Streetwalking In New York

Here's a hard New York truth.  Everyone in New York jaywalks.  They do.  As a visitor to this town, or a resident, far too often you will come to a crosswalk, and see a street completely empty of cars (this happens more often than you would think) and you will either wait, and wait, and later wonder what bliss you could have had with those two minutes you frittered away waiting for the little white walking man to pop up, or you will look both ways and then hustle across the street.  You will face this decision a lot, and so I promise you, then in New York, you will jay walk!

Here's another situation in which you will jaywalk.  You are in a bustling part of the city, it's 7PM or so, and a crowd of you is waiting for the light to change.  HOWEVER, you've got a fucking show to get to and you want to make sure you have enough time to buy a ten dollar glass of wine and get your drink on before the curtain rises on Aladdin or whatever bullshit show you are aching to see.  Suddenly, the crowd, as one begins to surge forward across the street like a living life raft.  You will tuck yourself inside them and walk, knowing that
1.  Surely a car would not hit all these people.
2.  If someone does come plowing through in their metal exoskeleton, heedless of all these living, fragile cantaloupe headed creatures,  they will likely hit someone else first, and there will be lots of bodies to cushion your fall.

So, you will jaywalk.  Believe it.  Unless you are a studious eight year old girl on the corner linked hand in hand with your eight year old cohort.  In that case you will wisely listen to all the things your mother told you, and you will stay still.  As I strut across the street I will pay you silent homage and give you a mental kudos.  Your lives are not worth that two minutes you would save!!!!

But in truth, if you are a grown up, and vigilant, in many instances, it's just efficient to book it across the empty street.  And in case you are worried about a ticket?   They never fucking ticket for it, because, as I have mentioned, EVERYONE does it.  I've seen people jaywalk right in front of a police car without batting an eye, and they are not cited.  However, please be safe about it.  Please!  Because for every quick an careful person, some people are just ridiculous about it.

Just today I saw a group of three girls, and the heftier of the three, the poor girl who had shot up a little taller than her friends and at aged 15 or so was nearing six feet, she obviously had something to prove.  So while the crowd of us waited at the corner and cars whizzed by, she, with a careful pose of nonchalance, walks out into the street.  She sways her head a bit, fake sassiness girding her loins as her pupils dilate.  Her two friends stand a couple steps behind her, giggling, shocked at her audacity.  You can almost hear them think to themselves "you're so brave, Martinique".  In the meantime I'm screaming inside, thinking "DON'T DO IT MARTINIQUE!!!! You are too trusting, and your life is worth more than the five seconds of glory you will have in being able to prove to your friends that you didn't give a fuck!

Another example that happens all too often.  There's a young (are they always young?  Do the young have a monopoly on cockiness and naivety?) person waiting at the corner with you.  They spot a car coming toward them, the sign says "don't walk" and yet, they think they can make it before the car gets to them, so they begin the walk across the street.  But it's less of a walk, more of a stroll.  They saunter, they promenade across the street with major attitude, almost daring the car coming at them not to slow down.  There's a defiance to it, and a swing to the hip or a mild thrusting of the pelvis as they make their way across the street.  There's something sexual about it, believe it or not.

Now I say these things not to judge or cast aspersions.  Like I said, I have been a jaywalker.  In a way, I am sayingg these things to remind myself to be vigilant, and remember to take my eyes off the phone as I 'm walking down the street and arriving at a corner.  To pause and assess.  Because New York is a dangerous city, and you never know if that car, the one coming at you as you defy the laws of traffic, is being driven by someone who values your life, or is piloted by someone who's at their wits end and will give you a hearty flip of the bird as she plows on through the intersection, nearly hitting you because she has a green light.

I guess what I'm really saying has all been said before, much better than I can, and it all boils down to this.  Let's all be careful walking those streets, and if you're feeling vulnerable and alone, find a grown up friend and be safe.