Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Right of way

Last Thursday morning, as I walked from the train station to the office in downtown L.A., I found myself in the crosswalk, heading north up Flower, crossing Wilshire. Flower is a southbound one-way street, so oncoming traffic is headed toward me, not with me. Anyway, I had the green light and the "walk" sign and strode out into the crosswalk (as I mentioned—it was just two sentences ago; surely you haven't forgotten) and a Jaguar (the auto, not the big cat) was in the lane to turn left on to Wilshire. It had moved about a third of the way into the intersection from the other side.

When I was about a third of the way across, the driver of said Jaguar apparently decided that his need to get wherever he was going was too urgent and he whipped the car in a tight eastbound turn right in front of me, missing me by maybe three feet (that actually put his car on to the westbound lanes of Wilshire—that's a two-way street—although no cars were on that side at the moment). It wasn't that he floored it as soon as the light turned green; he crawled out, and then sped at the last possible moment, all because he didn't want to wait for me to get another ten feet along (and possibly have to wait for any other pedestrians behind me).

Here's the thing: At no point was I alarmed. I wasn't even upset. I just kept walking without breaking stride. In my mind, all that happened was another little checkmark went into the mental column tracking times the driver of a luxury vehicle proved himself to be the asshole that reinforces the stereotype that the wealthy really don't give a shit about anyone other than themselves. If anything, what I felt was disappointment at seeing that he was such an utter cliché.

When I got to the other corner I glanced eastward and noticed that he'd gotten only as far as the next intersection, where he was sitting at a red light. Had he waited for me and the other pedestrians to finish crossing, it's entirely likely he would have hit that point after that next light had turned green.

Clearly, forethought was not his strong suit.

Nothing new about that.

1 comment:

  1. What's nice is that jerks like that usually get killed in accidents, assuming their foreign car is running reliably enough to actually get them far enough down the road that they can HAVE an accident. Jaguars are among the least-reliable cars on the planet. I think a Zhiguli is more reliable.


So, what do you think?