Shortly before our granddaughter Adelaide left for college, she and I were in the car together. She was driving. She stopped at a four-way stop. The person to her right was there before Addie, but waved at Addie to go. With a sigh, Addie began to drive.
“Nana,” she said. “I really hate it when people have the right-of-way but wave me to go. It seems unsafe, and it’s not following the driving rules.”
I was stunned. I thought I was the only person alive whose pet peeve was that very action.
“I KNOW!” I said. “I hate that too.”
I’ve always considered that to action be one of my major ridiculous pet peeves. I say ridiculous, because it really is just a matter of people trying to be kind. When I complain about such an action, Bill always comes to the defense of the other driver.
“They just don’t want to take a chance that you’re going to go at the same time that they move out into the intersection. And they’re just trying to be nice.”
“Then why have any driving regulations?” I always respond. “Why don’t we just drive any way we feel like it, like we would if we were flying in the air in hover cars? Just follow the rules People!”
Here’s an example of kindness nearly leading to a catastrophe: Bill — who is about the most courteous driver around — once stopped in the middle of a busy street because there were two or three children on a bicycle wanting to cross the street. His kindness would have been fine except that the person behind us got impatient and roared around our car, nearly hitting the children. The kids stopped in time, but I might have said something to Bill about following the rules of the road and how his action almost led to disaster. Maybe I just thought it and didn’t say it out loud. (As if that could happen.)
I’m pretty sure the last time I took a written drivers’ test was in 1969, when I got my first drivers’ license. I think I have managed to avoid any subsequent written tests. Nevertheless, I think I still know most of the rules.
- When a red light is flashing, you treat the intersection as a four-way stop.
- At a four-way stop, the car reaching the intersection first has the right-of-way
- If two cars reach the intersection at the same time, the right-of-way goes to the person on your right.
And so on. But don’t test me. Or at least grade on the curve.
Perhaps the best thing about that whole experience with Adelaide is the opportunity to see how the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Of course, since Addie is my step-grandchild, the tree in question might be a linden tree. Still, one learns by example, and it’s good to see my Crabby Appleton example is running through her veins somehow.
Or is it just that she’s first-born?