We all lead busy lives these days. It seems like it has become almost socially unacceptable to not be busy.
I’m as much a victim of this as anyone else. And thanks to Miss Z, I’ve always got a long list of places to go and things to do, so I really am busy. During the week, I often feel like I’m rushing from one thing to the next – trying to finish writing an article for my work before I need to dash off to a hospital appointment with Miss Z, before I need to sprint across the city to pick up Vegemite from ballet. And it seems like I’ve never quite on time for any of it.
So, what I’m saying is that I get it. I get being busy and I get that people are often rushing from one place to the next, trying to get it all done.
But what I don’t accept is that this somehow entitles you to behave like a jerk. (I can, in fact, think of stronger words than ‘jerk’ to use here, but my parents and mother-in-law read this blog, you know…)
We live on a fairly narrow (by Brisbane standards) residential street. It is also used in the mornings as a short-cut by some drivers to get to a nearby intersection that will allow them to get into the city centre or bypass it to get to other parts of Brisbane.
Our neighbour across the street is having his house painted, so the painter turned up early this morning and parked in front of their house. This meant that when the school bus arrived for Miss Z at 7.45am, the street was temporarily blocked as we loaded her in her stroller/wheelchair into the bus. It was obvious that this was a school bus for kids with special needs and it was obvious that we were loading a wheelchair via the lift in the back.
But still, a car that was inconvenienced by the wait decided to start blaring his horn. Not once – to get the attention of the painter, who could move his van – but repeatedly laying on the horn. He did this in a residential area, at 7.45am, at a bus for kids with special needs because he had to wait.
The guy’s horn upset the kids on the bus, but ended up getting him his way. The painter sprinted out to pull his van forward enough to let the car get through.
And then another car came down the street and went weaving through the gap created by the painter’s van, at speed. She came within a few inches of hitting the wheelchair lift – on which Miss Z was being lifted into the back of the bus. It scared the daylights out of the busdriver and me, but the woman in the car didn’t slow down for a second.
Now, I know that it is frustrating to be delayed on your way to work by a school bus. And I know that getting Miss Z in the bus isn’t a particularly fast process (although it only takes a few minutes). But are people so busy, so desperate to get to their job without even a few minutes delay that they honestly don’t care about causing a distrubance in our neighbourhood, upsetting a group of kids, or my daughter’s safety?
I wish I could tell myself that this was just an isolated incident. That it was just bad luck that we encountered two frustrated, busy drivers who were running late on a Monday morning. But this isn’t the first time I’ve had someone repeatedly sound their horn when we are loading Miss Z’s wheelchair because they are too impatient to wait the 3 minutes or so that it takes to get her lifted and secured in a vehicle.
Maybe I’m being unreasonable. Maybe it isn’t fair of me to expect a busy person to wait while my daughter gets on her bus. I have no doubt that the drivers thought they were completely entitled to do what they did. But a little understanding and patience would have gone far this morning.
*A note to my American readers: I know in most places in the US, it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus, but it is legal in Queensland, so the two cars weren’t breaking any laws by passing the bus.