There’s a stereotype floated every now and then about us Oregonians that I, for one, am proud of--we’re polite. We look out for each other, and make sure that we’re all doing okay.And while I admire and strive to embody such a trait, I can’t help but be annoyed sometimes at our tendency to out-polite one another. Such situations--for example, a car waiting for a pedestrian, who doesn’t want to cross the street, to make way from one side of the road to the other--result in a hostility unlike any other. I actually had a guy start with a smile as he slowed his car down for me, and when I motioned for him to cross the road, his face soured and pinched and he sped off with a “Fuck you and just cross the goddamned road!”
My politeness felt betrayed.
That kind of stuff ever happen to you, Christian?
Christian: I wasn’t aware Oregonians had a reputation for being polite. That sounds like a rumor started by a bunch of sissies.
However, I have experienced the whole coming-to-a-four-way-stop-and-trying-to-let-the-other-car-go-first fiasco which is a plague on our city*.
In fact I think the show Portlandia** did a skit about it. I remember while watching it thinking that maybe people living outside of Portland**** might find this funny but to me it was like watching a documentary.
Yes I have found myself in that type of situation many times - where I motion to the other person to go first, they then motion back to me to go, I motion back “no you go”, and then someone is outraged.
I eventually came up with the solution to immediately go the second someone motions me to. Even if I was the first to motion them to go. I usually also yell out my window “IN YOUR FACE SUCKER!!!” as I drive through the intersection so I’m not sure where this polite Oregonians rumor came from.
But even this strategy isn’t full proof. I’ve been in a situation where the other person gets to the stop before me but then waits as I come to a stop. I eventually have to motion them to go but they just sit there for a few seconds. So I start going forward but of course the second I start moving they start going forward too so we both stop. We then repeat the entire process.
To remedy this scenario I typically apply the rule that if you do NOT take me up on my offer to go, within a second, then I’m going. There will be no polite second or third motions of “no, really you go, I insist” coming from me. However I will be shouting “IN YOUR FACE LOSER!!!” as I drive by.
Pat: I didn’t know that was you. Nor did I know our paths had crossed. Hmm.
Well...what you describe sounds exactly like what I WANT to do, but I think I am a tried and true Oregon “sissy”, as you say, and I just can’t bring myself to do it. Maybe we’re not polite...maybe we’re just passive aggressive. Come to think of it, I’ve never been really good about telling people that I can’t stand them. I usually just stifle my resentment and then throw an egg at their house in the middle of the night.
Christian: But remember Pat, if you are not part of the solution you are part of the group that is calling the kettle black from within a glass house.
And second, why are you walking around? Couldn’t you get to where you were going in a car? Maybe you are more to blame here than I first thought.
It’s hard to be assertive with somebody when they are driving and you are a pedestrian. And to be honest, you shouldn’t be assertive in that situation. They are in a 4000 pound steel machine while you are only in your clothes. I’m guessing in a lot of khaki. You need to be the one that is careful.
At this point I would like to mention that another thing I can’t stand are pedestrians.
Sure there are plenty out there that obey all traffic laws and only cross the street at crosswalks and are good people etc, but similarly to bicyclists, I deeply hate them all.
I don’t know how many times I see idiots jaywalking across a busy street with their eyes solely focused on their cell phone, just assuming all drivers will see them and stop. Or those morons that hold up traffic on a busy street as they slowly jaywalk across it. And nine times out of ten they are only about 20 feet from a stoplight where there is a crosswalk they should be using.
You’re not one of these imbeciles are you Pat?
Pat: Cars made of steel? What decade are you living in, man?
What’s a cell phone? I don’t think I’m the imbecile you’re talking about.
Christian: Are cars not made of steel anymore? Or are you having one of your old-timey flashbacks again? Fine. To make it easier for you how about this - I don’t want to hit you with my horse drawn buggy while you’re winding your mechanical water clock. It would be a major inconvenience for us all. Including the horse.
* We live in Portland, dearest cherished readers.
** Portlandia is a pseudo-skit comedy show on IFC that is filmed and takes place in our city***.
*** We live in Portland, dearest cherished readers.
**** The city we live in, cherished dearest readers.