Friday, April 03, 2009

Mugged By Kindness

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?

Or less?


Anonymous said...

LOL! good post and I love the title.
It's been a while since Tufty's name was invoked.
You're right though, he could have been stopping for another reason that wasn't apparent.
I am guessing it is quite an unusual occurence.
Is that particular stretch of road famous for being uncrossable?

The Sagittarian said...

Haha, wonderful stuff. Maybe he was actually not sure of where he was going and was about to slow anyway?
Foul air biscuit! New one and I love it! (The words that is...)

Anonymous said...

He was simply trying to answer the age old question...

"Why did Wonderful Steve cross the road?"

He was flummoxed...

And most important...he still doesn't know the answer...

~Cheeky Kisses~

Steve said...

Missbehaving: actually this stretch of road isn't particularly difficult to cross at all - it's actually very easy - which makes it worse! I have vague recollections of the Tufty club as a child... alas the Tufty craze didn't last long at all.

Amanda: glad to have introduced you to some of the poetry of the UK version of the English language! Feel free to drop it into conversation at the next opportunity (the words that is...)!

Sweet Cheeks: the answer if of course very simple - to get to the other side! ;-)

Maria Hathaway said...

I couldn't agree with you more! I love to walk wherever I can but have often found myself being forced to awkwardly parade in front of forcefully "kind" drivers. It happens all the time in the rural community where I live. I've resorted to pretending to turn around and walk the other way until they pass and then turning back and continuing on my original course. It may make me look flaky but at least they can't exercise their power over me.

Steve said...

I admire your presence of mind and determination, Maria. When I have more of my wits about me I have occasionally stood my ground, shook my head and insistently waved the driver on his way instead but frequently I'm caught unawares.

Rol said...

"I felt almost bullied into crossing the road in front of him."

I know just how you feel.

This sort of thing pisses me off all the time.

But then... what doesn't?

Steve said...

Rol, I'm very aware that as a pedestrian nothing annoys me more than motorists. But when I'm in a car pedestrians really get my goat. For some of us a permanent state of irritation is the norm.

KAZ said...

Oh yes Steve - I've been there and felt manipulated.
When driving I never wave on pedestrians because of the obvious potential danger from other motorists. But I've had loud abuse from elderly walking stick users several times.
You can't win.

Steve said...

Kaz, old people are notoriously impossible to please but very easy to run over. Therein lies a possible solution...! ;-)

Annie G said...

Think Steve, think! What would Gene Hunt do? He'd probably pull open the driver door, drag him out and call him a great soft cissy and a poof and then punch him a few times.

Steve said...

Annie, you're right. I've mistakenly made The Green Cross Code man by role model when actually it should be a very cross Gene Hunt!

French Fancy... said...

I'd never thought about it like that before. I often stop to let the many many old people that live in our area cross safely. Maybe all of them are also seething inside at my show of power.

Haha. - demonic powerful laugh echoing here

Steve said...

FF, something tells me I have helped create a monster... ;-)

skatey katie said...

can't believe i've been ignoring you for 15 posts!
happy easter. eat some chocolate X

Steve said...

I went through a deep mourning stage about a week or so ago and then underwent cognitive behavioural therapy in case it was something I'd done. I even made votive offerings to the god of the blog world. Plainly it all worked 'cos you're back! :-)

Have a very happy Easter too!

Brother Tobias said...

It depends a bit how he did it. If with a smile and a civil gesture, then misguided but well meant. If with an impatient and peremptory wave, then not. Sometimes I bow low and wave them on with a dramatic sweep of the arm like a mad thespian. Sometimes I scurry across in an embarrassing Mr Bean shuffle that is no quicker than walking, but looks willing. Mostly it annoys me because it's me that feels uncool (but that's because I am!)

Steve said...

Straight to the heart of the matter as usual, Brother T, attitude is everything. And it's impossible to look cool scurrying across the road at someone else's beck and call no matter how kindly they may mean it.