Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I am simultaneously furious and floored!

What gives? As a student of human behavior, I am often completely dumbfounded.

For instance, every day commuting to and and from work, I take the same routes. Both the inbound and the outbound routes basically consist of a 4-lane, one-way road that is a) quite busy during the rush hours and b) poorly lit at night or in the early morning. To make it even more complicated, there are several school zones and the more-than-occasional car darting across the road from one of the adjoining neighborhoods. The routes are about 5 miles long and pass through some questional areas where there are often more houses boarded up than occupied. This is obviously a place suitable for only the quick and the nimble. Then why is it that at least 5 times a week I encounter pedestrians who are wearing jackets with large hoods pulled up over their heads, stepping out into traffic without looking and then MOSEYING across the road as cars barrell at them at over 40 miles per hour?

The cherry on top when I encountered one of these people on my way in this morning was his response. Did he quicken his pace as he heard the press of the cars? No. Of course not. Even though his foot was still on the white lane line and I had to swerve into the other lane a bit in order to miss hitting him, he didn't show me that courtesy. Instead, as I had to brake and honked my horn at him, he stuck the cigarette he was holding into his mouth, turned toward me, stepping BACK into the lane and the path of other oncoming cars and raised both his arms (and middle fingers) at me. I think he was also yelling something at me, but by then I couldn't hear and didn't really care what he had to say.

So, here's my question? Why does one feel compelled to act in such a way? I don't see this happening in my neighborhood or some of the more suburban areas despite those roads being LESS dangerous. Do the people who act this way have such little regard for their own lives? Or is it that they truly think they are so important that the universe revolves around them and that we should feel obliged and obligated to patiently wait while they mosey their asses across the road?

Unfortunately, encountering this kind of behavior so often is leading me to become cynical. I hear on the news about a pedestrian getting hit by a car and I often wonder who really is at fault.

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