The Pedestrian Obeys

It pays to just let it go.

Ninety-five degrees at five in the afternoon is no time to wait for traffic to clear before crossing at an intersection. Parker did just that though. Too many times cars had come quicker than he thought they were going and barely slowed down to miss him if he crossed against the light. If he did it all legal and proper, then he would have a case if someone were to hit him. Then again, if a car were to hit him at speed, he may not live to tell his side of the story.

At this particular intersection, though, he had to wait two full minutes for the light to turn and the Walk sign to light up. Even with the Walk sign lit, he always looked to his left to ensure someone who wasn’t paying attention slowed down for him. With his burgeoning girth, he was visible, but not that visible.

Parker stepped off the curb and began to make his trek across Shadow Heights, a four lane road, not including a left turning lane and a Right on Red lane. The city traffic people gave him and other pedestrians 30 seconds to cross the street. Always vigilant at the intersections, he noticed out of the corner of his eye, a white pickup that was literally inches from him, encouraging – no, bullying – him to speed up his walk.

Normally, Parker is all about making life easier for the carbon-spewing vehicles all around him. Not this time. There was something disrespectful about the truck and its driver that made him want to confront him, also a rare moment in the middle-aged man’s life.

Parker stopped and turned his full body towards the truck. It was inching closer.

Parker threw up his arms as if to say “What? What’s your problem?”

The driver laid on the horn and wouldn’t let up. He was now maneuvering closer to the curb to get around Parker. A country song was blaring from his stereo.

“Where’d you get your license from, a Cracker Jack box?” Parker said to no one in particular because the horn and music were still blaring. He laughed at how archaic the question would have sounded if the twenty-something in the truck had heard it. To add insult to injury, the driver belched out a thick plume of black diesel smoke after shouting a few choice words at Parker, his voice barely audible above the music.

Parker continued his walk across the road and only had 18 seconds left on the Walk sign.

When the sign got to 12 seconds and he was safely on the curb, Parker heard the siren and saw the police squad car turn the corner to chase the pickup driver.

“And all is right with the world,” Parker said to himself, with just a hint of a smile on his face.


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