December 2005

Beyond oblivious

It’s bad enough that people do stupid things while driving. It’s much worse when they don’t even realize they’re doing it. But the really amazing thing is when drivers do stupid things and somehow feel that the fault was not theirs, but yours.

I encountered someone like this today. Picture an empty road, with Mr. Idiot a hundred feet ahead of me. He’s not going particularly fast, so I’m catching up. At this point, the single lane becomes two, and there’s a big sign saying “SLOWER TRAFFIC KEEP RIGHT.” Since by now I’ve caught up, I start to wonder which lane Mr. Idiot will choose, as I want to get past him. In this town, there’s no way to predict this, even though the law, the sign, safety and common sense dictate that Mr. Idiot should move into the right-hand lane.

Mr. Idiot makes his move. He drifts partially into the right-hand lane, then drives along in both lanes for a while. Since he’s more in the left lane than the right, I signal and move to pass him on the right. Now Mr. Idiot’s brain swings into full action: he moves into the right lane in front of me – without signaling – and cuts me off. I hit the brakes, signal left and move back into the left lane to try passing him – again. This time Mr. Idiot decides to stay in his lane and carry on.

At the next light, I look over at Mr. Idiot, curious as to his gender and wondering if he might make some apologetic gesture. Yes, he did gesture, but not apologetically. Clearly Mr. Idiot thought that someone had done something wrong, and that someone was ME.

There’s just so much wrong with this. I was tempted to follow Mr. Idiot and ask him what he thought just happened. Perhaps he knows some quirk of the law with which I’m unfamiliar. But I didn’t, and now I’ll never know.

Sounds pretty bad doesn’t it? Well, in Victoria, BC, this is an everyday occurrence. Several times a day, in fact. Which is why I’ve given up completely. Soon I’ll be moving much closer to work, so that I won’t have to deal with people like Mr. Idiot on a daily basis. What a relief!

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