Stop and go

I’m a bit troubled by the implication that I rant more than I think I rant.  Isn’t it possible that I’m just concerned about things that other people aren’t always as concerned about?  In other words, it may seem as though I’m ranting . . . when I’m actually expressing thoughts that matter more deeply to me than to many others.  If a great deal of my writing seems like mere ranting, you and I might be on different pages.

At any rate, today is different.  I am hereby chucking what started in my head out as a mere Facebook pop-off and am now indulging in what I consider a full-length rant.  This is a real rant, dudes.  Topic:  drivers without stop-sign skills.

I just took a 4-mile bike ride on an errand and went through about 6 stop signs.  There were issues with other drivers at 4 or 5 of those 6 stop signs.  People with licenses and/or motor vehicles need to learn how to drive. 

Following are selected rules and principles for operating a motor vehicle at or near stop signs:

  1. If you get to the intersection first, you leave it first.  This is a simple rule that drivers in my woods-neck seem not to have assimilated.
  2. If you get to the intersection first, it is not — repeat, not — courteous to beckon to the driver who arrives 5 seconds later to get him or her to go ahead of you.  This gesture, while it might be nice in an elevator with an elderly lady, is not expected by drivers who know the rules of the road, and it costs everyone time.  By the time the other driver gets there and you aren’t already through the intersection, he is wondering if your car stalled or if you are simply inattentive.
  3. It is not particularly helpful to slow to a crawl while you are several car lengths away from the intersection.  This driving practice causes doubt and minor frustrations among normal drivers.
  4. If you get to the intersection at the same time as another driver, the driver on the right leaves the intersection first.
  5. It is not any more polite to try to get a motorcycle or bicycle rider to to ahead of you than the same gesture is with a car or truck driver.  (In fact, operators of two-wheeled vehicles are likely more tuned in to driving rules and safety than other drivers and are expecting you to do the normal thing.)
  6. If there are two lanes going your direction at the stop sign, and you pull up roughly at the same time as the big-butted F350 or Ram-hemi-triple-seated-super-duty-XXXL ranch pickup to your right, you can make it across the intersection just fine with the pickup blocking for you, allowing another driver to go earlier than she would have otherwise.
  7. Personally, I’m more likely to navigate a stop sign well while a) grading a paper and b) eating a hamburger and c) talking on the phone and d) shifting a manual transmission than half the drivers in my town who are doing nothing but driving.  Just throwin’ this in.

So, to help my sector of society, I’m considering standing in the middle of a busy intersection (at which there are four stop signs) and directing traffic for a while.  Not wishing to be hauled into the county jail over impersonating a police officer, I think I’ll put on a suit like this and blow a brass instrument instead of a whistle.  It might have more impact and be more fun at the same time.

A mariachi plays his trumpet while while riding on a "trajinera" boat in the canals of Xochimilco on the outskirts of Mexico City

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