Sunday, July 15, 2018

Crosswalk Conundrum

I think I have a pretty strong moral compass.  So much so that other friends will sometimes run issues by me to help figure out what is the correct moral thing to do.  And I'm pretty much a rule-follower.  Now, I'm not completely cut and dried - I don't always strictly follow the rules.  For example, I'll go faster than the speed limit if it's with the flow of traffic, because I believe that's the spirit of the law, and therefore more important.  And I even think there are times when you maybe, kinda should go ahead and break the rules ... for fun.  As long as you don't make a habit of it and you're not affecting anyone else.

Which brings us to today.  At my church, I usually park on the street, across the street from the church and down the street.  To get to the church from there, I have to use two crosswalks.  One crosses the street, and the other crosses a driveway (not sure why that driveway is so special that it gets its own light, but it does).  I have also had occasion to park further up the street, directly across from the church, so that the crosswalks would be out of the way, down at the intersection.

So!  The crosswalk that crosses the street?  I wait for the light.  Seems simple enough so far, right?

The crosswalk that crosses the driveway?  I ignore the light and just cross.  Because I know that the place is closed on Sundays and there is no traffic coming out of there.

Today, my friend Adam (we often carpool) wanted to ignore the light and cross the street.  I did not.  Because even though there was no traffic coming, it's a street and I tend to follow the rules.  But here's the thing - when I parked directly across the street, where there is no crosswalk, I just went ahead and jaywalked, and I was OK with it, because there was no traffic coming, and to use the crosswalk would have been out of the way.

So my moral compass is confusing me.  If I'm OK with crossing the street where there is no crosswalk, as long as there is no traffic, then why do I not want to do that at the crosswalk?  It's not like I mind waiting.  I'm not impatient for the light to change - what's an extra minute?  And I'm not late. 

And it's not that I have respect for the visible signs or authority they represent to the degree that I prefer to follow the rules, because at the driveway I don't care.

I actually laughed out loud at myself for a couple of minutes because of the logical inconsistency.

So what is my moral compass doing?  Why is it OK with breaking the rules in one way but not another?

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