Sunday, May 30, 2010

KC Cone of Shame

Well, here is my first attempt to bring Midwestern rudeness to the forefront. After reading about the incident with the subway lines I was prompted to write about a similar phenomenon that occurs regularly here in KC.

Let me start by stating the obvious. It is much easier to be rude when you are completely anonymous. We live and die by the automobile here. Our city is so spread out that public transportation is only a passing thought to most of the residents. We are very independent and prefer to be able to travel when and where we want without having to answer to anther's schedule or timetable. Hence, the anonymity.

When you are behind the wheel of a car, you are only a driver amongst thousands of others, without eye or physical contact. For example, last weekend a group of friends made a concerted effort to car pool (fyi, this is what we call more than one person in a car), to aid in reducing the weekend traffic congestion. There were several large events planned, so it would seem obvious that traffic would be a problem. When this occurs, a line forms on the entry or exit ramps of the highway. The problem arises when there are two lanes to enter or exit that must eventually merge into one.

This procedure routinely provides a vehicle to expose the most narcissistic people on the road. They will speed by the people waiting in the line to get to the point where the two lines merge and expect someone to graciously allow them to enter the line without having had to wait like everyone else. If that gracious person does not show themselves in an appropriately short time, the king of the road will use his vehicle as a wedge to force the other people to allow him to enter the line or hit his car. Of course, since he is usually in front of someone when he is trying to push his way in, if the other driver hits him from behind guess who gets charged?!

I have long contended that having your name and address as your license tag would drastically reduce this type of behavior. Naturally, human nature being what it is, we will never eliminate it altogether. I also believe that if we had to wear a cone of shame on our car, the road would become a much friendlier place. Does anyone really believe that this type of maneuver actually gets them any where quicker?

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