Four way stop signs always make me a little nervous. I mean, I know what the rules are, that the car on the right goes first, but there’s always a chance that all four cars will arrive at precisely the same time, and THEN what do you do?
But really, since the odds of that occurrence are so small, that’s not the real problem. The real problem is that no one around here seems to know what the rules are.
Apparently the model of the car trumps the position in the intersection AND the order of arrival. The shinier the sports car, the less likely it will wait its turn. I’m pretty sure that which part of town the driver lives in comes into play there also, which makes it super fun, because no one really has any way of ascertaining that information. So then the driver’s ego and the degree of assertiveness he or she is willing to exercise seem to have a huge influence on whether or not he or she will wait for someone else.
And then there’s the fact (don’t get mad at me — I’m not making this up. I’m simply reporting it) that if the driver is of a certain age and gender, there is a good chance that this driver will completely ignore the rules and will sit at the stop sign even when it is clearly her turn to go, dithering about whether or not she should move, until such time that the rest of the drivers roll their eyes and jump the queue, at which point the first driver will start to feel like perhaps she has missed the boat and will charge into the intersection at a point when it is clearly not, by any stretch of the imagination, her turn.
I am well aware that I have probably over-thought this, but it is a facet of my nature that I analyze where most people have the wisdom to leave well enough alone. I tell you this, dear readers, not just to give you insight into my tortured mind, but to set the background for an experience I had today.
As I approached a four-way stop sign this afternoon, I noted that there were two cars already stopped at it — one on the other side of the street I was on, and one on the street to my left. I pulled slowly to a stop so that there could be no question in either of their minds that they got there before I did. However, by the time I had come to a complete stop, neither of them had moved. It was at this point that I noticed the age and gender of the drivers. Alas, they fell into the “may choose to go when it is not her turn” category. Since I came late upon the scene, however, I wasn’t worried that I would have to deal with the situation. I just sat back and watched the show.
Finally the woman across from me lurched forward into the intersection despite the fact that she was on the left of the the other car. Her face was a picture of disgust. A split second later the other woman pulled forward, and at this point it became evident that the first woman was turning left, and the second woman was turning right, so they could easily have gone at the same time, except for the fact that neither of them had turned on their turn signals. What made it even better, though, was the fact that both women had identical looks of disgust on their faces.
Apparently they had both decided they would just let the other car go through the intersection before executing their turn. They weren’t going to let anyone in on this fact; they would just hang back and let everyone get out of their way and then do what they wanted. Which could have worked, except that they were both doing it, and were both equally determined not to signal, wave, or in any way communicate with the other driver. And they were both equally disgusted, from their matching expressions, when the other driver didn’t behave the way they had decided she would.
Now maybe I just have a twisted sense of humor, but it was the funniest thing I had seen all day. I laughed about it for a good two blocks.
Don’t judge me.