It happened again this morning. It happens to me multiple times per week, often on my way into work, and I cannot overstate how inexplicable and strange and, frankly, really annoying it is.
This morning, a man walked up the sidewalk, looking to cross the street, while cars were stopped at a traffic light. He walked past one, two, three cars, got to mine, and promptly walked out in front of me as the car ahead of me began to pull away.
For some reason, pedestrians see me and my car and decide that I am the driver they are going to walk out in front of to jaywalk. I find this peculiar, because, like I said, it happens most often in the morning, and I am not a morning person. Random passersby don’t know that, of course, but I almost always have sunglasses on and a very dejected look on my face solely because I am awake while the clock still says “AM.” I wouldn’t think an at-best apathetic looking man in sunglasses would appear to be the friendly type, but apparently it conveys an air of “go for it.”
If I was just sitting in traffic, I don’t think I’d even notice it, let alone care. I’m not going anywhere, so fine, be on your way. The problem is that they almost inevitably seem to wait until the light turns green before walking out in front of me. So while I am initially stopped when they take those first steps out in front of me, by the time they finish what always ends up being a way-too-slow walk across my lane, the car ahead of me has long since pulled away, leaving me and the line of cars behind me to wait.
I always grew up with a healthy respect for the multiple-ton machines that zoom past as I wait to cross the street. I know that if we meet, I am losing that battle, so even when I am crossing with the light at a crosswalk, I get across the street as quickly as possible. For some reason, the people who walk in front of me are out on a morning stroll and take their grand old time completing what amounts to a 10-foot trek. STOP DOING THAT. I’m sorry, but if I’m walking out in front of an idling vehicle, doing something that is technically illegal, I’m not going to loiter about while I do it.
You know what else I’m not going to do? Antagonize the driver that could flatten me in two seconds if he or she wished. And yet, more often than you’d think, one of these clowns not only walks out in front of me, but has the audacity to wave a hand in the air, a la a driver thanking another for letting them make a turn, as if to say, “thanks, driver man, for allowing me to walk across the street illegally without being run over.” What do you expect me to do, hit you anyway? I had no choice, so don’t thank me.
But the worst are the people who do the “hey, hey, hold up there, buddy” hand gesture. You’re the one breaking the law. I am not. Your hand is not going to stop me if I am going to hit you; all it does is maybe make my bumper contact your femur at 34.8 miles per hour instead of 35. So put your frickin’ hand down and stop acting like you can tell me what to do. Understand that when you do this to me, you are only making it across the street because I am allowing you to live, and that I am doing it solely because my confidence in the “your honor, he put his hand up like he was some sort of jaywalking crossing guard” defense is not high.
To some of you, I surely sound like a raving loon. To those people I say, well, you probably should have picked up on that six months ago. But to the rest of you, the ones who know what I’m talking about, you know you’ve had the same thoughts. You’re not alone. I’m here for you.
Just as soon as this guy staring at his phone finishes crossing the street.