Bystander Effect

I pay my mechanic in beer and food. He’s my uncle, so I can do that. I laugh in the face of those who pay abhorrent amounts of money just to keep their cars running.

This past Saturday, my uncle worked on my Jeep. He replaced the brakes and did an oil change. Pretty routine maintenance. I drove the car back home. No problems. Smooth sailing–except for the other car facing the opposite direction on the road. Mangled. Smoking. People trying to fight the deployed airbags to get to the passengers inside.

I slowed down, of course, because accidents are spectator sports in Minnesota. The thought of stopping briefly entered my mind. In that moment, I pictured myself rushing over, peeling the door off the car, and dragging out the driver–probably a sexy young fellow who would profess his love for me and I’d have to bat him away, saying, “Why, sir, I’m already taken.”

Then reality set in and I hit the gas pedal. It was a Ford Focus. That is not a sexy man’s car.

So yes, I admit it. I suffer from the bystander effect. There are people far more competent than myself in the world. People who adult so much better than me. I would be more of a hindrance in that type of situation. And I had the safety of my puppy to think about. My little Wulfie-chan.

Who was staring at me as we drove by. With as much judgement a Chihuahua/Pomeranian can muster.

They were fiiine, I’m sure of it.

Just like all the other lost souls I’ve turned my back on over the years.

As if I wasn’t already feeling crappy about myself, later that evening, as I was about to head out to grab dinner to feed my mechanic, my remote start failed on me. So I thought, how did my uncle eff up my truck now? Because it had to be his fault. When I went out to start the car-actually had to walk outside, the horror-the dashboard lit up, but it wouldn’t start no matter how many times I turned the key.

I stomped back into the house, yelling at the top of my lungs, “No dinner for you! You no fix car, no food!” with a stereotypically Asian accent because apparently when I get Vietnamese take-out, I become a raging politically incorrect dickbag.

My uncle took the keys, walked to the truck…and put it in park.

Ohh yeah. Trucks don’t start when they’re in drive.

There’s a reason why my uncle is a master mechanic.

Question: Does anyone know why Jeeps are able to freaking turn off without being in park? Can someone explain this to me? After hearing about Anton Yelchin tragically being crushed by his truck, I now double and redouble check to make sure I’ve put it in park.

Also: Mind-boggling article on bystanders in India.