Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A rant

I went to collect some mail from the Post Office today - another Xmas present crossed off the list!

On the way, a car in front of me (I drove) wanted to turn right (Remember, we drive on the left here). He indicated, stopped & waited for the road to clear.

A car coming the other way stopped & flashed his lights to give way.

Very salutary, you might think.

Well, it might have been, if not for the fact that the road behind this jerk was completely empty. Not a single car in sight. Had he continued along his way, he'd actually have been out of the way in less time than it took to slow down, stop, and give way. He accomplished nothing, therefore, but inconveniencing the person he thought he was helping.

I've seen this kind of thing many times, and it always makes me wonder. Why? I mean, what is going through these people's heads? Are they utterly unaware of their surroundings? Are they attention-fiends who get a kick out of being thanked? What is the motive here?

The most annoying one I remember was when I was behind a car, and there was another car behind me. We were the only traffic visible in either direction. And there was an articulated lorry waiting to pull out onto the street.

And the prat in front braked to let him out. It was so unexpected the two of us behind him had to pretty much emergency brake to avoid an accident - luckily we'd both left a safe gap between cars.

No other cars in either direction, remember. The lorry driver had trouble getting out, because he needed to swing to his left to get around to the right, and of course we were on his left. So he took far longer getting out than he would have had we not been there. And then all three of us were stuck behind him as he slowly drove the damn great vehicle along the narrow, windy road.

And you could just feel the smug "I did my good deed for the day" feeling radiating from the bloke in front of me. He inconvenienced two car drivers and one lorry driver, all of whom would have been better off if he'd just kept going instead of slamming on the brakes.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against letting people out of side roads and the like in heavy traffic. I do it myself, and am grateful when others do it for me. But when they do it on empty roads. . . it really pisses me off. "Inconsiderate consideration" - people being helpful when there's absolutely no need for them to do so. Either they've got no idea what the traffic around them is doing - in which case they're idiots; or they react unthinkingly - in which case they're idiots; or they love that little wave of appreciation so much that they try to earn it even when their help is neither needed nor wanted. In which case, they're idiots. And when it's me they do their pointless 'helpful' routine to, they're disappointed idiots as well.

They might get a hand gesture, but it won't be a wave of thanks.

And yes, I'm very, very bored here at work today.


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