Saturday, April 17, 2010

the people who drive past

Did you know that walking down the road can be an interesting study of people?

I'm enjoying walking the dog. We now go 2.5 miles a day. That's the whole road. I have also, many a time, walked my horse up and down the road for fun. I've also ridden my horse on the road, but I really don't like doing that, I'm not as brave (stupid?) as I was in the olden days when I used to ride Thunder on the road all the time.

Anyway... I wave at everybody who drives past. If I know them they get a big enthusiastic wave, otherwise I sort of just lift my hand and acknowledge them, sort of a "I see you there in your car, and thanks for not running me over." I figure it's the neighborly thing to do, right? Oh, let me clarify that I generally only wave at cars that are coming toward me. I ignore those that come up from behind, it's not like they need to change lanes to pass me. If the driver knows me then they wave and I wave back, it's all good.

It's a rural-ish road that I live on. I mean, it's not one of the busiest roads in this town, but it's also not devoid of cars. It's a through road that comes off the main road, so it gets its share of people passing through. It's two lanes. No bike lane, and for the most part no shoulder. Seriously, there's the white line, and then a few inches of pavement, a few inches of gravel, and then a big ditch. So a person could theoretically walk on the "shoulder" (outside the white line) but a person and a dog cannot both fit there. Angus the dog usually walks on the white line, and I'm on the road. It's not like I take up much of the road. And hey, it's the country. And hey, we're entitled to walk there.

Now, I am careful not to inconvenience drivers. On rare times when two cars are coming from opposite directions and will pass me at approximately the same time, I get off the road as much as possible. The ditch isn't really practical, so at worst I'll have Angus sit on the "shoulder" and I'll stand next to him, both of us technically off the road. Then the cars don't have to worry so much about running me over. And I always try to get onto the shoulder as much as possible when someone is driving toward me.

But the people are interesting. They seem to fall into these categories, and this is in order of frequency I think:

1) people who slow down a tiny bit, get at least most of the way into the other lane, but give only a tiny "who the hell is that" wave in my direction. They seem confused by my presence, and in a hurry to be somewhere, and they don't smile.

2) people who slow down noticeably, get at least most of the way into the other lane, smile and wave enthusiastically. Sometimes they know me, sometimes they don't.

3) people who don't slow down, do get all the way into the other lane, and don't acknowledge me at all. Often they are on cell phones.

4) people who slow down to a crawl, get way way way over in the other lane, and give me this stupefied expression as though I might jump out into the road and get them. (rawr, yeah, I'm like that). They wave timidly.

5) people who move over at most half a lane, don't slow down, and don't acknowledge. Literally, I could reach out and touch these cars, and I hate these people. There is a whole freakin' other lane wide open, and they barely get over. Without fail, these are young men. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying all the young men drivers do this, just that the only drivers who do happen to fall into that category. It's all I can do not to flip these people off, and I'm sooooo tempted to carry something like a riding crop and smack the cars as they go past, just something to make a noise but not do any damage. Ugh, these ones really get to me!


Granny Annie said...

I still cannot get over waving at people on country roads. Everyone waves at everyone. We wave at other drivers or walkers or people standing in their yards. Once in a while, when we visit the city, I forget where we are and wave at city folks. They look shocked and act like they want to duck in case I'm going to produce a weapon.

Sharon said...

Down here, everyone waves, or nods, or flips up a few fingers off the steering wheel - unless they are their cell phone, then you just want to try to get out of their way.

Anonymous said...

OMG! I remember everyone waving at everyone in Alabama. Except me. I figured if I didn't know them, then I might as well be on my merry way. Car to car waving I think is annoying. If I am walking, I do not wave, you would be a special exception though if I saw you walking (but if you were walking Angus around here, then hopefully you would have told me you in my neck of the woods in the first place!). Maybe it is because I grew up in LA?


chuck bennett said...

Howdy Gal. I just found your work on Steves site. You are good and getting better all the time.
I have spent a lifetime with horses cows working dogs and kids. Wife of 47 years.
Stove up, can't ride anymore. I am a knife maker, some spurs, bits and buckles. Read your bio. Loved your attitude, zest for life.
Where can I find the prices for the handle work.
Chuck Bennett.

dougzilla said...

One thing I liked about living in NYC was that pedestrians had a tendency to beat on cars that misbehaved - 'like naughty children'. Pedestrians there have the absolute right of way, and they take it. Any car that dares to try to sneak too close to people gets people banging on it with fists, whacking it with their umbrellas, or throwing things at it. Unfortunately, Londoners don't do that, and cars don't stop for anything, ever, (unless they are at the magical 'zebra crossing', where cars part like the red sea). Not surprisingly, people here get very upset if you bang on their car, which, of course, is a good reason for doing it. ;-) I vote for carrying something to hit the cars with - you are well within your rights to walk along the road and they have no business passing you that close. Quite a number of people do that just b/c they think it's fun to scare pedestrians. They might think twice if it resulted in scratched paint, or (even better!) - an egg all over their window...