Monday, June 26, 2006

I don't care what you're late for, SLOW THE EFF DOWN!

I often feel old driving. At some point (let's just say for the sake of argument that it was the first time WonderGirl rode in the car as a baby) I came to an understanding that it is just not worth it to take risks in a car. There is nothing that important, and enough people around you are taking stupid risks at all times, that you really don't need to add to the problem. I'm a happier driver now, I don't worry about getting in the fastest lane, I just chill out and try to enjoy whatever's going on as best I can. (Not that I enjoy traffic, but what are you going to do?)

It's not uncommon for me to feel validated by seeing some dumbass do something stupid because s/he is in a hurry. This morning I was part of a particularly scary example.

To walk from my parking deck at school into any of the buildings, people have to cross a small street. It only connects parking decks and parking lots. The cross walk actually comes out of a bus stop where campus shuttles idle, so it's pretty dangerous - you have to peer out from in front of parked shuttles in order to see if anyone is coming. There's a sign standing up in the middle of the crosswalk which boldly proclaims "State law STOP for pedestrians in crosswalk." It's knocked down at least once a week when a driver hits it.

This morning, I'd just crossed the street and knew someone was coming behind me from the garage. An SUV was flying down the little street, past the parked shuttles, not slowing down to see if pedestrians were coming. I turned around to see what was happening, just as the woman behind me started to come out from in front of the shuttle. I screamed, the SUV's driver slammed on his brakes and the woman who was crossing the street just barely avoided being hit.

The driver was clearly shaken and tried to apologize. I'm sure he was late or impatient or whatever. I went back and walked with the woman who almost got hit, who was a lot more shaken than the driver was.

My family often makes fun of me because I have an involuntary screech reflex when I see something potentially dangerous about to happen, but that reflex is useful just often enough that I seem to keep doing it. This morning, my screeching got the driver's attention, who, thankfully, had his window down. I guess I'll keep screeching and hoping that one more person just got converted to the relax-while-you-drive camp.

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