Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Not Even the First Time I've Seen It

Tonight walking home I saw two girls jaywalk on Court Street. Let me qualify that: Court Street is the main drag in downtown Athens. It's a three-lane, parking-on-both-sides, one-way cobbled road lined with bars and shops and banks and what have you. Now, jaywalking across such a street isn't unheard of, especially late on a Friday night when there isn't much room left on the sidewalk for walking and when your friends are calling you to join them on the far side. But even then it is customary to look around, gauge the situation, and cross with some semblance of urgency.

These girls were walking leisurely. And they weren't actually walking just across the street—they were crossing the intersection at State.1 And by "crossing the intersection" I mean kitty-cornerly. Diagonally, that is. From the south-west side to the north-east one. Across at least five lanes of possible traffic moving in three different directions, upon one of which a green light is forever and constantly shining. At 8:30 in the evening. On a Tuesday.

How far could that have been to walk? Fifty or sixty feet, I guess, and they just stepped into the middle of all that and walked, no sauntered to the other side, not even making a straight line, not even looking eagerly both ways, not even registering which of the lights was green, not even dashing jauntily out of the way of the black sedan that was advancing into the intersection, seemingly not even noticing the blaring headlights trained directly on them from said sedan—headlights that cut starkly through the early autumn darkness, headlights that could not be missed in the contrast they would project upon the eyes of the jaywalkers in the way they relit the colors in their blouses and on their fingernails, headlights that seemed to say in that moment: "You are it. You are the very reason that headlights exist in the first place, the reason they have been attached to the fronts of cars for generations. They have existed to shine on you."

It isn't that they didn't have the courtesy to hurry for the car with the right of way; it's that they seemed to lack any vestige of an instinct for self-preservation. What, I ask, could they possibly have been thinking?

No seriously: what were they thinking? Leave your idea in the comments. Best idea gets a sweet prize.

Here's one possibility. Here's another?

1If it was at an intersection, was it technically jaywalking?


Dinty W said...

Your assignment: write an essay with this title:

"You are it. You are the very reason that headlights exist in the first place, the reason they have been attached to the fronts of cars for generations. They have existed to shine on you."

Megs said...

Perhaps these girls were thinking, "Oooh! The shortest distance between two points is, like, a straight line, so diagonal across the intersection will definitely save me steps. But I'll be, like, saving SOOO much time that I definitely don't need to rush and mess up my totally awesome hair!
Like, why is that guy honking? Honestly. Some people are so RUDE."

agirlwho said...

I think they were hoping for someone to hit them so that they wouldn't have to cross another cobblestone road on foot again. Maybe insurance fraud? Maybe Disney princess syndrome? Maybe drunkenness?

Jennifer said...

Truly, it is a case of Paris Hiltonitis. Or Lindsey Lohanism. Or Britney Spearsishness. Whatever you want to call the megalomaniacal sense of all-encompassing importance that would urge someone to think, "They can't hit ME. I'm ME. They would get in SO MUCH TROUBLE, so they just won't do it. I mean, they HAVE to stop; I'M walking here!" Or maybe someone once told them that peds always have to right of way? I hate stupid people.