So we live in a pretty nice crescent – totally residential, and with parks both inside and outside the crescent. There is a crossing to allow easy pedestrian access from the inner park to the outer one, crossing what should be a sedate residential street. The crossing is well marked with good visibility and signing, leaving nobody in any doubt to its presence… especially if you are local, as indeed 99% of car drivers taking the route would be. Unfortunately though, it is used as a bit of a “cut-through” as I have come to learn “short cuts” are known in these parts. This means that a large percentage of even local drivers speed around the crescent safe in the knowledge that the road network exists for their usage alone. I have observed that this is especially true as the driver matures and gains those oaky undertones. You know – the ones that help mask the incontinence and heavy smoking.
So today I took the dog for a walk and made use of said crossing. A man in his late 60′s screeched to a halt (at least that part of my story is positive) mere inches away from me as I made the crossing.
“What the hell are you doing crossing right now?” he yelled through his open window – apparently in all seriousness. Plainly my appearance on this crossing – clearly marked and signed, you’ll recall – was not anticipated.
I made the universally understood, puzzled “WTF?” expression, outstretched my arms to illustrate the clearly marked crossing I was on, and said “It’s a pedestrian crossing!” Suddenly unsure whether this possibly English term would be fully understood, I added “, you dork!” to illustrate I was not totally culturally insensitive.
“Well get a move on and get out of the way!” he yelled.
Suddenly struck with indecision as to whether to continue or turn back, I turned to face his people-carrier, stroked my chin, looked to the sky and said “I’m not so sure any more…”
At this point he made a wide turn to pass me on the other side of the road, at which point “Wanker!” seemed the only appropriate adieu on my part…
I was hit by a car on a light-controlled crossing (PELICAN they were called in those days) when I was about 15. Taken for an unplanned ride on a car bonnet for about 50m. Luckily I suffered no physical injuries. It has however made me particularly gnarly to deal with if you don’t respect the pedestrian crossings that I use in later life. I have yet to go as far as an old work colleague who actually stoved in a car bonnet when someone barely missed them at a crossing.
But it’s always an option…