Stupid Tuesday questions, Carrietta White edition

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Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.

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93 Responses

  1. Avatar Freeman says:

    Totally agree on abusers of the “asshole lane”, but I would also focus my smiting power on the idiots who designed the road with a lane-to-nowhere and it’s forced merge at the worst possible location.

    I would also smite all those people who drive like inattentive idiots because they’re on the phone instead of paying due attention to the operation of a two-ton potential killing machine. I often daydream about inventing a phone-jamming device that allows me to selectively send a very loud high-pitched squeal to the phone of my choice, that won’t stop until the call is terminated.

    And turn-signal morons!!! Get a clue, people, it couldn’t possibly be any simpler! It’s right there to the left of your steering wheel, same place it’s been on every car for over a half-century. If you can’t figure out how to operate it, ask any five-year-old! And flipping it on for one or two blinks after you’ve already initiated your lane change or turn demonstrates a stunningly stupid inability to grasp the simple concept of WHY TO USE IT IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!! Those people are only substituting even greater stupidity for the laziness and carelessness of those who don’t use them at all.Report

    • You posted your comment as I was writing mine, but I agree with all of it: cell phoners, the turn-signal challenged, and the unfortunately located merge lane.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Freeman says:

      I frequently encounter a similar situation as the Doc describes merging from the northbound 110 to the northbound 5. Until a few years ago, there was only one lane and it’s on the left (a second left-hand merge lane was added in, IIRC, 2010). Now, there are signs warning of this for about a mile and this mile can take ten to fifteen minutes to traverse during certain (predictable) times of day. I get in the left lane usually just after the Dodger Stadium exit, because the merge can be dangerous, especially when traffic moves in fits and starts. Still, I often seen people point their cars diagonally through four lanes of traffic to get from the far right lane to the far left. I dislike letting them in because they could have waited in line like I did but instead they game the flow of traffic to merge in at the last minute and play chicken so as to leverage my lack of desire to be in a collision. Assholes.Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Freeman says:

      A friend explained this to me. The traffic in the merge-to lane moves slower than the traffic in the merge-from lane, so people will avoid the merge-to lane, or even switch lanes into the lane that’s soon going to disappear, just to get a few cars ahead.

      A secondary problem is that some people don’t know how to execute a merge without coming to a full stop, and some people seem to need a break after doing something as difficult as a merge, and come to a full stop once the lanes are merged regardless of whether the traffic in front of him is flowing or not.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Freeman says:

      If I’m in a merging lane like that, I’ll move half over & block the merging lane. Usually there is not enough shoulder for people to get around me & I buy a few minutes for everything ahead of me to gel & begin moving again.

      I actually learned this from truckers, who I’ve seen do it rather often.Report

  2. Avatar jbold1 says:

    The parents of young children who wait until they’ve reached the deli counter and then look down at their child and ask, “what do you want to eat?” Arrgh!Report

  3. I have two answers:

    1. Cars that don’t stop at stop signs, or do the non-stop roll at stop signs and red lights, where they look left while turning right and not taking care to think that maybe, just maybe, a pedestrian (me!) might be trying to cross.

    2. Bicyclists who don’t stop at stop signs or red lights. I know they’re nimble and dextrous and that they don’t really want to run into a pedestrian….and so far I haven’t been hit. But hey, when I’m crossing at an intersection, I don’t want to have to dodge those guys.

    Final note: I should just ‘fess up and admit that while I think these are legitimate safety concerns on my part, there’s a not too flattering part of me that would think it a travesty if a car driver or bicyclist ran a red light or stop sign when nobody is in sight, say, in an open area where the driver can see there’s no one for miles. It’s the latent puritan in me, and not a good thing.Report

    • With my powers I will revive and then re-smite your cyclists who don’t obey traffic laws. As a frequent pedestrian, they are the bane of my existence. And I have been hit, a bunch, usually in high traffic areas but occasionally because some asshole cyclist was tooling along on a sidewalk occupied by no one else but me, and thought yelling “Right. Right. RIGHT!” from behind me would result in my immediate action perfectly in line with his (it’s almost always a him) will. I’m tempted to walk around with a stick for putting in spokes, but then I remember that I’m not truly evil… most of the time.

