One particularly lovely old street in my town was first built up between 1900 and 1910. Many of the old houses still remain, as due quite a few of the old oak trees that were planted then. It’s a nice neighborhood with a wide street and wide sidewalks on both sides, set behind the oaks. Many people from the neighborhood, and some from elsewhere, walk there of an evening to enjoy the quiet dignity of the area.
Unfortunately, the joggers have discovered the area, too. They aren’t content to jog on the sidewalks like ladies and gentlemen, though. They consider themselves “athletes,” though many really aren’t, and have decided that designation grants them the privilege of running in the street itself. So, if you choose to drive down that street, you now have to watch out for people running willy-nilly both with and against the traffic, some at the edge of the lane, some in the middle of it, and some right down the center of the street. They don’t want to budge, either; they want the CARS to move over for THEM. Unfortunately, our state and city laws, meant to protect pedestrians by giving them right-of-way, are being perverted to allow them to get by with such rude and dangerous behavior.
One of my wife’s uncles used to live on the street, so we sometimes drive through, just to remind her of the good old days. When she was a kid, they had family get-togethers there. Her and her brothers and sisters played there with their cousins. She learned to ride a bike there. Times have changed the neighborhood some, though, and it has certainly changed the class of people who use the area.
Yesterday evening, we were driving the street in the opposite direction from normal, just for a change of perspective, and I saw a jogger in the distance. He had just started around a parked car and was coming towards me in my lane. Between us, there were no more parked cars at all. I was driving slowly already, so there was no need to slow down, but I did move toward center slightly, to allow plenty of room to clear the parked car when I got there. I noticed, though, that the jogger made no effort to move into the 8-10 foot wide parking lane that sat empty. He jogged straight ahead. At that rate, I’d clear him by about 18 inches, but why he didn’t have sense enough to move over a little, I didn’t know.
THEN, he started waving me toward the center of the street, obviously demanding that I get out of his way. Being a bit on the stubborn side, I figured that I’d already moved over once, I wasn’t going to hit him unless someone changed course, and there was no reason that he couldn’t move into the unused parking lane a bit. Though no-one was coming, the driver’s side of my vehicle was already at the exact center of the street, and moving over would have put me into the oncoming lane, so I held straight. When he figured out that I wasn’t going to obey him, he appeared to start screaming obscenities and giving me the one-finger wave. He stopped and continued to do so after I passed. Then, perhaps because I was going so slowly to begin with, he turned and started jogging my way as I drove on. I figured that maybe he was trying to get my license number, which didn’t matter to me, so I didn’t bother speeding up any, though he would never have gained on us anyway.
My wife was concerned that he was hoping that I’d jump out and confront him so he could give a thumping. He was over six feet tall and thin, but very muscular, and in his 20’s or 30’s, so he probably could have done a number on me. I’m 59, grossly overweight, terribly out of condition, plus, though I’ve had to defend myself a few times in my youth, I was never known for my fighting ability. That’s one reason that I got a concealed carry permit—I’m getting older and people are getting crazier. To placate my wife, I sped up a little and was soon off the street. He’d stopped following after about a block anyway. Now she no longer wants to go down that street.
I actually thought about reporting the incident to the cops, but the way things are today, they might have tried blaming me for his insane behavior. He may pull that stunt on the wrong guy sometime and end up with skid marks on his six-pack. Of course, the law will probably blame only the driver if he does. © 2014