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The Gospel of Eric

Posted on 2010.04.20 at 11:16
Current Location: 75409
Current Music: Buckley - The Forbidden City
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[Courtesy] Eric 1:1

I often remind my son the importance of practicing. His counter-argument of course are those with a natural ability. I remind him that while seemingly good at many things, these prodigies aren't good at everything and practice alone can help him excel at anything he chooses to set his hand to.

This morning it dawned on my I may have to retract my statement and apologize to him - because either everyone I travel on the road with is a first-time driver, or the days, months, and years of "practice" they've had driving simply does not translate to better ability. Seriously - how difficult is it to learn to GET OUT OF THE LEFT HAND LANE if traffic is driving faster than you are? That isn't a rhetorical question. Seriously - what the fuck is going through your head? Do you not find it easier to not be either completely clueless or more facilitatory? I know I do! In fact, I spent a lot of time on the road trying to not piss off other people - not the opposite (though as an aside, I do end up upsetting the holier-than-thou crowd (see below) in my attempts to drive safely and accurately - can't please all of the people all of the time)!

My ire today was caused by a driver who turned right, down the parking lot lane at work I was waiting to turn right out of - without signaling. I'm not making this up. She turned without indicating! For those of you who are new to driving, or dumb, I wasn't just waiting there for fun. She had the right-of-way, and I was waiting for her to drive past me so I could turn.

To me it all boils down to courtesy.

In this day and age courtesy is not only underutilized, but more importantly, undervalued. We, as a society place no value on it and therefore do not attempt to practice it - and the reasons for not doing so are mind-blowingly Darwinistic. Yes, you're going to die soon because you don't deserve to live. Sad but true. Despite seeing it and hearing it over and over, I still find it difficult to imagine living in a world where other people just don't care about anything but themselves. The very core of my existence aches at the thought that these people live and breath. And you God-fearing folks: You do not have the market cornered on politeness. Quite the contrary - given Christianity's penchant for justification you are often the worst offenders. You know this is true, but you justify that as well. GOOD LUCK TO YOU IN THE AFTERLIFE.

Speaking of highly-fragmented religions, at the core of nearly every spiritual doctrine is a variation of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." I'm not interested in the last time you saw that practiced, rather, when was the last time you practiced it yourself? We're not perfect beings - none of us are - but I've found that I can simultaneously lower my frustration and increase my personal happiness footprint by being agreeable and accommodating most of the time. Sure I still stare at people until they disappear when the situation calls for it - but those are the exceptions and not the rules. If you find that your situation calls for it more often than not, the problem may be yours.

For those of you who agree that an act of love can mask a thousand offenses (And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love,) perhaps you too can understand that its inverse remains true to me. There are a thousand reasons to not use your turn-signal, but they all culminate with being rude, and I can't abide rudeness.

Go forth today and be excellent to each other, as I will be excellent to you.


kat_rowe at 2010-04-20 17:34 (UTC) (Link)
I know I'm an over-cautious driver so I'll use my turn-signal even when I don't see anyone else on the roads just in case; you never know, after all. You could have developed Conversion Blindness you don't know about and your brain is filling in the visual blanks from memory! It happens! Occasionally... Anyway, as Harry Dresden points out "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there's not an invisible demon about to eat your face."

However, I recognize that I'm over-cautious and don't necessarily condemn other drivers for being less so. But there's ZERO excuse for the impoliteness you see from so many drivers. I mean, seriously, it burns a quarter calorie to flick on your signal indicator. How inconsiderate can a person be as to not do so? Ticks me off no end.

Be excellent to each other. (And party on, dude.)
ehowton at 2010-04-21 15:27 (UTC) (Link)
Then you have the people who think that if they use their blinker, its an automatic right-of-way; as if the blinker itself *steered* the car that direction!

Party on.
irulan_amy at 2010-04-21 03:48 (UTC) (Link)
And thus Eric hath spoken.

I live in a land of unbelievable drivers. Unbelievably bad and rude ones. I try to follow rules and hope that my courteous driving will inspire others to do the same. But I think they are usually too busy flying around me without a turn signal to notice.
ehowton at 2010-04-21 15:26 (UTC) (Link)
A childhood friend of mine who has lived in San Diego for the past 15-years told me the last time he was in Texas that using your blinker in California...is a sign of weakness.
Joshua Gizelt
swashbuckler332 at 2010-04-21 13:40 (UTC) (Link)
The comparison between never having learned how to drive properly and practicing to get something right doesn't really work all that well. Courtesy on the road isn't just polite, it is actually a necessity if you live in a very highly populated area, but it's something that isn't taught in any driving class.