      A few years ago the campus police, after receiving a constant stream of complaints, decided to crack down on cyclists at certain intersections where there were frequent bike-pedestrian collisions (including a few that had resulted in serious injuries). A friend of mine, also a frequent pedestrian, and I spent our lunch at one of the intersections watching cyclists get pulled over and receive tickets. The bike cops would pull one over, give him or her a ticket, head back to the intersection, and almost immediately pull another one over; it was like watching a fisherman pluck catfish out of a dried pond. We both experienced extreme amounts of schadenfreude.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Chris says:

        ” I’m tempted to walk around with a stick for putting in spokes, but then I remember that I’m not truly evil… most of the time”

        I’ve known people who have done this…
        (and made it look like an accident).
        Apparently the bicyclists don’t get hurt… much.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        I’ve known people who have done this…
        (and made it look like an accident).
        Apparently the bicyclists don’t get hurt… much.

        Is this a haiku? First, how do you make it look like an accident? Second, how does a cyclist going fast enough for it to matter not get hurt when you flip them over the handlebars? Third, you know people who’ve done everything.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Chris says:

        Chris,
        That was actually mostly a joke. “Not getting hurt much” means “doesn’t need hospitalization”

        Flail around enough, and most things look accidental (probably helps if you wind up flat on the road). Also probably helps if the biker didn’t bother signaling, at all, and it looks mostly like you were panicking and trying to get out of the way.

        I doubt they were going fast enough to go over the handlebars (well, i hope they weren’t, at any rate).

        I did mention knowing trolls and psychopaths, yes.
        I do not know major league players in any sport.Report

  4. Avatar Ethan Gach says:

    Yo, I HATE this. There is nothing that gets me angrier than this. When possible I try to drive halfway in the merging lane because I’m reckless.

    I will have much, much more to say on this in the near future.Report

  5. Avatar Murali says:

    People who cut in front of me without signalling.Report

  6. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    Unfortunately, the fluid dynamics of the two-lanes-into one problem isn’t easy to solve. Everyone must merge left, either long before the tunnel or right at the tunnel. The smarter people know to merge left. Faced the same problem in New Orleans, coming south on Canal Street during construction: everyone who drove the street on a regular basis knew to merge left — and did. The only offenders were out-of-towners who didn’t know the street was under construction. So well did everyone know it, it would back up traffic onto the exit ramp from Interstate 10.

    My pet peeve is rubberneckers at accident sites. First responders should be issued paint ball guns with purple dye to fire at rubberneckers. If a policeman saw a car thus marked, he would pull them over and issue a citation. Rubberneckers cause accidents, making the traffic problem worse: often the accident is already blocking one lane and the rubbernecker will cleverly manage to block the only remaining open lane.Report

  7. Avatar bigbird says:

    I share your feelings completely. There is nothing more frustrating in the morning rush than seeing line jumpers passing in the merging lane while I queue up with the rest of respectable society. Here’s the thing, though. Efficient traffic flow relies on cooperative merging. When I jam up against the vehicle in front of me to prevent a last second merge, I am forced to slow down to avoid a collision. This forces the driver behind me (also jamming to prevent a merge) to slow, etc. etc. So while I convince myself that the line jumper is responsible for slowing traffic and creating a hazard, the truth is my behavior in this situation blackens my soul equally. It’s human nature (at least in this part of the world), and smart traffic engineers earn their pay finding solutions.
    On the plus side, allowing the line jumper in front of me allows me to follow the offending vehicle to its destination where my keys can be put to use in their secondary function. So much for decency, eh?Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to bigbird says:

      Maybe that’s the secret. Wave the line-jumpers in front of you, but make sure you are using your craziest wide-eyed Charlie Manson grin and stare while you do so. They’ll think twice and drop back.

      They won’t want *that* guy behind them, following them and/or reading their license plate.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        Make sure you waggle your eyebrows and nod rapidly and enthusiastically. Point at them, then at the space in front of you, repeatedly.

        Basically, you want to look like the spawn of Manson and Overly-Attached Girlfriend.Report

  8. Avatar Glyph says:

    The guy yesterday who, right as I was getting ready to go out and try to quickly mow my overgrown jungle of a front lawn before it rains again (in one of the approximately 10-minute intervals between the downpours that have been occurring for the last two months solid) let his dog take a crap in my front yard and didn’t pick it up.

    He saw me coming out the front door, and scooted his cur along with a sheepish half-smile, so at least he had the decency to feel slightly ashamed. Next time I will make sure I take a plastic bag out the door with me, so I can offer it to him for his fecal removal convenience; if he fails to take me up on this kind offer, the bag will make a handy sling for me to send his lost “property” at his fleeing back.

