Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Just go. Please just ... go.

The title of this entry goes out to everyone that is found in either of the situations below. And I really didn't think these situations happened very often, but they've happened enough recently that I felt compelled to lay them out here.

Don't wait for that pedestrian, just go. Please just ... go.

Let's say you're waiting to turn right at a light and the light turns green and a pedestrian on the other side of the street starts heading your way, just go. Please just ... go.

Here's what I'm talking about:

When this happens, and you're in the car in front of me, just go. Please just ... go. I've seen about a billion people in the situation above and what do they do? They wait. They wait until the pedestrian has cleared the street entirely. Using my small sample size, this takes between 20 and 400 seconds (normal brisk walker vs. homeless person with their shed-sized shopping cart). And by this time the crosswalk is completely free of pedestrians, the light is no longer green and only a couple cars can make their right turn on this cycle of the light. I understand you're trying to be courteous to the pedestrian and all, but let's get serious. What you're really being is discourteous to all the motorists behind you (specifically me).

Look, you've got a minimum of 10 seconds before you're even going to be close to even gusting some drive-by wind on that pedestrian. Unless the walk signal fires up and this guy breaks into an olympic-qualifying level sprint, you are in no danger even attracting this pedestrian's attention, much less actually executing any level of vehicular manslaughter.

I'm serious. The light turns green. Take a moment and look at the pedestrian and realize how long it will be before he/she even gets to the middle of the road. Assess the 100% lack of danger and just go. Please just ... go.

Once again, don't wait for that pedestrian in the parking lot, just go. Please just ... go.

This situation is pretty much exactly the same, but in this example, I'm the pedestrian. And this situation seems to be exclusive to parking lots. Here it is.

I'm approaching a throughway in a parking lot and I see a car that is going to intersect my path. I recognize this and stop to wait for the car to pass me. If you're driving that car, just go. Please just ... go. Illustration:

So, once again, in the situation above, I think the motorist typically has this innate sense of courtesy so they stop and wait for me to go. The problem is that I was going up until I saw you. And then I stopped very deliberately and am purposefully not looking in your direction in hopes that you'll keep going. But inevitably you don't. And then what do I have to do? I have to do the f'ing courtesy jog (when I'm likely carrying a soda and a bag of lunch food). End result: you had to wait to get where you're going. I had to do the courtesy jog and the whole thing took about 10 seconds.

Let's recap:
  • I stop
  • You stop
  • I go "Oh! You want me to go?"
  • I courtesy jog
  • You wait
  • You go
  • 10 seconds gone
In my preferred alternative scenario, here's what happens. You're approaching my position in the parking lot. I stop. You recognize that I just stopped walking and so you just keep on rolling. Why? Because you're in a car. By default, you're already executing your own courtesy jog. I kindly and happily wait while you swiftly move past me. And then I go. And the whole thing takes about 5 seconds. See how nice that was?

Let's recap:
  • I stop
  • You go
  • I go
  • 5 seconds gone
Next time, just go. Please just ... go.

Did I just spend a half hour drawing pictures and writing up something that will save me a max of 5 seconds per encounter? Yes. Yes, I did. Some day (roughly 360 encounters from now), it will all be worth it.

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