Thursday, October 18, 2007

When Courtesy Attacks!

Is it possible to be too courteous?
When someone is so courteous that they don't realize they're causing a problem, are you wrong for not accepting their hospitality?

(I will try to make this short...)

When I backed out of my parking space at the corner coffee shop, which really is on the corner of a rather busy intersection, I found myself tucked into the no-man's land of the parking lot. No one travels through this section of the lot. In fact, the cars that were parked there had an inch of dust on the hood and skeletons in the driver's seat.
In other words, I am out of everyone's way.
Crickets chirping. Tumbleweeds blowing.

From here, I need to pass through the driveway and cross two lanes of traffic to make my left-hand turn at this rather busy intersection.

The light is red, I am in no hurry, and I decide to just sit there in the parking lot and wait for all the vehicles on the street to be on their merry way.

It's then that I notice a kind gentleman, signalling that he is about to turn into the coffee shop parking lot (and who has right-of-way to do so), has paused to allow room for me to exit.
But I don't want to exit. There's too much other traffic. I can't get to the left-turn lane.

Yet, he will not turn in.
Even though the driveway is completely clear.
And traffic is piling up behind him.

His way is clear.
My way is not.

As I am registering this, he gives me the "go ahead" hand wave.

But it's not the gentle *flick flick* "Please, after you" hand wave.
Oh, no.
Because I didn't immediately accept his gratious offer of exit, and he's now embarassed for causing others to wait, he gives me the full-arm angry "Get your ass moving already!" hand wave.

So, I go.
And get stuck halfway out.
Nose in traffic, ass in driveway.

Only now, he really can't turn in because I'm in his way.
And I still can't get out, because there's still traffic in the other lane!

Plus, now we're both angry and think the other is an idiot.

So, what do you think?
Is it possible to be too courteous?
And really, should you be upset when someone declines your offer of courtesy?


Richmond said...

What a jerk. Not you, of course - him. Gah...

Thumper said...

At least he was (initially) trying to be nice. When faced with that (and it happens, even in CA where people drive with their heads wedged up their asses a lot of the time) I find a vigorous NO shake of my head gets the point across that I'm not accepting their invitation to creep out into traffic and get run over.

Lukie said...

This sounds like my husband except that he would not be angry with you he would probably try to block traffic so you could go. It would be me that would be giving you the full-arm angry "Get your ass moving already!" hand wave.

Yes people can be too courteous and I tell my husband that all the time. I also agree that a vigorous NO shake of the head gets the point across.

Mrs. Who said...

I was in an awful accident because another driver 'waved' thru the idiot that hit me. I don't know about where you live, but here if you wave someone to go and there is an accident, you can be held liable.

I refuse to accept an offer 'to go' if I don't have the right away.

Roses said...

Richmond: That's what confuses me. He started out being a nice guy, and then became a jerk. What is that?

Mrs. Who: Yeah. There was some issue recently about who is at fault when tractor drivers wave cars around their big vehicles and accidents happen.

Thumper and Lukie: You are so right. I should have just declined.
Apparently, I respond quickly (and often without thinking) to angry people. I just can't stand to have someone (even a stranger) upset with me.

Oh well. I live, I learn.
Next time...

Marie said...

That happened to me all the time when I lived in Oregon. Once I was trying to get into a gas station. There was a red light on the corner, and the car in front of me, instead of stopping at the light, stopped way back behind the driveway. No one was waiting to get out, there wasn't even anyone at the gas station. But despite my repeated Californian honking, he would not pull forward. Cuz you never know, someone might pull in, get gas, and need to leave again before the light turned green. (sigh)