    Grrrrr.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Glyph says:

      The very idea that people just let their dogs pee on our public walk and roadways boggles my mind. New York’s UWS might be the worst of this. You have Little Miss Priss, who looks like she got rejected as an extra in “Grey Gardens” walking her perfectly coifed mutant toy of whatever shitty dog she has, stopping in front of EVERYONE ELSE’S apartment building to let Muffy do her business, but then scowls at the homeless man who has the temerity to walk past her building. That woman should be fed to wild boars.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kazzy says:

        I have dogs myself, so I am not anti-dog by any stretch. And pee for whatever reason doesn’t really bother me – for one, it’s not as easy to predict/control/clean up a dog’s peeing as it is its pooping; for another, pee is generally sterile and in any case evaporates or washes away quickly. I mean, yeah, they should be steering their dogs towards the bushes or trees or whatever, but if it happens on the fire hydrant or curb it’s not the end of the world.

        But poop? Seriously, I feel like flinging that at the owner. It’s a primal urge.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

        I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s as likely as not that my mouth will get me killed. I have a habit of telling people precisely what I think of them, even if they’re much bigger than me, and have had way too much to drink. One type of person whom I invariably tell what I think of them is the “leave the dog poop on the sidewalk” or worse “leave the dog poop in the grass just tall enough to hide it” type.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

        Yea, I meant to say “pee and poop” there.

        It is not so much that the dogs go to the bathroom on the street, though I still find it odd, but that people have no problem leaving dog shit on your lawn but would freak out if a kid’s frisbee landed on theirs.

        And if we’re going to accept dog pee filling our walkways, can we stop hassling homeless people for peeing behind dumpsters in alleys? Seems like the least we can do.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kazzy says:

        leave the dog poop in the grass just tall enough to hide it

        Much like the probability of toast landing buttered side down, poop hidden in tall grass is nearly mathematically-certain to be located in a spot where you will inevitably run over it with the mower wheels so it gets mashed into the treads, necessitating an involved and annoying cleanup and drying delay before you can put your mower away; crypto-poop is never located where you will simply pass over it with the blade, despite the mower’s wheels covering a much smaller square area than the blade.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Kazzy says:

        Kazzy,
        seriously, who the hell cares what someone does behind a dumpster?
        I had problems when the homeless guy was defecating in the hospital stairwell. That was uncool, man.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Glyph says:

      Take Photo. Post picture. Have board of shame.Report

  9. Avatar Kazzy says:

    While I generally share your frustration with people who abuse the rules of the road, my issue is more with “rule breakers” than “convention benders”. So while I am generally a proponent of early merging for the reasons cited, so long as the person still has the dotted line to their side, I don’t get too angry about that. They are working within the rules of the road which say they can change lanes until hitting a solid line or the lanes are no more and they are just driving side-by-side in a single lane. What infuriates me is the people who break actual rules… cruising on the shoulder because they are just too important to wait in the traffic jam the rest of us are soldiering through… driving in an exit lane, complete with a solid white line, and then jumping back into the roadway after bypassing traffic… that shit should be punishable by death. It’s one thing if you are of the belief that a late merge is better than an early merge. But it is quite another to see an unfortunate reality of life (e.g., traffic), something that all must suffer through equally, and think that you are so unique as to be immune from it. That is a level of risible ass-hattery that makes me want to play the bongos on their genitals.

    One time, during a particularly bad traffic jam on a particularly frustrating night, I stuck my car out into the shoulder to stop the parade of assholes smugly cruising by. First, I was just a quarter of a way out there, enough that you’d have to make a concerted effort to go around me. And they did. Without fail. Then I went halfway out into the shoulder, such that you couldn’t get around me without going beyond the edge of the shoulder. And that didn’t stop them! Any further would have required me abandoning my spot in the rightful lane and risk being mistaken for a shoulder-troll and drawing my fellow rule-followers ire. It was a remarkable show of dickishness that night on the NJ Turnpike.Report

  10. Avatar zic says:

    Every single person (all women, btw,) who, upon hearing that my sweetie is a jazz musician and one of his instruments is the soprano sax, responds, “Oh, I LOVE Kenny G.”

    Blech.Report

  11. Avatar Mo says:

    Actually, last minute mergers are in the right here.

    When most drivers see the first “lane closed ahead” sign in a work zone, they slow too quickly and move to the lane that will continue through the construction area. This driving behavior can lead to unexpected and dangerous lane switching, serious crashes and road rage.

