I’m in the cross walk, crossing Siskiyou Avenue in Ashland, Oregon. Ashland is supposed to be a walker friendly town, but I walk this town a bit, using eighteen crosswalks a day on average. I expect, from experience, for drivers not to yield to a pedestrian at four to five crosswalks a day.
It’s worse in the mornings. I was caught between two cars in a crosswalk the other day. One was turning left. He ran the stop sign and ignored me in the crosswalk, giving me a jaunty wave as he missed me by two feet. Meanwhile, the SUV coming straight thought that I would be by, so he kept coming. But because I drew up to avoid behind hit by the other guy, he missed me by less than two feet.
Today, these five drivers didn’t yield. It wasn’t that they didn’t see me. Visibility was great, and there was plenty of time. In what seemed like they were giving me the finger, they sped up. Already exceeding the twenty-five miles per hour speed limit, they were zipping along at thirty-five to forty when they passed me, standing in the cross walk. I heard the lead white Ford F250 accelerate from the vehicle’s location thirty feet away. Felt its breeze as its mirrors whipped past my head. Saw the driver through his window two feet away as he went by.
It outraged me. I spun through the usual shit that I spin through when someone gives me the finger or blows me off. I know I’m not a perfect driver. Never have been, and never will be. But I try to minimize shit. I try to do right with others.
Others don’t always play nicely. That’s what it seemed like these five drivers were doing. For whatever fucking reasons going on in their heads, stopping to let someone cross the street wasn’t on their list of things to do.
After venting to myself, I thought about the more pragmatic impacts of a car hitting me. Yes, I know I would suffer an injury, the levels and extent T.B.D., but my friends and family can share multiple stories about the injuries I’ve endured. There wouldn’t be anything I could do about that.
Instead, I worried about my computer files. That’s my writing, dude. I’d neglected to back it up the other day when the reminder went off. I’d hit the snooze. When it went off again, I ignored it.
I imagined losing those files, and swore in a dozen different ways. The crosswalk encounter reminded me that the back up was required. Time to plug the zip drives back in and back up the files, because, hey, you never know.