Sometimes I Want to be Mean. On Purpose.

Living in the city, especially Los Angeles, can be nice. There are a ton of things to do, and I had been wanting to live closer so it would be easier to take the kids to educational and cultural places. The interesting part of LA is that it’s a large, sprawling city with an incredible number of areas and neighborhoods that are still a half hour drive from downtown. Where we live, it feels sort of like an urban suburb, if that makes any sense.

But the city is a bit more…fast paced than the suburbs, especially in comparison to the suburb I was raised in and the one we moved to the city from. And that’s putting it nicely.

There are a lot of people. And a lot of cars. And a lot of people in a lot of cars trying to get somewhere in a hurry. It might just be a leisurely shopping trip to the mall, but it’s always in a hurry. Road rage is definitely a thing here. Tailgating and cutting people off and taking the rules of the road and twisting them so they’re customized are the norm.

I hate driving in the city.

I hate walking in the city about as much.

I’ve always loved going for walks. I love taking my kids for walks. I love being able to walk my son to preschool.

But we walk through a residential area with lots of apartment buildings that have lots of cars. Cars that just go because their drivers are in a hurry. Cars that break hard when they’re surprised to see a pedestrian. Cars that double park ’cause they can, and then a car behind them veers into your lane to get around, completely ignoring the fact that you have right of way.

But back to pedestrians because that’s my focus here.

I’m a pedestrian pushing a stroller with two kids. More than that, I’m a cautious, courteous pedestrian. I always look for cars and relinquish my right of way when it’s obvious they either didn’t see me or were in too much of a hurry to even think a living soul would be walking around in a residential area in a city.

Sometimes I have to wait because the car is completely blocking the sidewalk and there’s traffic. Seriously, couldn’t they back up or maybe have checked for pedestrians?

The hazards of walking in a city?

Perhaps.

But it doesn’t stop me from wanting to be mean on purpose sometimes.

When I know a car is coming up (and the driver sees me) or has just come to a sudden halt to let me pass, I usually hurry by because I know they’re in a hurry and city dwellers are not always nice. But they’re being nice by letting me pass, so I hurry as best I can so they can be on their hurried way as quickly as possible.

But sometimes I want to be mean. I want to slow way down and stroll across the driveway. I want to glare at the driver who had to stop suddenly. I seriously just want to take my time. At a leisurely stroll that’s a whole lot slower than my usual pace.

It’s tempting, especially for the fifth time during a 12 minute walk.

I remember I have kids, though. I remember I’m their role model. If I want them to be kind, courteous, and thoughtful, then I have to be, too. I can’t just be mean on purpose. But I can teach them kindness as both a pedestrian and a driver by reminding myself to be kind and always offer a smile and wave in thanks. And hope they pick up on these little things like I learned from my parents.

But sometimes I still want to be mean. On purpose.

    • kat

      That seems to be very true. Too many people have looked at me like I have two heads. But I still hope they’ll pass it on and smile at a stranger, too.

  1. Salem Bishop

    Oddly I find courteous drivers more annoying. I don’t want to be rushed, I would rather wait until traffic is clear, which is maybe more applicable in a small city. I’ve had cars stop at green lights trying to wave me across. Uh, I’ll wait for the walk light, thanks? One guy stopped at an intersection while I was at least three car lengths away, had plenty of chance to go as I didn’t change my walking speed, hadn’t gone by the time I got there so I crossed still not changing my walking speed (my hips act up some days I’m slow), then I got a nice “you’re welcome bitch!” as he drove away. ??? What are some people thinking?

    • kat

      I ask myself that all the time. Maybe some drivers like to watch pedestrians scurry past gratefully? Sounds like a sad life if that’s how they get an ego boost. I suppose there’s a fine line been courtesy and being too courteous. Or maybe people just can’t judge distances.

  2. mothertherealist

    😀 You and me both. People’s behavior reminds me of this old cartoon we watched as kids, “Mr. Walker and Mr. Wheeler.” People change behind the wheel and forget that pedestrians are humans.

    • kat

      Well, if there are wheels to transport people, why walk? Anyone who walks must be crazy and should be destroyed! Sad story: I had to spend years reminding my husband pedestrians are not target practice.

      • mothertherealist

        I think it’s often a guy thing. My friends in high school would tease about how many points it earned to run things (people, animals, etc.) over, and that was before video games like Grand Theft Auto.

      • kat

        I’m amazed there isn’t more carnage out on the streets because of those games. But, considering how gamers prefer their dark holes, I’m assuming most don’t actually drive, so that’s a good thing.

  3. EM

    I briefly lived in downtown San Diego several years ago, and cars would speed up whenever they saw a pedestrian crossing the street, presumably to scare them into getting out of the way faster.

    Nowadays, I live somewhere where cars will stop and wait if they think that you even so much as glanced at the road, which is annoying because I’m always trying to teach my kids to not expect cars to wait for them. I dread the thought that they’ll ignore me because they think I’m wrong, then have a terrible encounter that one a**hole who doesn’t stop.

    • kat

      That is a scary thought. Drivers are a bit of a mixed bag everywhere and it’s hard to know what kind you’re about to come across. If I had my way, pedestrians and vehicles would have their own roads, but, sadly, we’re a long way from that.

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