Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Metro Journal: Dec 15 Don't I Feel Safe

In the morning, two other people and I were standing at a corner waiting for the Walk light. When it changed, the moron in the right turn lane right in front of us was still inching forward into the crosswalk, watching for traffic coming from his left, never bothering to, oh, look around every once in a while. Note that he was looking straight in the direction of the white Walk signal, too, clearly a particularly observant dumbass, in addition to the really considerate part. I yelled, "HEY!" and the other two people yelled at him too. So, the asshole honked his horn at us. I should have let myself get nudged so I could make his life miserable with the police and insurance company. And have a good excuse to be late for work. And I would have had two witnesses who would probably have loved to help me make this guy's life miserable.

Let me explain a subtlety of Bus Person Car. While Bus Always Wins, Person vs. Car displays a slight paradox. Clearly, the Person who ends up under Car loses. However, so does the Person in Car, especially after dealing with the police, getting their insurance rates jacked up, and possibly getting sued by Person under Car or their, um, surviving relatives.

It was the second day of really heavy, practically non-stop rain. Buses were running slow, and of course there had been an accident on Los Feliz. An SUV was turned almost 180 degrees, just enough off so they were blocking one whole lane and change.

I got out around 6:45. I didn't even pretend to wait for a bus, but just started walking to Western. In addition to all the accumulated vehicle fluids that have leaked onto the road, the rain also washes away all the annoying loiterers. About half a block into it, I was really wishing I had remembered my gloves. About a block into it, I was wishing they had some kind of nose warmer.

There was a U-lock holding a bicycle wheel to a sign post at the corner of Melrose and Ridgewood. It was clearly a very effective lock, because the wheel was there. Of course, there was no bicycle attached to the wheel...

While I was waiting at the corner of Melrose and Western (a ways back from the curb, as water drainage is hideous and the cars zooming by would knock up a lot of water), a man staggered through the crosswalk. Of course, traffic at the time was coming in perpendicular to the crosswalk, so it's a small miracle he didn't get runover. He got to the side I was on in one piece, but instead of stepping onto the curb, he started walking in the street next to it. Right through one of the Marianas puddles. He managed to fall onto the curb. A couple women walked by and he was yelling something at them in Spanish. They yelled something back and kept walking. My bus came and I didn't really want to deal with a really drunk man.

I felt a little guilty, though. He was really likely to hurt himself and maybe cause a pile-up in the process. I decided as soon as I got off at Hollywood, which was just a couple minutes away, I would call 911.

Meanwhile, a woman had left her scarf behind and another lady was trying to catch her attention, except she was barely audible. She got up and was trying to pick it up when the bus started moving. She almost fell down and a bunch of us reached out to grab her. Yeesh.

After I got off the bus, I dialed 911 from my cell phone.1 And got a busy signal. I hung up and dialed again.2 It rang that time, but it got answered by a machine telling me all operators were busy and to stay on the line. Yeah, I was feeling pretty safe and secure right about then. The 780 came about 5 minutes later, and I was still waiting for the operator. I got on the bus. I stayed on the line about 5 more minutes, then gave up. Even if I had finally managed to talk to a real person at that point, the guy was either long gone or someone else would have called already. Of course, they also would have gotten a busy signal.

I realized afterward I should probably have used the pay phones on that corner. 911 calls are almost certainly handled differently from a land line, although whether or not it would have been more effective, I don't know.

1I think for the first time ever.
2I think for the second time ever.


Amber/Rayne said...

I would have done exactly what you did. i tried helping someone once like that and I got yelled at and name called by the person.
As far as the right turners they never look. I'm always almost getting hit by them losers!
I don't know if it's worse in LA OC or Las Vegas. Lol.

Karen said...

Thanks for the feedback.

Yeah, I think the only thing I definitely would have done differently would have been the call 911 with the payphones. I was alone, there was no one else standing at the stop, it was really dark out, it's not like anyone racing by in a car was likely to give a crap, and the guy was completely wasted. It's not like I could have done anything directly without great risk to myself, particularly as I don't understand drunken Spanish.

The funny thing about crosswalks... A couple years ago I was in Anaheim for a training course, and people were actually really good about stopping as soon as a pedestrian set their foot in the crosswalk! I was shocked.