Play-Nooz helicopters are hovering over the ‘hood, gawking at the latest little drama on Conduit of Blight Boulevard. Another resident of the slum apartments on the other side of Conduit of Blight wandered out across a six-lane 40- to 50-mph thoroughfare — now bisected by a freaking train that speeds up and down there also around 45 mph.
A specific set of people seems to have a predilection for jaywalking. I don’t know if it’s a general disrespect for the law, a sense that they’re so oppressed by law enforcement anyway that it doesn’t matter if they jaywalk, or whether they’re so ill-fed that malnutrition so interferes with common sense that they don’t see that traffic signals are there to HELP them, not to interfere with their rights. Whatever it is, they wander out across the road, often right in front of a car, and if you don’t jam on your brakes you are going to hit them. Then it’s your fault, even though they’re idiots.
It’s one of the joys of living next to low-income apartments, along with the panhandlers in the grocery-store parking lots and the guys with teardrops tattooed on their faces standing in the check-out lines. And now of course, we also get to enjoy trains bonging, honking, and clanging up and down the road, because poor folks and transient low-income apartment dwellers don’t have enough political clout to stop the boondoggle from being built under their bedroom windows.
LOL! One reason you can hear the trains constantly bonging and honking way to hell and gone over here — a half-mile away from the thing — is the nitwits wandering back and forth across the road. They’ll stroll right out in front of a train bearing down on them.
Where does the impulse to walk out into traffic come from? It seems to be a cultural thing: nine times out of ten, the perp is a member of a conspicuously oppressed population group. It’s like “we don’t have any other way to assert our power, so we’ll do it by making the traffic stop for our convenience.” This morning’s Deceased wandered into the road before dawn and an 80-year-old woman hit her with an SUV. A 20-year-old woman might not have seen a person stumbling around the middle of a main drag in the dark, especially if she was wearing dark clothes. But not all drivers are at the height of their lifetime physical abilities.
Man! I remember coming home from GDU West, back when I used to teach night courses. It was about 10 o’clock at night. I was flying along Peoria or Dunlap, both of which pass through vast low-income tracts (most of Phoenix is a low-income tract, thanks to our right-to-work-for-nothing law). And “flying” is the word: I’m a pretty aggressive driver even now, and in my more salady days I was that in spades. I’m lookin’ down the road, and I don’t see anything. Everything looks clear. I’m tired, I just wanna get home, I’m at altitude, and my jet engines are set on “cruise.”
Luckily, someone turns into the oncoming lane from the left, a couple hundred feet up the road. As his headlights swing across the darkened street, he backlights a moron, all dressed in black and jaywalking in the middle of the block. Holy sh!t.
If that guy hadn’t pulled into the street at just that minute, I would’ve hit the idiot. From my perspective, he was invisible.
This isn’t New York City, where traffic moves at a crawl. Speed limits on Valley surface streets are set at 40 mph. Traffic lights are coordinated so you’ll always hit the green if you’re going about 45 mph. Go any slower, and you’ll stop at Every. Single. Traffic. Signal. So most people drive at right around 45 to 50 mph, all the time. If you’re hit by a vehicle moving at 45 mph, you are toast.
No, you’re not. You’re the jam for the toast.
Wouldn’tcha think that would be obvious?