Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Naughty Pedestrian Pleasures

Yesterday morning, I was pushing L home from the grocery store in his stroller. We came to an intersection a few seconds after the lights had turned in our favour, so I hustled out into the crosswalk. There just happened to be some cars wishing to turn left across the stretch of road that L and I were crossing at that moment.

The first car in line stopped and its driver smiled and waved us forward, even though his wave was unnecessary because we clearly had the right of way. I smiled back.

The car immediately behind this one also stopped, as it had no choice. The face of the older man driving the car was contorted in rage -- I'm not using that expression to exaggerate, either -- and he was gesticulating wildly at both the car in front of him and at L and I. His windows were closed so I was spared the content of his rant, but I'd put a whole stack of poker chips up against a used sweat-sock that the obscenity content was high. I smiled back.

And not only did I smile back, but I think I may have actually laughed and otherwise, in little ways, been sure to exhibit my enjoyment of the situation. It is petty, I know, but there are precious few ways that a mere pedestrian can, with the full force of the law in support, use his or her body as even the most minor of impediments to the smooth functioning of the privatized steel and concrete circulatory system that dominates the modern, North American city, perpetuates the most idiotic kind of urban built form ever invented, indulges a terminally limited addiction to petroleum, and poisons us all.

Sure, maybe he was on his way to deliver the supersecret antidote that would save Captain Amazing from defeat at the hands of Destructor Man; perhaps he was about to give birth, and needed to get to the hospital; perhaps he was just having a lousy day and a five second delay was enough to trigger him. And it is looking like, in the months after our forthcoming move, I will become co-owner of one of those horrible, mobile, fume-spewing steel boxes myself.

I'm not saying my enjoyment is at all defensible. But enjoy it I did.

No comments: