Tuesday, November 5, 2013

tales of a pedestrian.

I haven't always been a pedestrian.

Living in typical small town Texas, you don't really have the option whether to walk or drive. With the nearest grocery store or restaurant being at least 20 minutes away, it's either drive or forget about it.

I had honestly never really had to deal with pedestrians unless you count driving in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Even then, I never really had the "wrath of the motorist" when it came to waiting for them to cross in front of my vehicle. Maybe that's just southern charm. You know, the whole "manners" thing that we're born with. "No, after you," and I'd just wave them along.

Once in California, I became a pedestrian immediately. I admit it was slightly odd at first. Crosswalks and intersection were a bit of a new thing to maneuver. The awkward dance of "Is there a button to push on this one? Oh, no? Umm....ok." made it a little bit unnerving.

Apparently pedestrians are equated to rodents & other vermin.

I continued to employ the "look both ways before crossing the street" each time I made my way into the crosswalk. My Mamaw's words would ring in my ears every time I came to an intersection. She instilled this handy little rule in me. Funny enough, I practiced this rule in the small north Texas town of Ambrose. Population: 41.

Despite my cautiousness, I continued to nearly get mowed down each time I placed a foot within those white stripes. In one year, I had close calls with soccer moms, AARP members and even law enforcement.

I must admit that one incident was not the motorist's fault, but that of the crazy lady that lived in my apartment building at the time. Not sure why she felt that she needed to carry on a conversation with me in the middle of a crosswalk. But she did. Nothing meaningful. Nothing deep. Just an "Amber, right?" as she turned and stood in the middle of the lane in her bathrobe. Trying to turn back and walk at the same time, I said, "Yes ma'am" as a car came to an abrupt stop in the lane I was now walking through. She turned and stood there, shaking her head up and down, as if computing everything that I had just said. All two words.

That I can understand.

However, when the car in the left lane is stopped for me as I cross and a gas-guzzling SUV flies through the crosswalk in the right lane? Yeah, that one was probably the closest call to date. Luckily, I was watching BOTH lanes. I immediately stopped in the left lane and watched as the driver turned to look at me and waved. Not a "Yeah, I knew you were there," but a "Oh, thanks for yielding to me." What's the point of the wave?  Seriously.

Now I am not at all saying that I've never had a case of road rage.  I sometimes think that my mother and I are the poster children for these occasional outbursts. Of course, I have what I call a "healthy case of road rage."  No hidden firearms or brass knuckles in my glove compartment.

But after all of the rants I have heard involving pedestrians and how we are inferior to motorists, I have a thought  for all of you drivers to ponder. (Well, at least those that suffer from a superiority complex....)

It is simply this:  Pedestrians invented automobiles.

Thank you very much.