Dan Rattiner's Stories

Don’t Kill Me: Motorists & Pedestrians, an Unspoken Dialogue

We all know the new rules regarding Main Street pedestrian crossings. They went into effect about five years ago. STOP FOR PEDESTRIANS IN CROSSWALKS.

What we all also know, but never talk about, is the unspoken conversation that occurs between pedestrians and motorists. Here, for the first time, is that conversation. You read it first in Dan’s Papers.

Pedestrian (on curb): Hmm. It’s just that pickup truck down at the end coming toward me. How fast is he going, anyway? I think that’s over the speed limit.

Motorist: Don’t step off the curb, don’t step off the curb.

Pedestrian (stepping off curb): I wonder if he will slow down.

Motorist: Sonofabitch.

Pedestrian (standing, sizing things up): Is he slowing down? That’s not a woman in there who’d drive like that.

Motorist: Maybe he’ll bend over and tie his shoe or something.

Pedestrian: Well, I have the right of way. All I want to do is cross the street.

Motorist: This is an adult, full grown and full of years. It’s not like he’s a little kid who has his whole life in front of him.

Pedestrian (taking one step, then a second step): He’s not slowing down. He’s making it a race. Doesn’t he know the law?

Motorist: He’s not out of the gutter yet. I think I can make it. Maybe if I speed up he’ll get the message.

Pedestrian (taking a third step): He’s not stopping. Where are the police? Where are they? This man is breaking the law.

Motorist: Okay, okay. I’m coming to a halt.

Pedestrian (striding forward): He’s stopping. Or trying to. What if his brakes fail? I’m going to be damned sure not to step in front of that truck until he is at a complete stop.

Motorist: Hurry it up, buddy.

Pedestrian: Good. I’m not going to be hit. I’ll just walk in front of him now. Don’t hit me, don’t hit me.

Motorist: What’s wrong with this guy?

Pedestrian: Maybe he’s got somewhere important to go. I’ll pick up the pace.

Motorist: That’s better.

Pedestrian: Wonder who this is? (Looks up.)

Motorist: What are you looking at me for? Hurry it up.

Pedestrian: What’s he angry about? It’s a beautiful day. The sun is shining. The birds are chirping.

Motorist: For Christ’s sake.

Pedestrian (waving and bowing head slightly): Thanks for not running me over.

Motorist (arm out window, a little wave): You’re welcome.

Pedestrian (reaching the other side): Well, that was close. I thought there for a minute…2,000 tons of steel.

Motorist (heading off): Now look at this. The light down the street just turned red.

Pedestrian (stepping up onto curb): Now, where was I? Why did I come over here on the other side of the street?

Motorist (arriving at light and coming to a stop): Wouldn’t you know it, more pedestrians. Can you believe it? What’s this town coming to? Okay, everybody, move it along, this is no time to have a party in the middle of the street. Keep the flow going. Better not be dawdling along when the light turns green. You! Get a move on.

Second Pedestrian: Who? Me? You talking to me?

First Pedestrian: Gosh, that truck had to stop at the light. Was that my fault?

Motorist: You lookin’ at me?

Second Pedestrian: Go ahead. Kill me. I dare ya. I double dare ya.

Woman with Dog: I wonder if that guy in the truck is checking me out. Men.

Second Pedestrian (looking at light, which has turned green): Uh oh.

Motorist: Who is that cute babe with the dog?

Motorist Behind Motorist: HONK!

Woman with Dog: Hey, sailor!

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