    Zipper merging, however, benefits individual drivers as well as the public at large. Research shows that these dangers decrease when motorists use both lanes until reaching the defined merge area and then alternate in “zipper” fashion into the open lane.

    Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Mo says:

      You know, this keeps getting brought up, but I think there’s a further distinction that needs to be made. Yes, things move more quickly/safely if mergers wait until the designated merging area to merge in an orderly zippered fashion (don’t merge “early”). Fair enough.

      But all too often, many mergers also treat 90% or more of the designated merging area as “early”, waiting until the last possible second, and then zooming up unexpectedly into a space that is too small for them, causing the person behind to slam on their brakes. It seems to me that sudden application of brakes is not only indicative of increased accident risk at the point of braking, but also flows back up the line of backed up traffic like reverse peristaltic motion, worsening the overall jam.Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Mo says:

      Doesn’t solve the problem of stack up. If the posted speed limit is 55 for two lanes of traffic, reduced to 45 in one lane of traffic, there will be stack up, no matter how efficient the merge.

      I wouldn’t trust the State of Minnesota’s DOT as far as you could throw Kazzy. I just drove through Minneapolis and St Paul on I-94, going both ways, coming from the east. Pulled out of Minnetonka at 3 PM and crawled through both cities heading east, most of it in first and second gear. Crossed the Wisconsin state line at 5:30. Coulda walked faster through those benighted burgs. There’s no good way through either of them. Worked there off and on for a year. Tried everything. I thought Chicago and Atlanta were bad. Mpls/SP are worse. Only worse towns I’ve seen are LA and sometimes Houston — but Mpls/SP take the cake.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to BlaiseP says:

        Pittsburgh’s got some of the worst traffic anywhere, for it’s size. It’s the topography.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to BlaiseP says:

        Pittsburgh’s traffic doesn’t even approach the worst cities. For its size, Pittsburgh’s traffic is pretty tame.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to BlaiseP says:

        Wait… why am I the one being thrown?

        More importantly, I think Glyph nails it. Once stack up begins, you’re not really zipper merging anymore. You can avoid what Mo talks about if people merge in a reasonable space and then don’t switch back or play leap frog.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to BlaiseP says:

        Chris,
        200,000 people drive into this city daily. That’s 40% of the “working” population. You can’t find me a rustbelt city with that much inflow/outflow…(fed’s got the numbers). Can you find me another ~300,000 with more traffic?

        We have the Squirrel Hill tunnel, the Liberty tunnel, bridges to get most people into the city proper… Our topography really limits the number of roads per car.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

        In fairness, all river towns have traffic issues. It comes down to bridges. The Carson / Warhol / Clemente bridges are all attempting to let pressure off the Allegheny River crossing issue and the resulting mess is awful. 579, 279, routinely horrible.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to BlaiseP says:

        Kim, where do you get your numbers?

        Also, welcome to a city. Drive in Houston, Austin, Atlanta, New York, D.C., or L.A. and get back to me about how bad Pittsburgh’s traffic is.

        Seriously, Philly and Scranton have objectively worse commutes than Pittsburgh, and those two are far better than a few dozen other cities.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to BlaiseP says:

        “Drive in Houston, Austin, Atlanta, New York, D.C., or L.A. and get back to me about how bad Pittsburgh’s traffic is. ”
        … all of which have more than double pittsburgh’s population.
        I’m seriously not comparing Pittsburgh to L.A. That’d be just plain dumb.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

        Once stackup begins, the solution seems pretty obvious: leave enough space between yourself and the car ahead of you for some imprudent person to merge. In Mpls, my exit to leave I-94 came just after a major on-ramp to I-94. After watching the locals manage this stunt, I’d always let two or three cars in ahead of me from that on-ramp and often a few people merging right to get to my off-ramp. Sure, it took a few more seconds but I always got a nice hand wave from someone.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to BlaiseP says:

        My general rule is I’m going to slide in a spot of necessary size that no one should have to “break stride”. This might mean jumping in early, it might mean hanging on a bit late. The difference is a matter of seconds so my goal is to avoid an accident moreso than it is to beat the clock.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to BlaiseP says:

        What makes Pittsburgh special is the three-second window between when a light turns red and when the drivers in that lane accept that the light turned red.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Mo says:

      Yes. Ideally, there is no traffic, you don’t need to slow down so much as “find a hole” and slide into it.Report

