A pedestrian crossing is no place to be polite

People are insanely smiley and polite in this town, which is very sweet. But they sometimes take the politeness way too far.

I’m used to city rudeness and self-centredness. I feel safer when everyone’s looking out for Number One and we all know where we stand. It’s called survival of the fittest.

So, while I’m happy to say I’ve learned a lot about good manners and common courtesy since moving here, I don’t go in for extreme politeness. That’s when you go out of your way to be so polite that it actually endangers lives — not just your own, but other people’s.

People do that a lot here.

A pedestrian crossing is there for a reason, right? As drivers, we know we have to stop for someone who is waiting to cross. It’s no biggy. It’s actually so deeply programmed into our psyches that we don’t even see it as an inconvenience (even moi, who hates having to stop for anyone or anything).

So it really annoys the shit out of me when I stop at a pedestrian crossing and the person who has already started to cross spots an opportunity to be polite,  doubles back and waves me across.

Then we have to have an awkward Minties moment, where I shake my head and wave them across, they shake their head and wave me across, and I have to then stop myself from shouting, “JUST CROSS THE FUCKING ROAD!”, because if at the last minute they did decide to cross the road right at the same second I decided to drive on, and I unintentionally mowed them down, guess who would be at fault? ME!

Granted, that doesn’t happen every single time I stop at a crossing. But what does happen (almost) every single time is that people get halfway across the crossing, then smile and wave at me, as if I’ve done something truly amazing. That’s not me being polite folks, that’s just me following the road rules. But hey, feel free to smile and wave at me every time I do what the law requires me to do. Have it your way.

The extreme politeness moves into dangerous territory when people take it upon themselves to change the road rules — just to be nice. So, when they are driving up the ONE main street of town and I’m waiting for them to pass so I can turn in from a side street, they will actually stop their car in the middle of the road and earnestly wave at me to drive in front of them.

So, we have another Minties moment, where I adamantly shake my head and tell them to drive on, because they actually have right of way and it really won’t hurt my feelings if they just stick to the fucking road rules, and they shake their head and insist on waving me on, and I just turn up the music, put my feet up on the dashboard, sit back and have a little snooze while I wait for them to drive ahead. Like they were supposed to do in the first place.

Note to townsfolk: when being extremely polite could get an innocent person booked, cause a car crash, annoy the crap out of someone or just create confusion where none existed before, then you’ve misunderstood the fundamental point of manners: to make the OTHER person feel comfortable.

Is anyone else out there annoyed by inappropriate politeness? Do tell.

29 thoughts on “A pedestrian crossing is no place to be polite”

  1. I’ve noticed this ‘politeness trumps rules’ phenomenon too Leigh. ALWAYS default to the rules when driving or pedestrianing (is that a word). That way everyone knows where they stand, and we can avoid the ‘you first, no you first, both go together – CRASH’ scenario.

    1. I get really angry at getting waved on too Leigh. Inside I am screaming: don’t tell me what to do! Glad I’m not the only one.

  2. It just feels awkward someone smiling at you through the windscreen of the car that could just lurch forward and run them over. Perhaps I should just get out and start carrying their shopping or something?

  3. not to mention the fricken, pedestrian helicopter hoverers, you know the ones that gasbag almost on the first white stripe then step back then step forword, my inner dialogue: come on you can do it YOU CAN DO IT !!!! then they don’t take one for the team and step back, bring back the point scoring system I say, you know the one where you get 100 points for every road kill …………… Oh did I just say that !

    1. Hilarious Annette. I know exactly what you mean. They’re a distant relative of the bulletproof pedestrians, the ones who wander across the road with their back to oncoming traffic licking their Colin James ice-creams…. that’s one for another post though!

  4. Uh! Oh! Now I am feeling a bit stupid for being one of those pedestrians that politely waves at the drivers, or smiles, or dare I say both of the above.
    Great post Leigh

  5. And the other side of the coin is impatient people who beat you to the crossing in their cars and zoom by wafting you with fumes, or sit there glowering and revving and then squealing off as it you are the biggest asshole in the world for daring to slow down their journey to the bottle shop or wherever.

  6. Hi Leigh, bit slow on the uptake by reading backwards 😉 I have been conditioned to always wave at cars that honk as they’re driving past, whether or not I know the drivers, in case they think that I’m snubbing them by not waving. In most cases, they’re tooting their hello to someone right near me and we both end up waving. When a butterfly flaps its wings…?

    1. LOL, I do that too Wendy. Hear a horn honk, give them a wave. The worst is when you wave at someone you think is someone else and they look at you like you’re a weirdo.

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