I don’t know if people like blog posts that read more like rants. I hope to avoid that, but the stuff I am going to mention is seriously annoying. Because I’d rather not rant, I hope to word this post in such a way as to suggest advice to alleviate these frustrations, not just for me.
Here’s the interesting part about this-I’ll tell a story to illustrate. A crosswalk light had just started flashing red (as in, ‘Don’t Walk Across’) but I felt that I could still make it all the way across before it stopped flashing, meaning that you should be out of the intersection completely. Of course, I did make it across safely before it stopped flashing; I do walk rather quickly. But some guy who was going to turn left onto the road that I was perpendicularly crossing yelled out of his window at me. I had earphones on and it didn’t regsiter until a few seconds after he had said what he said that he was talking to me-he never got my attention. But he yelled something like, “It says, ‘Don’t Walk’. When it says don’t walk, you don’t cross.” I actually respect the rules of the system, and even though he was saying what he said in frustration to me, he was actually right.
Perhaps what’s interesting is that I don’t think he really cares about the rule the way I do. I think he only cared about the rule when me breaking the rule hurt/bothered him. What I did occurs at least hundred times at that intersection, and sometimes in more of a ‘close call’ manner (i.e., the light actually changes and people were still in the street because they crossed way too late). He won’t advocate for those hundred other times it occurs, but he’ll speak up for that one time it occurs. So, bottom line, he was frustrated, maybe having a bad day, and he sorta took it out on me.
That said, I don’t think I’m having a bad day (well, maybe…) when I voice this frustration or pet peeve. When I am walking on the sidewalk and on intersections, I am a pedestrian. Bottom line: pedestrians have the right of way over cars. Apparently, many people do not get this or care for this fact. I’m going to describe my example. I don’t care about the 15 seconds that this took place in. I don’t want my 15 seconds back when I say this example. I’m trying not to complain, but rather to illustrate how ridiculous this is. I was crossing a sidewalk that crosses a lane that lets people off from the highway. There’s actually a sign posted, pretty clearly, to yield to pedestrians. It’s a flawed highway off-ramp because I’m used to traffic lights and what not, but still…
There are like 4 or 5 cars lined up that don’t care that I am standing there, and only one car lane length away from actually continuing my walk that was interrupted by them; they didn’t stop and yield to me, but instead just rolled through as if I wasn’t there. This actually happened more recently where I was trying to cross a lane that was used to filter all the cars who were going into a sporting event at my college, and probably 20 or so cars went through without letting me go through. I was very appreciative when one finally did. Here’s my beef with this. I really don’t care if they’re breaking the law-it’s not for me to judge. But if you’re driving and I am walking, it means you are getting to your destination, literally, 10 or 15 times faster than I am. Therefore, you should be able to spare 10-15 seconds to let me go. It’s not a big deal. I know that after this year of having no car that if I do have a car over the summer, I am going to remember the plight of pedestrians and actually let people through.
Actually, a similar form of ‘impatience’ is seen at my dorimitory. When traveling up an elevator, many people complain when they live on upper floors and someone goes into the elevator just to go up one floor, or sometimes two floors from the first floor. People tend to get mad over it, like it was such a big deal that somebody didn’t feel like walking. While many people tout that it’s “only one floor”, people have the right to go up just one floor if they want. And in reality, they are only taking 10 seconds to stop at their respective floor, if that. Can you really not wait 10 seconds more? Is 10 more seconds going to really subtract from your life considering the elevator is getting you up possibly 10 more floors in a matter of about 10 seconds anyway?
I don’t know if anyone will change their attitudes based on one relatively short post, but hopefully it will get you thinking about the actions you might take. I know plenty of people who unintentionally ignore a pedestrian, or even a walk signal. I’ve seen my best friends do the very things that I hope nobody does. Comments are welcome, as always.