Saturday, July 18, 2009

I Saved A Man's Life

i did.

i am a very aggressive street crosser. i will take risks crossing streets that i don't think most should. but i do. i have a key on the city's rhythms. sure, i am taking a chance that something will go awry, but i have a high degree of confidence that i will reach the other side unscathed.

such a situation happened tonight. i was walking down spring street towards lafayette. anyone who knows this intersection knows its kind of confusing on a good day: drivers are heading east on spring, north on cleveland place (which turns into lafayette at this intersection), and drivers can also turn south onto lafayette from spring. but there is no northbound traffic on the lafayette side of cleveland (as i said, confusing. please consult the map below for clarification).

View Larger Map

so, as i said, i was walking east on spring across lafayette, against the light. knowing the traffic patterns as i do, i walked out into the middle of the street because i could. i knew i was protected on one side by the construction area (oh yes, did i mention the construction on petrosino square [spelled it right on the first try!], just south of the intersection? it is a small, triangular park [certainly not a square] that comes to a point at said intersection.) and on the other by a lack of southbound traffic (again, consult map).

ANYWAY, i was in the middle waiting for a break in the traffic so i could complete my cross. i saw my window. two cars were coming, one was close but almost past and another was far enough down the street that i could make it across ahead of it. so i went. as i moved into the street, i saw on the opposite corner two dudes who had obviously been at spring lounge or gatsby's (read: drunk). i still had my head down because i was focused on my timing but as i got closer to the other side, one of the dudes noticed me and said to the other "OK lets go". he stepped off the curb and didn't look.

i immediately recognized the situation. he had seen me cross and assumed that because i was crossing, the coast was clear. he possibly thought he had the light. i don't know what he thought; he might not have thought. but i knew. i knew there was a car rapidly approaching where i had just crossed and he had no idea. i did...and his buddy did. his buddy shouted "dude, wait!", but his momentum carried him forward, towards me going the other way and towards the traffic, going a way he certainly didn't want.

not to exaggerate or commit hyperbole, but the next few moments were clear, yet foggy. instinctual, yet thought out. i didn't think: i acted. as the guy approached me, i simply stuck my palm in the middle of his sternum and said "watch out!". that was all. my forward momentum hit his forward momentum and we both stopped. the car zoomed by. the dude froze for a second. i continued walking, not skipping a beat. i saw the recognition in his eye after a moment had passed. he was confused at first, but got it. as i passed, i heard him shout "thanks, man!".

i don't know why i didn't stop. i almost didn't process what happened until after it was over. i don't know way i did what i did. like i said, it was instinctual, yet somehow my brain processed the situation before it happened so, in a way, i was prepared for this event and acted accordingly.

i should have stopped and acknowledged him, but i didn't. i don't know why. i should have. probably could have gotten a beer out of it :)

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