I got called “dumb ass” while crossing the street and I deserved it. I was crossing against the light while walking my dog. Everything looked clear and then I was between a car and a bike or the other way around. It happened fast. It was the bicyclist who called me a “dumb ass” as he peddled off down a side street. I watched him, making a mental note of his bushy beard and square plastic bucket on the side of his bike. I was so offended I wanted to chase him down the street. I knew I was wrong. I’d been in a fog, too impatient to wait for the light in the rain, over caffeinated as always with Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History Wrath of the Khans part 1 podcast blasting in my ears, and deep in thought about whatever else was going on in my life. But that crosswalk, it had been empty. I swear.
Scene of the incident.
The idea that I could be called a dumb ass for doing anything by an ill-mannered stranger bummed me out. I was wrong. I put the ill in that ill-mannered bicyclist. Forces in the universe colluded. I was destined to experience that moment and be branded a dumb ass. In my attempt to come to grips with what transpired, I realized that I needed to be happy I was alive and had survived crossing that cross walk. I’m not sure why I was so shaken up. I took being called a dumb ass way too personally but it did occur to me that an accident could have happened. Was I supposed to come home and tell my wife, Ronna, that I almost caused a car, bike, two people, one dog pile up? I thought it would be better to make sure I didn’t do anything to make it possible for something like that to take place again. I vowed to change my serial jay walking/dog walking ways. I was determined to resist my cavalier street crossing lifestyle and wait for the signal.
My first trip to the Pacific Northwest in the early 90’s should have taught me something. Fresh out of the car, in downtown Seattle, I’m crossing the street when a police officer on foot informs me he could give me a ticket for jaywalking. He decided to be nice and let me off with a warning. I guess it could have been a lesson, but it became more of a story to break out when I want to imply that Seattle is full of overzealous cops that bust tourists for jaywalking. I can’t say I learned anything from that experience other than relying on the dumb luck of not getting a ticket or run over in a crosswalk. I feel my luck running out.
Later that afternoon, I went to Fang and Feather, the pet store in the Kenton neighborhood, to get chicken food. The people who work there are always nice. All they have to say is something like “how’s your day going” and I spill my guts. I’m blubbering about how I almost got run over by a bicyclist while walking my dog and that I got called a dumb ass. We laughed. The cashier said that kind of thing happens. He told me to be safe out there. It seemed less like a big deal.
So the lesson in all this is that if I obey the rules of the road, traffic signs etc… I can keep myself, my dog and my fellow travelers safe. There’s no other way around it. There’s no point in saying that bicyclists should not cuss. I can’t blame anyone for this incident. I caused it. I know the adrenaline surge that comes with pedaling furiously and I’ve found myself saying or at least thinking worse phrases. It’s time to start taking potential bicyclist and pedestrian crashes seriously. For the record, I’m a blogger with a heart of gold not a dumb ass. Sometimes I do dumb things.
Max, excited again about seeing a dog friend.