On Being 'That Guy'

We have a "safe-arrivals" traffic plan at kiddo's school. Part one of the plan is "no entry" signs that ban all traffic on Ravenhill between Edison and Churchill from 7:45am to 8:15am. Part two is an unenforceable suggestion that parents use a one-way loop to drop kids off. This keeps traffic moving in one direction, and cuts down on kids crossing the road to get to the school.

All very reasonable. Sadly, the plan is not 100% respected. It's 99% respected and everyday that I've been hanging out in front of the school, waiting, someone or sometwo breaks the rules.

At that point I hop into the road, get them to roll down a window, remind them of the rules, and listen to some variation of an "oh gee" excuse. After only a few days of doing this I've fully internalized the cynicism every police officer likely has. I've already heard it all:

  • Oh, I thought it ended at 8!
  • Oh, is it not 8:15 yet?
  • I didn't know (please hand in your driver's licence, as there are ample signs everywhere)
  • Yeah, yeah, I know, but [insert bullshit here]

Of about 20 occurrences, only one has given me a full-on screw off. "I know the rules, but I have two kids here and I'm in a hurry". Nice. The next rudest response was from someone who wasn't even dropping off kids - they headed south into the neighbourhood - meaning they could just has easily have stayed on Churchill and turned in later on. That one still sticks in my craw.

I accept this is inevitable. People believe their small transgression is excusable. Oh, just this one time I'll do this, what harm could come? I'm doing this little ad-hoc social pressure campaign, but I'm not going to throw stones. I've done u-turns where I shouldn't because nobody was around. I get it. In a parallel universe my doppelgänger thinks I'm an irritating asshole.

Nonetheless, I'll continue being that guy a few times a week because so far nobody has repeated, at least when I'm there, very obviously in my bright yellow bike jacket. I like to think on the days I'm not there they remember the uncomfortableness of having their small crime challenged and choose to not repeat.

This is a school zone afterwall. Are we supposed to care less about other people's kids?

The third, and last, person who broke the rule today takes the cake and spurred me to write this story up. Not because they were rude, or because their excuse was exceptionally good or bad or laughable, but because they are on staff. Of everyone who I've had the opportunity to educate this is on the only one that's bothered me. Of anyone, today's transgressive driver does know better. It was after the bell, so perhaps they were late for work.

Yes, I emailed the principal. No I didn't reveal who is was. It doesn't really matter does it? They might never do it again, but if my unscientific stats hold, I'm likely to catch another one in a few weeks (1 for every 20 parents).

The psychology of driving is so strange. How have we evolved to have such powerful feelings of entitlement? Following the safe-arrival route costs just 30 to 60 seconds of extra sitting.

I guess this too is inevitable. 

But it really sticks in my craw.