Natalie Zed: Defying Gravity

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Near Miss

One thing I genuinely like about this city are the drivers. I have been told that Calgary drivers are horrible by other drivers, but I am a pedestrian. As a pedestrian, I know that I am spoiled by the drivers of this city. Drivers who actually stop at crosswalks, who'll see me waiting to jaywalk and LET ME, who make a face and wave apologetically if they started to go through the same intersection I was crossing and didn't immediately see me, no matter how far away they are. This sort of coddling has made me an aggressive pedestrian, and I am sure my new-found confidence will end up getting my killed in Ontario where drivers are just ITCHING for a hit-and-run. Despite the dulling of my reflexes, I enjoy being spoiled.

Every now and again, though, you get one. I was walking to work the other day, s I walk to work every day, and I come to the Fateful Intersection of Doom. I have a walk signal, my way is clear, but sharing the intersection I have to walk through is a Cadillac Escalade. A cream-coloured, hand-detailed Escalade whose driver is currently talking on a cellphone and looking behind him. There is no way he can see me. I hesitate. Had I been in Detroit, I wouldn't have even tried it. But I've been spoiled. I shrugged and started walking through the intersection.

Inevitably, as soon as I get in front of the Escalade's bumper, the SUV suddenly lurches forward, almost hitting me. The driver has not yet once looked in front of him, despite beginning to move. Now, I could have been a jerk. I wasn't. I tapped on his hood to get his attention. In my experience, when a driver hasn't seen you, you just need to call attention to your presence. They look at you, get that Expression of Stark Terror that you only really see when the moment of holy-shit-i-almost-hit-that-pedestrian-and-ended-up-in-federal-pound-me-in-the-ass-prison blooms in their mind. That's what I was hoping to achieve: a little recognition, maybe a little fear. I'd have forgiven them completely then.

Instead, the driver looks at me furiously. He rolls down his window and starts SCREAMING at me for touching his car, insulting my intelligence, heritage, physical appearance, and sexual proclivities. He threatens to sue me for all the cents I've got for daring to lay a finger on his car.

I was holding, at this moment, a full extra-large Tiom Horton's coffee with sugar and cream. I let him go for maybe a good 45 seconds. Then I smiled and slowly, quite languidly in fact, poured the whole coffee over the hood of his car.

He had an aneurysm. He completely lost the ability to make sentences. He was still screaming, but it was completely unintelligible. I tipped my Nintendo ballcap at him and kept walking to work. I didn't wante to be late, and now I had to buy a whole new coffee.

I don't think I stopped smiling all day.
Natalie Zed updated @ 10:46 a.m.!!