Why is it that I am intimidated by people who cross the street slowly?
I don't mean slowly in that they have a walker or are elderly, or that they are shepherding children across.
I mean slowly in that they saunter, they pretend that everyone else in the world has as much time as they do. They glare right at you as if to say "I dare you to run me down."
Often times they are crossing against the light -- it's like instead of seeing a don't walk sign like this:
They saw one like this:
I drive through a neighborhood on my way home that I've written about before -- I call it a "bootstrap" neighborhood, one that is working hard to change themselves, to create a better place to live.
Every once in a while I'll see a certain character in this neighborhood. This character has the big slouchy coat, the pants halfway down his ass, the hat on whatever way it's supposed to be on nowadays, and just the right shoes to set it all off. It's hard to tell if it's just a teenage style or if these are truly people from "the hood."
Here's the difference:
When I'm driving down the street and the stylistic teen is jaywalking, once he sees my car he puts his hands up defensively and quickens his pace. Once he reaches the corner he may even give me a small wave before continuing in his sauntering mode.
The other teen will continue walking in his slow, steady saunter, forcing me to slow WAY down to not hit him. Then, once he's walking right in front of my car, he'll stare at me as he goes by slowly. I stare straight ahead, pretending not to see him staring at me, and turn up my music.
The other day I saw a guy walking out of a bar, beer in hand. Yeah, I know, it's 5 o'clock, maybe not a bad time to be drinking a brew, but to walk across the street with one, well, that's another thing. And then to walk across the street with a beer in hand and force traffic in both directions to stop to avoid hitting him as he saunters across is another. And THEN, as I watched in my rearview mirror, his pants actually, I kid you not, completed their slide the rest of the way down his legs, and the last I could see they were around his knees as he waddled along the sidewalk, pretending he was cool when he actually looked like a toddler trying to run to the potty. He had on white and green boxers, in case you were wondering.
I had never seen the inspiration to the song "Pants on the Ground" until that day.
But back to my Andy Rooney question:
I think the difference is that the person who quickens his pace respects himself. He respects his own life, wants to live it, doesn't care to be run over, and also respects others enough to get out of their way so they can go about their business.
The other, well, it doesn't seem that he respects himself. Surely someone somewhere must care if he gets run down, yet he saunters as if to say "I dare you to." Doesn't he want to live? Isn't this really NOT worth risking your life for? Because some day he'll get the driver who just happened to be looking down, grabbing a cell phone, changing a tune, and his saunter will be cut short.
Is it just me?