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The Mask

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 by Coach Kevin

When I moved to Dallas, there were 4 MILLION less people living here.  Times have changed, and we have increased the Dallas area population significantly—and unfortunately, these 4 million more people drive cars. Our roads are more congested causing the strange phenomena of “The Green Mask”.   Seemingly normal happy people get on the congested roads and suddenly 30 sec delays cause them to be taken over like characters in “The Mask”.   These people, although normally in control, seemingly can’t help themselves.  The challenge for us athletes is that we don’t know who has been taken over by the mask and who has not!

I had a personal experience with someone in the grips of “The Mask” recently:

I was running in a crosswalk with a green light and white “walker” on the crosswalk sign when a car (turning right) came up behind me and slammed on his brakes (I was clearly visible) and honked his horn.  Shocked, I stopped and turned around to let him know how “happy” I was that he and I both now knew his horn worked.  At the same time, I had another totally different driver in a different car yelling my direction.  Of course, since I was a pedestrian in a crosswalk with a green light, I assumed this 3rd person was yelling at the driver honking at me.  To my surprise, he was yelling at me for holding up traffic!  So I walked up to the second car and said, “Why are you yelling at me? I’m in a crosswalk with a green light and a white “walker” sign.”  

His reply was, “Don’t tell me the law! I know the law!” 

So I continued, “Well, then you know I have the right of way with a green light.” 

The driver answered smartly, “Well so does he!” pointing at the driver of the car that was just honking at me.    “The Mask” at work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And I, at that point, had a few choice words for him, which I won’t relay to you here.

Having now reflected on the situation, I wanted to give all of you some advice.  Don’t do what I did!  Drivers when caught in the grip of “The Mask” think that, regardless of the law, they own the road and they don’t have to share.  Trying to educate these drivers assumes that they want to be informed on right-of-way laws—an assumption that is generally wrong as these drivers are being controlled by “The Mask”.   

Safety rules to live by when dealing with drivers wearing “The Mask”:

1.  Don’t try to educate them on the rules of the road. 
2.  Best course of action is to continue your workout and ignore them!  
3.  Don’t talk to people suffering from “The Mask”. Nothing you say (or gesture) will do anything to make things better.
     a.  NEVER APPROACH A CAR WHO’S DRIVER IS YELLING AT YOU.
      b.  RUNNING: For very aggressive people, turn and run the opposite direction of the car.  They can’t turn around easily. 
     c.  BIKING: Get off your bike and get on the side walk. Go (walk/run) the opposite direction of the car.  When they leave, get back on the street and continue your ride.
4.  If you feel that something needs to be done, then get their license plate and follow above steps while calling 911.  Police take these events seriously and will investigate.
5.       Try to ride on roads with light congestion and multiple lanes or large shoulders.
6.       Always follow the rules of the road.

There is nothing good that will come from direct engagement with drivers caught in the grip of “The Mask,” so enjoy your workout.  Your workout will not suffer by stopping and staying safe if needed. 



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