Crossing the street is no fun for anyone.

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You know what I really hate? Walking across the street. You know why?

I’ll tell you why.

I first developed this fear by being on the other side of this terrible experience. I was sitting in my car, at a red light, like you’re supposed to. And here comes this guy, minding his own business, walking across the street, while the little box lit up the little white walking man telling him he could walk.

By the way, are those a little racist, or is it just me? Can’t we have a Latino light-up man, or an Asian guy in that box once in a while? Or for that matter, how about a woman light-up guy? It’s 2013, everybody.

Anyway. This guy was walking across the street, and he was one of those super cool guys, whose pants are down to their knees, so he was really kind of shuffling across the street, probably party rocking to LMFAO on his headphones, shufflin’, shufflin’, with his hair all spiked up. I’m not trying to be stereotypical, he just WAS stereotypical. It’s not my fault.

And there I am, sitting in my car, looking right at him, judging his clothes and his hairstyle, and what kind of cigarette he was smoking, and the fact that he was smoking at all. And I look over, and everybody else is sitting in their cars watching him, too. I’m sure if you asked them, they’d be like, “Oh, no, I wasn’t judging him,” but you know they were. (This is not a serious post. Don’t start feeling all contemplative about judging people, because that is not the point of this. Stop it.)

And it’s like, he didn’t even do anything! He was walking when it told him to walk, and he didn’t even fall down or rip his pants or anything else that would have been hilarious.

Then, of course, it happened. It was inevitable. A couple of days later, I had to cross the street. I don’t know why I was walking somewhere, but I was, and there was the street stretched out in front of me.

The little light-up man blinked on, and it was my turn. Everybody was stopped, sitting in their cars, waiting for little old me to cross the street.

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My heart started beating faster and my hands got sweaty, and the road seemed to fall away from the crosswalk, so that there was a bottomless pit beneath that really frail-looking white bridge. It was like an Indiana Jones movie.

And here are all the things that immediately yelled at myself, inside my head:

  • What are you wearing? What a loser. You got those clothes in middle school.
  • And those pants are pretty tight. You know they’re about to rip in half in the middle of the street. That will be funny for everyone.
  • What is with your hair? It looks like a bird’s nest, and not in a good way.
  • Heels, huh? You know how funny you look walking in heels? They’re all about to.
  • Your hands are in your pockets. Everybody is going to think you stole a bunch of candy from that grocery store you were just in.
  • No, don’t take your hands out! What are you planning on doing with them? Let them swing at your sides like a freaking monkey?
  • And you know you can’t stare in people’s cars while you cross the street, right? That was not cool last time. You weirded a lot of people out.

So I sneered at myself as all the cars watched me, waiting for me to cross the street, because the light-up man was still on.

Did I really need to cross the street? I could walk six blocks to where I left my car, and then I could be the one staring at the pedestrians and making them really nervous.

But the hand started flashing, and that was that. I casually turned to the other corner, like I was going that way all along, and took a deep breath. Maybe I could muster the courage during the next cycle of lights.

So the question really shouldn’t be “Why did the chicken cross the road?” but rather, “How the heck did it get across the road without having a complete mental breakdown?” to which I reply: I have no idea. That chicken is much braver than I.

Tell me – I’m not the only one who thinks this is terrifying, right?

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15 thoughts on “Crossing the street is no fun for anyone.

  1. I had a period of time in my life when I was completely oblivious to everything and everyone. I nearly got run over quite a few times. So no, you’re not crazy. But I too had to face my fears…and now I can cross with confidence πŸ™‚

  2. wow! you really do have a lot of things going on inside your head AND this was a fun post to read; and hey! thanks for reading mine: a comment is so much more meaningful than a ‘like’

  3. I may have just read all your blog posts and love them. I will admit that I’ve never been afraid of how I look to all those nameless faces, but I do have this fear that some crazy person is going to run me over so I furtively glance around me as I run-walk my way across, sighing as I make it before the white crossing dude turns the dreaded orange. It is never long enough so I often run panicked the second half of the crosswalk.

    Oh gosh, I just imagined how crazy I must look when I do that. Now I will be doubly paranoid. πŸ™‚

  4. You forgot to worry about if people would think your butt looked big in your pants. According to your drawing above, I don’t think your butt looked big, but I can’t be certain. That drawing also suggests you crossed the street naked, which would make it difficult to put your hands in your pockets. πŸ™‚

    And if you really want to feel better about your uneventful crossing of the street, this attached post will definitely remind you that although you may have felt embarrassment, you didn’t actually do anything to embarrass yourself…or cost yourself a hefty co-pay for Urgent Care. For reals. Sadly, this is 100% true. I have the crutches in my basement to confirm.

    http://www.legalnews.com/detroit/1366070

    • Wow, now there are so many more things for me to be worried about. I guess I should pay attention to whether I have clothes on at all before crossing the street. Thanks for the link! Very funny, and sad. That’s my worst nightmare right there.

  5. Pingback: If you understand what I’m saying, then quit looking at me like that. | Who Stole My Baby?

  6. Totally thought I was the only one who did this! Living in San Francisco has made it worse – my fear of crossing the street is compounded by fear for my survival, as they drive like drunken banshees there….

  7. Ahhh I am glad I am not the only one haha! But I have two reasons for this 1. I feel like a bad guy for making them have to wait 2 minutes for me to cross the road and the light to go green again and 2. The judgement.

    So now I avoid street crossings almost always. Instead I have embraced the fact that I am the person running awkwardly across the street ten metres down from the traffic lights, dodging traffic smoothly (at least in my mind…)

    • Ha! I’m with you. I’d much rather take my chances darting across the street than put on a fashion show for a bunch of strangers sitting at a red light. And you’re totally right – they’re already in a bad mood because you’re making them wait.

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