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Moment: Crosswalks

13 April 2010

The temptation to jaywalk is strong, but stronger still is the icy glare from the sash-wearing senior citizen across the street.  “Set a poor example of traffic safety and street-crossing methods for these adorable kindergarteners” she thinks, “and your pasty white ass is mine”.  I wait.

The two sixth graders who come up behind me are always on my route to work.  When I talk to them, they usually grin awkwardly, and walk as fast as they politely can toward school.  I like to think I am responsible for the remarkable lack of tardiness in my neighborhood.  Today, though, I have them trapped.  The light is red.  There is no viable alternative route.  I turn to them, triumphant.  “Good morning.  How are you today?”

The two girls turn to each other.  One of them slaps the other on the arm.  “You talk to him”, she says in Japanese.  Her friend hits her back–“No, you talk to him–your English is better”.  The first girl rolls her eyes, and holds out a fist at chest level.  The first game of rock-paper-scissors ends in a deadlock.  The light turns green.

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