This is why I never leave the house. I just get annoyed by stuff.
On Monday afternoon I was walking across Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Bethesda, in order to get from one side of the street to another. Everything was in order – both my legs were working, and the pedestrian light was clearly indicating that now was the time for walkers to make the transition from one footpath to another. Yet I hadn’t reached the road’s middle island before meeting a major obstacle in my path – a stationary automobile.
The driver had decided at the last minute he wasn’t going to jump a red light, so settled instead for obstructing pedestrians. I saw no reason why I should walk around the car, so I walked into it, thumping the passenger window. Then I walked around it and looked back to see if the driver had noticed. He was laughing, like he was in on a big joke with me. I made a gesture to let him know I wasn’t that amused. Just as he might have been annoyed to come to a green light and find a line of pedestrians standing around in the road, looking vacant and impeding his progress.
Coming back the same way a few hours later, at the exact same crossing, I found a mini-van in the same position. Like the earlier car, the driver had plenty of space to reverse and free up the pedestrian’s right of way, but he had an important phone call to make instead. For a second time, I walked straight into the car door, causing him some surprise and consternation. He didn’t think it was as funny as the first driver, and some hostile gestures were exchanged. Next time I’ll just climb over and leave a boot mark on his roof.
“How did you know he wasn’t packing some heat?” asked the sensible Mrs. Pop. I only think about these things afterwards. Despite having lived in the US for nine years, I still have faith that most people won’t pull a gun on me just for trying to make a point.
Mind you, walking into someone’s car is more likely to be construed as violating an American’s basic human right to do whatever the fuck he or she wants when they’re behind the wheel of a car. But what a way to go, as a martyr to the cause of pedestrian rights.