Just burns my biscuits


Every so often, something happens that frustrates me… upsets me… creates an eye-rolling-sarcasm inside of me looking for a way to vent.

These aren’t really pet peeves, though I suppose they would fit the definition if we truly wanted to explore it. Instead, they are just things where I find that something seems to be missing in a situation. Often, something as simple as a civilized acknowledgement. Usually, a more concerning lack of realization for one’s surroundings. For instance…

Pretty much every day, I find myself driving on a main road that winds through and serves an entertainment complex of sorts. Parking garages… valet… hotels… theaters… you get the drill. And with parking here and parking there, recreational activities and walkways all over, then the added few other assorted bits and pieces, the reality of crosswalks must be navigated.

And it is here that I frequently experience one of my favorite frustrations. What upsets me are the people that enter the crosswalk as if their right of way is an entitlement.

Now… yes… of course, it actually is an entitlement. Pedestrians should get the right of way when using crosswalks properly. And that part of the story is not my problem.

At those moments, as I sit and wait for them to pass, a wave or nod would be wonderful. The lack of such is also not my problem.

My issue is with the people that don’t look at all. They don’t slow down. They don’t look left. They don’t look right. They simply march along, not breaking stride or varying their pace, and move into the road as if surrounded by a forcefield of impenetrable smugness. (Snugness provided, you know, in part by the pedestrians in the crosswalk having the right of way in all scenarios idea. But back to the point…)

One of the most valuable lessons you can give any child is awareness. In this particular case—near a road with moving vehicles—it could be an awareness while driving a car, riding a bike, or walking along.

As the expression goes: so easy a child can do it. But it’s worse than that. Once, while out with Terry, we approached a crosswalk and saw about five geese. Yes, they honestly did cross the road using the crosswalk. And, yes, they looked toward us, and one of them even let out a few honks. That was adorable and hysterical.

Kids usually get it. Geese apparently can it. Yet there they are… people strutting along as if my presence is completely irrelevant, showing no awareness of my existence at all.

In a crazy way… deep down… there’s a problem with my frustration. Which is that there is nothing I can really do about it. It’s not like I can floor the gas pedal and try to get through the intersection before the person gets halfway across the road and into my path. That isn’t an option if we’re being kind and lawful in our actions.

I’m sure you have similar moments as well. Ones where you are just left wondering if the people you are dealing with have any sense of what is happening. Ones where it bothers you, if for no other reason than the people involved are ticking you off because… just… well, just because.

Many, many years ago, I made the transition to day shift after almost a decade of working evenings (with a few overnights tossed in for good measure). I actually began using an alarm clock.

When I arrived at work, parked my car, and got out to walk to the building, there were birds singing. For several weeks, I wanted to hit each of those birds with a tennis racket.

The sun was shining almost every day. Absolutely beautiful June mornings. Birds chirping happily. How could there be anything that happy that early?

I was not impressed.

Birds chirping… much like birds in a crosswalk… not exactly a lot you can do about it.

But the next time you happen to be walking along a street and find yourself needing to cross the road, think about the drivers out there. You don’t have to wave. You don’t have to say thank you. But at least looking before you step into the crosswalk will stop me from reaching for a tennis racket.


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com