Monday, June 24, 2013

Passive Aggressive Pedestrians

I found a video about a Russian bus driver who purposely runs into vehicles that cut him off. He installed a dash cam years ago (to protect himself from insurance scammers who try to claim he ran into them) and has caught these gratifying fender benders on tape. The company for whom he works supports his opinion that suddenly breaking for these rude drivers endangers his passengers.




That got me remembering my high school days when my mother would pick us up from school. The bus was usually letting students out at the bus stop at the end of our street at the same time we got there and the kids would just mosey down the centre of the road. Why? And if they heard a car on the road why didn't they move aside? I never understood that. Anyway my mother had a solution for that. As far as she was concerned the road was for cars and if they were walking down the middle of it they were breaking the law. So she hit them. Not very hard. Just a nudge from behind. Then she'd blow the horn to add icing to the cake. The students presumed to imagine that nobody would EVER hit them and they gambled wrong in my mother's case.  At the time I would slink down in my seat in morbid embarrassment. Now? I think I'd be tempted to do the same thing.

[photo: 66 Square feet]

I thought I would check to see if anyone knew someone who did this or to find a reason for why people seem to purposely walk slowly across the street even when they're jaywalking breaking the law. So I searched these words:

people+purposely+walking+slowly+across+the+street

Do you know what came up? Here's a screen shot:


What. The. African American. Heck?

Walking slowly is a black thing? Forgive me, I've seen my fair share of passive aggressive pedestrians purposely walking as slowly as they can, stopping traffic, and acting all smug about it - and I know I'm making an assumption when I say this because unless I can read minds and know motivation I can't say with any conviction that this is actually the case - and not one of them have been black. How can this 'walking slowly' thing be construed as a black person problem? I can't even address that, personally.

I found several articles and comments that were interesting but, like any search online, it lead to a web of other blog posts and comment forums. I loved this comment though:

I think it's a general man law that if I can shift to park, unbuckle myself, get out of the car, shut the door, and then slap you across the face before you're able to walk 10-15 ft, I should legally be able to (elderly and disabled excluded)

How does 'walking slowly on purpose' get turned into a race issue? As the screen capture above shows, an article called "Black Passive-Aggression" by Gucci Little Piggy came up. It was in interesting read and the comments following were surprisingly civil as internet comment sections go, but the comment I liked most was also the simplest:

There is a passive aggressive element. No argument. I think the underlying concept here is one of conscientiousness and respect, and the dearth of said traits is not confined to “blacks” only.

Walk lights are calibrated with the understanding that the average person walks four feet per second. That means older people and little kids need to hurry up to make the crossing. This means teenagers need to 'sprint' which would be everyone else's 4ft/second

The above image was taken from an article entitled "The Next Big Infrastructure Crisis - Age Proofing Our Streets" which talks about the reasons people are being stranded while attempting to cross the street. Interesting trivia: "10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 every day between now and 2031". Add doddering old people to the crowd of slow walkers. (I can say that because I will be one of them)

The passive aggressive slow pedestrian is borne of a generation who seems to  exist in a foggy state of disrespect and lack of conscientiousness - I know this exists, I spent almost every weekend for six years trying to motivate a staff of teenagers in a fast food restaurant, don't even get me started on editorializing about teenagers who want a job but don't want to work or actually show up for their shifts. I know this is a sweeping generalization but with few exceptions, this is a generation who believes they're entitled to walk (and work) slowly. They believe they have the right of way simply by the fact that they exist on this earth. They do not believe there's such a thing as obstructing traffic, or that they might get hit and if they do, regardless of the circumstances, it's your fault. Kids will walk out on the road without even looking these days. I was taught to look both ways before crossing the street and I do that because I don't want to get hit by a vehicle. Where has that self-preservation instinct gone? It's more like a 'I'll do what I want and everyone else is responsible for preserving my safety' instinct.



Where are the parents here? I taught my kid to stand up for himself but be respectful. He books it when crossing the road even at a cross walk because he knows he's holding up traffic. He's like this because I didn't want a kid like all the other kids I've been dealing with. It's not rocket science. Raise a kid you would want to hire, or teach, or chill with, or deal with in any circumstance. How is this hard?

The sidewalk is for pedestrians. The road is for vehicles. There are cross walk rules and crossing lights at intersections. Is that so hard? If cars routinely drove on the sidewalk something sure as hell would be done about that. Maybe it's time to ticket pedestrians for violations. Someone needs to start taking it seriously because we're creating a whole group of people who don't give a crap about anyone else outside their immediate bubble. Maybe if people can't take responsibility for their own actions, someone needs to make them.

3 comments:

Pickles said...

OMG ..have you ever drove in Halifax? People just step out onto the road to cross the road whenever, and wherever they feel like it.

kuschk said...

Anytime I get concerned about the pitfalls of auto travel in Canada, I just watch a Russian dashcam compilation and feel better.

iambriezy said...

I read somewhere that it's a territorial thing, along with the people who take their time backing out of parking spaces when someone is waiting. We humans aren't as evolved as we think.