Sunday, June 5, 2016
Going to say: "on your left"
As any regular reader here will know, I mean, if they read clerkmanifesto all the time, and have a really good memory, and take notes, and memorize their acquired information gleaned here as if they are prepping for a major trivia contest, I greatly dislike the convention of passing bikers calling out "On your left!" When I am walking this heralding invariably startles me, causing me to swerve, which could get me killed. When biking, this announcement startles me, which causes me to swerve as well, which could get both myself and the passing biker killed. The second of these scenarios is a dramatic improvement over the first, but is still 50% dreadfully bad.
My preferred solution to the "on your left" problem is to do what I do when I'm biking. What I do is I avoid hitting things. This is easier than it seems, and most bikers do quite a bit of it when they're biking. I mean, most bikers don't yell warnings to everything, they just avoid them. In fact, they avoid hitting things regardless of warnings, making those warnings superfluous.
Whenever a biker helpfully yells "On your left!" to me, after I swerve and then immediately after I hope they die, I like to think about how it's exactly as if every time a car passed another car it honked to let them know they were coming through. Or maybe it's like how if every time a person said "Hello" to another person, they first said "I'm going to greet you."
"I'm going to greet you."
"Oh, I'm not up for pleasantries now."
"Well, couldn't you have warned me you were going to tell me that?"
"I'm going to apologize... I'm sorry."
"I'm going to thank you. Thank you. I appreciate that you are not up for pleasantries, but my momentum at this point cannot allow for me not to greet you."
But maybe in the end the best analogy is this. Someone comes up quietly behind you, gets quite close, and then loudly says "I'M HERE!"
You jump. Your heart seizes. You scream.
You turn around. "What did you do that for?" You ask.
"I didn't want to startle you."