We are all assholes. It’s true.
I’m not calling you an asshole per se (at least not to your face), but there are times when you are one. And yes, there are also times when I’m an asshole.
It’s all a matter of perspective.
When you are a driver of a motor vehicle (AKA motorist), all pedestrians and bicyclists are assholes.
When you are a bicyclist, all pedestrians and motorists are assholes.
When you are a pedestrian, all bicyclists and motorists are assholes.
When you are riding high (on a bus or in a taxi), everyone else is an asshole.
When you chug along on a Segway, you are the only asshole. Stop that.
You know it’s true. From your unique perspective, it’s always the other person that’s the asshole. And from their unique perspective, you are the asshole. So yes, you are uniquely an asshole sometimes. To someone.
I’ve used every mode of transportation in Washington, D.C. and I can categorically say that however I’m getting around, the other person is at fault. The other person deserves to get run over. Or verbally violated. Or smacked upside the head. It is always their fault. Always. I am right. They are the asshole.
Okay, in theory, I know I’m not always right. But just try convincing me in the heat of road battle. In the thick of weaving and avoiding pesky people in my path. Won’t happen.
There is nothing quite like two-hour commutes, or being stuck in traffic, or someone not obeying traffic signs, or someone not waiting their turn that gets people in a mood. A foul mood. Road rage isn’t part of our lexicon by accident.
Getting around D.C. (or any city), requires us to have a certain understanding of our fellow travelers. We must recognize the rules, the nuances, the rights from wrongs of navigating within our concrete city-jungle. And we must be willing to follow and adhere to those ourselves.
The problems arise when look at the three categories of travelers:
1) People who are oblivious. They aren’t paying attention or they’re focused on themselves. The world is small to them. They have important places to be or important calls to take. They must text or tweet now!
2) People who just don’t care about other travelers. They know what’s what, but they have to be first. They won’t wait or stop or play nice. They won’t give an inch and they care about you about as far as they could throw you.
3) People who are conscientious. They know what’s what and they follow the rules. They pay attention. Mostly they care. If everyone fell into this category, we would have far fewer accidents, incidents and anger.
Granted, there are times when we might be in more than one category, or we could just have a bad day. But in general, you can relate to one of these categories more often than not. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s your attitude that dictates what happens next. People in categories 1 and 2 will most often be the ones to start something or cause an accident.
Here’s a handy list of things you should do that will make our world a better place, with far fewer assholes:
GET OFF the sidewalk if there are pedestrians or someone is walking their dog. You can also walk your bike around them.
DO NOT blow through the Stop Sign or Red Light without stopping when there are OTHER vehicles or pedestrians. If the coast is clear, you have my permission to go for it…
DO NOT wait for a speeding bicyclist coming up to a four-way stop. You got there first, if they blow through the intersection, run them over.
DO NOT ride your motorcycle in the bike lane. Or on the sidewalk.
DO NOT hold down on your horn when someone is a couple of seconds slow to move when the light turns green. A quick tap will do after all the cars in front of it have moved.
DO NOT walk or jog in the bike lane. If you are in the lane to open a car door, step aside or wait when bikes are coming.
LOOK BOTH ways before jaywalking – even if it’s a one way street. Bicyclists sometimes ride the wrong way on a street.
DO NOT cut across the 4-way stop diagonally or cross two streets in succession. Your turn is to cross one street, then wait for the next traveller in line.
DO NOT exist.
Stop being an asshole.
Be nice. Be wrong. Be able to say when you’re sorry. And get out of my way.