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Why do people need to save face or be macho?

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POSTED July 5, 2009 2:02 a.m.

The guy was a jerk.

We were driving the right way down a one-way parking lane outside Trader Joe’s in Modesto Saturday when he turned the wrong way and stopped within three feet of my front bumper.

I sat there waiting for him to move. He stared. Thirty seconds passed he did not move nor was there even a single car passing behind him in the travel lane in front of the stores. Another 15 seconds passed. He rolled his window down and yelled for me to back up. I just sat and stared.

At the two-minute mark I thought this was getting a bit absurd. Then he yelled out that all I had to do was move to the right and he could get by. I was starting to think it was time to get out of the car and give him a piece of my mind then I stopped myself. It wasn’t worth it and obviously the guy had a screw or two loose. As I pulled over to the right he shouted out that I would have let him by sooner if it wasn’t for the fact I had a woman in the car with me.

In just a few minutes plus a few words, he pretty well summed up the problem that guys have who think they have to be macho.

It is not the first time I’ve had to come to a stop because another male driver was going the wrong way down the aisle and wanted me to back up. The first time it was outside the Safeway store in Manteca. The guy was speeding, had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting me and then flipped me off before backing up. At least he realized that he was in the wrong.

Rules – contrary to popular belief – are meant to be followed.

For the record, if there is someone else in the car with me I’m not likely to make an issue about somebody else being in the wrong as my passenger’s safety is my responsibility. And to tell the truth, rarely do I respond to someone else’s stupidity on the road although I admit when someone blew through a stop sign while I was in the crosswalk I did yell out more than a few profanities as I was barely able to get out of the way without being clipped.

The guy Saturday, though, was something else. There wasn’t a danger in him backing up. He was clearly in the wrong, and I was two car lengths from the end of the aisle when he turned in front of me.

Not backing down when you’re in the wrong isn’t macho. It’s being self-important.

Then implying that someone else wouldn’t give into your complete disregard of the rules because they want to be macho and impress a woman is off the chart.

Guys need to get over the macho crap.
It hasn’t bothered me for years if someone passes me up when I’m cycling or jogging. I simply go at an established pace that I’m comfortable with.

As amazing as it may sound, in the past few years I’ve passed several people jogging primarily on country roads. I didn’t pick up my pace. They simply were moving at a slower pace. Each time when I passed them they obviously felt I had challenged their manhood. Minutes later they’d pass me up only to start breathing heavily and slowing down as I passed them a second time.

I’m certainly not out there running against them and I’m impressed that they are out there. The problem, of course, is that I was considerably older than the two guys I passed up. Who cares? They can probably do 1,001 things better than I can but I don’t really care nor should they. My favorite was a woman in her 20s who obviously was a runner compared to someone like me who is a jogger. I passed her on Wellington Avenue as she was jogging with a dachshund. Obviously that didn’t make her too happy. Before I knew it she was running past me with the dog scrambling for dear life to try and stay up.

I don’t need to impress anybody. It makes more sense to run your own race, so to speak, as you go through life and follow the rules.

I’m not perfect by far although I assure you if I turned down the wrong way on a travel lane I’ll back up because I made a mistake and am not afraid to admit it. Nor do I have to save face when someone can do something better than I can. If that means I’m not macho, so be it.

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