Proceeding Logically

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told. Some will be fun, some will not. Some will be great, some will be less so. Some stories are true, some are merely possible. This is one of them.

Proceeding Logically

Logic is a poor guide compared with custom.” –Winston Churchill

Ray was frustrated with the world.  As a logic professor, he hoped that the world would take notice of what was happening around them and move forward with wisdom.  More and more, he found that was not the case.  Yesterday had been a perfect example of what frustrated him about the world.

ImageHe had boarded a downtown bus to get to his school.  The bus, equipped with bright yellow letters just above the front windows, clearly displayed for all to see, “Downtown”.  Of course, it was the first person in the line of fourteen people that was confused.  “Does this bus go downtown?”  Ray had rolled his eyes at the inquiry but decided that he should settle upon his morning routine.  As the bus began to pull away from the stop, a woman started approaching the bus… from the other side of the street. 

This woman, lumbering and determined, plowed her way across two lanes of traffic going west, then she had continued through the turn lane without pause.  As the bus driver was about to pull forward, the woman walked through eastbound lanes and right up to the driver’s window.  The driver poked her head out the window and tried to ask the woman what she was doing.  The woman, undeterred by petty obstacles like a sixteen-ton bus, walked in front of the bus, onto the sidewalk, and continued with her mission.  Ray snorted out his nostril and turned to his crossword puzzle.  At least in this trivial black and white grid he could find order and clarity of thought.

The rest of the commute had been more or less reasonable.  Granted, there were the cars that dove across two lanes of traffic to pass one single car.  There were the drivers that forced their way into the busiest lane only to pull out just before it exited.  And naturally, there was the line of cars that wouldn’t let the bus into a lane even though the flashing lights were adorned with the sign, “Yield to bus”.  These drivers were something Ray was used to.  In some instances they had displayed a lack of logic, but many of them were simply rude.

Then the bus had pulled off the freeway and arrived downtown.  Ray folded up his paper, checked his watch, and prepared for something resembling normalcy to begin.  Of course, that was when he had seen them.

The bus had the right of way.  Green lights indicated that this massive vehicle speeding down the road with plenty of momentum to do some damage was clearly in the right.  There was no logical reason to believe that one was entitled to walk in front of the bus.  Still, there they had been, clear as day; a couple walked against the light, right in front of the bus.  To make matters worse, they were pushing a stroller. 

The driver did not want vehicular manslaughter on his record and so had slammed on the brakes.  Fifty or so bus riders braced themselves, some more successfully than others, as the force of the bus launched them forward in their seats.  Forty-eight people grumbled and panicked, cursed and glared at the foolish pedestrian couple.  (Ray noticed that the only two not upset by the whole incident were a young male and a young female.  Ray had previously seen the two shyly glance at each other every now and then, and the commuters seemed rather pleased that the sudden stop had sent her careening backwards into him.)  The pedestrians, assuming that all was well, didn’t give the bus a second thought as they pushed their stroller up onto the curb.

Those events would have been enough for Ray, but on the way home, there had been another incident which had only added to his frustration.  He had been walking to the bus stop after a long day of trying to instruct students.  One of them had actually asked, “Professor, can the after occur before the before, or does before always happen before the after?”  Ray had made a mental note to buy more aspirin.  He wanted to go home and watch an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, where he knew the fool would always get their comeuppance in the end.  Then the town car had come down the street towards him.

The vehicle would not have normally been a concern for Ray.  He, as logic dictated he should be, was on the sidewalk; the car was on the road.  However the road was a one-way and the town car was decidedly not going that one way.  Rush hour was approaching and Ray could see two columns of cars barreling straight towards the town car.  The town car stopped right beneath an overpass.  It backed up and Ray had heard its bumper collide with the concrete pillar.  Then it had pulled forward, only to back up again. 

At that point, the car had been perpendicular not only to the road, but to the dozens of cars that were coming.  The car pulled forward and the line of cars slowed to a stop.  Astonishingly, not a single driver honked.  Ray had chosen to believe that the town car driver knew how stupid he had been, that the drivers had known how stupid he was, and that no one needed to further accentuate the point with blaring noises.  After more maneuvering, the town car was eventually freed and it sped down the road, the “do not enter” sign going by in his rear view mirror.

Ray looked in his own mirror at home and hoped that today would be better.  He wanted people to pay attention.  He wanted folks to proceed in a manner that would produce positive results.  Truth be told, he wanted to quit his job at the local college and work at an online university so he would never have to face the real world again.  However, as Ray put a green glob on his toothbrush, he knew the world would never act in a way that would always get things right.  There would always be some moron that messed the whole thing up.  Those were the notions that were going through Ray’s mind as he started to brush his teeth.  Seconds later, he spat out what had been in his mouth as he realized what he had done. 

A truly intelligent person would never have put shaving cream on their toothbrush, he thought to himself, mortified.

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About anecdotaltales
He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.

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