Are people this stupid where you live?

A friend of mine is working one of those “shovel ready” jobs the Republicans keep saying don’t exist and he passed along a story to me I couldn’t believe. The job involves ripping up the streets of a small town to replace some outdated storm drains. The area they’re working on right now includes a section of road that usually  sees a good amount of truck traffic going to some industries located in the town. To get to where he is working at, you have to turn off a main road which has signs up indicating that the road is closed ahead. Then you come to the spot where the detour begins, which has more signs indicating that the road is yes, in fact, closed. If that weren’t enough, at the same spot, there are a set of barricades that partially close off the street (it can’t be completely closed off because there are several residents who have to have access to their houses on a section of road that hasn’t been torn up). The final stopping point is a solid line of barricades just a few dozen feet from where the road ends and the construction site begins.

Now, with all of that, you’d think the chances of them seeing any traffic that shouldn’t be there would be slim, but you’d be dead wrong. The guys working on the job routinely start the day with a pool: everyone puts in a dollar for one chance to see who can guess how many semis will ignore all of the above warnings and end up looking at them from the other side of that last line of barricades. He tells me there hasn’t been a single day, since the job started, when they didn’t see at least one truck driver looking at them like they couldn’t figure out why the road was not open. To make matters worse, this is a town street, only two lanes wide, so when the truckers get to that point, all they can do is try to back down the two blocks, past the first line of barricades, and to the point where they should have turned…..if they’d been paying attention, that is!

Now some folks will no doubt claim that these are just people falling afoul of services like MapQuest or GoogleEarth that blithely tell them, yes there is a road here and it is open, but how can that be? When one driver gave the work crew the eye, a laborer shouted out “What part of CLOSED do you have trouble understanding?” He was right. Even if they were getting their directions from some place that didn’t allow for road work, to just drive past all those warnings and then act amazed that they were telling you the truth speaks to either an underlying arrogance, or simple abject stupidity.

For myself, I’m not sure which is at play in this case. I do know that people seem, in many instances to be becoming more and more arrogant, to act as though the rest of the world revolved around what they wanted/needed to do. From the speeders who seemingly could give a damn about how closely they pass, to the folks who pull out in front of you because they ‘need to get going’, to the people in stores who seem to think they can just step in front of you no matter how long you’ve been waiting for help; they’re seemingly everywhere in our society. How we got to the point where bores and fools like this are tolerated is one of those societal phenomena that seems to have escaped me. One thing I do know: this is not a good development for any society. When bad behavior, especially behavior that can put people’s lives at risk, is tolerated, we all loose. I guess I just hope other people will wake up and see what we’re doing to ourselves and, maybe, start trying to put a stop to it.

Yeah, I know, asking for a miracle yet-again, but I can hope, can’t I?


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