Wednesday, April 22, 2009

TwinSpeak: When accidents happen

Have you ever made a social etiquette faux pas only to realise too little too late that it's happened? We've all had accidents before and those instances where we could have been more courteous in a social situation. What do you do about it when you realise?

Bella: Today I was on my way to work and realised that I could do with some fuel. I wasn't exactly running late but I like to be on time or a few minutes early. I pulled into a petrol station on the way to work and noticed a car pulling away from the pumps in the direction of the exit. I pulled in to the pump furthest to the front so that another car could get in behind me.

I started pumping my fuel and while doing so noticed that a lady in station wagon was yelling something out her window in the direction of everyone pumping fuel. It looked like she was actually yelling something at me and it also looked quite aggressive. It was only then it dawned on me what happened and what she was saying. The lady the I thought had been pulling out was actually trying to turn her car around and drive in the opposite way so she could fill up on the right side? She was yelling out something about wanting to turn around and pull in. In my one minded focus to get in and get fuel, I didn't realise what this lady was trying to do. I don't think she even managed to even start turning her car around because I pulled straight in. At first I thought, how stupid...what did she think was going to happen? She didn't have her indicator on, plus the petrol hoses aren't long enough to reach right to the other side??? Of course next, I felt pretty bad because had it been me in the same situation I would also be pissed.

I did consider apologising to this lady when we were within talking distance. Either I could go over to her or wait for her to come to me. I mean, I had technically pushed in front of someone who had been there before me to get fuel. But then I also felt a little defiant because I kept reasoning she was the one who pulled out? In the end my decision was made for a few reasons, One; this lady looked rather....rough. She was dishevelled, angry and had a load of screaming kids in the back seat. I didn't think she would be all to receptive to my apology. Two; By the time I had paid for my fuel and walked back to my car to leave she was still busy pumping fuel and completely preoccupied. I reasoned if she was that angry about it, maybe she would be looking out for me waiting for an apology or explanation? Either way, I drove away without another thought.

Frankie:Yes, I am sure we've all been guilty of some sort of little accident or slip up like this. I am sure you didn't mean it and I think sometimes people need to have some understanding in times like these.

I remember when I had accidentally cut someone off while merging into traffic. It was purely accidental and the person had to swerve suddenly to miss me. I was so apologetic and clearly mistaken in my actions, but of course I didn't do it on purpose. Who would?? Why would I want another car to plow right into me. I tried to convey how sorry I was for the bad judgement in my driving but the driver was so enraged they were screaming expletives at me out their window, sped up, then cut me off as revenge and to top it off, pulled up right next to me while we were at the lights and insisted that I get out of my car while she was flipping the bird and screaming "F*#k you" at me???? Yeah ok???


carmar76 said...

Yeah... I'm always amused when crazy ppl think I'm going to get out of my car so they can "confront" me about some perceived "wrongdoing." I had a scary older guy come up to my window, and tell me to get out of the car, while stopped at a red light. I just looked at him like he was nuts & pulled out my phone to dial 911. Now, this man might've been a perfectly nice grandfather who had a bit of road rage, but I still wasn't opening my door/window so we could "chat."

Shawn Michel de Montaigne said...

Here in San Diego, rudeness is the rule, not the exception. Val and I encounter it literally every day. We've learned to ignore most of it, but every now and again someone outdoes the curve and we are left gawking at one another.