An Open Letter to the Man Who Almost Drove Over Me in a Crosswalk
First, I can say, you did have your turn signal on, and for that I’m grateful. I wouldn’t have waited an extra second before stepping into the crosswalk at Broadway and 1st had I thought you were continuing West. But you had your signal on and so I looked at you, and when you didn’t pull forward, I thought, I believed, that you saw me, and so I began to cross the street.
It was the beginning of my lunch break. I was headed to the gym and had just gone to the bank. I was thinking about whether or not I would use the elliptical or just a treadmill. I was thinking about the fact that I was cold and wishing I’d worn a hat, and that I wanted to get back to my car as quickly as possible. I was the ideal pedestrian; the one who stays between the lines and hauls ass across the street.
I was in the middle of the crosswalk when you started to turn left, and by started I mean your car clearly has a good engine. I threw my arm up, and with only a few more seconds, I could have put my hand in your open window, counted your beard hairs as I either sailed over the top of your Trans Am or saw them as a flash before being clipped or drug underneath your vehicle.
It was my arm, giving you the crossing guards’ universal sign, that I believe saved my life. Because when I threw my arm out (as if I could hold back your entire car with my spindly arm) that is when I caught your attention. And that, though it was regrettably delayed, is when you slowed down. You missed pummeling me by the length of one stride.
Of all the things I could have shouted in the moment, I did not expect to yell “Jesus!” as I am not a religious woman. But those who are religious will say something or someone was looking out for both of us.
With your window open you heard me and yelled “Sorry!” like the whole thing had just been an inconvenience. Driver, it was so much more. By the time I made it to my vehicle a few blocks away I was hyperventilating and crying. I was having a panic attack, something I’ve only had one other time in my life. I called my husband crying and told him I loved him because that’s what you do when you think you’re going to or have almost just died.
Driver, if you had hit me, I can only imagine how uncomfortable life would have become for you. Since you seem to have been talking to your passenger in a carefree (and maybe careless) manner instead of watching the road, the reality of your actions would have been sobering. But accidents happen, and you surely didn’t intend to hit or even scare me. So what I’m asking is this: please pay attention. Please, when you’re with your friends, when you’re high on life, when the sun is out and you’re in a good mood, or when you’re mad because you’re in a fight with your significant other, or your dog just died, or you got fired, pay attention.
And if someone is looking at you, asking in their own way if it’s okay to move forward, please look back. Please wait, and let others go first.
The Woman in the Crosswalk