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Sunday, 18 September 2011

Reasons why I walk as near to the inside of the path as possible on my way to work

I'm going to rant.  I don't rant often, not properly.  But some things have to be said.  If you are anti-ranting, look away now.

On my walk to school each morning, I go down a country road for 10 minutes.  And I've begun to play a little game called 'What are the drivers doing?'  I look into each car which passes me and observe the drivers.  This game is subtitled, 'Being So Needful of Distraction from the Fact That One's Legs are Moving That One Has to Nose Into Other People's Lives for Entertainment'.

I'm not going to call them 'drivers' any more, though.  I'm going to call them 'those at the wheel'.  Because MOST of them are not just driving.  They are doing other things while their car is moving, often erratically, along the road.  Here is a list of the Other Things they are doing.

Other Thing Number 1: Texting

On average, about 1 in 5 of the those-at-the-wheels, are texting.  Texting?  You mean, texting which involves looking at your phone instead of out of your windscreen?  Yes, that kind of texting.  You mean, texting which is basically the equivalent of reading as you drive?  Yes, that kind of texting.  You mean texting which means you only have one hand on the wheel while you are reading and pressing buttons?  Yes, that kind of texting.  Fran, why are you asking this mighty list of questions and then answering them yourself?  Is it because you find it hard to believe that people do this with a clear conscience?  Bang on!

Other Thing Number 2: Reading texts

Some people are not actively texting, but are reading texts.  Who knows?  They may just have texted, or be about to text, but when I see them, they're just reading one. I will not inflict on you another high-octane list of questions and answers, but I feel just as incredulous about this.  If you asked most of those people whether they would catch up on a chapter of Sense and Sensibility while driving the kids to school or going to work, they would think that was ridiculous.  So .........

Other Thing Number 3: Applying make-up

I used to see people doing this at traffic lights, and, fair enough, if you're stationary, I guess.  But why wait until I've stopped, these ladies must be thinking.  Why not just get on with it while on the move, one hand on the wheel, the other wielding a mascara stick or lipstick?  But I just don't see the logic.  'Hm, what shall I do?  Get up a minute earlier and apply the make-up at home while I'm sitting still and doing it properly, or apply it in the car while moving along, leaning to one side towards the driver's mirror, not quite able to see, and at risk of ramming a mascara stick into my eyeball as well as mowing down a middle-aged teacher on her innocent way to school?  I know.  I'll do it in the car.'

Other Thing Number 4: Drinking coffee

I've never had scalding hot liquid spill into my lap unexpectedly, but I can't imagine it's one of those moments you'd file under 'Nostalgic, Happy Memories' in your mind, like your Sunday visits to Grandma, or the time you kissed your lover at the top of the Eiffel Tower.  But I see those-at-the-wheels risking it daily, and I don't just mean drinking out of cups with lids and those little holes.  And, anyway, whose idea was it to make out that the little-hole lids were safe? They stop you from blowing on your coffee to cool it, and you get maximum burn when the liquid slops through and applies lava to your bottom lip.  So, either way, lid or no lid, there's a possibility that being scalded on sensitive parts of your body will mean you lose control of the wheel and find yourself welded to a tree trunk (or an innocent middle-aged teacher walking to work).

I will cease my ranting and leave you with this.  Judging on my road alone, there are SO many people desperate to go and meet Jesus.

24 comments:

  1. I always apply my make-up in the car. It's the only time I get a mirror to myself.

    Only joking, of course.

    I don't wear make-up. My face is covered in tattoos.

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  2. Yay, the voice of the reasonable rant.

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  3. Oh my goodness, those English drivers. So dangerous. Luckily in rural Australia my only risks of being run down as a pedestrian are 1. driver is whacking a spider on the inside of their car with a shoe while driving or 2. driver is trying so hard to avoid the snake on the road they run me down instead. Australia. Wear sandals at your own risk.

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  4. excellent rant and well deserved
    thanks for sharing
    martine

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  5. Loved the rant and LOVED the billboard! People just need to slow down and DO what they are doing. This multi-tasking will be the death of us. We're really not as important or busy as we'd like to believe. Currently reading The Miracle of Mindfulness. Maybe you could take a day off school, stand by that billboard and hand out copies to all the mindless morons "behind the wheel!"

