Observations on Drivers

When walking, one observes, and when walking in the city one is forced to observe drivers. Drivers, unfortunately, do not always observe walkers.

Some drivers are oblivious to walkers, either focused on their destination or their bloody phones. I’ve had several close calls, when drivers focused on car traffic haven’t noticed me standing 2 meters away. I always try to make eye contact with the driver as I cross at an intersection – if I can see your eyes, hopefully you can see me.

Then again, some drivers are out to be seen, what I refer to as Look At Me (LAM) drivers. They are often in expensive cars, or loud ones, or ideally both. Recently, we had a sunny but chilly afternoon, about -3C, and yet a sports car convertible passed me with the top down, downshifting with loud farts in order to shout LOOK AT ME IN MY EXPENSIVE CAR THAT I CAN DRIVE THE WAY I WANT TO AND SCREW YOU.

LAMitis is term I use for those who cannot abide being ignored. These are people with a pathological need to be looked at. They are the epitome of the selfish, self-conscious driver, the one with the music that’s not to your taste pouring out of open windows while they sit at red lights; or the one with bling and chrome and lights and wide tires and rumbling exhaust; or the one with the I-make-so-much-money-I-can-burn-it burning more petrol than a supertanker as their beast idles with the AC on full.

Aside: Walkers never have LAMitis. Runners always do.

Some drivers are careful and look out for pedestrians, and kids, and parents with strollers, and bikes, and squirrels, and much else. They often drive Hondas and Toyotas and Fords. They never seem to drive Bentleys or Lamborghinis.

Some drivers seek form over function. They emerge with perfect hair from clean, expensive cars, often with small dogs or groomed children in tow. They see walkers and pity them.

Other drivers are the opposite, seeking function over form. They are often distracted by their work and their vehicle is just a means to get them to that work. They usually drive pick-ups or vans covered in dust and dirt.

All drivers should see walkers, yet often don’t. On the other hand walkers must see drivers because of those drivers who should but don’t. My father had a saying – when you are crossing the street, don’t assume you have the right of way just because the light is in your favour because, he said, “while you might be right, you could end up being dead right”. Walkers are wary, at least long-lived ones are.