MinterTom  Sep.25.2010 0 Comments

For those people who don’t live in DC, there’s one thing you should be aware of: folks don’t drive well down here. And they’re bad tempered about it too! I make it a habit to purposely wait on the sidewalk, until cars stop for their light –which usually occurs some feet into the cross walk, impeding pedestrian crossing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen SUV’s, plopped at idle in the crosswalk, driver on their mobile, eyeing the motorized wheelchair moving out of safety to get by them. Or the car determined to execute a ‘rolling stop’, and being uninterested in what the right-of-way statutes are for the corner, or the District. But today’s fly by birdie was the best; the traffic light had gone a very stunning red, when a grimy, mid-sized SUV, driven by a young woman whose sleek features melded into a white tight crop of blond hair, yanked taunt through her scrunchie, decided to sail into a sharp right off of P Street, at 21st, and cut ahead of lawful foot traffic. Astounded at the balls of the maneuver, my shoulders hunched up of their own, as my hands went open palmed, in a movement of wonder and question –to which the driver, continuing her streak through the crossing, found that the tool of flipping me the finger provided the multi-tasking act of saving her from halting her conversation with the young man in the seat beside her. The SUV sped along 21st street, in cool detachment, leaving me and another pedestrian shaking our heads. …such occurrences are almost endemic, and reflect driver’s attitudes in the District when faced with the inconvenience of pedestrians. And round-abouts. …in all fairness, I can’t say that pedestrians are all blameless in the wrestle for priority at crossings.. I’ve seen far too many wander into traffic, glued to their iPhones, or dashing out that last syntax of txt, eyes riveted on their hands and not their environs. That being said, it’s that little bit of graciousness that’s gone out of everyday living; too few have time to consider others –and even less have the self-awareness to comprehend when they’re not. I remember when I first visited California; if a person even looked like they were about to step into the street, cars stopped. ..of course, that was in 1974.. and many thousands of miles away..

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