For years, I’ve joked that one of the most frustrating things about visiting one of our local shopping centres, Figtree Grove, has been getting caught behind various elderly customers and their trolleys. No matter how determined you may be to duck in and out of the place quickly for a bottle of milk, you’ll end up stuck behind a convoy of trolleys through automatic doors, at the checkout and in the car park. Sometimes, if you’re really lucky, you’ll even run into three different sets of friends along the way, turning five minutes into 50 minutes.
Being a Seinfeld fan, this regular predicament has always reminded me of one of Jerry’s opening sets from the TV show, in which he describes how retirees like his parents drive in Florida. Conveniently enough for linking and quoting purposes, it also features in this transcript from a 1998 live show:
I just can’t drive around there. You know how these old people drive… They drive slow, they sit low. That is their motto. The state flag of Florida should be just a steering wheel with a hat and two knuckles on it. And they left that turn signal on since they left the house that morning. That’s a legal turn in Florida. It’s known as an eventual left. You can signal this week, turn any following year of your life. What is that age that old people reach when they decide when they back out of their driveway, they’re not looking anymore? You know how they do that? They just go: “Well, I’m old and I’m coming back.” “I survived. Let’s see if you can.”
This is certainly the attitude that I’ve seen from older customers in their navigation of the shopping centre and believe me, I’ve always tried to remain patient and respectful.
Well, today Natasha and I saw in person the kind of reckless road behaviour that Jerry described, which not only eclipsed our regular trolley experience but even his driveway story. While cruising through the suburbs to visit family, we encountered this unlikely road warrior…
Clearly, this man cares neither for the safety nor the schedules of his fellow drivers. He rolls how he wants. It took some time for him to hear us and move out of the way and he’s fortunate that we were patient and careful. (Playing songs by Earth Wind & Fire in the car might have assisted with this.)
Although we may laugh or cringe, there is surely a lesson in this: perhaps we all need be like this guy once in a while, just slowing down to enjoy the day, without caring what others may think.