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Adventures in Walking 2

Sunday, July 07, 2013

The story I told in last night's blog post brought to mind another, and you know me, I am a storyteller.

A few months ago, I was out running. I was impatiently waiting for the lights to change at the intersection by the elementary school. It is the safest crossing in town because all directions are stopped for the pedestrian and the walk signal comes on a full second or more after the traffic light turns red... we get our own turn on a delayed signal.

I proceeded when the signal came on confident I was safe. I was in the crosswalk about halfway across the lane when a bumper encroached way too close to me. Plenty of time for the driver to have reacted to his red light. I brought the palm of my hand down on the hood in reaction with a "HEY!" and I saw under the grill of the full-sized Ford, red and blue lights. Just like on the Baltimore County Police cars.

Yes it was. I looked up to see the young officer ...

*put down his cell phone!!*

... and get out of the car ...

*without releasing his seatbelt!!*

Now I was seriously mad.

He started to say something that I was pretty sure from the look on his face was not "Are you OK sir?"

In fact he first word barked from his mouth was an officious "Sir!"

"Son," I started, "I am fine thank you very much. But you could be in trouble." I held up a finger for each of his ticketable offenses that he just committed:

"You encroached on a crosswalk,
"you encroached on a crosswalk with a pedestrian present,
"you crossed the stop line on a red light,
"you were driving without a seatbelt,
"you were on your cell phone while you were driving,
"and you got out of your car while in a traffic dispute which can considered road rage in Maryland."

I held up six fingers. "That many tickets. So I suggest sit down, hang up, buckle up, and drive away carefully when the light goes green. Or we can get your sergeant out here to talk about this. 'K?"

He stood silent for a few seconds, his mouth agape. I don't think he expected that.

"Have a nice day, sir. I'm glad you're OK."
"Yeah, you too, young man." I finished crossing the street in spite of the lights having changed by then.

So you can't even count on the police to follow the rules. Walking is a great exercise and 99.44% of the time it is perfectly safe. But it's that other 0.56% of the time you gotta look out for number one and don't trust anyone, not even the police, to take care of you.

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