Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

A Mere Pedestrian Complaint

Expand Messages
  • Lanyon, Ryan
    An interesting letter. -RL
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 2, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
      An interesting letter.

      -RL

      >>http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A23481-2004Nov30.html
      >>
      >>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
      >>was
      >>crossing the street.
      >>
      >>I think that you somehow found me at fault for this near-collision. I
      >>think
      >>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
      >> exchanged
      >>when the light turned green. You took my look to mean, "Please, after
      >>you."
      >>Whereas I, fool that I was, thought that the circumstances (a freshly
      >>illuminated walk sign) and my own body language (stepping into the
      >>crosswalk
      >>and placing one foot in front of the other in an action that we bipeds
      >>call
      >>"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
      >>bearing
      >>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
      >>know
      >>you are in the crosswalk, but I don't think you want to argue with my
      >>4,000
      >>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
      >> just
      >>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
      >>raincoat
      >>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:
      >> 12
      >>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,
      >>12-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
      >>the
      >>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
      >> hurry.
      >>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
      >> myself
      >>sometimes when I'm car-bound and I want to make a turn: C'mon, all you
      >>pedestrians.
      >>
      >> Part of the problem, I think, is that word: pedestrian. It means
      >> ordinary,
      >>dull, lackluster. I think we might all have more respect for pedestrians
      >>if
      >>we used a different word or phrase, maybe something like, oh I don't know,
      >>"American heroes."
      >>
      >>"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
      >> you
      >>and said, "No, no, no, no, no!"
      >>
      >> This wasn't very articulate, I admit. My only defense is that it's not
      >> what
      >>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
      >>the
      >>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
      >> her
      >>to see me on her first day behave like someone who routinely lets loose
      >>with
      >>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
      >>more careful.
      >>
      >> Sincerely,
      >>
      >>The Guy You Almost Ran Over the Other Day
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.