Over the past month, I’ve witnessed several very odd and dangerous situations while either driving or walking. I’ll list them here and leave my thoughts at the end.
1.) I witnessed a pedestrian, jaywalking across a busy downtown street with approaching traffic. This happens (whether we like it or not) and we slow down and stop. However, I noticed this particular jaywalker was pushing a baby stroller. And he was hobbling along on a crutch.
Words–and safety–fail. Please, use the crosswalk. And yes, he/they made it across safely.
2.) The Saint and I were walking our Labrador around a neighborhood. A couple of cars sped up suddenly in the distance and pulled along side each other. The cars were drag racing–in a residential area of 25 mph with blind curves. This area has lots of houses and plenty of local walkers. I’ll let that sink in for you. I’ll wait.
3.) The light turned green and I proceeded through an intersection, again downtown. A pedestrian on a bicycle pulled out from a side road and wove around a parked car in the right hand lane. Right in front of me, while I was proceeding through the intersection. I stopped at a red light, watching the bicyclist in my mirrors. He traveled across the other lanes of traffic lazily, turned in his seat and flicked me off for a steady 30 seconds.
- To be honest, I wondered if this was partially my fault. He may have been trying to beat a red light on his side. In America, you always let pedestrians have right of way–even if they’re not obeying the rules. (Bicyclists, when they’re on the roads, however are supposed to follow the rules of the road). In my defense, he surprised me. And the parked car that was in his way? A police car. When the cop returned, I was tempted to let the officer know what transpired. But I chose to let it pass.
4.) The Saint and I pulled up to a red light last night, waiting to turn left onto a main road. A car behind us zoomed ahead, cutting us off in the space of less than 12 feet. Keep in mind, we’re again in a residential area. It gets better. While the Saint and I sat there, baffled at what had just happened, the car’s trunk flies open. With all the shootings going on in America lately, my mind (I’m saddened to report) quickly scanned the trunk for guns and weapons. It was empty. The young driver got out of his car, glowering, and slammed the trunk once–twice—three times (and perhaps more) before it finally latched. We got over into another left hand turn lane for safety and distance. When the light turned green, off the car went–speeding crazily with anger.
5.) Almost forgot about this one. I sat behind a car at a red light, waiting patiently for the light to turn green. A man next to me on a sidewalk was weed whacking. A few seconds before the light changed, I noticed a white car proceeding down the two way street–in the wrong direction–coming straight at us. The car was not speeding, but still it was unnerving. The light turned green, the car in front of me pulled forward with hesitation and I followed.
The white car attempted to do a three point turn (still in the oncoming traffic lane, mind you) to go around a cement island. One time they tried–two times they tried. I looked at the guy weed whacking. He was bewildered, too. Around the fourth time, the woman succeeded. It gets better.
The car in front of me had lost all their patience. He sped up, cut back over and made his left hand turn. I hang back, again using the “safe distance” defense strategy. The wrong-way car turns left right as the light turns red and the crosswalk changes. A pedestrian pushing someone in a wheelchair is just about to step out when the car whips around the corner. In front of a church.
Thankfully, everyone’s safe.
What on earth is going on, people? Yes, it’s summer and there are always people impatient, lost or driving recklessly. However, I wonder if some of the reasons lay deeper. The social climate in America is tearing apart and differences of beliefs and attitudes pop up like thorny weeds. It’s a divided country of extremes with a terrible captain at the helm leading us deeper into chaos.
I listened last week to Jeff Sessions defending separating children from parents at the Mexican-American border. Sessions used an arrogant, impatient tone at whatever media conference he was at. He failed to follow (and I paraphrase) exactly why Americans didn’t understand the need for securing America’s borders. I failed to understand his callousness and hardheartedness.
Stay safe and vigilant, everyone. We live in interesting times.
Song: “Wake me Up,” Avicii