Ever run across some behavior that just fakes you out — and not in a fun way? I’m not talking about obvious fake-outs like e-mail spam, chain letters, junk mail marked “Urgent. Time Sensitive!” and “free” dinner coupons.
I’m talking about little ways that people or things cause us to expect one thing and then do or show something unpleasantly different.
1. Drivers who stop well short of the car in front of them at a stoplight. It’s almost like they’re afraid their vehicle will be contaminated by the car in front. Or maybe they want to leave some space in case a car comes roaring up from behind and tries to pound them into the forward car. Either way, it’s annoying because it upsets the natural order of self-organizing traffic management.
See, the whole business of getting as many people through a given traffic light — which we’d all like to happen, right? — depends on drivers more or less selecting the shortest lane as they approach the light, or at least not piling up in one long lane when two or more lanes are available.
What invariably happens is that the culprit driver sort of wakes up during the red cycle and then fakes everyone out by moving up. What…you couldn’t just do it when you got to the line at the light?
Even worse are drivers on an overpass, say, waiting to get onto a freeway who won’t move up and optimize the available space so everyone can get through in one cycle.
2. Drivers who are going a perfectly legal speed but stomp on the brakes when they see a police car…and then refuse to pass it.
3. Skorts. I’ve actually covered this in my story “If I Were King of the World,” but it bears repeating. Skorts are major fake-outs…and women know it. How about you just pick one: shorts or skirt.
4. Male joggers with those bra-strap fitness monitors around their chests. I see ’em on the canal and the jogging paths along Central Avenue in Phoenix. I know, I know, it’s really no skin off my nose, and the guys aren’t intentionally trying to fake me out, but it’s still a kind of visual pollution.
5. Bacon packages with the little windows showing you the product inside…but when you open it up you find that the packager has managed to get the entire non-fat portion — the only non-fat portion — displayed in the window.
Ok, I have to make a confession now. I included this next item simply because I liked the title, “Fake ‘n Bake,” and needed an item relating to baking.
6. You’re looking out the window at a beautiful August dusk in Phoenix and think, “Wouldn’t it be nice to just take our drinks outside and enjoy the sunset”? Now, even though you know better, know better a hundred times over, you’re still somehow surprised to open the door and feel the holy-mary-in-a green-hat 110-degree heat removing your epidermis.