"How is it possible," you ask, "that this blogger can bitch and whine as much as he does about driving etiquette, rules for bicyclists and subway riders, and still jaywalk? Should he also be calling out himself, for breaking the rules of the road, for flagrantly ignoring the safety of himself and others? How can he possibly justify this critical judgement of others and still blatantly commute in a way that is frowned upon (and for good reason)??"
Because it's my blog. And the internet is a playground.
Yesterday, I was happily crossing Ditmars Blvd. mid-block. I didn't have headphones on, and I looked both ways multiple times before crossing. I recognize the hypocrisy of this, considering I am so judgemental of other people obeying the rules set out for them, and I break mine. I suppose one difference is that if a car or a bike doesn't stop at the red light designed for them, and they barrel into someone due to their own carelessness, someone could be seriously hurt. If *I* carelessly cross against the signal, and barrel into someone, the only repercussion *I* risk is embarrassing myself and mildly disappointing someone else. And that's pretty much the story of my life, so I think I'll manage.
But I digress...
So I was crossing Ditmars yesterday, and a car turned onto the Boulevard towards me. Once it righted itself from the turn, the guy gunned it, presumably to make it through the next light (or, perhaps to convey to me, "My car zooms fast!!"). I thought to myself, as I always do when this happens, "Jeez, where's the fire, Man?"
So I continued my saunter (I don't saunter. My version of sauntering is still faster than the normal walk.) down the Boulevard. A crosswalk or two later, I was halfway across the street when someone else turned onto the street I was crossing, apparently deciding there was enough room for their car to fit in between the parked car on the right and the random pedestrian in the middle of the street.
Whatever. She, just like the guy before, gunned the engine after righting herself from the turn, and hurried her little driving self towards 21st Ave.
And I thought to myself: How funny would it be if both drivers were in a rush to get to the same place? What if they were racing each other, or going to a concert with a very specific start time? My theory then became that they were going to an awesome party. Someone, somewhere, was throwing a party for all the drivers in Astoria. Clearly someone with a very long driveway or a parking lot. They invited all of the people who drive cars, and had free appetizers and an open bar until 7pm. As it turns out, I was walking at about 6:45, so, with this fantasy in mind, I could totally understand why someone would rush to take advantage of the last few free drinks before the bar starts charging.
As I strolled (I don't stroll. My version of strolling is still faster than the normal walk.), I took this even further. What if they, the two drivers who had each gone out of their way TO get too close to me, this man and this woman, were destined to meet? What if, by showing up at this party on time, near sunset, with alcohol and pigs-in-a-blanket a'plenty, these two were to look at each other from across the room and hold the gaze just long enough to smile slyly? What if, by the end of the evening, they ended up sitting in one or the other's car, talking about past loves, fate and the wealth of compassion? What if, after that night, they end up spending the rest of their lives together, having fallen so deeply in love, that life moves more slowly, more leisurely, and the need to press down hard on the gas pedal is eliminated?
The thought made me smile. But then it made me sad. I began to realize that I would never be invited to that kind of party. And I realized why: because I'm a snarky, hypocritical jaywalking blogger who would ultimately need to bum a ride off of somebody, anyway.