Saturday, May 24, 2008

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, part 5

Situation 1

A couple of weeks ago, I was at a place for lunch that was sort of cafeteria style. There were different stations for salad, pasta and pizza, and you're supposed to just go to each station to get what you want without having to wait through each station even if you didn't want stuff from that particular station. Well, on this day, the pasta line was backed up, so people waiting to get pasta were lined up in front of and past where the salad station was. I wanted to get a salad from the salad station, so since the people were just stopped in front of it, I approached in between two people and asked if I could just step in and get a salad. The lady who was facing me stepped back a step to let me in, so I thanked her. The lady who had her back to me because she was ahead turned to her friend and commented about how rude people were to be cutting in line. WTF?!?!?!? She was already past the salad station that I wanted something from, and she didn't get salad, and even if she had wanted salad, she would already have been able to get it. It wasn't like she had to stop her movement to let me in - the line was at a stop and had been for about a minute and wasn't about to start moving anytime soon, so she was just standing there. And, she didn't end up having to do anything because the lady behind her moved back a step to let me in to grab a salad. What if someone else had been standing further back in that line and only wanted a salad? Well, I'm sorry they didn't figure out that they didn't have to wait in line with the pasta folk to get their pasta before this person could get their salad if they didn't also want pasta. I've been in other situations where I've been stopped in a line and happened to be in front of a drink station, and if someone just wants to come in and get a refill, it's customary to make room to let them since I'm just standing there anyway. On the flip side, when I've been the one wanting the refill, I've never had a problem with people allowing me in while they're waiting in line.

Situation 2

There is a particular intersection that I'm at every day on my way to work. There are three lanes total, with the left lane turning left, and the middle and right lanes turning right. If I get to the intersection when there's a green light or a green arrow to go right, it works fine. When there's a red light, you obviously have to stop, and then if the traffic is clear coming from the left, then you can make the right turn. After I initially come to a stop, I then creep forward a little to be able to see past the car on my left to see if there's traffic coming down the street or if I can turn. So what happens on more than one occasion? THE CAR ON MY LEFT CREEPS FORWARD AS WELL!!!!! WTF!?!?!?!?!? They can't turn until their left arrow light comes on, and when that light comes on is not really dependent on traffic coming from down the street. There could be not a car in sight coming from that way, but if their light is still red, they can't go anywhere. So what the hell good does it do for them to creep up? Where does it get them? All they're doing is blocking my view so that I have to creep up even further to see past them!

Situation 3

There is another intersection in a residential neighborhood that I run into on the way to work if I'm taking a particular detour because traffic on the freeway is bad. It's a bit of an odd intersection because the streets don't all come together neatly, like in a plus sign that's normal. Instead, it looks more like this:

It's almost a regular four-way stop, except that the street with the A and B cars is slightly curved, and the C and D cars are technically on the same street, but the two parts of the street are slightly off from each other. I always come to the intersection from the D position, and I need to turn left, past the A position. Let's say a car at position B goes straight, and then a car at position C goes forward so they're driving past me. If there was a second car at position B, they now go forward without having given me the chance to go, even though I've waited past both cars that got there before or at the same time as me, but now this second "B" car is going before me even though I got to the intersection before it. Similarly, if there are just 2 cars at the C position, the first car will go forward to drive past me, but before I can make my turn, the second car at the C position has already started going, driving past me as well. Because the two halves of the street are off-set the way they are, I cannot even move forward a little until a car from B or C completely passes me, because otherwise, our cars would hit. But in the time it takes that car to completely pass me, the next car at B or C has had time to stop and then apparently the driver decides that the stop sign just means that as long as you've actually stopped, you can then go, regardless of who else might be at the other stop signs or what else might be going on. The streets aren't off-set enough that a car in the second place of any of the other positions can't see me there, and there's really no way they can't plainly see that I can't begin to move until the car is past me, so it's not like I'm just sitting at the intersection for no reason not taking my turn. When people have not been allowing me my turn, I've taken to honking my horn at them, and most of the time, they either don't even look at me or appear completely confused as to why I'm irritated at them, because after all, they did stop at the stop sign!

Situation 4

I had occasion to be at a business, and my total came to $5.00, so I handed the cashier a $20 bill. The cashier told me that he only had $1 bills so would need to give me 15 $1 bills and wanted to know if that was ok. Ummm, do I have a choice? What if I say no? Is he going to magically find $5 bills or a $10 bill? Is he going to refuse to give me any change whatsoever? Is he going to give me change in all quarters instead? Is he going to refuse to sell me what I wanted to buy? I've been at cashiers before where for whatever reason, they're running low on change, and if I bring out a $20 bill, they might ask if I have anything smaller because otherwise, I'm getting change in all $1 bills. If I was just trying to break my $20, I would fish around for something smaller. On occasion, I've really had nothing but a $20 so couldn't do anything about it. In this case, I might have been able to scrape together $5 between a couple of $1 bills and lots of loose change. It was pretty early in the morning, so it seemed odd to me that he didn't have any $5 or $10 bills at all, but maybe someone just didn't provide correctly for him. I can understand if he just said, hey, sorry, I only have $1 bills, so I'll have to give you 15 of them in change, but I think it was the asking me if that was ok that struck me as being weird since whether or not I was ok with that was going to have no bearing on the outcome.

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