Note to drivers passing through unfamiliar residential neighborhoods because you’re impatient and in a hurry and you’ve gotten yourselves lost because you’re impatient and in a hurry, even if the reason for you being in a hurry and lost is through no real fault of your own:
Yes, Wheaton’s Law is appropriate even in this circumstance.
Here’s how it went down:
There was a wreck on the highway south of my house this morning. It ended up being west of me, too, near a major interchange where three different highways converge, but the backup was such that it spilled back to the east by several miles, and people were leaving the highway and taking to surface streets and attempting to get past the scene. A lot of these folks likely didn’t know where the wreck was, or even where they were, as they ended up driving through my neighborhood in a vain hope of regaining the highway.
My neighborhood is such that we’re several blocks from main arteries, and the only real traffic we typically see is from residents and their visitors as well as the usual assortment of delivery vehicles, etc. Anybody who’s “not from around here” sticks out pretty quickly, and that’s even before they come tear-assing down my street at 50 miles an hour.
I had just come home from dropping the kids at school and was walking out to the mailbox when one such car came screaming around the corner and down the street, heading for the only option he was about to have: A sharp turn to the right. Seeing me, he slams on his brakes and lowers his window, and in the finest tradition of human interaction ever recorded, greets me thusly:
“Hey! How the hell do I get the fuck out of here?”
I actually stood there, purposely silent, eyeing him for several seconds with an expression I hoped conveyed my unspoken question: “Are you fucking kidding me?”
Frustrated at my lack of response, he drove off, around the bend and through the stop sign up the street. That actually was a bad move for him, as it ended up putting him in the position of having to make a left at another stop sign onto the main road north of my neighborhood, and into the long line of traffic from other drivers who had escaped the clogged highway and were looking for an alternate route.
That’s when I started laughing.
So, hey! Don’t be one.