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Pet Please #8: The Wave-In

April 22, 2009

You know what really makes my day? When someone turns what appears to be insurmountable odds into something manageable. Specifically:

Every day when I leave work, I am faced with a solid wall of cars in bumper-to-bumper traffic on Forsyth. The nearby highway in St. Louis is closed, so everyone uses this tiny road instead. Every day I hope the traffic won’t be there, but every day it is.

And every day I think, I’m never getting out of here. I might as well put the car in reverse and go back to work.

But I don’t want to go back to work. Once I’m in the car, I’m done. So I sit there for a minute or until somebody waves me in.

They wave me in.

What a wonderful thing. That person doesn’t benefit from the wave-in. In fact, it’s counterintuitive–they’re further back in the line than before.

Plus, they don’t know me. I could be anybody. I could be a fan of The Mentalist, for all they know.

But they wave me in.

It’s a small miracle that happens every day, and it never ceases to amaze me. There are a lot of examples of bad human behavior in the world, but for every one of those, there’s a wave-in. That’s saying something.

See also: #2: Back-to-Back Parking Spaces

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. Trevor permalink
    April 23, 2009 6:54 am

    I’m usually not someone to point out the negative side of things, but this reminds me of one of my all-time pet peeves. It’s not really the opposite of the wave-in, but it’s close. I can’t stand when there’s an obvious lane closure and all of the cars are merging into one lane, then someone zooms past the line of traffic all the way to the road block and EXPECTS a wave-in. In these situations, I pray that everyone in the line tightens up completely and the lane runner sits until the next day, crying into the cold remnants of this morning’s cup of coffee. That never happens, of course. Someone always waves that guy in, thus condoning the lane-running behavior and perpetuating the practice. In saying this, I also want to add the caveat that I’m not talking about the casual driver who is behind a van or an SUV and doesn’t see the road block from his much lower Pontiac Grand Am, but then immediately stops moving forward and signals for a lane merge upon noticing the road block. I’ve been that guy. I feel bad for that guy. That guy is like the kid who always wet his pants after lunch in kindergarten, then stood there, embarrassed in public in front of all of the other kids who knew that pee goes into a toilet and that road blocks mean to merge. You pull that kid into line to hide the wet spot. If that kid races to the front of the classroom, it’s his own fault. Then you hang him out to dry, shaking your head, pointing a finger and thinking, “You dug your own grave, kid…you dug your own grave.” This is the distinction I’m talking about. Let’s stop this madness of rampant lane running.

    • April 23, 2009 11:01 am

      Great, great point. I despise that guy. However, mathematically, in those situations the best way to keep traffic moving is for everyone to act in their best self-interest. Like, if you have a long line of cars OR you have two long lines of cars merging into one lane, everyone will get to the destination lane faster in the two-line situation.

      However, you have to get everyone on the same page to do this. If you just have a couple of idiots zooming by everyone else in the “second” lane, they’re just going to annoy everyone.

  2. April 23, 2009 8:27 am

    Love this blog I’ll be back when I have more time.

  3. John Aughey permalink
    April 23, 2009 11:18 am

    I’ll admit the wave-in can be a selfless gift from God. However, the person doing the wave-in needs to be aware of their surroundings. Here are two problems to the wave-in.

    1. Drivers must be aware of the opposing traffic if the wavee is turning left. It often happens that I am turning left onto a busy street, Manchester, Forsyth, whatever, and both sides of the road are streaming cars. Someone, attempting to do a wave-in, stops traffic on my left (admittedly a risky venture that can piss off people behind them unless there is stopped traffic ahead of them). Seeing my turn signal flashing to the left they wave me in completely oblivious to the opposing traffic that is flowing freely. I cannot make my left turn because of the opposing traffic and the waver gets more insistant that I pull in front of them. The traffic in front of them eventually moves forward and now there is this awkward gap because they are now blocking traffic from flowing to the right. Often they get frustrated that I did not pull out (into traffic) and fly forward in a huff.

    There are two options in this situation. Just sit there and try to indicate that there are cars going the other away preventing me from pulling out. Or, even worse, pull the nose of my car out into the first lane looking for an opening in the left bound traffic. This second option has the problem that the left bound traffic is usually flowing freely and is very busy and a gap doesn’t open up. Now I’m out in the first lane, blocking that traffic flow waiting for an opening. I’m often forced to make a daring dart into a not-quite-big-enough gap.

    2. This second one often happens when attempting to cross Forsyth on foot, but has been seen out in the wild while driving. The situation is the opposite of the first where traffic is very light. I’m attempting to cross Forsyth and there is one car coming from my left and no cars to the right. The car, attempting to be a good samaritan, slowly comes to a stop. Slowly enough that I cannot tell if they are just slowing down and will pass, slowing to turn into the next intersection, slowing to let me by, or just unaware of their speed. This one car on the street slows to a stop to “let me cross” but I cannot tell that they aren’t going to hit me until they actually come to a stop. But they are the ONLY car on the entire road. If they had just driven by at a normal speed they would have passed and I could skip merrily across the street. But instead, they waste time slowing down and stopping where if they had just passed by I could cross unabated. They feel like they’re doing me a favor when in fact I’m a bit peeved at them because of this awkward encounter and it wasn’t necessary.

  4. margot permalink
    May 5, 2009 8:37 am

    Have you thought about walking, biking, or roller blading to relieve traffic congestion. Maybe the drivers would cheer at you.

  5. Lorena permalink
    December 14, 2009 11:28 am

    “I could be a fan of The Mentalist, for all they know.” In the words of lolzCats, I am died.
    Really, though, you ought to get a bumper sticker that says, “I ❤ The Mentalist". It's more creative and just as obnoxious as the "If you can read this I'm flicking you off." ones. Let's just take a moment to grieve over all bumper stickers that mention giving the finger. Beat. Okay, glad that's been taken care of. Had I made Festivus (you know, Southwest wanna get away fare and all), that would've been my grievance. 73 out of 101.

    (This is my "find out if HTML tags work in the comments here" attempt, so don't mind the italics tag if it shows up inappropriately.)

    • Lorena permalink
      December 14, 2009 11:28 am

      HTML tag win.

    • December 14, 2009 11:31 am

      That’s a really good grievance–don’t sell yourself short. Save it for next year.

      It’s been so long since I wrote this entry that when I saw your comment, I was like, “Who wrote that line about The Mentalist” (html tag laziness fail for me)? And it was me!

      • Lorena permalink
        December 14, 2009 12:22 pm

        It was you! (said in the manner that Belle says “It is you!” to Beast when he morphs back into a human. Cartoon makeout session optional.)

        Were you really doubting your mad skills?

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