Friday, August 22, 2008

Missed Manners

Just a few days ago, as I was walking down Cambridge Street on my way, I started to cross Cardinal Medeiros Road. I was startled when an older lady called out from her window, "I'm sorry." It took me a minute to realize what she was apologizing about, and I realized that she felt guilty of having stopped in the middle of the pedestrian crosswalk. In a city where cars repeatedly run red lights, are known for its "Massholes" and college students blindly walking out in the middle of oncoming traffic as Nicklebones has commented in a previous post, "Fighting For My Life As A Pedestrian," this was refreshing. I smiled, nodded, and cheerfully replied, "That's alright!" and went on my way. She must not have been from around here, is what I chalk up this courtesy to.

However, it is truly depressing that courtesy has fallen by the wayside in this town. Drivers honk at other drivers who have stopped for pedestrians to cross the road. One afternoon while walking across the dreaded Charles Circle crosswalks towards the Charles/MGH station [with actual real-life pedestrian crossing signals], a few pedestrians almost got ran over by not one, nor two, but three vehicles heading down Cambridge Street at warp speed and running the lights that had been red for a few seconds already. Not only did they almost cause an accident, they blatantly honked at the poor, innocent pedestrians who were completely entitled to cross the road. The nerve!

In fact, I am reminded of when I was trying to cross at Charles Circle, albeit the direction towards Longfellow that did not have a pedestrian crossing light, I was almost beared down upon by a gas-guzzling large black SUV with the driver waving his fist at me. I had realized too late that my timing was off, and the light had turned green on oncoming traffic. However, it is indeed unfortunate that there is not even a "yield" sign for this direction. I wonder if the gas-guzzling SUV driver will ever realize that there is a pedestrian right-of-way at this intersection.

I was abhorred when a friend of mine, who was in her second trimester [not anymore; she is blessed with a daughter now], described some of her experiences on the T. She and her husband are recent homeowners in the town of Lexington [bye bye, city life], and she drives in to Alewife station to commute into Cambridge every morning. Some people offer her seats on the train, but she's usually pretty happy just standing. One morning, when the car was somewhat full, she had nowhere to stand but at the door. At the next stop, before she can even step out to allow the passengers to debark off the train, one man rudely pushed her out, to the shock to other fellow passengers. Fortunately, she was ok and she justifies it to the fact that he probably did not see her as a pregnant woman, and was in a hurry. However, that kind of thing should never even happen.


Connor said...

This general tendency of Boston drivers and commuters was my biggest shock upon moving here from the Midwest (Kansas and Iowa). I know it's a trope and a stereotype, but I still find it shocking on a daily basis.

Treemont said...

Im not taking anything away from how bad a scene you describer here, but I live downtown and walk everywhere and really REALLY hope some of the pedestrians down here get their do --- Will you wait for your turn to cross??? EVER?? The amount of times i've seen pedestrians cross AGAINST the light outweigh scenes you are describing by at least 50 to 1.

Tremont between Park amd Boylston? Come on --- these friggers DESERVE to get hit!