Crossing the Road
Everyone knows that sense of intrepid pride when you cross the road on a red light and no one else dares to do so. Or when you make your move and others follow your lead, the rest of the waiting walkers scurrying to catch up with you like you were the pedestrian Moses and they the sidewalk Israelites, or you were Daniel Craig and they concentration camp escapees in the film ‘Defiance.’ Conversely there is that emasculating feeling when someone else boldly crosses, leaving you standing idle, wasting those valuable seconds due to a cowardly fear of hurtling automobiles, their un-turning back seeming to say, “Cummon you wimp, live a little.”
However here in South Carolina that emasculating feeling has become all too common as, after six long months, I still feel like I might die every time I step out to cross the road! Firstly I would say that this is due to the size of the road you are crossing. Its always at least six lanes wide, such a long distance I am almost surprised there is not a small fast food outlet in the middle. The pedestrian crossing sign counts down the seconds and leaves you with the genuine question, ‘do I think I can make it all that way in twenty!?’ When my dad was here, after exploring the town, he felt it necessary to forewarn a fellow walker that the crossing they were waiting at only allowed fourteen seconds to cross. She of course looked at him like he was nuts as he got down on one knee like a sprinter in the starting blocks, ready to bolt when the lights changed.
No one drives small, fuel economic cars down here, it’s trucks and mustang country and they’d knock you down like you were a toddler in a bullfight. They are however very polite to walkers, treating the rare sight like you would an exotic bird. Trucks, like gentle giants, always stop for pedestrians. But you know they’re Lenny from Mice and Men, kind and gentle but could snap your neck like a stale twiglet.
Add all this to the fact that cars are allowed to turn on red lights and you realize that this place just isn’t built for pedestrians. And I’ll be fucked if I’m dying a martyrs death as the pedestrian Moses over here. Fuck that, the sidewalk Israelites can find a new Daniel Craig.