Please don't run me over!
Or, why I choose to be a pedestrian.
Where I live, the weather is harsh, but the motorists are worse. Many have little regard for common traffic signals, like stop signs and big, red flashing lights for pedestrian crosswalks. The other day I was using an exceedingly
well-marked crosswalk to get across a busy road to get home--I don't like jaywalking, especially at night--and it has huge flashing red lights when I push a button. The cars going one direction stop, so I deem it acceptably safe to cross. My ass. I get almost halfway across and a car barrels through the crosswalk, just a couple feet in front of me, and I almost fall back on my ass. I couldn't believe it! Well, I could, because I moved from a very pedestrian-friendly community to one that doesn't even have sidewalks in its residential areas, just overflowed water ditches on the sides of the road... at least my house is gorgeous?
Yeah, at least my house is gorgeous.
So, I don't know what the hell is going on with all of these rude drivers. Do they just think I'm some scummy little low-income waste of time? Do I not deserve to get treated with respect because I'm just a lowly pedestrian without a few-ton, petrol-powered metal chariot? Look, assfaces (hehe), I have made the conscious decision to not drive. Ever. I don't need a car and I don't want one, for quite a few reasons.
One, it's a lot of responsibility--much more responsibility than people really attribute to it. Think about it. Your car probably weighs somewhere between two and four thousand pounds, so if you hit a pedestrian (like me), a bicyclist, or a motorcyclist, you've just severely injured or killed someone. If you drink alcohol (an amount capable of impairing your driving abilities) and drive (then you're an asshole), these incidents increase in likeliness. Where I live, there's a lot of people like me--who don't want to drive--but there's also a lot of really careless drivers. I hear about way too many hit and runs (of pedestrians and bicyclists) to not be a neurotic mess as I hustle down the side of the road trying to get from point A to point B.
Two, it's pretty unhealthy. Look, I'm not making any life judgments. I'm not here to say that my way is better than your way and that's that. But, I do notice things. For instance, a lot of people I know will drive their cars to go less than a mile. This is pretty, erm, astonishing to me, but I think it's just because I walk everywhere, all the time, every day. Sometimes I get rides from my roommate to do large grocery shopping trips, but generally I just walk (alone or with my boyfriend) to pick a few things up from the store and just carry them home. I mean, Safeway is only like .7 miles away from my house. If I need to walk further than a few miles, I take the bus. I'm lucky to live somewhere with an excellent public transportation system, and my university makes it exceptionally affordable--three months of bus passes for about $200. That's, like, ~$66 a month. I know cars aren't that cheap. And I also understand that going carless is hard or nearly impossible to do if your community doesn't have public transportation. So there's that, and that's just fine.
Three, it dehumanizes. Nothing exposes the cruelty in our hearts like cars, amirite? People stop being people, with problems and worries and faults, and they're instead thought of in terms of their car. I know that, whenever I'm in a car, whoever's driving will sometimes rattle off complaints and expletives of a most horrendous nature about another person. That they don't even know. Who made one tiny mistake. And then the person who's driving the car I'm in will make the same mistake, like, two minutes later. It's so silly!
Look, I'm not trying to say that people shouldn't own cars, or they shouldn't drive, et cetera. And my reasons for not driving aren't 'omg u guise r keeling the earf,' they're pretty reasonable (not that ruining the environment isn't a reasonable item worth noting) and my community offers a lovely alternative. I just feel like pedestrians command about zero respect from motorists, and many of the laws to keep other vehicles and pedestrians safe go ignored sometimes. I also feel that perhaps people should use their cars less, and opt to walk or bicycle when things are in distance--it's a healthier alternative and you might be surprised at how fun walking from place to place can be!
Song times. I'm gonna include two in this post, because I heard a lot of good ones.
Margot & the Nuclear So and So's - Christ (quite possibly one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard...)
Empire of the Sun - Half Mast