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  6. Steve - I'll be watching out for anyone driving around Leamington while having a dragon tattooed on his chin.

    Charlotte - glad you think I'm being reasonable. I would have thought so too, but evidence seems to point otherwise.

    Inner Pickle - spiders and snakes! Gosh, the most dangerous thing I see on my walk to work is a sparrow with a pointy beak. And those drivers, of course.

    Martine - thank you. Like the poems on your blog, by the way.

    Molly - you're right, it's multitasking. When did we start doing this? Okay, so I eat biscuits while I'm typing, but that's as far as it goes, and the only hazard is crumbs between the a and the s.

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  7. I love the pastor's sign: could you copy it onto a high viz jacket for your walk to work perhaps?

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  8. I'm too busy watching other cyclists to bother with drivers .... but we do have bike lanes where I live .
    This week I've seen one cyclist rolling a cigarette while pedalling and one clever-clogs cycling with his arms crossed .
    I tend just to hang onto the handlebars and concentrate grimly .

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  9. sometimes when I'm riding on the road and a car looks like it won't slow down (even though I've asked politely and smiled) I hold my stick out at a right angle so it swishes against the passenger window- gives the driver a real shock cos they think they've hit something!
    Try it with a walking stick haha!

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  10. ps riding Bruce that is, not a bike...not that I would need a stick on a bike...oh you know what I mean!

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  11. How about shaving? Someone I know drives himself and his kids to school/work fairly far away; they have to leave early. Too early. He shaves in the car, I've been told.

    Whatever happened to using time in the car to just think?

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  12. hausfrau - don't worry - I have my own method of being high-vis. It's called being large.

    SmitandSon - you're right - cyclists do stupid stuff, too. Mind you, I'm always slightly envious of the ones who can ride without holding on. How do they do that?

    tedandbunny - I'm waiting to see someone write a blog about this person on a horse who is a danger to society ...

    Diane - yes! I HAVE seen someone shaving! I completely forgot to mention that. Are there no limits? Where do all the bits of stubble go? Yuk.

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  13. ...and nose picking! I see bogey hunters daily behind the wheel. And they are REALLY concentrating, but not on the road.
    Anna May x

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  14. Personally, I find that if I even talk while driving, the car tends to go on one of my normal routes regardless of whether this is actually where I hope to end up.

    I think you should retire. Working is obviously endangering your health.

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  15. Really, if you can't rant to your bloggie friends what good are they? Saw a woman using an eyelash curler just the other day. At least she was at a light, but why did she even have one in her CAR?! Try this peeping game next time: see what celebrity, etc. the occupants look like. I amuse myself with this game at long lights. Yes, sometimes my mind is a vast, open space...

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  16. Anna May - yes, I was going to mention those and had already written the word 'orifices' and then I thought better of it.

    Isabelle - I think I should retire, too. But there are mouths to feed. Oh, that'll be me, then!

    I'm Crayon - I can't believe the eyelash curler lady. And I will try your game. Except that my knowledge of celebs is only grade E.

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  17. I must admit, I sometimes try and plan my blog-posts whilst I am driving which could well be even more dangerous than texting. Love your rants Fran - keep them coming.

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  18. It had to be said, you're quite right, Fran.

    Ranting is good.

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  19. Alan - I don't mind you planning, my dear - it's the jotting of the notes down while you're going along the motorway that worries me.

    Friko - ranting is very, very good. I felt so much better.

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  20. Oh, they can look like anyone! Aunt Ethel (I had one. Don't mock.), old film stars, the dry cleaning guy, whoever!

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  21. I so hate when people text and drive. It seems very selfish on their part. :/

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  22. I suppose it could be possible that the ones applying makeup could be ensuring they look presentable when entering the pearly gate after texting that they're nearly there?

    Excellent post as usual.

    Anna :o]

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  23. WW - sometimes I think people in cars think they are in a little world of their own and forget that they're in a tin box which is moving along the road at speed.

    Hypercryptical - yes, I think that must be it. Can't arrive before St Peter with yesterday's eyeliner!

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