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You Can’t Cross Stubbornness Like This

, , , , , , | Right | April 14, 2022

At the railway station where I work, a nearby level crossing is being closed for a few days for essential maintenance. A woman comes into the station looking cross.

Woman: “What does that sign mean?”

Me: “Uh, sorry, what sign?”

Woman: “The one on the crossing gates saying it’ll be closed from Friday to Tuesday night.”

Me: “Oh, yes. It means that the crossing will be closed due to maintenance from Friday at about 7:00 pm until sometime on Tuesday afternoon.”

Woman: “Does that apply to me?”

Me: “If you use the crossing, yes. You’ll need to walk to [Next Crossing] or drive your car down [Street] and cross at the big crossing.”

Woman: “So, it doesn’t apply to me?”

Me: “Not if you don’t use it, no.”

Woman: “I use it twice a day.”

Me: “Then it applies to you. You’ll have to use the crossings either side.”

Woman: “No, I don’t think it means that.”

Me: “Well, yes, it does. The crossing will be closed.”

Woman: “No, it means that trains won’t be able to go past. They’ll use the big crossing.”

Me: “No, the trains will continue on this line as normal. The crossing will be closed to pedestrians and cars. You had a letter about it a few weeks ago.”

Woman: “I put that in the bin because it doesn’t apply to me.”

Me: “If you use the crossing, it does apply to you.”

Woman: “No, it only applies to other people using the crossing. I’ll still be able to use it. The sign is confusing.”

Me: “Nobody can use the crossing.”

Woman: “Nobody else can use the crossing. I understand that. But the sign should say that. Why doesn’t it?”

Me: “Because it applies to you, as well. Nobody can use the crossing. Nobody at all. It’ll be closed.”

Woman: “Then you’ll need to tell people that. The sign suggests it applies to everybody.”

Me: “It does apply to everybody, including you.”

Woman: “No, it doesn’t. It means there’ll be no trains and nobody except me can cross.”

Me: “Well, give it a try on Friday night and see how that works out.”

Woman: “You are no help at all!”

She stormed out. I was told by a colleague that the police had to be called on Monday morning because someone smashed a car into the new crossing gates that had just been put in and were being tested, coming to rest on the railway line. All the trains had to be stopped for a few hours.

She was charged with dangerous driving and the railway applied to have the crossing permanently closed.

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