Screech. Thump.

They cross without even so much as turning their head, entitled and brash, their stride resembles the goading of a schoolyard bully, confident with indifference. Their technology isolates them and their seclusion gives them license to assume that every street corner is a crosswalk. There was a time when people who crossed streets were wary of automobiles. A time when large machines of steel caused children and adults alike to heed, when pedestrians were actually cautious of getting hit by a car. Maybe it was the solid chrome bumpers or the heavy fenders that struck fear in those who jaywalked, or maybe we’ve grown into such a coddling, caring, careful bunch of jellyfish that even slow Uncle Jethro with the fanny pack wearing socks and sandals isn’t afraid of getting run over. Nowadays people brazenly walk right into intersections expecting drivers to yield, rarely even acknowledging those behinds the wheel, casually thinking that everyone will stop for their little stroll. No matter how tolerant or civil we would like to be, even a hippie in a Subaru can kill a yuppie douchebag who’s walking in the middle of the street. Sometimes I imagine a rumbling Peterbilt flattening one of these ipod/bluetooth wearing, non-looking-both-ways-before-crossing-a-street grade-A imbeciles so that others like them will realize that things with engineswill always win over things with legs.

Fill ‘er up, sir.

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4 responses to “Screech. Thump.

  1. Sometimes pedestrians you have to brake for are not careless or indifferent–they are willful and just want to make you stop.

    In 1981 I was at the stop light on Greeley Ave. in my VW van waiting to cross Portland Blvd. Opposite, in the on-coming lane across Portland Blvd. was a car also waiting for the light to change. I watched as a young man came out of the corner house and walked up the driver’s window and started talking–friends, I thought. Then I forgot about him and started talking to my young son who was sitting next to me.

    Then I looked up and saw that the light had turned green, so I put the car in gear and continued talking to my son. I assumed that the young man talking to his friend had gone back into his house as I drove through the intersection, when suddenly I saw the man’s face 4 inches from the corner of my windshield, big frightened eyes staring at me and getting out of my way. Had he been any slower he would have been dead.

    [Yes, officer, I did see him, uh-h, but not until I was all the way across the intersection.

    No, officer, I mean, Portland Blvd. is a wide street, there was plenty of time for him to get out of my way. Why didn’t I stop? Well, like I said, I didn’t see him until just before I hit him. It was an accident.]

    Now, whenever I see adolescent boys playing tricks I’m never irritated. I just think back to 1981, and even though my almost road-kill was unintentional, it was definitely pay-back.

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