The adventures of Miss Super Samaritan
Driving is one of those rare activities in our society where collective participation, communal cooperation and individual judgment and ability all come together in ways that usually work well – but often leave us scratching our heads wondering just what in the hell is going on with the people we’re forced to share the roads with.
It’s a bit like team sports – only you’ve got a bunch of strangers on your “team” and you have no way of knowing what they’ll do at any given moment.
Professional drivers see more than their fair share of stupidity on the road (there’s no other word for it). And I’m sure most of you could write volumes about the stuff you’ve seen. But let me share an episode I saw this morning.
The main road in front of my subdivision used to be a quiet two-lane country road. Today, thanks to urban sprawl, twice a day during rush hour it’s a clogged, congested, crowded city road with way more traffic than it was ever built to handle.
I’m lucky: When I come up to the intersection with this road in the morning, I make a right turn to get to the office. I don’t have to fool with traffic coming from the right at all.
This morning, as I pulled up to the stop sign, there were three cars in front of me, all with their left-hand turn signals on.
Great, I thought. I’m stuck here while they wait for a break in both lanes.
At about this point, Miss Super Samaritan came cruising up from the left in her red Chevy Malibu. She takes stock of the situation at this intersection and decides that she’s going to help out.
So she comes to a full and complete stop in the middle of the road and begins waving at the cars in front of me, basically saying, Hi! I’m Miss Super Samaritan and I’ m here to help! Pull on out in the road and get on your way this fine morning!
Well, for starters, there was – at that moment – no traffic behind her. None whatsoever. And – as I’ve already noted – if you’re crossing a lane to turn onto a road, the traffic coming from the left is the least of your worries. Catching a break from traffic coming from the right is the bigger issue.
So really, Miss Super Samaritan could have just continued on her merry way down the road – like she’s supposed to – and it would not have hurt, or helped, the cars in front of me in the slightest one way or the other. In fact, as future events are about to show, it would have been far more helpful if she’d merely just gone on her way and let them deal with the traffic situation.
As it happened, the cars in front of me realized how ridiculous this situation was as well. So now they all start waving back at Miss Super Samaritan, saying, basically, Hey! Thanks! But we’ve got this! And you’re unnecessarily complicating what is already a stressful and intense situation! So – while we appreciate it – please continue on down the road and have a nice day!
But no. Miss Super Samaritan wasn’t’ having any of that. She started waving back even harder, signaling: Don’t be silly! I’m here to help! It’s no bother at all! Just pull on out in the road and get on with your day – and we can all bask in the glow of what a wonderful, thoughtful and helpful person I am!