Society

Areas of Outstanding Natural Stupidity

Vintage Sign

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

I was walking home in the rain, I was wearing my big waterproof coat, gloves and a woolly hat under the hood, and a white van went past.  As it did the driver shouted out of the window, which he’d wound down for the purpose, “it’s raining mate.”  No shit, I replied.  I could also have said “No, God is crying, because His creation made you” or “Oh, is it?  I’ll just go home and get my car, oh, no wait…”

The next night a youth in dark clothes on an electric scooter turned off one not well lit road onto a side road and towards an oncoming car – on the wrong side of the road, expecting the car to get out of his way.  The next night I was walking along a long straight road, again with limited lighting, when out of nowhere on the narrow pavement which is separated from the road by a grass verge comes another youth on a bike at high speed, again in dark clothes, no lights and apparently with his head down so not looking where he was going at all.  I literally had to jump out of his way into someone’s driveway which I was fortunately passing at the time.  A few seconds later I might have been over a wall and upside down in a flower bed.

Talking of which another evening I was walking home when two youths initially nearly knocked me over as they rode their bikes across the pavement and abandoned one outside a shop – the other youth blocking the whole path so I had to walk on the road.  Minutes later the same two passed me on the opposite pavement further down the road.  One of them reached down and picked up a road cone and lobbed it into the front garden of a house.  They honestly think that such behaviour is big and clever, real gangsta – a ride-by coning, perhaps.  There are other examples of this badass behaviour around though – people pulling all the plants out of town centre planters and throwing them on the ground, pulling the yellow padding off of scaffolding and throwing it on the ground.  Similarly “big” acts include stealing a stack of lottery playslips and spreading them along the pavement outside the shops, similarly with offer leaflets, takeaway menus, Argos catalogues etc. One night I was driving along a narrow single-lane street and some youths who I’d seen walking that way a few minutes before I set off has put a traffic cone in the middle of the road, having first rung the doorbell of the house it was outside – true anarchists, aren’t they.

Another common behaviour is groups of lads walking down streets – the road not the pavement – and expecting cars and vans to stop or go round them, to show how big and important they are.  One day someone who thinks that they’re even bigger and more important, or just doesn’t give a shit about idiots being macho, will come along in a big van a flatten the lot of them.  Not a shit will be given by anyone else.

In Fortean Times 403 there is a news sideline about men in a van driving around a town in the early morning shouting “wakey, wakey” and driving without lights on shouting “you can’t call the police because you can’t see us.”  There are of course many stupid people driving vehicles, last year a woman in a large pick-up truck pulled out of a side road without even looking or stopping across the front of me on my bike and as I write this I’ve just got home from shopping in the car and an SUV pulled into a side road across the front of my car, causing me to brake sharply.  The attitude with such drivers is “I can do what I like I’ve got a four-by-four” “yeah, but you’ve got a two-by-one brain” “eh?” “thick as two short planks.”  Ba dum tish.

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Psychology, Society, Transport

All Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing

I’ve noticed recently that the noisiest motorbikes and cars sound, as their riders or drivers accelerate them, like a baby crying for attention – -wahhhh, wahhhhh, wahhhhh, with each noise increasing as they go along, not a coincidence I think…

As I write this it’s a sunny weekend in May so inevitably all day while trying to enjoy the sunshine we’ve heard pratts revving their cars or bikes outside their houses, tuning them – so they seem to think – and idiots tearing out of town into the countryside at well over the speed limit and excessively noisily. At this time it’s all the more annoying as they’re supposed to be staying at home and pushing your right foot onto a pedal doesn’t count as daily exercise.

I don’t hate all motorbikes or sports cars, or all of those who ride and drive them, there is someone on this street who has a modern bike and you barely hear his arriving or leaving on it, he occasionally rides either a true classic bike or a modern replica and it’s the same with them, his friends are the same, the engines emit a not-unpleasant burble and they don’t set off at full revs. Yet the two younger riders round here have Japanese “sports bikes” with all the plastic cowlings and deliberately loud exhausts and they have to sit there making a racket before even going anywhere and arrive similarly loudly so everyone notices them and so everyone thinks they’re the next Valentino Rossi.

They would no doubt say that rather than sounding like they’ve got a dodgy exhaust their car sounds “mint”, “like a Frarri”, “badass” or “sick” – which it does, as in “broken”.  They think everyone will be impressed by the driver’s “mad skillz”, but most people who have to listen to it won’t be impressed, they’ll describe the driver with a word that beings with ass…

One reason they all rev their engines at home is so everyone can see that they have a powerful car or bike and how amazing they are that they can handle it. Whereas some of them even just seem to have the loud cars and bikes for the soul purpose of annoying people, wearing the fact that they’re so bad that they’re despised as a badge of honour, because the bad are glorified, for example the “bad lads” are supposedly the real men in society, so say Hollywood and the much of the media. One car near where I live had a decal glued to the tailgate that said “Hated Locally” on it. Whether the driver implied that he was hated because he’s so much faster and better than other drivers or because he was loud and annoying is irrelevant as the latter will have been true anyway.

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