the left. I opened the door to leave and there was an elderly lady about to enter, so of course I held the door for her. She smiled, nodded, and proceeded into the post office. Then I noticed a 30ish obviously pregnant lady about 15 feet away climbing the stairs that lead to the entrance with a large baby car seat in her left hand and a box in her right hand, struggling up the last stair. I decided to wait where I was to hold the heavy door open for this lady. She walked up to the door, then stopped, put the baby seat and the box on the ground in the entranceway (had I let go of the door at that point the heavy door would have slammed into her), removed her sunglasses, put the sunglasses into her purse, picked up her box and baby seat, then walked right past me into the foyer. At no time during this entire process did she so much as look my way, much less offer a thank you.
Now, I hadn’t exactly saved this woman’s life. I wasn’t expecting her to fall to the ground and praise my name in gratitude. But nothing? It pissed me off, so as the heavy door swung closed I couldn’t help but look back and say in a very loud voice, as she was opening the inside door in the foyer, “please, don’t mention it!”
People are idiots.
The Sox are 1-0 against the Rays in the ALCS. Go Sox!
We’ve got two more prospects about to sign on to the web site. This thing’s really starting to take off!
There was a cold snap, but now the days are warm again. I’m ready for fall.