Maggie kept saying I should exercise restraint, that I might still have my teller’s job at First National if I’d been more polite. I had several replies to that, once bottled up, but no longer.
—–David Galef, Confrontations
This guy came to see me at work. “I was almost run over in the crosswalk coming from the parking lot,” he said to me. This happens a lot, especially at certain times of the day; a good portion of the campus population goes by our entrance. When they are late they drive too fast and distracted and when the sun is just rising it’s hard for everyone to see. The guy at my desk though… I had seen him before walking around, very fast, with his head down – like a maniac.
“Do you have any details?” I asked, “What kind of car? Did you get a license number? How fast were they going?”
“I don’t know,” he said. “I wasn’t looking, I actually walked into the side of the car as they drove in front of me. Never even saw it.”
“Umm, that’s a bad spot, you should look before you step off the curb.”
“No!” he said. He was angry. “It’s a crosswalk and I have the right of way. I don’t have to look.”
I think about this all the time. Technically, he is right. The cars have the responsibility to look for pedestrians and to stop. Of course.
But you are a sliver of soft flesh and delicate bone and they are huge metal machines that weigh more than a ton and rush around at high speeds. You are going to get killed and they are going to get smudged. To me, that gives them the ultimate right of way. You are responsible for your own fate, as much as possible… you should… you need to look out.
It’s amazing how drastically different other people can look at the same world that I do.
Read today’s flash fiction here: