Dear Crabby, OK, here’s my peeve: rude drivers who don’t stop for crosswalks. Every day I leave work at 5 in the afternoon and drive east on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, passing the YH-R’s building and through the two crosswalks that run north and south at the intersection of MLK and North Fourth Street. Usually there is a pedestrian or two waiting to cross. If I am the only car in the vicinity, I will stop and let them cross. However, if I have cars speeding up behind me, I am afraid to stop because the other drivers may rear-end my car or change lanes and endanger the pedestrian. It’s crazy! I’ve actually had other drivers fly by me and give me “the look.” Any suggestions?
Courteous at Crosswalks
Dear Courteous, Here’s the thing: I can tell your heart’s in the right place, but I have probably cursed at you at least once for stopping at that crosswalk. I use it every day, and I hate nothing more than when cars stop to let me pass. It always ends up taking longer than if they had just driven by, especially if you’re “the only car in the vicinity.”
I don’t want to get run over, so when I think a car is stopping for me I sometimes hesitate, then the driver waves me across, then I feel obligated to kind of half-jog over to the other curb, and throughout the whole process all I can think is, “Why didn’t this well-meaning person just do us both a favor and drive through the damn intersection?” I’m all about efficiency when it comes to driving and/or walking the streets. Me staring at your stopped car in disbelief while you give me that stupid go-ahead wave is not efficient. And the worst part about it is that I know you’re being nice, so I can’t even give you the finger or yell obscenities at you in novel, creative combinations. I have to wave back at you and give you a fake smile.
Rest assured, as soon as you drive away I start muttering horrific insults under my breath and thinking, “I’d probably be home already if that dumb (curse word of a curse word driving her stupid curse word for curse words) didn’t stop for me at that (curse-wording curse of cursity curse) crosswalk.” Then again, I may have some deeper issues going on that make me somewhat atypical in this regard.
Most people probably do appreciate the gesture. And the aggressive drivers giving you “the look” as they blow past you are very much in the wrong. That kind of response to someone doing something (ostensibly) kind and right is outside the dictates of decent human behavior. What they should do is stop behind you, wait patiently, maybe even give you a little wave-and-smile combo — and then silently curse the cosmic alignment of circumstance that brought your parents together and led to your birth.
Hope that helps.