If you don’t tell them, how will they know?

I wrote a post about a group of stereotypes conforming to their stereotype by leaving litter. At the end of the post I asked myself why I didn’t speak to these people and point out their inconsideration (in a polite way of course). Well today I took my own advice and spoke to a transgressor to see what sort of reaction I would get.

Let me set the scene first. The street our house is on leads onto a main road with wide pavements on both sides. I use this road to escort the kids to school and as part of my jogging route. A hundred yards down the road, a bungalow with a large garden has decided to build a house on its plot. This new house will front onto the pavement. A couple of weeks ago when walking the kids to school I noticed the surveyor had parked his SUV on the pavement. I say noticed, in truth it was in my face as it was blocking our route. To get round it we either had to walk onto muddy, uneven ground on one side or step into the road which was notorious for speeding traffic. The traffic speeds on this part of the road because it has an overtaking lane. There is no parking restriction on this bit of road so a vehicle could park on it legally and not impede traffic. In fact it would do the residents a slight favour as it would put off some of the speeding drivers but for some reason the surveyor thought it better to park on the pavement. I cursed under my breath and shepherded the kids around the vehicle as safely as I could.

I also had to regularly skip past the truck when I was jogging, my resentment growing all the time.

Then this morning I was jogging and as I came down the hill I noticed two vehicles now on the pavement. Sub-contractors had started the building work and, following the surveyors lead, had parked on the pavement as well. As I was forced around the vehicles I swore a little too loudly and a workman not twelve feet away looked round. I returned his stare with my own admonishing gaze and continued with my jog. On my return leg I use the same bit of route and again I had to skip round the vehicles. The same workman gave me the same stare and I reciprocated.

When I got home I suddenly remembered the question I had asked myself at the end of that post and I realized here was a perfect opportunity to test the theory.

I jogged back to the down to the site. I approached the same workman I had exchanged stares with and as pleasantly as I could said through the mesh of the safety fence, “Hi there, is your gaffer about?”

He looked at me stoney faced but then turned to ask another workman. After various shouts a man came from behind the bungalow and told me the gaffer wouldn’t be back for a couple of hours. At this I turned to the first workman and asked him if he could do me a favour. Could he ask whoever was parking on the pavement to try and park in the road as they were causing an obstruction and I was struggling to get my kids to school safely in the morning. Anyone with a pram, I said, had no chance of getting past. Would that be possible?

He looked back stoney faced again and it was only the slight nodding of his head which prevented his response from being labeled ‘dumb insolence’. I thanked him for his cooperation without being patronizing or sarcastic and jogged back home.

It will be interesting to see if my request had any impact. I had queered the pitch slightly for cursing under my breath within earshot of the worker. Being antagonistic doesn’t get cooperation; it sometimes gets begrudging compliance but that is not the same thing. If they move the vehicles I will make a point of thanking them. If they persist in leaving them on the pavement I will have to speak to the gaffer.

I will let you know what happens.

One Response to “If you don’t tell them, how will they know?”

  1. William says:

    Thx for finding the time to describe the terminlogy to the newcomers!

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