Friday, February 15, 2013

To nob or not to nob

I doubt very much the driver of the Kia Sorrento who darted in front of me yesterday reads my blog. However, if he does, I want him to know that he’s a dripping nob. I hope the wheels fall off his car while he sleeps (thereby keeping down the potential for collateral damage; I’m a considerate dispenser of curses). Unfortunately, as with most nobs, he’s almost certainly blissfully unaware of his nobhood, and no one he hangs out with will clue him in because a) they are all nobs cut from the same cloth as he, or b) he’s only a nob when he can be safely anonymous (as in traffic) and therefore no one knows the extent of his closet nobbiness.

Of course at one time or another, we’ve all been nobs. Even Mother Theresa every now and then left the juice carton in the fridge with just a bare film on the bottom rather than have to lug herself downstairs and open a fresh one. And you know Ghandhi himself didn’t always take out the trash without being asked. No one’s perfect. My only real claim to virtue is that while I’ve often been a nob myself, I’m usually aware I’m being a tool (I stress “usually;” again, no one’s perfect). If I cut someone off in traffic, I hang my head in shame and give them the apology wave. What more can I do, really?

Herein lies my real beef with Mr. Sorrento. The road ahead of us was squeezing down from two lanes to one. He could have easily tapped his breaks and slid into the half-block gap behind me. Instead he accelerated and wanted to get into the five-car-length gap AHEAD of me. So be it. I could have blocked him easily enough. Certainly the urge was there (see? I’m a nob, but I KNOW it). Instead I allowed him to cut in line rather than play chicken. My real beef isn’t that he slightly inhibited my forward momentum with his silvery cross-over, it’s that he offered me no wave. No gesture from him was made in gratitude of my courtesy. When someone lets you in, you give them the wave of acknowledgement. That’s the rule. Everyone knows it. So I can only conclude that, since he DIDN’T wave, he’s a nob, and a dripping one at that.

Mr. Sorrento belongs to the same category of ass-hats who sidle up beside you at a red light and then stamp on the gas pedal to drag-race in front of you in order to make a lane-change when they could just as easily (and far more politely) have let you go and slip into the gap behind you. This is Brandon, after all, not Vancouver: it’s considered a “traffic jam” here if you have to wait through one left-turn light. In spite of the near-guarantee in this town of always having space to lane-change, the drivers here live in a weird state of phobic paranoia that the only chance they have--the ONLY ONE--to get left, EVER, will be through your front bumper, and it’s only your own damn fault if you don’t tap the brakes quickly enough to avoid the collision.

I was debating about turning this post into a more universal bewailing of the loss of courtesy in civilized society, when it dawned on me that there’s NEVER been courtesy in civilized society, so whining about how it’s all going down the crapper is pretty stupid. Read personal accounts of history, and one thing they have in common is how they all believe good manners are going to hell-in-a-handbasket. The truth is, we all behave just as badly as we believe we can get away with, and the only real difference between a nob and an upstanding citizen is how well they judge where the line between the two exists.

So, to Mr. Sorrento, I say this: you crossed that line, buddy. Now all you need to do is park in my driveway and have your dog crap on my lawn to make it a perfect hat-trip of nobbery.

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