Archive for August, 2008
There I was, examining the banana I’d bought for breakfast while waiting patiently for Gumby to say “Go!” at an intersection this morning on my way to work. Corner of Collins and Elizabeth – on the Optus shop corner. I look up to see if there’s any traffic – maybe I can beat the mob and scoot across while nobody is coming. No good. Two bikes are coming. The leader is a chick on a nice single speed trying to beat the Red, the second guy doesn’t bother and starts slowing up. As the girl flies past and I step out behind her, the light has just flicked over to Red. I mentally chastise her for breaking the rules, while examining the feeling of internal hypocrisy for that same feeling – I used to think nothing at all at going through a red – provided it was all clear. I’m sure she knows what she’s doing.
I hear a familiar sound – the sound of a body hitting the side of a car. I look over and see the girl partially underneath a stationary 4wd – about the size of a Subaru, bike lying beside her. The driver had been waiting to do a hook turn and had turned out in front of the girl. She looked pretty dazed, but was able to lift her head and the car hadn’t driven over her – there was only the impact of her into the car. I didn’t even break stride until I’d crossed the intersection, but I was watching most of the way across.
By the time I’d crossed the street, there were 3 or 4 people standing around helping her. Some guy had dropped his bike at the red light and ran across to help her. I was surprised by the massively different reactions. The guy who dropped his bike, blocking traffic with it at the red and running across an intersection was at one extreme – my reaction was the opposite, almost apathetic – at best an interested bystander watching for 30 seconds, then continues on his way.
My feeling on the matter went something like this:
“Silly girl! She shouldn’t have shot the Red – and if she wants to ride like that, then ride behind cars doing hook turns or at least be ready for them to turn out in front of you!”
Then, because my brain has trouble when it’s not conflicted,
“Stupid car driver! He was in the wrong because it’s his responsibility when turning into oncoming traffic. He’s certainly in the wrong legally – he could have looked a bit harder before turning out. If it was another vehicle, he’d have been in much more danger”.
Finally, I questioned my own apathy to the whole situation – why didn’t I run over to help – I was certainly one of the closest people to her. But what do to then? Say nice things to her? Help her up I guess? Or maybe call an Ambulance? She didn’t look badly hurt – very dazed, but in one piece. What if I ran over and helped her stand up, only to discover she’s got a spinal injury and I should have called an Ambulance? How do you know if someone should stay in one place until Medics arrive? What if cars are tooting to get through the intersection? But just walking away seems so callous.
Ultimately, I’ll soothe my guilt by claiming I did the pragmatic thing – there were plenty of other people rushing in to help – I’m no expert in the situation and she didn’t look badly hurt. Perhaps I’d have rushed to help if nobody else had. Hmmmm.
Read an article by Jay Leno on what American car manufacturers should do to get back in the game. The first paragraph made me laugh:
The type of vehicles America makes best are, unfortunately, not the type of vehicles that people really want anymore. Nobody builds better trucks than the Americans do. Not even the Japanese build as good a truck as the Ford F-150 or the Chevy Silverado.
Which made me think of this clip from TopGear:
It’s funny that he then goes on to talk about Harley Davidson. They have definitely improved and they are certainly popular and may even be high quality. But, to my mind, they’re style over substance. They sound like they’re not running properly to my ear. They sound like an old Massey Ferguson to my ear. Which is fine if you’re pulling a trailer full of orange bins, but so uncool on Collins Street.
Apologies to those of you who ride Harleys and don’t open them up in the city – the sound of an idling Harley can be quite nice. Reminds me of my childhood on the farm.
Leno goes on:
The problem with what’s happened over the past few decades is that you have a whole generation of kids who have no brand loyalty. They’ve grown up on Honda, Hyundai, Kia, and Toyota.
That’s a problem? Brand loyalty is not a good reason for buying a product. Buy a product because it’s well designed, or somehow meets your needs. Brand loyalty is how Ford is still building rubbish F-150s. If the only way to rebuild the American car industry is to expect people to suddenly exhibit brand loyalty… well they won’t be doing much exporting.
Well, I’ve decided to move the Booko stuff over onto it’s own blog. It can now be found at http://blog.booko.com.au/