Tuesday, July 7, 2009

"You Didn't Have To Be So Nice"

We all make mistakes. We all get into binds every now and then. We've all stalled at a stop sign during our first time driving a standard. We've all counted on the kindness of strangers. Yes, there is plenty of room to be forgiving on the road. We can all let the guy with a flat tire cross over to the breakdown lane. We can all give the elderly an extra 20 seconds to cross the street. There are times and places to be gentle motorists . . .

. . . and there are times and places to indulge in one's right of way.

Picture this: I am stopped on a secondary road at a "T" intersection of a primary road, and am signaling to make a left turn onto the primary road. A vehicle approaches from my right with its left turn signal flashing. It intends to turn onto the road I am presently stopped on. There is no stop sign or signal on the primary road. Who must yield the right of way? Obviously, I must. Instead of making the turn, though, the driver of the car on the primary road (let's call her Beatrice) stops and waves for me to make my turn first. "Uhhhhhhnnn," I growl, and the conundrum begins.

I shake my head, and wave for Beatrice to make her turn, but she persists, having just had a manicure, pedicure and facial; cranking "Walking on Sunshine" on 92 Pro FM. Hmmmmph. There will be no arguing with Beatrice, that laser beam of stonewall generosity. She waves back at me, more enthusiastically this time. I am Randy from A Christmas Story responding to my mother's prompts for me to eat (pre-piggy trick). I am as reluctant as a banker at a Phish concert.

Regardless, I clear my mucus membranes and look to the left. Oh, a car. It goes by. I inch out. (Remember, both I and Beatrice are planning left turns.) I look to my right. It's clear. I start forward then stop, as the rightly impatient driver behind Beatrice passes her to her right. Now I'm stuck in the primary road, and, you guessed it, here comes another car from my left. The driver of that car is pissed at me. I'm pissed at Beatrice. I'm pissed at myself for giving in to Beatrice's positive, yet increasingly impatient, vibes. My car, Rusty, is pissed at me for almost getting us clipped. It's a classic motoring clusterf-.

Everything eventually works out, but everyone feels a bit nauseated for the remainder of his/her drive. Yes, Beatrice too. "Walking on Sunshine" has become saccharin and salty. The moral of the story is this: Nobody likes a Beatrice, so don't name your daughter that.


The moral is this: Right-of-way rules are made so that you don't have to be nice. Just drive, and take that advantage of those yielding to your right of way. You'll be on the giving end soon enough. There's always another intersection down the street, so be nice and don't be nice.


  1. Beatrice just wants to be in control. I control the world by some art-better-than-thou delusion. Don't give in. Crank your tunes louder, look the other way. You can shake your head in the universal "NO" motion. Let's all follow the rules, for the sake of order!

  2. How about when you are behind a Beatrice and see that she is letting the person from the secondary road turn ahead of her, just hang on a second and DON'T pass her on the right.