    • Avatar Freeman in reply to Mo says:

      Good point. But it only applies to very slow merges, usually the result of an unexpected lane blockage. You don’t want to do this at 55 mph at a routine merge that is part of the highway design during morning rush when traffic is thick and a little slow but moving along. As the article mentioned, in most routine cases it’s best to merge at the soonest available opportunity.Report

  12. Avatar alkali says:

    For what it’s worth, the signage at that underpass is terrible, even by Boston standards.Report

  13. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    My pet peeve are grocery carts* left stranded in the middle of the parking lot. People think they’ve properly disposed of their cart by elevating its front and wedging it in to a planter or, worse, leaving it standing all alone out there in the parking lot.

    It’s often quite windy where I live, and a loose grocery cart powered by the wind can cause visible body damage to other parked cars. The stranded cart also renders parking spots unusable because there’s a cart right in the middle of it that some lazy, inconsiderate jerkoff left behind as though the cart would somehow teleport back into the store. And since people do this so often, the store has to hire extra personnel to periodically go out and wrangle the carts back in. Someone would have to do that anyway, but in a larger store, that someone can wind up doing nothing but cart wrangling for hours on end. It’s unpleasant work — and it’s work that gets paid for in the cost of the groceries. My food would be that much cheaper if you would just return your cart to the goddam stall that they built for you to put the cart in when you’re done loading your fishing Ho-Ho’s and 30-pack of Bud Light into the passenger seat of your fifteen-foot high pickup truck with snow tires that you’ve never actually taken off-road.

    If I were king, I would have snipers hidden in one random grocery store every day, with instructions to shoot out the tires of every vehicle driven by a person who failed to return their cart to a stall.

    * Charmingly called “buggies” by the natives back when I lived in Tennessee.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Burt Likko says:

      I’ve recently realized that the Gooch spot (our weird slang for the perfect parking spot) is not necessarily closest to the door, but closest to the shopping cart depository without being in range for an errantly thrown cart. Grocery store parking lots are rarely big enough that walking across them is much of a burden. You never park and think, “Ugh, do I really want food enough to walk across the lot?” But upon returning to your car, groceries and children stowed, it is very easy to think, “Ugh, 10 spots is too far to take this cart back to the proper spot. I’ll just leave it.” So I do the extra work on the front end and then just slide the cart into it’s little pen. On a few rare occasions where I was far from it, I at least would prop it up on a curb so that the wind couldn’t take it.Report

  14. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Opposing council and judges who fail to see the righteousness of my clients case.Report

  15. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Colorado Springs has a huge number of drivers who believe that if a car is not accelerating, it ought to be decelerating. As someone who is a fan of coasting, I regularly find myself passed as I approach a red light.

    This drives me nuts.

    For non-driving issues, I hate the people at the costco who set themselves up in such a way that two people and their cart manage to block an entire aisle while they discuss whether they want the yellow ones or the blue ones.Report

  16. Avatar dhex says:

    i’m on board with bad drivers. no one on earth would tolerate a bunch of ninnies running around with loaded weapons and samurai swords just shooting and swinging all over the place, but somehow our entire culture is ok with giving people a truly deadly weapon and having almost no barrier to entry. it should be much, much, much harder to get a driver’s license than a firearm, because at least you have to aim a firearm. the car you can just be texting or having diabeetus or whatever and boom family of 4 – 3 = tragedy.

    i dislike driving (which is part of why i moved here), especially after we got hit and nearly killed by an unlicensed woman who cut around a van to try and “make” the red light. but i dislike drivers even more. and i dislike those texting jackanapes the most – the last two times (as a pedestrian*) i was almost taken out involved the driver texting. these things generally involve obscenities and anatomically impossible acts. if i could could scannerize their heads i would in a hearbeat.

    * i can’t even begin to count the # of times this has happened since i moved here in the 90s, and i am not a “creative” walker like those old folks who saunter across a fairly busy street with their backs to oncoming traffic.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to dhex says:

      There’s an old guy with a limp who gets off the bus at my stop in the afternoons and then just crosses the street, the very busy street with 5 lanes, without even considering the cars coming and going. I’ve seen him hesitate a few times once he’s almost to the left lane on the side of the street that the stop is on, because a car was coming toward him at 40 (the speed limit) and showing no sign of slowing down for him, but I’ve never seen him come to a complete stop once he’s out in the street. I sometimes think that I know where that limp came from.Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to dhex says:

      Crossing Wacker Drive one morning on my way to Sears Tower, I was almost run over by a car pulling up to the light. Well, I was actually touched by the car and pushed back, almost run over. I took my Samsonite briefcase, swung it over my head in a circle and smashed it into the hood of the car, leaving a tremendous dent in it. The driver opened his door, angry as hell. I ran at him and closed the car door on his arm, giving him the old Command Voice: “You struck me. If you get out of that car I will kick you to death right here in the middle of Wacker. Am I making myself clear? Just say something stupid so I can get started by crushing your humerus. Now I’m going to cross this street and you are going to drive away.”

