A Mere Pedestrian Complaint
- An interesting letter.
>>A Mere Pedestrian Complaint
>>By John Kelly
>>Wednesday, December 1, 2004; Page C11
>> Dear Mr. Chrysler Pacifica Driver:
>>You might recall, sir, that you almost ran me over the other day when I
>>crossing the street.
>>I think that you somehow found me at fault for this near-collision. I
>>you felt that there was something audacious about my desire to cross L
>>Street NW while you were trying to turn onto it from 16th Street.
>> The misunderstanding arose, I think, in the brief glance that we
>>when the light turned green. You took my look to mean, "Please, after
>>Whereas I, fool that I was, thought that the circumstances (a freshly
>>illuminated walk sign) and my own body language (stepping into the
>>and placing one foot in front of the other in an action that we bipeds
>>"walking") made it clear that I was going to go first.
>> In fact, we exchanged two looks, didn't we? One when the light first
>>changed and I started to cross the street and another when I saw you
>>down on me.
>> This second look, I think, is actually the more interesting one, because
>>with it you telegraphed your impatience. With just a look, you said, "I
>>you are in the crosswalk, but I don't think you want to argue with my
>>pounds of steel, rubber and imitation wood grain."
>>And yet I kept walking, didn't I? And there was a brief instant when it
>>looked as if you intended to turn me into a pinstripe-suited,
>>black-raincoated, Kenneth Cole-shod, fedora-hatted smudge on the asphalt.
>> Did time seem to stand still? No, that would be an exaggeration, for
>>when it looked like I might be a goner -- my expense-account Cobb salad
>>barely digested in my stomach -- you stopped. You didn't look too happy
>>about it, but you stopped.
>>That's when I wanted time to stand still. I wanted to pull from my
>>a table and chair and teapot and then sit down in the crosswalk and have a
>>cup of tea while idly looking at my watch.
>> I would have sat there for the entire time that the walk light was on:
>>seconds. That's right: 12 seconds. (I went back and timed it.)
>>Count with me: one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-Mississippi,
>>four-Mississippi, five-Mississippi, six-Mississippi, seven-Mississippi,
>>eight-Mississippi, nine-Mississippi, 10-Mississippi, 11-Mississippi,
>>It seems an eternity, doesn't it? But in fact it's only one-72,000th of a
>>day. I think you would have been able to make it up by simply depressing
>>accelerator pedal a tad more after allowing me to cross.
>> I've been trying to think where you could have been going in such a
>>Had you been bitten by a Gaboon viper, and were you desperate for the
>>precious antivenin? Did you have human organs for transplant chilling in a
>>Coleman cooler on the seat next to you?
>> I know it's inconvenient to have to wait for pedestrians. I feel it
>>sometimes when I'm car-bound and I want to make a turn: C'mon, all you
>> Part of the problem, I think, is that word: pedestrian. It means
>>dull, lackluster. I think we might all have more respect for pedestrians
>>we used a different word or phrase, maybe something like, oh I don't know,
>>"Please yield to American heroes in the crosswalk."
>>Would that make you more likely to wait for a few seconds and let us pass?
>> Or -- and I'm just brainstorming here -- we could come up with another
>>definition for the term that describes you: "SUV driver." It could have
>>another meaning, the way "pedestrian" does. I'm thinking something like,
>>"Watch out, you almost stepped in some SUV driver" or "Ugh, this lasagna
>>tastes like SUV driver."
>>I think it would help level the playing field.
>> But I digress.
>> Do you remember how after I scooted past your fender, I turned toward
>>and said, "No, no, no, no, no!"
>> This wasn't very articulate, I admit. My only defense is that it's not
>>I wanted to say. I wanted to, as the expression goes, "let loose with a
>>stream of invective." And then I wanted to pull from my coat pocket a
>>balloon filled with brake fluid and throw it at your vehicle, secure in
>>knowledge that it would eat away at your paint job.
>> But I didn't do this because:
>> a. I was returning from lunch with my new assistant, and I didn't want
>>to see me on her first day behave like someone who routinely lets loose
>>a stream of invective, and
>>b. I didn't have a brake fluid-filled balloon in my coat pocket.
>>Well, I think I've said enough. I hope that from now on you'll be a little
>>The Guy You Almost Ran Over the Other Day