I walked up to the corner of 40th Street and Tunnel Exit Street (really, that’s what it’s called). The dreaded electric company had its trucks blocking 40th while the crew worked on something buried beneath the street, and a man in a blue vest and hard hat kept moving orange cones to allow cars out of the parking garage. The walk light was blinking red, so I decided to hang back, what with the confusion over the street closure and all.
The cars on Tunnel Exit Street got their green light and flew past me in the way that only cars in NYC can when getting stopped by red lights every block, and then the light changed. I stepped out onto the street, and though I saw a cab ready to turn the corner out of the corner of my eye, and even as his bumper literally touched the leg of my pants, I thought, Of course he’s going to stop.
But he didn’t, and before I knew what was happening, I was leaned over the hood of his car, both hands on it like I was going to be able to push it away from me. Without evening thinking, even before I stood back up again, I screamed, “I HAVE A FUCKING WALK SIGN!!”
I never thought I’d be a person who yells at other people. Growing up in Ohio, I never raised my voice to anyone but my little sister, and she totally deserved it. I don’t think I said a single curse word until 8th grade, and even then, I just did it because some kids said I wouldn’t. I was raised to give people the benefit of the doubt, to think before I speak, and to feel guilty when I don’t.
The cab driver leaned out his window and said, “The light! The light!”, pointing to the stoplight above his head. I thought for .02 seconds that he may have had a green arrow, but then I realized that:
1) the sign wouldn’t have turned to Walk if he had a turn arrow,
2) that light isn’t ever an arrow, and
3) I AM A PEDESTRIAN AND ALWAYS HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY.
So even though this cab driver had totally been polite about yelling at me, I looked him in the eye and bellowed again,
And then I crossed the street with my head held high as the electric company crew laughed at me and a couple of guys made fun of me in an Asian language, called Tracey to tell her how I’ve turned into an angry New Yorker, and spent the next 20 minutes hiding out in the grocery store in case he decided to pull around the block and club me with his tire iron.
Have I mentioned I hate cabs?