Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"i'm walking here! i'm walking here!"

Not to get too Ratso Rizzo, and not to belabor the point, but man, the drivers in Atlanta act as though they have never in their lives seen pedestrians before. Prime example: see the picture above? The railroad white striping is the pedestrian crosswalk, the fat white line at right is where cars are supposed to stop so that the pedestrians have room. If you are in a car, YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO STOP AT THE FAT WHITE LINE. I know this, because I took Driver's Ed, like, recently. (Don't ask me about the driving anymore. Seriously. No more talking.)

But the cars here act like there is no fat white line. They pull past the fat white line, through the pedestrian crossing, with the damn noses of their car poking into the perpendicular road so that they can pull out when the light turns, like, one millisecond faster. Which means that if I have to cross the street (on foot--yes, we humans have not evolved past bipedal locomotion yet, despite what ye motorists of Atlanta may think) I actually have to walk in front of your halfway-into-the-intersection car to get around you, which puts me (and my kid) in the flow of oncoming traffic. And yes, maybe I could walk behind your giant-ass car instead of in front, but then the car behind you is, like, right up on your rear, and even if there is by chance enough room, the fact that you can't imagine the concept of having a pedestrian cross in front of you kind of removes the, shall we say, trust factor that makes me think you would actually look over the dashboard of your GIGANTIC SUV to see short little me and my even shorter kid walking along your rear bumper in the rearview mirror and not crush us both.

That is why I am waving and gesturing at you when I'm crossing the street. Not because I'm trying to be friendly. Not because we know each other from somewhere and I just want to say hi. I am flailing my arms in the air because I need you to see me and know that I WANT TO LIVE.