November 4th, 2005


Vicious cycles

In joint second place for "idiot of the day" award today are Collapse )

* I've taken to shouting things like "hey!" and "woah!" as a hopefully non-offensive and non-confrontational way of alerting people to my presence which (unlike ringing the bell) leaves both hands free to brake, and (also unlike the bell) stands a chance of being heard even by people whose ears are busy with the iPod or the mobile.

But the runaway winner was... a Stagecoach bus coming along St Andrews Street with no lights, in the dark, at the point where there isn't really room for two vehicles to pass even when one of them's a bike. It's amazing how hard it is to see even something the size of a bus when your eyes are attuned to looking for headlights. Fortunately I managed to get out of the way in time, but was too gobsmacked to get the bus's number, or indeed to do anything but bellow "LIGHTS! Your LIGHTS!" and gesticulate at the offending unlit objects. He beeped twice as he passed me, and when I looked back the rear lights were on, so maybe that was a "thank you" for reminding him. Who knows? But, WTF? This is somebody who gets paid to drive a vehicle!

I feel like such an old codger this week, but ... are people actually getting more careless (and more belligerent about defending their carelessness), or am I just noticing it more and/or allowing myself to get wound up by it more? Part of me wants to blame 'rights culture' -- if people are brought up to believe that they have a Right to do whatever they want, whenever they want, then they're not going to get into the habit of taking responsibility for their actions, and thinking before acting. After all, why think if you know you're in the right? Obviously I'm not suggesting that people consciously think "I will walk out into the road without looking, because I have a right not to get run over"; more that the cult of individual rights makes people think more about what they're "entitled" to rather than about their responsibilities as members of society.

And if all that sounds a bit heavy based on something as trivial as people not looking where they're going, then all I can say is blame Cambridge's traffic for raising my blood pressure. And thank goodness it's Friday.