Saturday, June 29, 2019

A Dog's Eye: what weird folks do

The license plate reads "liontmr". I quickly fill in the missing vowels, then begin to wonder. Those are two things I do compulsively; read and ponder. (I have considered, for example, why the rimes in wonder and ponder are identical on the page, but pronounced differently.)

Is the owner of the car declaring their occupation? Making an aspirational statement about their future vocation? Or letting people know about their attitude to life? Perhaps they simply like lion tamers, although the "attitude to life" explanation is far more romantic and indeed powerful.

She's driving ten kilometres an hour under the speed limit, in the extreme left of the lane; so far left in fact, her tyres are in the breakdown lane. It's a three kilometre stretch of road. At roughly the half way point, she accelerates to ten kilometres above the speed limit,, and moves back to the centre of the lane.

Is she a terrible driver? So fearful of a head collision she drives in the breakdown lane? Or was she simply distracted for the first section of that journey? I noted her visor was down in front of her eyes, and wondered why it was there when the sun was beating down on us from the left- which is where I had my visor positioned.

Instructed to form four separate lines, most of us do so reluctantly. Questions about which queue will move more quickly come into play. People like me, who always pick the slow lane, hesitate. Eventually sorted into four divided lines we begin our march to the cable car which will take us up to Sunworld in Ba Na Hills, Danang in Vietnam. After a fifty metre shuffle we reach the first corner only to discover that there are now only two lines. It could be four or three, or even five, but it's hard to tell. It takes a good twenty minutes, maybe half an hour before we arrive at the end of the queue, sweating from the heat. The end turns out to be only the beginning of another erratic and ultimately vain attempt to redistribute us cattle into new lanes.

Finally, we seemed to be inching forward again in three or four different lines which I'm certain was only supposed to be two. It's a people jam par excellence. I think I know how to function in a queue, but I realize I could have it all wrong when every step forward I take results in the person behind me banging into me. It happens three or four times, and although I might be mistaken, I have a feeling it's just plain rudeness on his part. So I turn around and tell him to stop it. I make a gesture with my palms, suggesting he keep his distance. He smiles, nods his head and we move on.

I like to think there's a reason for everything people do, even if I can't see it. However, I have a feeling that people are often unaware of their behaviour, and furthermore, that their behaviour may not even be the result of conscious decision making; it may simply be reactionary. That is, a programmed response to a particular set of circumstances. If thought is given to action including personalized license plates, then what kind of logic underpins it?

People are very odd. I'm a person. Therefore, I am very odd. (see what I did there?) I'm also still, despite my age, quite self conscious, which I think makes me a very considerate person in public places. Self control, self awareness and sensitivity to context and setting are important I think. Then again maybe I think too much.