Monday, May 20, 2013

That Can't be Good for the Paint job

This Monday morning was annoying. I was running late, my son was arguing with me, and I realized I needed to hit an ATM to pay for parking. I decided my best bet was to use an ATM in the city center before taking my son to school. I parked near a church and started crossing a couple of streets, my son riding on my shoulders. The intersections in the city center are a bit messy, but perfectly safe if you wait for the lights. People tend to pay more attention because of the heavy pedestrian traffic due to the nearby high school.

During my short walk I saw an African-American woman crossing a different branch off the central rotary a few yards away. She had the right of way, and was obeying the traffic signals. I was noticing her hair, a intricate web of braids piled high. Despite the altitude of the hairdo, it meshed perfectly with the smart business suit she was wearing. I'd turned away and resumed my walk to the ATM when I heard the screech of tires and a blaring horn. I looked back and saw a cream colored BMW stopped inches from the woman. The driver had apparently tried to run the light despite their being pedestrians in the crosswalk. He leaned out his open window, threw a lit cigarette in her direction and screamed "What the F**k are you doing ni**er?"

Her response was to stop in the street, blocking the driver's progress. She turned and looked him in the eyes. She then silently pointed to the very well marked crosswalk she was in, and then to the "walk" signal she was clearly obeying. She stood there for a moment and then finished crossing the street. The BMW driver proceeded to run the red light.

My son and I reached the ATM, got some cash for parking and went back to our car. While driving I saw the exact same woman on the far side of the four lane street, starting to cross. She had one of those massive fruity beverage Starbucks sells during the Summer. As I slowed and stopped to let her cross in front of me I reflected on the fact that the drink looked as big as her upper arm, and I wondered how she'd manage to drink it all.

I glanced in my rear view mirror and noticed there was no one behind me. The woman made eye contact with me as she reached the median and I waved her on. She smiled and started jogging across. She was almost over the line into my lane when I heard an engine roar and saw a blur of motion to my left. A black BMW was pulling around me at high speed. He peeled towards the woman and she had to run to avoid being hit. She threw her sugar bomb beverage into the air and it landed on the BMW's windshield. The BMW screeched to a halt and I could see the wipers starting to smear the beverage.

The woman didn't stop running until she was across the street. She looked back, threw up her hands in a "I'm done with this" gesture and moved on, shaking her head, laughing and looking back at the BMW that was still stopped and covered with the beverage. As I inched past I noticed the BMW's driver was on the cell phone, yelling, and flipping the bird at his nearly opaque windshield. I noticed that a lot of the drink was on his roof as well, and I reflected that it was quite a shame he wasn't driving a convertible with the top down.

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