      The briefcase survived just fine.Report

  17. Avatar NewDealer says:

    Cocksure people who never seem to experience any doubtReport

    • Oh, dear. Kazzy, this is shaping up to be a very dangerous comment thread for you.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to NewDealer says:

      “Often Wrong; Never In Doubt.”

      Words to live by.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Glyph says:

        See, my thing is, if I thought I was doing something wrong, I’d stop doing it. I choose my actions carefully, with much deliberation. So I’ve usually come to an active determination that they are right. I might be wrong and if shown the light, I’m happy adjust. But why would I act in a way I knew to be wrong? That’s silly.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Glyph says:

        Doubt is a natural good. Doubt is the compels us to contemplation and humility and makes us find evidence for our beliefs.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Glyph says:

        Doubt is the only sane response to most of life’s seeming certainties. No harm in revisiting old assumptions and certainties. It’s like I’ve always said about good books. They’ll sit there on the shelf for years, patiently waiting for us to return. At any hour of day or night, we can open the book and it speaks to us as if we’d never left.

        Every good book should be read three times at least. Each time, you’ll find something different — because you’re different each time.

        I’m always amused by people who thump the pulpit and tell us of Eternal Truths. Truth is a bit like love. People forget. The lover must periodically remind the beloved. because we doubt. If something’s true, it will remain true and won’t mind being validated. It’s when we stop doubting that trouble always starts. If something isn’t true, questioning will be met with dogmatic remonstrance, not validation.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        (If it wasn’t obvious, I don’t truly mean those are words to live by. But someone suggested that as an epitaph for a friend’s dad, and that quote always stuck with us).Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Glyph says:

        There’s a difference between doubt and the paralysis of indecision. Not making a decision is also a decision. Lots of people criticise Christianity for this Born Again business and I can understand those criticisms, accept them, even.

        But there’s a note of sound psychology in to the concept: many people live in the shadows of their past, never quite living in the present. While it’s true there’s no changing the past, there’s no reason for living in it, wasting the present moment. You work with the facts you’re given, you make the decisions and you live with them, knowing you were working with the best evidence at hand.

        The time for doubt is before you make the decision, not afterwards.Report

  18. Avatar Elliott says:

    For large, busy intersections where there is a green left arrow built into the cycle (usually, around here, going first before straight-green), it DRIVES ME UP A WALL that drivers feel they have some God-given right to beach themselves out in the intersection during the regular green, even when A NAKED MOLE RAT could see there will be no break in traffic to exploit anytime later in the cycle, and then just ‘sneak in’ three cars of left-turners at the end of the light cycle.

    DURING CROSS-TRAFFIC’S DESIGNATED LEFT GREEN.

    So nobody gets to use their designated green, which makes people antsier about having to ‘wait,’ so more people jump the end of the cycle, and it only gets worse.

    I cannot TELL you how many people have crept up on my rear bumper, honked at me, clearly gesticulated in ways that say they’re swearing behind those closed windows, because I … refuse to beach across the crosswalk while waiting for my chance to go left. Because I WAIT FOR MY TURN. And therefore mean they don’t get to run reds and be an asshole, because they’re behind me and I’m NOT being an asshole.

    Not to even mention the amount of times I’ve gotten caught somewhere and had to utilize the yellow when it was a little redder than I’d prefer (not save to stop, etc), and TWO CARS zoom through the intersection AFTER me. Seriously, dude? *I* was running that red, I have no idea what *YOU* think you were doing …Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Elliott says:

      Yeah. I really don’t mind one person going when the light is turning reddish. That’s fine, you’re in the intersection.

