Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Crosswalk

There I was - walking on the sidewalk, halfway between 22nd and 21st, approaching the intersection. I was quickly approaching a woman ahead of me who was paused at the crosswalk of an intersection, growing dizzy from watching the cars speed past her.

A crosswalk: An original idea to assist pedestrians. A bar of white stripes painted in the street. That thing that the Beatles walked across on that one famous album cover. That thing that you have to stop for if you are a driver and someone wants to walk across the street.

So she's waiting. Finally, heading south, a Scooter man finally stops. He smiles at her, she smiles at him. She looks north - clear, she looks south - cars still speeding past crazily. She smiles at the Scooter man again. She waves him on, shrugging her shoulders and holding up her hands with an upside down frown, as the cars heading north refuse to stop.

Not only is it the law everywhere that you must stop for a person wishing to cross a street with a crosswalk, but where I live, if a person wants to cross the street - whether there is a crosswalk (lines painted in the street) or not, as a driver, you have to stop no matter what. You have to stop at any intersection if someone wants to cross the street. The pedestrian always has the right of way.

Scooter man smiles back at the lady and refuses to continue. He raises his arm and points in a southern direction. A northern headed vehicle stops - almost as if Scooter man made them, like Xavier from X-men!

Just as she takes her second step into the crosswalk I reach the intersection and I follow suit. As she reaches the other side of the street she veered left; away from the stopped car and towards Scooter man, but I veer right; closer to the mentally coerced stopped vehicle. As soon as I step onto the sidewalk, the vehicle slams on the gas and the passenger shoves his head out of the window and screams at me: "You ARE welcome!"

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