Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dear Woman in the Red Hat

The Matron understands that you might have a death wish. Or perhaps a missing connection or two means you have forgotten in which state you live?

This is M-I-N-N-E-S-O-T-A.

It is winter. Snow has fallen, great big heaps of it. Continuing with this lesson plan, ice accompanies snow. Have you noticed that the streets are gloppy slick and thinner?

Let us toss in night. By 5 pm, there is darkness. There is rush hour, too.

Let us stand back and hold this alchemy in our hands: thin roads, ice, snow, darkness, fast traffic.

This, it would appear, is the perfect time to walk out in the middle of the street -- not at any corner, but just start making your way across the busy downtown street. Because traffic exists, you must stop in the middle of the street waiting for west bound cars to slow. You've already halted eastbound traffic.

The Matron saw you do this. Saw the step into the street, the way the eastbound cars slammed on their brakes for a pedestrian crossing in the middle of the street as if nobody else existed. When you paused in the middle, peering at the west bound vehicles and willing them to stop, the Matron decided: she wouldn't.

She slowed down but even when you tried to step in front of her -- to stop the car--the Matron kept going. Cars to her right slammed on her brakes. But the wily Matron? She saw your hesitant step, the foot moving forward with the other firmly planted and the body leaning back, the way you were testing -- two inches away --and she called your bluff. And kept driving.

Of course, everyone else slammed on their brakes so that you could stroll across a busy street during rush hour courtesy of a sense of entitlement or complete idiocy so staggering that, well, should someone hit you?

No great loss.

There was rage in your eyes when the Matron drove past - dark core rage. The Matron saw it clearly, being two inches from your face and making a point of meeting those eyes. She's sure there was something equally powerful in hers but she's not sure what. Why she decided not to stop, especially given the poor driving conditions.



Anonymous said...

I'm glad you didn't hit her, if only because the resulting police encounter would have screwed up the rest of your day. Her? No great loss, like you said.

JFS in IL said...

I am down in Illinois. What is a "thin" road???

Minnesota Matron said...

Thin is my attempt at being artful. There's mounds of slush now on the sides of the roads, making them a wee bit more narrow than they normally are.

Dorrie said...

You should have opened your window and yelled at her - 'Hey Lady - they make angels that way'. Since she was crossing the road in those conditions, she probably would not have understood.

Anonymous said...

This is a poem. I feel your rage.

Delly News Blog said...
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The Green Stone Woman said...

Why do you think she was wearing a red hat? Was it a snow hat or a more festive one?

FlourGirl said...


Philip said...

Ah, the dilemma of the Minnesota Crosswalk Law... I can appreciate it from the perspectives of both driver and pedestrian.

As a walker/runner, I constantly wonder whether or not drivers can see me. Or are they immersed in music or talk radio, isolated in a rolling sound-proof container, lost in thoughts of the day or what's for dinner?

Behind the wheel, I am usually very willing to stop and yield to a waiting pedestrian. But I worry about other cars barreling down on me from behind, or speeding past in an adjoining lane -- do they know/see why I'm slowing down? Or will this trigger a multiple-vehicle bumper bang-up?

That said, I still feel common sense rules the day: yield to the 1+ ton mass of metal.

Just two blocks from my home is a makeshift memorial, plastic flowers fastened to a lamppost, to a young man killed in the middle of the night by a hit-N-run driver. High stakes.

Casey said...

I live downtown. Near MCTC and have learned to be quite careful when crossing the road in the crosswalk. Even in the crosswalk I have had to jump/run out of the way of MCTC students not wanting to stop at the stop signs. I can't imagine being brave enough to cross in the middle of the road around there.

Also, this past friday I saw a drunk man roll through the intersection. cops were called. And within minutes an ambulance pulled up. I think his rolling down hennepin caused some issues for him.