Impatience seems to be a huge factor in making people idiots while driving. Sure, people will argue cellphones and txting are a bigger problem, but I think cellphones are just a symptom of the larger issue of impatience. Let’s consider the word “Impatience” for a moment, and give it a proper definition.
- im·pa·tience – noun
the tendency to be impatient; irritability or restlessness.
“she crumpled up the pages in a burst of impatience”
synonyms: restlessness, restiveness, agitation, nervousness, anxiety
Well, lets look up “Impatient”
- im·pa·tient – adjective
1. having or showing a tendency to be quickly irritated or provoked.
“an impatient motorist blaring his horn”
synonyms: irritated, annoyed, angry, testy, tetchy, snappy, cross, querulous, peevish, piqued, short-tempered
2. restlessly eager.
“they are impatient for change”
synonyms: restless, restive, agitated, nervous, anxious, tense, ill at ease, edgy, jumpy, keyed up
So, basically, someone who is impatient is an asshole who thinks their time is more valuable and precious than anyone else’s out there. I love the example in the first definition of “Impatient”. It is almost like they knew I was going to focus on the world of driving/riding when pulling the definitions. It makes sense, however. We see impatience with driving more than any other activity out there. And lets face it, we have all been impatient while driving.
My point to this post is to show how impatience affected one individual in my recent motorcycle safety course. OK, some of you are shaking your head “not another motorcycle post” but this has more to do with everyday life than just motorcycles. It just happened to take place during the class.
Friday night we all show up for the first part of the class, which consisted of going through the manual and answering questions as well as asking them. Friday was scheduled for 6:00 PM until 10:00 PM. So we all knew this going in. Also, just so everyone knows, there is a fairly substantial financial stake in this class; it cost $150 to take it. So, John (name changed) is sitting at a table with me and one other person. The instructors are giving out questions for us to look up and answer and share with the rest of the group. Everything is going fine for the first couple hours. Then John seems to have reached his limit of patience and starts sighing and mumbling “come on, lets go” and “quit with the questions already” and other things under his breath. Remember, we all paid to be there. This goes on for the rest of the class that night.
When he started into all of this, we were discussing “Target Fixation”. A phenomenon that happens when the mind fixates on the only obstacle in a 100 yard radius and the body does everything in its power to make you hit that obstacle despite your conscience yelling at you to abort! In some ways it is pretty funny. We discussed a video of a kid on a small dirt-bike in a large field with a tree in the middle. The kid had acres of open ground, but somehow managed to hit the tree. We went on to discuss how to avoid target fixation and people gave stories on how they have seen it happen and how they have avoided it as well. John, however, was on his phone messaging someone the whole time, and the whole rest of the night.
Saturday we all agreed to get in as early as possible, since Sunday was going to be a stormy day. We needed to go through all the skills for the motorcycles and the final skills test before we left on Saturday night since we could not do so on Sunday. And we all arrive early. The instructors go over the bikes and the controls and the important parts to remember. Makes sense, as one of the guys in the group had never been on or near a motorcycle before, so it was important we do the thing properly. John is kinda listening, but all the time tapping his foot. We get on the bikes, get them properly started, and start walking them around the course. An important note here. While I have a motorcycle, I have never actually driven a manual motorcycle. Mine is an automatic. I was paying extreme attention here, and was nervous about stalling out (which happened a number of times, btw.) The class progresses at a good rate, though a bit behind. John doesn’t seem to be doing bad, now that we are moving, but he is moving a lot faster than the rest of the group, so he has to keep slowing down.
A couple hours run by and we are all running around the lot in larger ovals learning the slow in, fast out technique for cornering. All of a sudden, I heard the sound of a large object striking another large object. The instructors are coming out and stopping us and having us shut down the bikes. I turn around, and there is John, sitting on the ground next to his bike and leaning against a concrete wall. Apparently he never slowed down going into the turn and came in too hot. The instructors said it was a perfect example of target fixation. He panicked and didn’t react, just locked up and drove straight into the wall. Part of me wanted to laugh, but I did feel bad. However, this class was the perfect time for accidents like this; controlled environment, slow speeds and short bikes. Well, John was cussing up a storm, finally picked himself up and stormed out of the class, not returning. Impatience. The rest of us recovered from the shock and went on to finish the course with flying colors. Everyone else passed both the skills test and the written test. The instructors even tried to get John to stay, but he refused. My one remaining thought on John is I don’t think he learned from what happened. To make the story even funnier, within a half hour after the incident, we learned what to do in case we had to stop in the middle of cornering and how to avoid doing just what John ended up doing…
Back to impatience, though. It is really at the root of why there are so many asshole drivers. From the idiots on the highways reading or texting to the idiots who cannot park their cars (well, lets face it, SUV’s) in a single spot because they are in too big of a hurry to back up and square off. All of that impatience leads to people being in a bad mood while driving and they think the faster the go, the quicker they will get home, when it actually leads to more problems compounding on the already existing problem that every driver out there has the same goal. Slow down, put the phones away and learn how to merge, FFS.
Until next time, keep your eyes open to the motorcyclists out there.