Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Scintilla, no. 10 | On a Particular Pet Peeve

My Happy Obsessions
Drivers of the World: back up off the crosswalk—what is wrong with you?
Oh, but let me properly introduce myself.  I am Michelle, perpetual and life-long pedestrian.  Not only do I walk, a lot, but I love walking.  Walking is my preferred mode of transportation.  I saw in passing recently somebody describe archery like yoga—the focus of mind over matter, the precise intent of muscular memory.  Though I spend a good fifteen minutes of every single day in a downward facing dog position, I still think of walking as my personal yoga.  I could walk for hours, for days, for miles upon miles, and never get tired.  Just give me a good hat and a good pair of shoes.
Now, that being said: drivers are the bane of a pedestrian’s existence.  Fact.  In my travels-by-foot, daily I encounter some thoughtless driver to make me roll my eyes, or, on occasion, to force me to shout and exhibit rude hand gestures.  It is as if as soon as a person gains control of a motor vehicle, that person’s common sense (to say nothing of one’s very humanity) becomes obsolete. 
Dear Drivers of the World: you are not in that much of a hurry.  I know you think you are; I know you think the things you have to do are so damn important.  They're not.   (Medical emergencies excepted, but what are the chances that every horrible driver I have the displeasure to meet is in the midst of a medical emergency?)  Keep your eyes open.  Keep your hands free.  Hang up your phone.  What are you even talking about?  Who are you talking to?  Why do you feel the incessant need to fill up your life with meaningless chatter?  Be quiet.  Watch the road.  Pay damn attention.  Don’t run me over.
Drivers of the World: just because I walk, does not mean I need to be pitied.  I find myself remembering a disastrous date, in which I walked to the chosen restaurant because it was only few blocks from my house, a maybe 10 minute walk considering traffic, with sidewalks.  And, at the end of our meal, when this date realized I had walked, he seemed mortified for me.  His face fell with a sort of pity.  And, because I was not a great dater, I became embarrassed and apologetic and let him drive me home.  It wasn’t until a few weeks later that the thought occurred to me, hey, why is driving three blocks better than walking?  Fact: it’s not.  Driving every damn place is just silliness, not to mention it’s totally environmentally and economically irresponsible.  Do you know what it costs me to walk to where I need to go?  Nothing.  Do you know what it costs the planet for me to walk where I need to go?  Nothing.  Unless I step on a bug.
Drivers of the World: Do you know what a crosswalk is?  Stop forcing me to either walk into traffic or walk behind you, between your car and another car, risking some freak accident wherein a fender bender causes me to be smushed to death between so many tons of steel. 
What I’m trying to say is this: if I woke up tomorrow in a world where every car became Christine overnight and a secret trained militia took out every single vehicle in America, I would be pleased as punch.   And, yes, the twenty minute drive to my grandma’s house does become something like a two hour walk.  And that is what horses are for.   And if you want to talk to me about the impracticality of horse travel because horses poop, I am going to point you to that manicured lawn by the way and say, “Garden.”  Lawns are major pet peeve #2.
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