In certain cases, such as merges, courtesy doesn't enter into it. There is a very simple rule to merges: cars from each lane alternate unless they're part of a convoy.

As far as the left lane is concerned, I don't think that people know what it is really for. There is, technically, no speed limit in the left lane, it's for passing. Granted there are some highways where the traffic is so heavy that it becomes another lane of traffic, but in such a case the person "enforcing the speed limit" up there is dead wrong.

The thing is, practice will make perfect if you're doing it right in the first place. If you've learned the wrong way to do something, you're going to keep doing it the wrong way.

It is interesting because in New York you often see a wide variety of driving skills. One of the most interesting aspects is how many people do drive well, given the population. It's the ones that don't that stick out all the more because they're the only ones doing the idiocy.

And Massachusetts drivers. I don't know what's up with them.
ehowton at 2010-04-21 15:25 (UTC) (Link)
New Hampshire drivers call them, "Massholes."
Lelf Treperra
ubet_cha at 2010-04-21 15:09 (UTC) (Link)
You listed two driving habits that get my pressure up. Failing to use the turn signal and slower driving in the left lane.

I'll forgive old people from both of these everyone else owes me!
ehowton at 2010-04-21 15:24 (UTC) (Link)
"I'm a mushroom-cloud-laying motherfucker, motherfucker!"
thesweetestnote at 2010-04-21 19:38 (UTC) (Link)
His counter-argument of course are those with a natural ability.

Ok...here I go...

Being a musician, I can vouch for this. I mean, sure one can "learn" simple rhythm and learn how to play a recorder in grade school but it rarely turns into the ability to play guitar, say as well as Eddie Van Halen. Practice alone, I think, can only roll the wheels so far...or should I say fast?

Another case: My guitar player's grandson (yeah, I jam with grandparents now...wow, gotta trip on that later) is such a natural at football. He has the arm of a pro and merely 7 years old. I can't even hold the football he uses with one hand and there he is throwing perfect spirals where ever you want it. His kicking skills are superb and could catch everything the drunken band threw at him. I've seen guys practice for years and never have they even scratched the surface of this kids talent.

Yes indeed, practice is not all of ones ability.

In fact, I spent a lot of time on the road trying to not piss off other people - not the opposite

I am the same way. And when I do unintentionally piss off others, I am trying to follow traffic laws to a T. Hate to admit that I'd rather bend (oh hell, Break!) the laws than piss off others. Courtesy is a fundamental Golden Rule and sadly, a rarely used basic of living.

At the grocery store, if you're behind me in line and only have like 1 item, rest assured I will let you ahead of me if I have a basket of stuff. That's just the right thing to do.

Kinda makes ya want to have all non-courteous asshole rounded up and shredded for cow feed or fertilizer, no? ':)

Go forth today and be excellent to each other, as I will be excellent to you

Damn it! I lost use of half of my userpics when I didn't renew my LJ paid membership which contained a sweet Bill and Ted avatar ':( This will be remedied very soon. I'm coming back soon with many, many userpics!!!!
ehowton at 2010-04-21 20:48 (UTC) (Link)
Yes indeed, practice is not all of ones ability.

Yes, but can the guitarist boy throw as good as the football boy or vise-versa?

You open yourself up to a wider ranger of abilities if you submit to a routine of practice. Further, I'm not about to tell my 10-year-old son, "You're right, just give up and embrace a life of mediocrity."
thesweetestnote at 2010-04-21 19:40 (UTC) (Link)
OH! And "Christians" are the worse of the lot!!!!! Fucking Bastards.
ehowton at 2010-04-21 20:46 (UTC) (Link)
thesweetestnote at 2010-04-22 04:19 (UTC) (Link)
I'm a sinner first and Christian second. All I can do is my best.

Oh! And I meant nothing toward my savior. I mean his followers :) and not all.
thesweetestnote at 2010-04-21 19:46 (UTC) (Link)
Isn't Texas the "Courtesy" state?
ehowton at 2010-04-21 19:54 (UTC) (Link)
They say the problem with driving in Texas is all the non-Texans on the road...
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