About a week or so ago, I walked out of my building on my way to play tennis.  With my tennis bag slung over my shoulder, I started to cross to the other side of the street where my friend, Kram, usually picks me up.  The stop light at the corner was red and I starting crossing directly from my building toward an area about 20′ from the corner.  As I got halfway across the avenue, a car came barreling towards me but instead of slowing up for the red light, the driver actually seemed to speed up, causing me to scamper to the other side to avoid being hit.  The car had its windows down and was now standing at the red light.  I shouted at the driver, “what the f” was that?”  The guy at the wheel, who looked to be in his fifties’, angrily yelled back at me, “Use the cross walk. You’re jaywalking!”

This was my moment.  I walked up to the car, looked directly at the driver and calmly said , “I may be a jaywalker now, but I can change that.  You, on the other hand, are a dick and will, more than likely, stay that way.”  A Walter Mitty moment.

Of course, that’s not what happened.  Oh, how I wish it had.  But sadly, all I did was just stare dumbfounded as the jerk asshole  driver took off.

This was, yet again, one of those moments in life where there are no do-overs. We’re stuck with the event exactly as it happened.  But as I waited for Kram to arrive, I mulled over other alternative ways that I could have dealt with this offense. One way that I considered was to have been almost Buddha-like and said to the driver that he must be having a bad day and my heart went out to him.  Or maybe go nuts and dive through the open window and grab the idiot by his throat.  Since neither of these are even close to being me, I rejected them.  What I settled on is a retaliation that I’ve often wished I had the balls for: “You’ve just messed with the wrong guy.  I’m an off-duty cop (or detective or assistant police commissioner, depending how I’m feeling about myself on that day).  Pull over and let’s see your driver’s license.”

How great would that be!  Naturally, there are some obvious potential problems with that gambit.  There’s a pretty good chance the guy might ask to see some identification.  Which I might be able to finesse or at worst  just walk away with some satisfaction that I threw a scare into him. But the real risk is that he’s a cop. I bet that could lead to some consequences far greater than having to rush across an intersection.

I was running out of ways to imagine exacting my revenge when Kram pulled up to get me.  As I was telling him the story, I started to wonder if there might have been something personal in the driver’s aggressiveness towards me;  maybe he knew me or thought he knew me.  Or maybe he just had it in for tennis players in general.  You know… just another anti-Tennite on the loose.



4 Responses to “Jaywalking”

  1. Ray Says:

    Wow, if it wasn’t for you being so fleet of foot, we might have lost you for the season. Lets try to focus all of that energy on that backhand of yours, ok! And lets not forget another thing, cross at the green AND not in between.

  2. iron(ic)man triathlon Says:

    ray…thanks for your concern. but really, not everything is measured in terms of ‘the season’; you could have lost me for the REST OF ALL THE SEASONS!

  3. arbee Says:

    If you tried using the “dick” come back in Oakland, CA there is a 50/50 chance you would have been shot between the eyes.

  4. iron(ic)man triathlon Says:

    This is Park Slope. It’s illegal here to shoot someone.

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