Thursday, September 01, 2011

Different Flavors of Suicidal Pedestrians

Working at a university means that the drive to work everyday is bound to include numerous pedestrian encounters. I called the police to check, and it is true what you have heard, pedestrians always have the right of way; but good understanding of the law does not outweigh a good understanding of physics.

I remember when I was first learning to drive I came to an intersection with my dad. The light was green for me so I kept my foot on the gas. He yelled at me to stop the car, which I did, just as a car ran a red light in front of us. He told me I needed to be more aware of the other cars on the road. "But I had the right of waaaay." I puled*. Dad responded,"That won't do you any good if you are dead."

I feel like my dad needs to come and have this conversation with all the pedestrians in all the world. For example:

What is this madness? This breed of pedestrian seems to have the idea that they are protected within the heavenly boundaries of the crosswalk bars. They run to get to the crosswalk but then immediately walk once they reach the road (the place where multi-ton vehicles drive)!

Then there is the pedestrian chain. You stop your car for the first pedestrian. When he is about to step out of the road Pedestrian#2 thinks, "Ah, this is my chance!" and darts into the road. This continues indefinitely as the endless stream of pedestrians, perfectly spaced for maximum wait time, flows bit by bit across the street.

If the road is mostly deserted this is more annoying than dangerous, but bring another car into the mix, or a bicyclist, and this bobbing and darting becomes dreadfully scary.
There is also the surly pedestrian. This person refuses to conform to traffic laws, or be bound by the confines of a crosswalk. They will plunge into the road without warning and glare at you as the stomp slowly across the street. This kind of pedestrian is likely to join a pedestrian chain, (or pedestrian herd if numbers will allow), causing you to miss an entire light cycle. They are the embodiment of ultimate pedestrian hubris.
I prefer surly pedestrians to skulking pedestrians though. The skulkers usually have a hoodie pulled over their head like blinders on a horse, and ear buds playing music in their ears. Half-blind and fully deaf to the world around them, they amble into the road without even checking for traffic.

If I ever tried doing that my mom would sense that I did not look both ways and apperate at my house to ground me; either that or I would be instantly killed by a truck. Skulking pedestrians have no qualms about either of those scenarios.

I am not sure what it is that causes these people to risk their lives so carelessly. Perhaps they are on their way to take a test and life has never looked so bleak? Pedestrians! Life is still good! Do not throw yourself away!

*"Pule" is an excellent word that I learned from playing hundreds of hours of "Word Warp" on the iPod. Don't worry Mom, I never played it whilst crossing the street.


Vaylene & Jordan said...

Can I just say how much I love your blog! I check it all the time. Your so funny and it cheers me up! Keep the posts coming!


McRachie said...

Thanks Vaylene! How are you? It has been so long!

Sonya said...

I am the surly pedestrian. I will step out in front of cars that annoy me by going too fast in parking lots, and slow down my walk so that they know they will have to stop as punishment for being illegally and unsafely speedy. So far I have been able to judge safe lead times for such maneuvers, but Paul finds my behavior alarming.
Conversely I feel guilty when I am standing on the sidewalk thinking about whether I want to cross or go to the store over there and cars keep slowing down because they interpret my indecision dance as my desire to dart into the road.

McRachie said...

Sonya, Paul and I love you. We want you to stop your suicidal behavior right away. You never know which drivers are paying attention or are sociopaths! Keep yourself safe!