She jumped right in front of me and punched fists straight in the air. “Got to wait. IDIOT!” My hands were full with groceries. It was Friday afternoon at a busy traffic light in mid-town Manhattan.
The “idiot,” was the driver of a black limousine which had blocked the pedestrian crossing at the short green light. He appeared as if he did not hear the woman who angrily screamed at him, although his windows were rolled down. Thanks to her proactive actions, the drivers behind him pulled an immediate stop and we managed to cross the road last-minute.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0.
The same evening I paid a visit at my friends at the East side. I stopped at a red light, I was on my bike. Moments later a cars horn sounded alarming, but I had no reason to pay further attention. I was at the right lane, waiting. Immediately after that thought, a car squeezed their breaks right behind me and their horn kept honking.
Surprised on the unnecessary persistence I turned my head to face the driver in a white SUV.
“Why aren’t you on the bike lane? he asked but did not wait for my answer. “You are not allowed to drive here. Ride on the bike lane. Why you ride your bike on the road, eight million people live here. I am not going to hit you, but someone else will. You tourists. You don’t need to ride your bikes in the city.” He spoke so fast, his face got red quickly from not taking a breath.
“I live here” I said in a calm manner.
“You live here? Why you ride your bike on the road?
“Because I am allowed,” I returned. I wanted to say more but he was too busy to let me talk. He was well caught in his preconceived notions about the city of New York, the people who live here and the tourists that visit the city of New York. Clearly, he was oblivious to the fact that bicycles have similar rights as with all other vehicles. We can ride in the road too.
“Have a good night” I said. And the young man went on repeating the same, like a tape recorder. But I was far away already.
Maybe I had it all wrong. It could be that this man got really scared over-speeding and got caught off guard at the red light.