Saturday, December 06, 2014


While you're busy unscrambling just how to pronounce the title, consider the question: What would you like to have in terms of morning manners from your fellow commuters? If you're sitting behind the wheel of your car and wishing that the person in front of you would move so you could get around or if your seat happens to be on a bus and the person next to you is flossing their teeth without a sense of what is public or private, you have a sense of what I'm discussing here. We are all in this together, and making that association clear is difficult for those of us who have to be somewhere on time, and most of us are at the very least ambivalent about getting there in the first place. Maybe that's where it starts. If we were all honest about the reasons for yelling and honking and cursing under our breath or in full throat, it might be a healthier process. I think about the relative calm I see on the faces of people waiting in line for Space Mountain. These folks are going to a happy place: thrilling, high speed, turbulent roller-coaster type ride in the dark that includes sharp turns, sudden drops & stops. If all commuters were assured of thrilling, high speed, turbulent roller-coaster type rides in the dark that include sharp turns, sudden drops & stops, maybe we would all be more patient. 

But since Disney isn't in charge of most of our morning commutes, I will suggest that we all consider how we could make the whole enterprise of getting to and from work a more enjoyable one. My commute is via bicycle, primarily on side streets. It pains me greatly when someone decides to park next to another car, obscuring one lane of traffic. We have, as a society, created a term for this practice: double parking. It sounds like a good thing. It's not. Double parking on a dark and stormy morning makes riding a bicycle past those two cars rather dicey. About half the time, drivers are courteous enough to put their hazard lights on, letting me know that they have decided to stop in the middle of what should be a thoroughfare. The other half, not. What bothers me the most is when there is an open parking spot twenty feet down the street, or just across, but rather than turning around or pulling ahead a couple of car lengths, here sits the family car invariably idling at their pretend second curb, waiting for some important transaction to take place. Meanwhile, I'm stuck wondering what oncoming traffic may or may not be just to the left of that impediment. If I'm lucky, the cars coming in the opposite direction have their lights on and are traveling at a reasonable speed for the area, allowing me to anticipate my next move. The alternative? Riding on the sidewalk to get around the whole mess, but becoming someone else's pet peeve in doing so. 
Double parking never happens at Space Mountain.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We have, as a society, created a term for this practice:

Undeserved entitlement.