This is probably evidence – not that any is needed – that I am a true curmudgeon.
Picture this: I’m walking home. I need to cross a road. I pause at the kerb as I can see out of the corner of my right eye that as car is waiting to turn left across my field of progress.
Yes. I really do have a “field of progress”.
Now, rather sanely, I decide to halt forward momentum at this point. I don’t want to get into physical intimacy with a metallic object that is travelling at 20mph. Besides which he has a right of way.
The Green Cross Code Man and Tufty the squirrel would both be applauding me at this point. I’ve done the right thing, you see. All those road safety lessons as a child have paid off.
The driver however brings his vehicle to a halt and rather insistently waves me across.
I obey but instinctively feel aggrieved and annoyed. It isn’t right, you see.
The road was completely empty behind him so there was absolutely no reason for him to make a point of stopping on my account. Another two seconds and I could have crossed the road perfectly safely (if not more safely) without his flamboyant display of largesse.
He had the right of way. It’s perfectly clear: the Highway Code dictates that he should not have stopped but continued on his way.
Now, maybe I am just being ungrateful? After all, I would feel a darn sight more aggrieved if he’d mounted the pavement, motored his radiator grill right up my jacksy and then continued merrily on his way without stopping to shout even the briefest of apologies.
But I can’t get over the feeling that his gesture was more about power and superiority than kindness. I didn’t need him to stop. I felt almost bullied into crossing the road in front of him.
The danger with not following the expected codes of conduct of course is that your actions can be misinterpreted. What if his hand signal to cross the road was actually his attempt to dislodge an angry wasp from the breast pocket of his shirt? What if he was merely clearing the air after a particularly foul air biscuit (“fart” to you and me)?
The answer is obvious.
I’d be lying under the bonnet of his car in a non-KwikFit approved position, leaking claret all over the macadam and listening to him shouting at me that he had right of way and what the hell did I think I was doing trying to cross the road in front of him?
Maybe I need to get out more?