11 September 2023

Watch out if you cross my path!

| Ross Solly
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Do you let cars in or make them wait their turn? Photo: Region.

Signs I’m getting old and grumpy, episode eight: Unnecessary vigilantism.

Even as I type these words, I realise people are already thinking of me as being something of a crank.

I suspect that as I put into words how my vigilante behaviour manifests itself it will become even more obvious I probably need more sleep.

Let me spell out a couple of recent scenarios where I have gone out of my way to make life more difficult for someone else.

Episode one. I boarded a bus, and all the double seats were being occupied by at least one commuter. As I walked down the aisle, I noticed the one person who had a bag on the seat next to him, so as to discourage anyone from sitting next to him.

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So what did I do? Of course I did. I could have quite easily taken one of the other vacant seats where no-one had placed a bag, but I wanted to make a point. Of course my fellow passenger was not happy, and made several grunting noises for the remainder of the trip, but I was, in a perverse kind of way, quite satisfied with my actions.

Episode two. Walking down the street. Coming towards me, a woman staring down at her phone, completely oblivious to everything that was going on around her. We were on a collision course, so of course the right thing to do was to step out of the way.

But obviously I didn’t. Because once again, I just had to make a point. So I walked straight into her.

Again, lots of unhappy grunting noises, a half-baked apology from me, and back she went to her phone. Had my unnecessary vigilantism achieved anything? Probably not, but I felt good that I had made a stand.

Episode three. Driving on a highway where three lanes merge into two. Most drivers, me included, merge into the middle lane very early, simply because that is what you are meant to do. But of course, impatient drivers come roaring down lane three, expecting to be let in by understanding drivers who have been sitting, barely moving, for minutes.

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But not me. I don’t let anyone in. I move so close to the car in front that there is no possible way a driver could try to merge. My logic – I have been sitting in this queue for ages, why should I yield to another driver who doesn’t have the same patience and is looking to jump the line?

So there is the evidence before you. I have always lived by the mantra that you need to pick your battles. The above episodes are probably good examples of battles that don’t need to be picked. But pick them I did.

What made me reflect on my behaviour of late? Recently I heard one of the actors from a favourite old television show of mine, One Foot In The Grave, had died. It made me remember the main character, Victor Meldrew. What a grumpy old bugger he was, I used to think. And now, lo and behold, I have become him!

So just watch out for me if you are out and about, minding your own business. Because there’s a good chance I will soon make your business, my business.

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Gregg Heldon7:59 am 13 Sep 23

I, for one, am more than sick of people walking around, attached to their phones, never looking up and expecting others to give them a wide berth. It’s ultimate entitlement.
I’ve seen whole families get entangled with a single person because they will not look up or get off their phones. With the phone user giving the other party a withering look, as if to say ” I’m on my phone. You’re at fault”.
I am very much, a grumpy old man, when it comes to societies over reliance of mobile phones as an individuals seemingly only source of life and entertainment. Like it is their saviour.

HiddenDragon8:08 pm 12 Sep 23

Sad news about Mrs Warboys, albeit at the grand age of 97. There was a time when many of the charity shops of Canberra seemed to be run by Mrs Warboys stunt doubles.

As to the subject of late onset assertiveness, if self doubt occasionally sets in, all you need to do is get spectacle frames in a bright primary colour, a contrasting hair dye and hey presto!, you’ll no longer be a grumpy old man, you’ll be “feisty” – and take no prisoners behaviour will be expected and maybe even admired.

“all you need to do is get spectacle frames in a bright primary colour, a contrasting hair dye and hey presto!, you’ll no longer be a grumpy old man, you’ll be “feisty” “

So true. Yes, because it all comes down to the ways social class and power are communicated. Currently it’s those with bright coloured hair who must always be deferred to. They are entitled to behave and opine without question, else the morality police swarm out on their behalf.

Sounds good to me!

If that’s what makes you feel good Ross! Me? I would assume the person on the bus had a communicable disease. The car zooming up lane three was taking his wife to the birthing suite. And the woman on her phone – she was reading with shock that her mother had just been attacked by feral dogs!

On merging – you and everyone else getting into the single lane early are actually slowing yourselves and everyone else down. It’s called zipper merging: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cX0I8OdK7Tk

Exactly. In really heavy traffic it is much more efficient to merge at the last minute.

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