Pick Your Battles Folks!

Hi Folks!

Today was an interesting day, but then again most are! First of all, I would like to give a shout-out to ‘Y for his chivalry today. He stopped while doing his route and helped a woman get her car moving again after she got stuck in the snow. He used his great big feet as make-shift shovels to dig out her tires, then used his manly strength to push her car free! His feet were cold, but his heart was warm! Other than just being a nice guy, his explanation was, “Well, if MY wife was stuck, I would want someone to stop and help her.” Nice work ‘Y! ☺

So after entertaining myself all day (the route I am doing this week is kind of boring), the last half-hour provided me with all sorts of things to ponder. I had two contrasting experiences in that last thirty minutes and I would like to explain both of the scenarios and also my thoughts on the two matters.

Scenario #1: Our buses were leaving downtown and there are four routes that have to make one particular left-hand turn as soon as we leave the station. When the first bus went to make the turn, the bus driver did not have enough room to complete the turn without a vehicle on the other street backing up. The driver of that vehicle refused to back up. Correction: He backed up to where he was behind the white line, but then refused to back up any more. The bus could still not complete the turn, so there everyone waited. In the mean time, the man in the vehicle that is now legally behind the white line is out of his truck yelling at the bus driver and then he gets on his cell phone and is yelling on it. Simultaneously, traffic in every direction is backed up and then the other three routes that need to turn there decide to detour since we are all now 10 minutes behind schedule. The police were in route to resolve the vehicular stand-off, and now tons of people were late. The conclusion of this stand-off was that police arrived, blocked the intersection so the bus could back up, and the pick-up truck driver could continue on with his evening, albeit 15 minutes later than if he would have just backed up to begin with. His light was red and he had no one behind him, so it wasn’t like he was going to lose any time. More on that later. . .

Scenario #2: Ten minutes later in my route, after already being ten minutes behind, my bus was full of human popsicles and then I got to a particularly narrow part of the route I am doing this week. The problem I encountered was that we have had a lot of snow and two vehicles were parked on opposite sides of the street and my bus would not fit between them. So, using my super powers of deduction, I decide one particular house has the best chance of owning at least ONE of the two vehicles and I walk up to that door and knock. Here is how that went: Door opens and I said, “Hi! Would either of these two vehicles out here happen to belong to anyone in this household?” Yes, the white van. “Great! Would you please back it up or move it forward so that I can get the bus thru and get these people where they need to be and also get home myself? It is my last run!” No way. (pause) Just kidding! Let me get my shoes back on.” Two more things happened: The other car owner came out and offered to move (and I would have NOT guessed his house as it was diagonal from there), but the other guy had his shoes on already. Also, the van owner actually apologized to me. He thought we were done for the day. I told him I was the last one, so no one would be bothering him again for the evening and he could park however he wished. Folks, this guy had JUST gotten home because although his shoes were off, he still had his winter coat and hat on. More on that later too. . .

Okay, so guy #1 (I am switching from “scenario” to “guy” for simplicity) proved his point. He actually proved a lot them. Would you like to hear what I think some of those points are? Good! Let’s get started!

He proves he knows the law. That is apparent when he backs his truck up to the point that is legal and then refuses to budge any further even though no one is behind him.

He proves that sometimes intersections are not big enough for everyone and sometimes compromise is needed.

He proves that he has problems dealing with things that do not go his way. That is apparent when after backing up to the appropriate legal spot, he exits his truck and yells once again at the bus driver. He did finger-pointing and window-stabbing too. (“window-stabbing” is a term I just created. It is when you point your index finger really hard into a window and you are LUCKY if you do not break either your finger or the window. For future definition purposes, it usually is accompanied with anger.)

He proves that when “hissy fits” and “bullying” do not work, perhaps name-dropping and phone calls will.

He proves that being right is more important to him than time. Oh, and not just his, but everyone else’s time also. Let’s do a brief “time-waste” summary from just my perspective. Okay, I had about 10 people on when I left downtown and got one block to the stand-off. Then I was 10 minutes late. Then, I picked up about 15 more people that stood outside an extra 10 minutes because of this stand-off. So 25 people on my bus alone (not including me) that had 10 minutes of their time wasted because this one guy would not back up any further than the law would make him.

He proves that police officers put up with a lot of crap and have to make the best of completely avoidable situations while also being held accountable for why they do not respond quickly to other matters. Because they might be in the middle of crap like this and blocking traffic so someone can be “right”.

Other points were proven also, but let’s shift back to the positive, shall we? Guy #2 just got home from work, took his boots off, and then had a knock at his door. It was me, essentially asking him to put his boots back on and move his van so the rest of us could get on with our day, even though he just finished his and was trying to relax. Guy #2 thought we (the bus) were done for the night, so parked where he did. Guy #2 didn’t know Guy #1 would make us 10 minutes late and he would have to put his boots back on and go back outside and also drive around the block and repark. (I just made another new word!) ☺ Oh, and I did not need to call the cops to make him do it. I just asked him nicely and told him I was sorry that I was late and told him we were now done for the night! Guy #2 was great and rolled with the punches, put his boots back on, drove around the block, reparked, and probably had an awesome evening with his gal once he finally got his boots and coat off.

I am not sure how I would have dealt with Guy #1 had I been the driver. I watched it, but I really could not believe the anger. I just kept saying, “back up a few feet and it is all done. . .” Unnecessary heart attacks and police calls over a bit of road space. . .

Anyway, I know that I have also wasted my own and others’ time over principles that I hold dear. Sometimes, they have been righteous ideals, and maybe other times just personal things that tick me off. I just wanted to write this to point out how we all get lost in some of our pet peeves. I am sure that Guy #1 has had multiple left-turn, backing-up issues with buses and he was making his stand. I get it. I really do. I am just saying that certain things are not worth the energy. Backing up for a bus that needs to turn is one of them.

You know what would have worked better for Guy #1? He could have backed up 5 or 10 feet, let the bus complete its turn, made his phone calls the next day to express his complaints, or even later the same day, and been to wherever he was going 15 minutes earlier. (and saved everyone else a bunch of time also)

The other thing that probably would have happened (at least I hope so) had he backed up? The bus driver would have waved to say. “Thank You” and he would have waved back to say, “You’re Welcome”. That is how it normally works. . . Be nice, it works better!


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