Friday, June 11, 2021

We may park the same, but we don't all think the same

Motorcycle Parking Only sign.
There are good reasons for some parking lot signs.
But how do they make you feel?

How do you feel when you see a restaurant parking area marked "Motorcycle Parking Only"?

Mildly amused (by an innocent and legally unenforceable sign)?

Welcomed (if you're riding)?

Excluded (if you're driving a car)?

Proud to be a motorcyclist, even if you're driving your car?

Pained to see yet another association of all American motorcyclists with Harley-Davidson?

What if there are no other parking spaces left, and no motorcycles are present?

What if there are no other parking spaces left and some guy in a car took the "Motorcycles Only" space?

What if his car is vandalized to teach him a lesson (I'm not saying this happened, just asking how you'd feel if it did)?

People are all alike in one thing, and one thing only: we're individuals. Something as minor as where we park shouldn't be what defines us.

No two of us are exactly alike. We agree on some things some times, but we never really think alike.

We don't act alike either, usually. The proof of this is that, even confronted with a situation we've faced before, we don't ourselves always act the same way twice.

A human can belong to a race, a faith, a nation, a tribe, a family or a club and yet differ in important ways from every other member.

I realize we have certain species specific ways of dealing with the world. Our eyes look to the front, not to the side. In an emergency our brains are wired for fight or flight.

We all have pride.

Someone on the Internet pointed out the other day that you can dress a dog in an idiotic costume and take photos of it all day long, and the dog won't mind. Dogs care passionately about some things (including which one is leader of the pack) but they care not at all about what humans call "dignity."

What does all this have to do with Royal Enfield motorcycles? It's quite a tangent. I admit that I am just thinking out loud here. You'll have to be the judge of whether my thoughts make sense to you.

Awhile back, I wrote about some show-offs on an ATV who buzzed by me as I rode my Royal Enfield at the legal speed limit. I wrote that they were wasting their time if they expected to impress me. To my mind, they were just going no where too fast.

But my blog item drew a comment that made me think about this.

A reader wrote that there "are individuals who appear to have been emasculated by someone passing them on the road while driving a vehicle that the individual feels is 'beneath' them."

Is that the reason I felt disrespected when passed by a "mere" ATV?

Is that part of the reason there's so much road rage these days? Someone feels disrespected?

What I think, and what I hope I can keep in mind for future, is that neither my dignity nor the dignity of whatever tribe I associate with is at issue on the road.

The individual on the ATV pulled a stunt, and got away with it. He taught me nothing by doing it and it's not my job to "teach him a lesson" in turn.

My reaction to the "Motorcycle Parking Only" sign is that it can serve practical purposes when there are motorcycles present. If I'm on my Royal Enfield I will park there. It actually saves other full-size spaces for cars.

However, you and I know that's not the real reason the sign is posted. It's meant to tell potential customers on bikes that they are welcome at this restaurant. (That should go without saying, of course.)

It's a tribal welcome. If it brings in more business, fine. It worked for the restaurant.

But I shouldn't let where I park determine how I behave otherwise.

1 comment:

  1. A personal favorite: "Witches parking only. All others will be toad".


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