Back Into The Trenches, Weary Soldiers Fighting The War On Cars

February 14, 2010

The truce, it would seem, is now over.

Making my way home yesterday afternoon from my weekly outing to the health food store to replenish a flax seed supply that had grown surprisingly low… that is, if something can actually grow low… I’m mindfully crossing a busy street at a designated crosswalk, having done all that I’m required to do as a pedestrian save pointing. It is a gesture I refuse to do. How much more obvious do I have to be, motorists? I’ve pressed the button to activate the overhead flashing lights. I’ve stood dutifully still at the curb, waiting to make sure that oncoming drivers have noticed me and slowed down to a stop. Do I really have to point in the direction that’d I’d like to go as well? Is there really any question in your mind as to what my next move is going to be?

Besides, I don’t think my pointing was going to prevent what happened next.

As I start to cross the street, a streetcar has stopped to the north of me to let off some passengers. Subconsciously that means I can relax as no vehicles will be barreling down from the left and it isn’t until the streetcar’s bell starts ringing wildly that it dawns on me that this is a dumb assumption on my part. Some moron in a minivan (if you’ll pardon the redundancy) has blasted by on the inside of the streetcar, past the open doors that are telling him to stop. He continues on still oblivious to the bell from the streetcar and my profanity laced shouting and wild gesticulations, through the crosswalk and on down the street until he stops at a red light making it one out of three traffic signals he’s obeyed in a 30 second span. Not bad, I guess. Should we really demand more from our drivers?

Shaking my head, I get to the other side of the street and somehow feel like the asshole in the situation to all those who had witnessed the proceedings, having made some sort of uppity pedestrian spectacle of myself. Then on through a parking lot I go before being stopped up short again by a car racing up a back alley. Now I’m pretty sure the speed limit on these things is 20 k/hr which I tried shouting out at the passing driver but he was long out of earshot before I got past, Hey, jagoff… It was then a quiet, uneventful walk the rest of the way home.

But it appears the congeniality that I felt had descended onto the streets since the rash of pedestrian deaths a few weeks back has disappeared. On a busy Saturday of a long weekend, distracted drivers are once more gunning around town, striking back at the war on cars. Streetcars? What streetcars? Pedestrians? Keep on the sidewalks where you belong. Unless, of course, I have to pull up there for a quick stop at the Tim Hortons.

So I guess a few brave souls are going to have to step up and step out into the traffic and get run down again in order to bring peace back onto the streets. That seems to be the only way to make it safe to walk the streets of this city.

ruefully submitted by Urban Sophisticat