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June 27, 2010

As CCT Girl said, we’ve been busy. When I’m not helping her move, I’m busy getting into it with dickhead drivers.

Picture it: Siciliy, 1943… Wait. No. The intersection of West Peachtree and 10th, Monday noontime. I am at the northwest corner of the intersection, with a northbound green. Three lanes of cars to my immediate left are westbound, stopped at a red. There are no northbound cars, yet the driver in the first lane doesn’t make the right turn. I have the walky-man, and that car sees me coming. As I step into the street, the hand blinks. (Sidenote: The blinking hand means, “if you’re already here, hurry the fuck up.”) I’m also given a twenty-second countdown. I can make it.
I see that the car in the leftmost lane is gunning his engine. The nose of his car is already beyond the stop line, in the crosswalk. As I step in front of his car, he’s still gunning the engine. I’m no longer in the crosswalk. I walk slowly, looking at the bumper. The sun shines too brightly for me to make eye contact through the windshield. “Dude, don’t drive into the crosswalk! Please!”
“Don’t say nothin to me, please.” He says as I step back into the crosswalk on the other side of his grandma’s Caddy.
“Go home and put some clothes on before you start talking.” Now, we all know that the first person to throw out a personal insult is the person who is in the wrong and has no other defense. (Didn’t know that? You do now! Informative and entertaining!) And I’m wearing a button down dress that goes to my knees. I looked way sluttier at the end of the day after popping a button while hauling boxes. Point: I’m not dressed like a streetwalker, so I have no idea where his directive came from. (Not that it’s okay to get in crosswalks when streetwalkers are there. I imagine it actually impedes their business.)
A shouting match ensues. I stop and stand in the middle of the eastbound lane until my twenty seconds are up and the lights chang, yelling something along the lines of “IT’S ILLEGAL TO BE IN THE CROSSWALK DICKHEAD, BREAK A LAW, YOU ILLEGAL MOTHERFUCKER!” or some such nonsense. I don’t know what he says, I think I overshout him. It’s easy to ignore the ignorant, even after they could have run you over.
“Hey, lady!” I hear a woman’s voice as I make my way to the southeast corner of the intersection. “You are right! You are so right!” It’s a driver from one of the other lanes. She waves and shouts at me while making a turn, paying no attention to the road. But still! A driver who tells me I’m right! Let’s go ice skating in hell!
I raise my arms, pump my fists like a guido at a party. “I KNOW! I KNOW! THANK YOU!” And on I walk, shaking.
Later, I’ll say that I should have stopped in front of his car, let him tap me, dove on his windshield, caused a scene, called the police, damaged his hood. But I knew by the way he responded that he would have hit me harder, with his car or his fists. It wasn’t until the following Thursday that I learned to shoot a gun, so I’d have been helpless, a girl in a dress against a misogynist in his grandma’s Caddy.
How do I know he was a misogynist? The dress remark. That’s easy. How do I figure it was his grandma’s car? Maybe it wasn’t. It certainly helps me to think that someone so senseless, with disregard for one of the simplest laws, someone who does not like to be told by a woman that he’s wrong when he is, is unable to have a car of his own, and instead uses his relatives for their material possessions. And it just looked like a car an old lady would drive. Way to go, playa.
[UPDATE 7/1/10: I just crossed through that intersection again. There aren’t even three eastbound lanes! There’s some weird road striping fuckup that makes this little V-shape thing. Dude was in the V-shape, not even in an actual lane! Double dickery!]

[Peds.Org: Pedestrian Right Of Way]

The next evening, I’m on the southwest corner, walking north with Bus Nerd. Green light for northbound traffic, and a walky guy for us. As we’re crossing the double lines, and I look to the side to see the cars lined up to make a left. They’re lining up practically alongside us, and the first vehicle is– I shit you not– a paratransit vehicle! And what does the driver do, but make a left around us into the rightmost lane! If I hadn’t seen them coming, Bus Nerd might’ve gotten his foot run over. For a second, I wondered if that would count toward workers comp?
He, of course, got the vehicle number and called the radio room to complain. I really wish this was a public number that was available to all pedestrians, but I understand that often times, people will call and complain about nothing just because a number is provided.
I also wish that there were radio room numbers to place complaints for each car on the road. As we watched the paratransit vehicle pull away, a car making a left actually had the nerve to honk at us because we were in the crosswalk that blocked the lane in which he desired to drive. The nerve of us, I swear, being totally within our rights and all. That driver swerved around and behind us, but again, I wondered, if I had just taken a step back, further blocking him and possibly getting hit, would he have learned his lesson? Would I have gotten a settlement?

Maybe some day, I’ll be brave or stupid enough to find out. In the meantime, I’ll wrap rocks in these flyers and throw them at people.

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