Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Neurotic Pedestrian

Dear Chicago drivers,
  I know we haven't always gotten along well in the past. Back when I lived near a busy intersection, I developed the bad habit of yelling at many of you when you drove too fast or came this close to running me over; I must admit that more than once I screamed, "It's called yielding, LOSER!" 

But I'm not like that anymore. I've learned that I can't control the way other people drive, but I can control my own behavior. So I've learned to be extra careful when crossing the street, especially when there's a lot of traffic.

But I still thought I'd send this letter out and ask you to do a few things, not just for me, but for all pedestrians out there. I think that if you were to do these things, the streets would be a much safer (and happier) place. And then you wouldn't have to worry about neurotic pedestrians like me screaming and throwing things at you, you know?

First of all, if your doors are vibrating, then YOUR MUSIC'S TOO LOUD. I like listening to music when I drive, too, but let's keep it to a reasonable volume, okay? It's really not necessary for you to play your music so loud that you start an earthquake or something.

Is it really necessary to lean on your horn? I know it can be frustrating to get stuck in traffic. But pressing your horn for several minutes at a time is not the solution. Especially because someone may or may not run up to your car, reach through the window, rip out your car horn, and hit you in the kneecaps with it.

I know that you enjoy texting your friends thirty-six times an hour, but could you please not do it when you're driving? Whenever I come close to getting hit by a car, nine times out of ten the driver is on his or her cell phone. And it's really not good to be distracted when you're driving. I mean, I hate to sound like a public service announcement, but it's safer just to focus on the task at hand.

Especially because I have a cell phone too. And I may just wait until you're pulled up to a red light, take your picture, and then send it in along with an application for you to be on the next season of Jersey Shore. Or maybe I'll post it on the Internet in such a way so that it looks like you're about to marry Minnie Mouse. And then I just might make copies of those pictures and put them up on billboards as a warning to all other drivers on their cell phones. FYI? Photoshop can work wonders.

And also? The "walk" sign means that it's okay for pedestrians to cross the street. It does not mean that you should keep honking and yelling at people like me to move faster. It does NOT mean it's okay for you to start driving faster and run over anyone who might be in your way. If you do that, I just might jump onto your car, climb inside, and make you come with me to a Jonas Brothers concert. And then I might take your car and leave you there.

When you pull up to a stop sign or a red light, please don't pull up so far that your car is covering the crosswalk. Then it means that people crossing the street have to walk around your car and into oncoming traffic. If you do that, I may start banging on your window and calling you a name that rhymes with "rum bass".

You might accuse me of being jealous that you have a car to drive and I have been riding trains and buses for years. And in a way, I am jealous. After all, you always get to sit down when you're traveling, you can choose the volume for how low loud the music will be played, and you don't have to sit across from a woman who spends the first several minutes smiling and winking at you and then, for no reason at all, starts glaring at you and making stabbing motions with her hand. You don't have to pretend that you don't hear the guy who's running up and down the aisles screaming about how the government is watching us and eventually we're all going to be turned into robots.

But even though I would like to have my own car to drive around in, at the same time I've accepted the fact that for now, I'm stuck riding the train and the bus. And that's okay. And I promise that I will only cross the street when the walk sign is flashing, and not when the cars have already started moving, unlike so many other geniuses walking around out there. I promise to be careful when I'm walking around, and I promise to stay out of the drivers' way. But please, next time you go out on the road, have some consideration for the pedestrians, okay? I'd appreciate it.


The Neurotic Pedestrian


  1. The one about being mad at pedestrians because they're in the way of your car? Why oh why do they do that? They are in CARS for goodness sake, the pedestrian is on FOOT. I can't tell you how many times I've been honked at because I was crossing a street on my walk route. Oh yes, in the way of the car, what a horrible sin I committed, I deserve to be yelled at, honked at, swore at and given the finger for such a horrible lack of manners.

  2. Entertaining post! It's funny how different one's perspective is when they are the pedestrian vs. the driver, or the other way around!

  3. LOVE this! I felt the same way when I lived in Montreal. I must say that London drivers are fairly obliging!

  4. Hi Karen,
    I know, right? So many drivers seem to be in a hurry, yet they can move a lot faster than people who are walking. That's awful that people swear at you and treat you like that. They need to literally walk in the pedestrians' shoes.

    Hi MissEmy,
    Thanks! You're totally right about how pedestrians and drivers have different perspectives. Maybe the people who never have to walk anywhere find it hard to relate to the people who do.

    Hi Talli,
    Thanks! I wish that Chicago drivers would take a cue from London drivers. There are less drivers on the street since so many people commute by train/bus. So you'd think that the other drivers would be more obliging. But more often than not they aren't.

  5. You won an award on my blog. Come take a look.

  6. Couldn't agree more. I'm some1 who walks about as much as they drive, so I can relate. Especially the no cell phones, no texting biz. There's a reason why it's now illegal to do so when driving in quite a few states.

    I also understand how you feel when cars don't bother to stop before getting to crosswalks. And that insanely loud music -- it's as annoying for other drivers as it is for pedestrians.

  7. Hi Theresa,
    Thanks for the award! Happy dance. :)

    Hi notesfromnadir,
    I think that the loud music should be outlawed, if it hasn't been already. It could, like you said, distract other drivers and cause an accident. I mean, is it really possible for those drivers on the road when their music is that loud?