Walking Without a Net

Sunset in Brookland. At the intersection between work and home.

It’s the end of a long week, meaning, in part, that it’s the weekend. The last steps to home are in front of me.

I texted The Big Guy to see if he wanted some special pizza for dinner. Not like the stuff the guy in the beat up Nissan compact brings to the door. I like that it is brought to the door, but I like much less the similarities between the cardboard box-container and the crust. He replied and special pizza it was to be.

I left the station and walked the block around the old Brooks mansion. You used to be able to criss-cross the lawn to reach the corner, but now there’s an iron fence with pointy metal pickets to direct foot traffic to the sidewalks. Better for the lawn, I guess.

It’s a little late so the remnants of rush hour traffic are gone. The sun was sinking low and red on the other side of the bridge, and I see a lone car making its way over the hill and coasting toward me. There are no cars on the other side. A quiet night.

I slowly stepped into the street, the same street where I jaywalked the cop. I was, again, walking against the light. The approaching car was getting close to the intersection and then came to a dead stop two car lengths before the crosswalk.

Oh, jeez. I was three short strides into the road and, if the car kept at his reasonable pace, he would be past me, through the light and onto the next block before I was near his side of the road. I was not intending to interrupt his progress. Not at all. I was just trying to make the most out of my time, and the timing of my pedestrian commute.

I looked at his tags. The blue and yellow bands framing the white background and the blue raised letters. Pennsylvania. Not likely Philly. Nope. Rural or suburban Pennsylvania where pedestrians drive. He had no concept for the give and take of an urban parlay between vehicle and walker. He didn’t know that I knew where he was and that I was timing my crossing. He didn’t know the choreography, or even that it was choreographed.

I felt bad because he stopped his car. That wasn’t how it was supposed to go. I scurried past him and alighted on the curb on the other side. He waited for me to be on the sidewalk before he shuttled down the road. I was annoyed that he refused my curtsey and disregarded the dance, but he wasn’t part of the corps de ballet. That’s a hard part of living in D.C., the audience that enters the stage.

But at least we were going to have pizza. Except they ran out of crust.

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