Let’s not talk about my crafting failures. It was a very stupid weekend.
I now have new respect for folks directing traffic at events. Why? Because people really are cranky arseholes. I was minding (sorry, ‘race marshalling’) an intersection that, I would think, barely has traffic ever, let alone early on a Sunday morning. Runners ran at me, turned the corner onto the other street, then turned again, did more running, then retraced their steps through.
A lot of action for that intersection (which, ten years ago, got a very different kind of action). Obviously, it had to be entirely closed to traffic.
Unfortunately, I could have used about six more barricades, some flashing lights, and a bullhorn.
The barrier blocking off Merton, I’ll grant you, should have had a twin at Wellington Street. There was no warning that by turning off the main road that you wouldn’t be allowed to go through. But people were much more polite about this inconvenience.
On Armstrong, however, the barrier was visible for several blocks. A handful of people did three-point turns or deked down another sidestreet early. Most either a) didn’t notice the barriers until they were about five feet away or b) noticed it some ways away, stopped, then slowly approached it again to ask me bewildered questions or deliver a piece of their mind(s). Even when the race was at its peak, and I was standing and waving my arms indicating ‘Go back! Go back!’ they would do this, not noticing hundreds of people running by.
Of course, in this situation, it’s normal to be annoyed. Some people just whizzed around after I explained that they’d have to go back and head to Wellington or Scott, each a main road, each free of racers. Others accused me of closing ‘all’ the streets (nope, just some sidestreets, and it wasn’t me) and that I was sabotaging their plans to get to work. One tried to hop the sidewalk around the barrier until I stood in his path.
What a bastard, we mutually whispered to ourselves.
A runner on his way back said that further down, a driver raced out of a parking lot, backed up down the street, then knocked over a barrier to get through. Nicely done, fuckwit.
Keep in mind, this was a community 5K, one that backtracked (and therefore took up less space), was only run on non-main roads, and was over within hour. When Laurier is closed for Jazz Fest, I can’t even imagine the grief the traffic barrier folks get. I’ve noticed more and more police taking over from the 15-year-olds who used to do it/still mind barricades on Race Weekend. Totally understandable. Once people can’t get where they need to be, especially in a car because it’s more difficult to just ‘go around’, or take a shortcut hrough an alley or park, they get fucking angry.
I’ve heard that road rage is so prevalent because drivers have hardly any control over their situation; other drivers, construction, and under-caffeinated women in orange safety vests might as well be conspiring to fuck up their day specifically. People really do not like feeling powerless.
I admit that I’m prone to this; I swear (even) more when I’m driving and yell quite a lot at other drivers, traffic lights, and anything else that prevents me getting between Points A and B. More often, though, my rage is out of frustration with myself, for forgetting a road was closed, or for not leaving five minutes earlier. But it is hard to admit that you’re angry at yourself rather than the universe. Which is why I dealt with verbal abuse from people who could easily fix their situation.
But yelling is awfully cathartic, but perhaps less so in a closed-in space like a car. And that is one of many reasons why I like cycling. Not only for the deking, but because when I yell at people and objects, someone can usually hear me.