      But you guys behind him? You weren’t, you were legally behind the crosswalk in “don’t run the redlight” territory.Report

      • Avatar Elliott in reply to Kim says:

        Oh oh oh also, I sometimes decline to take a right on red (where permitted). Sometimes I still take it, but I STOP AND LOOK THOROUGHLY first and WAIT FOR A GAP IN TRAFFIC. Clearly this is a honk-worthy offense and I should just expect to get called seriously obscene and violent things out other people’s car windows for delaying them.Report

    • Avatar Cascadian in reply to Elliott says:

      In Vancouver this is part of the driving culture. There are precious few left turn arrows so the norm is to stop on yellow lights if there are people on the other side making a left. It was very hard for me to get used to.

      I live in the mountains outside of Whistler. The highway is two lane with occasional passing lanes. My pet peeve, those that use the passing lane for anything other than passing. Almost as bad are those that drive very fast while there’s a passing lane and then slow down 20km once the lanes merge.Report

  19. The late/zipper merge is actually the proper way to merge in heavy traffic, it minimizes backup queues by using the maximum available road lanes. (In lighter traffic there’s no issue and people can merge in at a convenient/safe point.)

    Of course this does depend on the people in the merge-in lane having enlightened souls and helping the zipper work by allowing alternating cars to safely merge in. Blocking an appropriate alternating car from merging in at the zipper spot is both dangerous and mean.Report

    • But you see, Chris, there usually isn’t heavy traffic. There is a steadily-moving stream of people merging into the left lane at some point along its ample length (at a convenient/safe point, as you say), and a small number of people who blow by the entire lane and then right before the underpass try to cut over.Report

      • What gets me (and by ‘gets’, I mean causes me to be stuck between hysterical laughter and weeping) is how very little distance such rampant assholery actually GAINS any of these snotballs. Keep an eye on it sometime if you’re in a dense traffic situation — someone can come ROARING past you, duck around in the right-turn lane, barge arrogantly back into the straight-going traffic (moving violation) without signaling (moving violation), weave between cars by practically shoving an opening, and then still only be 3 cars ahead of you at the next red light. Which they accelerated towards.

        Why cannot they see that they are causing insane amounts of stress for other people AND THEMSELVES with almost no benefit at all? Probably because they’re convinced they’re gaining miles and miles, and cutting half an hour off their commute.

        I kind of want to sigh, I kind of want to spit in their faces, and I kind of want to just resign from the human race …Report

  20. Avatar Alan Scott says:

    People who wait until the previous order is rung up to unload their shopping cart. Even moreso, the people who will wait and then hand their items to the cashier instead of putting them on the belt. I suppose I’m a bit biased in this in that I used to be a cashier, but it causes me just as much frustration as a customer.Report

  21. Avatar Damon says:

    My gripe is that people don’t understand what a merge is. When you’re entering a highway, you don’t move right assuming people will get out of the way–you get up to highway speed BEFORE moving into the highway.

    Also, what ever happened to “slower traffic move right”. Really, you need to be in the left lane doing 50 in a 65? REALLY!? And if you are, don’t bitch when I roll up on you back end.Report

  22. Avatar Darwy says:

    I have two pet peeves:

    1: Folks who are trying to enter the highway but can’t be assed to YIELD to oncoming traffic. There’s a few on ramps here on the Spaulding turnpike where the access onto the pike is rather.. limited. Rather than slowing down/stopping and waiting for space in traffic, they barrel up the ramp and force cars off the road so they can drive off.

    2: Impatient fucknuggets at the airport. I was heading down to Baltimore for a bowling tournament, and due to my being frugal and not wishing to pay for an extra checked bag, I had a bowling ball in my carry-on bag (canvas messenger bag). The ‘gentleman’ behind me at the Southwest gate was literally pushing me towards the plane in his hurry to get on.

    I boarded, selected the first seat and placed my bag in the aisle before sliding into the seat. In his ire, he kicked my bag…

    I watched his face turn white, then red, and then I asked, “Did that hurt?”

    My bowling ball was fine. His foot? Not so much.Report

  23. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    Motorists who right-hook cyclists (that is, pass them on the left and then immediately make a right turn, cutting them off. In the UK I guess it would be a “left-hook”). Also, motorists who get enraged, lay on the horn, yell and swear, or use their vehicles as a weapon to intimidate or outright assault cyclists who occupy a traffic lane in order to avoid being right-hooked or door-prized.

    “I’m not racist but [blisteringly racist policy proposal]” racists.Report

  24. Avatar Snarky McSnarksnark says:

    For me, it’s people still wearing their gym gear parking in the handicapped spaces.Report

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