Friday, June 11, 2010

Road Rules.

I’m not a crazy person.

For the record, I know what you are supposed to think of people who say things like that. I am also familiar with the legal analogy in character evidence, but I assure you, I'm really not a nutter. Perhaps the force with which this assertion is brought does little more than undermine my standing. Perhaps value judgments are better saved for later.

Nevertheless, I do appreciate that the sum of my idiosyncrasies place me somewhere a little left of centre, but that isn’t necessarily symptomatic of some underlying mental health drama (or so I’ll have you believe).

That being said, I really don’t get the dilemma people have with not applying the rules of the road to footpaths. It really doesn’t seem all that unreasonable. The reason I feel compelled to take such a defensive stance is that not that long ago, maybe a week or so, there was an incident. This was the second of its sort.

How our paths came to cross really doesn’t matter all that much. It was in the morning and I was on my way to work and presumably, she was too. Both of us headphones on and were more or less on autopilot.

Traffic on the path was a little heavy, so to bring some sense of order to the scrum I was trying to navigate, I did my best to stick to the left. As soon as I was aware of the fact that I was on a collision course with this woman I cut further to the left. At the same time, so did she. So further left I went. With little more than a few inches between us, and with one foot in the gutter, I looked at her, confused and mumbled something about 'road rules'.

Now I can accept that most people will giggle, shrug and move on. I did that last time and it worked fine. That is how people generally should respond to something that is mildly frustrating, but of such minor significance that further consideration would be unwarranted.

Yet, something that happens a couple of times can easily happen a few times, and before you know it, you can cite several incidents. Next thing you know, it’s a pandemic. People in gutters everywhere. People with families. In the gutter.

So I mumble something about road rules.

I suppose she didn’t get what I was trying to say. The way she responded would imply as much. Both of us had, by this point, removed our headphones and she looked like she didn’t know what she wanted to do with her hands; they were briefly perched on her hips but now hung idly from her shoulders.

I went about briefly explaining the rationale behind my statement; that people, like cars generally move around a little more efficiently if they know where they need to be, with respect to all the other cars/people heading in the other direction.

This woman. She looks at me, with the sort of expression you would reserve for your nemesis.

“What are you saying? I’m as big as a car?” She demands.

“What?” I may have even sworn under my breath in disbelief.

“Are you saying that you can’t just get out of my way?”

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