Since the time I learned to drive, I was led to believe that pedestrians have the right of way. My question, however, is Do Pedestrians HaveThe Right To Be Really Fucking Stupid?
Disclaimer: I am an unassuming driver with reasonable consideration for my surroundings. Only on occasion do I jump the curb or leave tire ruts on the neighbor’s lawn. For the most part, I accept that it is a crowded globe we live on, so I spin my wheels accordingly. Granted, this has less to do with a love for humanity than the repercussions of vehicular homicide. Nonetheless, there is an entire cast of characters that does not respect the weight of the Steel to Flesh ratio.
Witness the supermarket parking lot- Browsing the lot for a spot to plop, I encounter my first brush with idiocy. A middle-aged man on foot oblivious to his whereabouts floats through the lot with the sure-mindedness of shredded wheat soaking in milk on a breezy day. With no apparent neural connection between his brain and feet, the man seems more fascinated with the ground he is walking on than the 4000 lbs. of Japanese steel closing the gap between them. Suddenly startled that such a gargantuan vehicle could creep up on him so stealthily, the man snaps out of his snooze with cat-like reflexes and… stares… just stares… at me. He is alert but confused. The hamster wheel is turning; I can see it in his saucers. Somehow though, the equation remains unsolved. Any survival instinct once possessed has been trumped by dangerously slow processing time. By this point, a less thoughtful driver would be picking idiot-chunks out of his grill.
As I turn down a parking aisle, my truck encounters yet another challenger. A testosterone drenched youngster struts his invincible attitude not only across the lot but directly towards my oncoming vehicle. Mr. Young-Stud knows his rights and is not afraid to assert them, even at the cost of a Firestone fingerprint being embossed upon his back. He is a gunslinger walking towards a showdown. He is David to my Nissan’s Goliath. He cares not about the mangled mess I could turn him into with one press of the accelerator. Life in traction is a small price to pay for an insurance company payout. He has seen the commercials. He knows that Lizards and Cavemen have deep pockets; he will not back down.
Upon leaving the premises, I approach the stop sign that protects the walkway to the store’s entrance. Two elderly women stand poised to cross in front of my halted truck. I patiently wait for them to do so as they gaze out into the great beyond. They both wear sunglasses so dark that that I could only assume they are arc welders taking a lunch break. The women yammer back and forth. They take turns pointing in different directions as I wait for them to cross. I wave my hand frantically for them to get stepping, but they do not see me or my vehicle which sits idle a mere 10 feet from their side. Chalking it up to a problem with their peripheral vision, I politely rev the engine ’til it redlines before resorting to the horn-mashing which ultimately forces them to acknowledge my presence. Yet, instead of crossing over, they relinquish their right-of-way and wave for me to continue forth in front of them. Seeing this as an insurance claim waiting to happen, I once again wave for them to pass. What ensues can only be described as a power struggle of hand gestures. This ridiculous display is followed by a series of stop-starts and double takes that could have easily resulted in bodily impact. Had I not been so caring, I’d have splattered anti-freeze and Ben-Gay all over the walkway. My advice to these two is simple. If you’re not ready to cross, step the fuck away from the intersection. When you’re ready to proceed, stick to the pecking order as prescribed by law and live to die another day. Save the gazing and grazing for the corn field and stay the fuck out of my way, please.