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Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Some People...

...I didn't really plan an entry for today (I had other things to do last night), but I figured it's time for another one of those off the top of the head sort of entries where I just go on about something that DH and I have talked about in the past.

Have you ever thought, while sitting in your car, that some people really deserve to get run over?

Yes, you really read that right. And yes, I'm serious. DH was telling me about sitting at this one intersection where there were only right and left turn lanes, and the light had turned green allowing those cars present to make the necessary turns, and yet a woman stepped into the crosswalk and just started walking. I recall (hopefully correctly) that the other car (not DH's) moved, and that prompted the woman to start yelling at the driver.

She stepped into the crosswalk against the light.

A few days after recounting this to me, I had my own experience at a four way stop near our house. It's always a mass of confusion there, but it's organized chaos, since most of the people passing through are residents of the area and are prepared for the chaos that that intersection can be.

Anyway, in my situation you've got vehicles that want to go straight, and a car that wants to make a left turn (which would put it in front of me on the road when it completes the turn). I'm waiting for the car to go, as is the truck opposite me that wants to go straight across. I spot an older woman (better than saying old lady, which she was) standing at the intersection. The car that wants to make the left turn motions for us to go straight. Before anyone can react, the old lady steps into the intersection and almost gets bumped by the bumper of the truck who is opposite me.

It was pretty clear to all of us that she was going to cross. Slowly. Because she was old, you know? And couldn't walk very well. Meanwhile, the car that wanted to make the left turn must not have noticed the old lady, and started to make the turn, but got trapped in the intersection because they noticed the old lady. All the while I'm sitting there thinking that I quite possibly could have made it across the intersection without issue before the old lady made it to my side of the street.

Then DH's story crossed my mind - some people deserve to be run over. I know that's mean, especially when it comes to older people crossing into the street, but honestly, how far can you really expect to take the "pedestrian right of way" courtesy law, without having an issue occur?

This is not to say that I would ever advocate running someone over in the street, but some people make it so darn easy for you. Take this example - every morning I go to work, and I'm on the road by 5:15 am. It's 13 minutes to my office, except on certain random days (and the Friday stop at Starbucks doesn't count). Every once in a while, I'll go round the corner, or down the underpass, and I'll find an old man jogging. With no reflective gear, wearing black. Running in the middle of the street.

Is he suicidal? I've no idea and I've never stopped to ask. Usually it's hit the brakes and hit the horn lightly. He never startles, and that road isn't dead silent at this hour of the morning. There are cars that go, oh, say 55 mph on that road (it's got a 35 mph speed limit, but it's a fun road). At the very least couldn't he wear reflective gear if he's going to insist on jogging in the middle of a LANE? We're not talking about running along the lane marker lines - he's running in the middle of a LANE.

There's another set of runners, it's funny, I don't ever see both of these on the same day, but when I do, I'll figure it's a sign. 4 women, 3 dogs. The women all run side by side with plenty of elbow room between them, and then there are the dogs. Two are leashed, one isn't. And they start on the sidewalk, but they spill out on the street. I think one of them might have some old battered reflective stuff on her jogging shoes, but I can't tell with the others. One is blond - I can see that much reflected in my headlights too.

And then there's the dog. The one that isn't on a leash. That dog is running all over the side of the street that his mistress (I assume she's the owner) is running on. Of course 3 of the women are running in the street and taking up a lane. Guess what? They *don't* move aside for cars, but just keep on running. I once was behind them, slowed down, and crawled the car and the one on the end just waved me to go around them.

Um, I'm sorry, but isn't running in the middle of a lane like that, sort of, well, against the LAW? But no, pedestrian rights is what she's probably thinking, and waved me on regally. So I went around them, after cursing liberally, and moved on.

Pedestrian rights, last time I checked (and it's been awhile) cover those who are crossing a street. Not running in the middle of a lane at 5 in the morning not wearing reflective gear when it's DARK outside.

Is there something with pedestrian laws in California that have changed and I missed it? Can you really just step into an intersection whenever you want and the cars have to obey? Gee, maybe I should try it, but I know my luck. I'd be road pizza.

So I'm on the "Some People Really Deserve to Be Run Over" bandwagon. Not that I would, naturally. I like my freedom and wouldn't want vehicular manslaughter on my record. Especially now that I've mentioned that I hate people like this here in a public blog. But every once in a while, some pedestrian will do something stupid like that, and I'll just mutter it under my breath that they should get run over....

...After all, like John Houseman used to say for Merril Lynch, they've *earned* it.