Thursday, September 18, 2014

News Flash: Stuff Is Gonna Happen

I had an interesting morning on my way to work. A kind of "perfect storm" of road sharing (or lack thereof) in which a truck with a trailer gave me a wide berth (thank you, btw), pushing an oncoming white pickup close to a runner going the same direction as me facing traffic on the other side of the road, as runners commonly do. Thing is, it resulted in the runner and the motorist coming to blows. I have video. Here's the "perfect storm" part:

video

After that is when things went all sideways. The runner told me he may have made a gesture at the pickup's driver when he came so close. Just after that the driver of the white pickup did a u-turn, drove up to the runner and the driver got out. Yelling and a pretty serious scuffle ensued. I dismounted my bike and approached, but not too close. The white pickup left soon after. I spoke to the runner who gave me his version of what happened. I offered my video. He didn't want it. 30 seconds after we parted ways, the runner was yelling after me asking if I could get a plate number off my video. The truck had swung around again and the driver had thrown hot water or tea or something on him! Crazy. Just crazy.

Now for the surprising (at least to me) part: I am not going to post the video of any of that. I am making it available to the runner in case he wants to press charges, but I am not going to post it anywhere online. When I first got it, I was mentally rubbing my hands at the thought of tons of views (and maybe a little ad revenue) on youtube. Now though, I have decided that would just feel sort of wrong.

As much as they are fun to watch, nobody learns anything from videos of negativity and violence on the roads; they entertain by appealing to the worst in us and just leave the viewer more convinced than ever that everybody else out there is a dangerous idiot. Hate 'em all, whoever they are!

Here's what I wish people would learn instead: so long as there are roads and people using them, Stuff Is Gonna Happen. I sometimes make mistakes when I drive my car and when I ride my bike. So do you. Sometimes complex scenarios result in people making poor decisions. It isn't malice or carelessness; it's just a mistake. I heard somewhere that people learn from those. In addition, there are careless unsafe idiots using every possible mode of transportation. Contrary to how it feels sometimes, these are a small minority; if they weren't it would be non-stop carnage and bedlam out there. Last but not least, there are road users who want to strongly assert their rights, real or perceived, 100% of the time.

For those who assert their legal rights at all times, go for it. You (ahem) have every right. I would remind you that a little well-timed and considered courtesy that is not required by law can really help others out sometimes and make you an awesome person in the process. For those who are always asserting perceived rights, you wouldn't know they weren't real, would you? Ask yourself if you often find yourself in conflict with other road users. If so, you may want to look into what your rights and obligations really are under the law.

My point, however, is that no amount of legal correctness or common courtesy can protect any of us in all scenarios. Stuff Is Gonna Happen. My hope is that by remembering this fact I (and others) will maintain enough road zen to be peaceful and civil, even when we feel we've been wronged. Stuff Is Gonna Happen. It's OK, we're all only human. Let's be kind. Stuff Is Gonna Happen. Ohmmm.



Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

PS - For the curious, I was unable to pull a plate number from my video. Even in HD, plates can be hard to get good video of unless they're right in front of you. The runner has my number if he wants the video anyway.

8 comments:

cafiend said...

I have experienced the lack of detail in HD video. Some of what we experience with wearable cams is the rapidly diminishing image size provided by the wide angle lens as an object moves away. The WA provides great depth of field, but at the cost of detailed acuity.

I have also experienced surges of rage at the incursions of assorted jackasses when I've been out riding. It has made me kind of a connoisseur of rage. I sample each offering of it and rate it on justifiability, adrenaline content and probable outcome. I still sometimes get rapidly intoxicated on a slug of the hard stuff, but less often than in the beginning of my transportation cycling years.

Humans are great extrapolaters. Something happens and we instantly draw a bunch of conclusions. We're also physically defensive and paranoid, qualities that served us well in primitive times. Now we live in modern times, in which we bathe more, walk a lot less and occasionally indulge in useful introspection. This introspection is often triggered by some primitive reversion we either perpetrated or encountered.

RANTWICK said...

Wow 'fiend, you write real good. Are you suggesting I engaged in useful introspection there? Also agreed on that HD stuff, you put that very well too.

Steve A said...

Plus one as I read your post. Ironically, I'm a passenger in a car crossing the Canadian River which is in Oklahoma.

RANTWICK said...

Ah, the mighty Canadian. Best river EVER.

John Romeo Alpha said...

Sorry, I made a mistake. Why are those words so difficult to say?

Steve A said...

The river is nice. The Canadian Valley is also nice, though it has LOTS of bugs!

Chandra said...

Are all these things 'really happening' or is it all a projection of the mind?
Just pondering...

Peace :)

RANTWICK said...

JRA - Dunno. Funny ain't it?
Chandra - Are you high?

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