Researchers are obsessed with indicators. The need for agreed-upon indicators to prove whatever theory you posit is a given in fields as diverse as sport, church-growth, enterprise development and social change. Indicators obviously indicate. A simple thing that can be quickly observed supposedly comments on, or reveals a deeper phenomenon.
We all know that indicators are subjective, not just in the way they are chosen, but also in the positioning of the very item they are supposed to measure. For example, weight and heart rate are supposed to be indicators of physical health. Hours praying are supposed to be indicators of spirituality and goals scored an indicator of a good striker. Nevertheless, instead of ranting on about my pet hate of fake measuring and indicators, I will rather join the ‘game’ and make my very own quasi intellectual assumptions about indicators!
The scene (laboratory): traffic, especially downtown Joburg
The question: how civilised are we as South Africans
The measurement: personal visual observation
The indicator: indicator use of drivers
So, I put it to you that humans who do not use their indicators on their vehicles reveal numerous personality and character traits. Simple enough: buy expensive car, pull or push little black lever next to steering wheel before turning mentioned steering wheel. The idea is to alert other motorist as to prevent accidents and subsequent loss of life or monetary expense. If you into calculating risk vs reward, this seems like a no-brainer.
Nevertheless, countless individuals neglect to perform this basic prerequisite of not being a prick. I hold that by not indicating with the little orange lights n their cars, they are still indicating! They are indicating that they do not understand the value of social order and agreed upon systems, they indicate they are arrogant and obnoxious, they indicate they are uneducated, they indicate thye have no sense of responsibility, they indicate they do not deserve technology like a car, they indicate that there are fundamental problems in their minds and that not indicating is probably the least of their mental and behavioural shortcomings. So, not indicating actually indicates more.
Not indicating does not only reveal personal failures. A nation of non-indicators, which are supposed to be one of the smaller problems on our roads is a nation of general disobedience. We know nothing of the USA’s ‘zero tolerance’. Braking laws starts small. But let me put it to you, what starts as not using an indicator ends in the jacuzzi at Nkandla.
As much as every instance of steering wheel turning without accompanying orange flash irritates and saddens me, so to every person going through the trouble of actually pushing the little lever gives me joy and hope. You might think I’m employing hyperbole, but trust me, in RSA 2014, I am easily pleased. When I see a taxi driver using an indicator I celebrate, I celebrate that there is still a human being in there, I celebrate the rule of law and I celebrate the hope that one day humans will realise they are group animals, not solitary selfish predators.
As you drive on the road and notice the use or non-usage of indicators, be reminded that those orange lights on the corner of cars indicate a lot more than the direction a car is about to turn; it indicates the direction our country is taking, as the sum of individual actions.