07 January 2010


I stood at the crosswalk, waiting for the light to change, aimlessly punching at the walk signal button. The lights have been retimed (again) and it takes forever for me to get across the street.

To my left, across the intersection, sitting in the bike lane, which also functions as the right turn lane on this four-lane, divided and extremely busy bit of main artery, was an elderly man in a motorized wheelchair.

It's worth noting that there is an extremely wide and level sidewalk adjacent to this avenue, replete with ramps leading in and out of the crosswalks.

His light changed, and while I waited for my walk signal, I watched with no small amazement as his wheelchair pottered and coughed across the intersection at a top speed of maybe 2 miles per hour. In the bike lane. With no orange flag, no safety markings whatsoever.

I stepped far back on my piece of sidewalk to make sure that he had plenty of room to access the ramp, because please, god, he wasn't going to stay in the bike lane which was rapidly becoming a bus lane into which a bus was about to enter?

He noted that I'd stepped away from the ramp and gave me a filthy look as he passed, continuing on his way into the path of the oncoming bus. I stared at his retreating chair in wonderment.

A male urinal was attached to the back of his chair, dirty with use, a small bit of yellowish fluid swirling merrily at the bottom of the container as he trundled up the road.

Go listen to some good music: "Crazy" from the album Scarlet's Walk by Tori Amos. If I'd had a phone with me, I'd have called the sheriff to come and have a chat with the man, but it was another 25 minutes before I had access to one, at which point, he could have been anywhere.

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