It happens almost daily. Mind you, my commute to work is really only five to ten minutes on average. Given the consistency with which this then occurs, those are some pretty amazing odds.
What the hell am I talking about you ask? Those damn illegal street-crossers, of course, the bane of my existence.
This never bothered me before I moved to California. However, for those of you who don’t live out here, guess what… Not only do they have jaywalking laws in Los Angeles, but also they actually enforce them. Really. I know four different people who have all received jaywalking tickets. It is completely L-A-M-E. That said, if I have to abide by this stupid law, then I invoke my right to have everyone else suffer right along with me. That’s exactly why those who defy said law make me want to exhibit serious road rage.
It’s not that I don’t understand why they choose to ignore the light and cross the street anyway. Just like when watching reruns of Everyone Loves Raymond, I know I am wasting away precious minutes of my life while waiting for the signal that allows me to cross the street. When there are no cars coming in either direction it’s especially torturous. But what’s holding me back you ask? Why don’t I just go for it – damn the man? Well, if you knew me, you would understand that I am the very definition of a goody-goody. I don’t smoke. I floss everyday. I pay my bills on time. In short, I am boring. But I digress…
It’s with equal parts envy and bitterness that I despise the street-crossers. On the one hand, I admire the abandon with which they declare to the world, “I wait for no one. I live life by my own rules.” On the other hand, the people who choose to laugh at the law are also the ones who laugh at everyone else. These aren’t polite citizens who give you a courtesy wave as they quickly jog to the other side of the street. No, these jackasses take their sweet time. They casually saunter across the road without a care in the world, no big deal if I just hit the brakes while going fifty to avoid killing them. They purposely ignore you, too, as if they really aren’t crossing a street at all. This isn’t rush hour on La Cienega. There aren’t a half- dozen cars waiting to make that left before the light turns. Please, take your time! But they know exactly what they’re doing. As they are mere steps away from the curb, their eyes slyly dart your way to make sure they have achieved their goal – your compulsory obedience. It’s like you got bitch-slapped with just a look.
Needless to say, this little “perk” of living in LA has been hard on me. In Chicago, you just go – whether you’re on foot or behind the wheel. We Chicagoans walk anytime, anywhere. And believe me, no Chicago cop is going to waste his energy giving you a jaywalking ticket. He’s too busy not answering real emergencies. (Another story for another day.) At the same time, no Chicago driver is going to waste her time waiting for your lazy ass to make it to the sidewalk either, so you’d better get moving.
There’s an understanding between the two of you, though. It’s survival of the fittest. Man versus machine. Mono a mono. At the end of the day, no hard feelings if you ending up hitting me and I’m in traction for the next seven months. I shouldn’t have been such an idiot in the first place; how could I have ever beaten your sweet Ford Focus speeding down Wabash anyway? My bad. I’ll know better next time. If I ever walk again that is.