About Driving

Normally, I try to avoid driving when another mode of travel (for instance, walking, bus, or train) is convenient and readily available. It’s not that I don’t enjoy driving — driving is super fun except when it gets monotonous. It’s more the energy that is involved. I try to squelch my carbon footprint. I try to keep it as tiny as possible. Driving 5 minutes to get to the grocery store is, while not criminal, not really necessary and it contributes to global warming when done en masse.

The problem is other drivers. I am about to drive to the supermarket right now. It is literally just across the street from the hotel where I am staying (I am staying in a hotel because my apartment in Portland has habitation and ventilation issues). However, I have had at least four individuals, all in large SUV type cars or trucks, almost run me down while I was crossing the street. Two of these incidents took place in daylight. Two of them took place in the early evening. I am sure none of them were intentional! They just weren’t paying attention and they ran the turn signal, I think.

At all these times. I crossed the street when the walk sign was already visible and the little chirping sound could be heard in the background. It’s funny. Through a strange coincidence, somebody actually added extra verbal instructions for the loudspeaker just a day or two ago. It now says “Walk” in addition to flashing the sign.

I wish this extra step actually made that intersection safer for pedestrians. Based on my experience it is still not safe.

In all instances I was walking at the correct time, when the signal had already been given. These stupid drivers just were not paying attention. They were trying to rush home, probably to feed their kids and have time to watch the latest show on Netflix before going to sleep. Binge watching takes some time, you understand. So does cleaning up the house when you have a family.

Something that I am proud of about my country is that women do not always do all of the housework. Many dads and male or nonbinary partners pitch in as well. It kind of depends. I don’t know who was driving most of these vehicles. You try not to look people in the eye when you are a pedestrian and somebody still has the capability of running you down!

Whether it was a dad trying to get back and get a microwave pizza on the table for three kids and his busy wife who has a work-from-home job (perhaps telecommuting to a large consulting firm or advertising agency) or whether it is the mom herself, I hope they find the right rhythm to their schedule and do not run any innocent pedestrians down just so they can squeeze in one more episode of The Expanse after the kids are fed.

Because, you know, vehicular manslaughter will also make you late for dinner and then you will have to miss your show.

Now I am going to drive a very short distance to pick up some vegan soy milk and perhaps some other food for my upcoming trip. Wish me luck not getting in an accident with any other stupid drivers out there. One time many years ago I was hit while stopped in a gas station parking lot by somebody backing with their SUV who just did not see me. Ever since then I have honked my horn aggressively any time another vehicle is close and backing in my direction. I am not trying to be mean. I just want them to know that I am there.

So, even though I am a licensed and insured driver in the state of Oregon and have had this license since August 2018, things could still get ugly. I hope that they do not.

Consider this a driving test.





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