Saturday, January 19, 2013

OMG! A Complaint!

About an inch of snow had fallen overnight and my side of the highway heading into the cities was two mostly black lines surrounded by packed white snow yesterday morning. Salt may have been spread, but wasn't taking effect yet. Later the temperature would rise to near 40 and they would clear and dry, enough to justify getting a car wash, but this was now.

I completed the five miles to my nearest Holiday station to top up the tank for the day, and was just putting the nozzle in when a woman approached me with a pen and notebook and began jotting information off my car door.

"Is this a company car?"

"No, it's my personal vehicle."  Who was she? Someone interested in a courier job, perhaps? I usually spare a couple minutes for them without letting them know how hard they get to work for how little money.

"Is this where you work?' pointing to the door.


"Are you going there now?"

"No." This wasn't sounding like a job hunter, and I wasn't feeling like handing out unasked-for information. I had work on board, a delivery return from last night, too late to finish then, and not going near the office. None of her business.

"Well, I'm going to be calling them with a complaint."


She went on a great length about how insecure a driver I was, how unsure I must be of the area, or else why would I possible be driving 15 mph under the speed limit?

Ignoring the insults, and refraining from questioning her assessment of how slowly I must have been driving, as 15 mph seemed an excessive amount to me unless she thought the speed limit was usual traffic speed as opposed to posted limits, or she hadn't noted when limits dropped from 55 to 45 to 30, I merely suggested any slow speed might have been due to snowy conditions. I do admit to allowing a little attitude to creep into my tone. Just a little. She was obviously stupid, by my standards, if she thought road conditions were safer than I thought they were, but I try not to let myself rub folks' noses into something they can't help, if stupid is a result of brain capacity instead of willful ignorance. The latter I have been known to engage.

"So why didn't you just pull over to the right and let those of us who know the road better go at the proper speed? That's just so rude!"

By now my tank was full, and I just didn't feel like taking the time to set her straight on everything wrong with that last statement, from how well I actually knew the road, to how much slipperier the shoulder would have been, to my actual speed, or even whether or not my slowing her down a tad might not have been more than overcome by her pulling in behind me to confront me and take down the information she needed to make her complaint.  Trying to keep my opinion of her out of my face, I just commented as neutrally as possible, "You go do what you gotta do," hung up the hose, and walked into the store.

I can't help but comment that once back on the road, part of a long string of traffic, I glanced at the speedometer and noted that we were all going along, on a nicely cleared piece of highway, at a steady 13 mph under the posted limit.

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