THE FEELINGS ARE MUTUAL
Someone stepping off the curb and getting behind the wheel of his car is no longer the same person. He now become a motorist, an automobile driver with an elevated sense of authority and an attitude, one strikingly different from what it was just moments before.
That he wants above all is to move freely and quickly and get to where he’s going. Now that he is no longer on foot, pedestrians for him represent obstacles, natural adversaries, certainly nuisances. Pedestrians impede his progress. They’re slow, whereas he is now swift. They congregate at street corners and spill out onto the road and so restrict his movement. He must stop so they may cross a thoroughfare he regards as rightfully his. Seemingly indifferent to his vehicle’s weight and power and his urge to move, they stroll past in casual fashion almost daring him to hit them. Elderly pedestrians move even more slowly than most, taking forever, it seems, to clear out of the way. Younger ones dash recklessly out from behind parked cars or cross streets even as the light is changing or has already turned green, leaving drivers with little choice but to jam on their brakes and swear up and down. Pedestrians are undeniably pests. But now remove the same guy from the car and put him back on his feet. Suddenly he’s a changed man. A pedestrian now, he has little sympathy for cars and their drivers. He waits impatiently at the corner for the red light and for the cars to stop. Why on earth is it taking this long?
Auto horns beeping noisily and cars belching foul fumes also anger him, as do those which come to sudden, screeching stops. On rainy days there’s the added hazard and ultimate indignity of a dousing by cars careening through nearby puddles. In pedestrian heaven automobiles surely would be banned.
He worries when it is an especially wide thoroughfare. Will he even make it across before the light changes and aggressive drivers shoot forward and cause him to quicken his steps to reach the safety of the curb?
Stepping off the curb puts him in enemy territory. He feels threatened both by cars which halt uncomfortably close to where he’s crossing, those turning sharply both in front and behind him, and those prematurely in motion anticipating a light change.
Your attitude all depends, you see on whether you’re in the driver’s seat or on your feet out on the street.