I Walk the Line, You Walk the Line
Let's discuss pedestrians. You've been one, I've been one, we've both waited for them, so we all know pedestrians. Living in a college town has afforded me many opportunities to wait for pedestrians, and instead of letting all that time go to waste, I began characterizing them.
The following categories have been collecting pedestrians over the past 13 years that I've been driving.
Oblivious Pedestrian: including lovers, cell-phone talkers, readers and the elderly. These pedestrians don't even know they're crossing a street. They never heard your screeching car just before it almost deprived them of their whole life (or at least their pretty Blackberry). What's even more frustrating, is when, because of all their wedding planning and sluggish sauntering, they are not one bit cognizant of you, in your sound proof car, cursing and using inappropriate gestures meant to deeply insult them! (Not me, of course...Jed and other people.)
Entitled Pedestrian: Entitled pedestrians know they have the right to walk across the street and you must wait. They do not hurry, they are ssssllllllooooowwww--reminding you of their special privilege. They want you to know that they begrudge your car. Entitled pedestrians, as a rule, wait until you've already waited for a big group of other pedestrians before they make their grand entrance onto the striped scene, making it impossible for you to hit the green light ahead. In fact, whether crossing the street or not, entitled pedestrians push every crossing button they pass, just so someone will have to wait.
The Out-Of-Cross-Walk Pedestrian: You've most certainly almost hit one before. You'll be driving safely, cross-checking the speed limit with your own speed (as always!), when out of nowhere (but often close to Albertsons on Center) comes the out-of-cross-walk pedestrian. Now, as we all know from our Driver's Ed course-- or more recently, traffic school-- you are NOT supposed to stop for this type of pedestrian. Simply put: you stop, neighbor in next lane does not, and out-of-cross-walk pedestrian is no more. But even though it's illegal, the driver who doesn't stop always looks like the mean guy. You can almost hear, "Look at the wise-guy who won't stop for the grandma with her walker and 17 children!" from passers by. But what of the drivers who know the law and don't want to stop for grandma and her lot? It's up to you to make the tough decision. Just trying to save a life, folks. Or 18 lives.
And finally, and it's about time,
The Courteous Pedestrian: You know them, you love them. They look at you in your car--acknowledging your presence, aware that you stopped for them. They hurry across the street. Courteous pedestrians check traffic situations before they set foot in the cross walk: by walking now, will I ruin the gap this left-turner has been yearning for? Could I just wait and go with this group of pedestrians a few feet behind me? Look--there aren't any cars after this one--I'll walk after she passes.
Because courteous pedestrians are grateful, they always wave. Some even mouth the words, "thank you" as they run across the street. You find yourself wanting to marry the courteous pedestrian. You park and chase them down...wait, did I go to far?
Be a courteous pedestrian. I like the wave. I need the wave. Give me the wave.