This hasn’t stopped me from asserting my right to cross the street. If you plow around a corner close enough that I can touch you, I’ll give you a little tap just to let you know how close you came. Most cars can’t be bothered to stop, so I never know if they got the message. Today car number two stopped to confront me. To cross the street I had to pass two older women who had the right to cross, but they were waiting for cars to stop for them even though they had the right of way. This gave me added gusto to cross since someone had to assert our right to cross the street. The next car to come careening around the corner barely slowing down to do so came within inches of me, I tapped on the drivers’ window with my newspaper. The driver stopped, reversed, and got out of the car and demanded an explanation for me hitting her car. It’s also a good exercize for me in keeping my cool as I find the question infuriating since the amount of potential damage done by my newspaper against her car is insignificant when compared to the amount of damage that her several ton car would have done to my frail frame.
“What the hell was that?!?”
“Oh, I’m sorry miss. I thought maybe you didn’t realize that you almost hit me.”
“You don’t go around hitting other people’s property.”
To my surprise, as I was about to brace myself for the debate, the two old ladies were there to back me up. They had surrounded her from behind so the lady had to listen to reason.
Lady: Actually the young man did have the right of way.
Driver: He was on the sidewalk!
Me: If I was on the sidewalk, how could I have possibly hit your car?
Lady: You just said he hit your car, but if he was on the sidewalk he must have incredibly long arms.
Driver: Oh, fuck you!
Thinking that chapter was over I set off again on the morning’s errands, but one of the women rushed to catch up to me.
“I used to be like you.” she said with a smile.
“When I first moved to New York I used to walk around like I had rights…and angry when people feel like they can go around acting however they want with complete disregard for others.”
I put my hand on her shoulder and smiled, “So I’ll mellow out eventually?”
I’m really not sure if I want to mellow out, but it was such a nice interaction with a fellow New Yorker I couldn’t help but to let her peace infect me. She went back to her friend and with that epilogue complete I continued on, not realizing that another altercation was waiting for me…literally…just around the corner.
This time it was in the form of three large men….not as large as my friend who knocked me to the ground a couple weeks back, but they probably weighed in at over 200 each and they were wearing Giants jerseys which somehow made them more intimdating. The biggest one meets my gaze and breaks off from the group.
He looks back at his buddies as he makes a beeline for me, “Look, all you gotta do is this.”
He raises his arms as he’s obviously coming after me and I brace myself for the assualt. To my surprise, he wraps his arms around me and gives me the firmest, warmest bearhug I’ve ever received…no…not even a barehug…a very sincere hug and I instinctively hug him back. He pats my back, releases me, and rejoins his friends.
“Thanks” I say, and he nods back in return.
As they walk off, I hear him say to his friends “See? It’s as easy as that!”
Some days I really do heart NY.