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Little things can mean a lot

I was thinking about writing this column last week, but it didn’t seem right a few days before Thanksgiving to talk about things that frustrate me.

Kitty Kallen had a big hit in the 1950s with “Little Things Mean a Lot”, but she was talking about positive little things. I’m thinking more about the little things that can be very frustrating.

Like Saturday morning as I was driving on Ospika Boulevard. A vehicle came up beside me in the outside lane, passed me, turned on their signal and came into my lane. More than enough room to spare, so it wasn’t like they cut me off.

No, the problem was that after signalling the lane change, they forgot to turn the signal off. So for the next few blocks, every time we came to an intersection, I had to anticipate they may be slowing down to turn.

Eventually, they turned the signal off.

Then turned it on again very quickly because they were coming up to their turn.

Almost as frustrating is the driver who comes charging up on your left, driving a decent amount over the limit, switches to your lane, and almost immediately turns in to a parking lot.

Did saving those three seconds by passing me and changing lanes before you turned in to the parking lot really make that big a difference in your life?

I saw a couple more pedestrians last week who pulled the same trick of getting off the curb when the red hand was already flashing, then proceeding to saunter across the intersection, meaning the light has almost certainly turned red before they get across.

One of them even slowed down a bit halfway across to answer his cellphone.

I also saw a couple of pedestrians who I think may have been related to the person who turned in to the parking lot. You know, the ones who can’t be bothered walking the extra 20 feet to get to the crosswalk and just cross the street anywhere they feel like.

However, to balance all these little nuisances, I saw something Saturday which was quite nice.

I was on Fifth Avenue, in the left-turn lane at Highway 97, when I heard a siren. I spotted it a few seconds later, an ambulance heading south on the highway.

Nobody moved in to the intersection before the ambulance cleared it.

The same thing happened at 15th Avenue, with the ambulance heading west on 15th. Nobody moved until the ambulance was clear.

So, you’re saying, what’s the big deal about that? Isn’t that the law, that emergency vehicles have the right of way?

Well, that is the law, but that isn’t always the way people drive. Again, it’s a question of them thinking saving a couple of seconds is worth more than putting someone else’s life at risk because the ambulance is going to be delayed getting to them.

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