Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Dyer's Deportment Department
I was once riding with my uncle, a seminary professor, and we arrived at a four-way stop. Another car arrived about the same time, perhaps a wisp of a moment before us, perhaps not. My uncle started out into the intersection; the other car did too, then stopped when he saw my intrepid uncle was not going to, and the other driver presented us with his rather large middle finger and cried out some silent words, one of which, I was pretty sure, started with F and the other sort of rhymed with grassy knoll.
I snorted (an adolescent, I was not good at not snorting), and my uncle asked, What did that man do just now?
I (uncertain how to describe this to my seminarian uncle): He, uh, gave us some sign language.
Well, said my uncle in all his professorial pomp (which he could muster when he needed to), maybe I'll show HIM some sign language! I wasn't sure what that meant and decided not to ask.
So ... we all bark at other stupid drivers who do stupid stuff that brilliant drivers like you and me would never do.
But it's not that ordinary sort of stuff I want to write about. It's the things I see pedestrians do that make me growl and howl as well. And it's not always the common stupidities--like walking across the street with your freaking cell up against your ear, ignoring the torrents of traffic swirling and splashing around you.
No, it's often more matters of ... style ... that annoy me, that elicit the kind of bark that alarms my wife, Joyce, and makes her wonder about that decision she made about me years ago.
I could go on. And do, all the time. The other day, riding along with Joyce, having just delivered a comment on a cyclist we'd just passed--a text to rival in length and gravity a papal encyclical--I declared that I was going to open a little lemonade-like stand on a street corner, call it "Dyer's Deportment Department," and make all pedestrians and cyclists stop to get some lessons, before proceeding, on dress and demeanor.
I think it would be popular.