Invisibility Cloak For Sale

One thing I harp about over and over and over again until people want to shake me to death (this method isn’t very effective: I may be child-size but I have adult-strength bones and organs) is courtesy. Basic manners. RSVPs. Thank you notes. ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ in general. Being a good guest. Being a good host. Holding doors and not spitting or scratching yourself in public. Not cutting in line or being an asshole to people in service-industry jobs. Not ignoring someone who is disabled who obviously needs assistance carrying a bag or opening a door. Respecting the property of others. Not shouting things at people out of car windows. Not vomiting down someone’s heating vent or sticking your dick in the mashed potatoes.

I would like to add to this list: Yield to pedestrians.

I almost got creamed twice on my walk home yesterday, both times when I had the crosswalk light, both vehicles turning right. One simply didn’t look; I’m glad I was looking for him. The other made eye contact and then gunned his SUV so he could cross in front of me, nearly running over my foot. The fact that I injured my hand punching his rear quarter-panel is inconsequential if I didn’t actually damage the asshole’s vehicle, and thus doesn’t, in my mind, constitute a breach in my basic courtesy rules of conduct.

The day before, also as I was walking home, on the half-width sidewalk on the bridge over highway 167, over the music on my headphones, I heard someone screaming “BEHIND YOU”. I looked back, and was faced with a split-second decision–a bicyclist was bearing down on me rapidly, and I had two options for getting out of his way: dive into traffic, or fling myself onto the blackberry-bramble-covered chain-link fence over the highway and pray it was as sturdy as it looked.

…As thorns scraped at my face and I clung desperately to the links and the cyclist blasted by, I was overwhelmed by the urge to jump down and kick him into traffic. I mean, I get it. I’m on foot and thus the low man on the totem pole. But I have a right to the streets and sidewalks, too. I shouldn’t have to play Real Life Consequences Frogger twice a day.

Shaking with adrenaline, I continued on my way home. The lady who drove right through a stop sign and almost hit me, half-braked and mouthed ‘sorry’ at me through the window barely got a reaction, by which I mean, I only flipped her the finger instead of launching into a profanity-laden tirade. ‘Sorry’ won’t count when you t-bone someone or flip me over your hood like so much roadkill, lady.

All I’m asking is not to be mown down in the street. Is that too much?

69 Comments Invisibility Cloak For Sale

  1. scearley December 3, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    I punch cars that do that. Actually I made a post in last year when I dented someone’s car doing it. I’m waiting for a legitimate reaction on their part (“Hey! don’t touch my car!”) so I can dial 911 and then say “Oh you’re right, you better not leave the scene of this accident I’m going to report.” I’m absolutely willing to go to trial for misuse of 911 or whatever it is, though I doubt I would get a ticket.

    That way the late asshole is stuck or risks me turning him in for “leaving the scene of an accident” which is going to be a shitload worse than sticking around to explain what he did to the cop.

    However: a bicyclist who doesn’t yield to a pedestrian is worse than a car that doesn’t. Go look at any bike blog and it’s bitching about how cars don’t yield right-of-way. Something about grabbing a par of drop bars turns people into raging assholes, the kind that make horseshoe-bald potbellied mid-fifties investment bankers driving convertible Porsches recoil in horror. I’d be more in favor of bike travel if it wasn’t coming at the cost of pedestrian travel.

    1. scearley December 3, 2009 at 6:27 pm

      I’d like to add that none of this applies to that collection of asshole pedestrians who do the following:

      • jaywalk. particularly those shitheads who do it across 320th, or even worse, the section of aurora just north of the tunnel. move to the corner, retard.
      • hang out on the corner and wait until a car is turning before entering the crosswalk. Seriously. fuck you.
      1. evillinn December 3, 2009 at 6:30 pm

        my other pedestrian pet peeve lately is people that wait for the crossing light by standing IN THE STREET. They aren’t any more than a foot into the street from the curb, but that is enough to cause notable anxiety to the person rightfully trying to turn right.

        1. scearley December 3, 2009 at 6:35 pm

          The similar thing that cyclists do is “shoaling” – when one cyclist is waiting at a light and another comes along, the next will wait at the light slightly ahead of the already-waiting cyclist. When you get 6 or 7 bikes at a light you end up with people literally waiting in the intersection for the light.

          Another reason why I am pissed at bicycle commuters.

      2. admin December 3, 2009 at 6:51 pm

        See, and I don’t do either of those. I cross at the light, even waiting for the crosswalk light so as to be assured that I have right-of-way, and if there’s a car that’s been waiting forever to turn left and a gap comes up just as I’m about to cross the street, I have no problem with letting the car go.

    2. admin December 3, 2009 at 6:49 pm

      I think I remember that post!

      That’s the thing I don’t get about this bike incident, I have seen SO MUCH biker rage about right-of-way and right-to-the-street AND right-to-the-sidewalk but for them, courtesy never seems to go the other way, with shit like critical mass that intentionally antagonizes drivers, ignoring traffic laws, and treating pedestrians the same way that many drivers treat bicyclists.

      It irks me because I was a very conscientious driver, respectful of the fact that I could seriously injure or kill people, and now that I’m on the other side, I see so many drivers who don’t even pay basic attention to what’s going on around them, they’re so goddamn concerned with cell phones and getting where they’re going.

  2. apestyle December 3, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    My sympathies, I was hit by a car while in a crosswalk once.

    1. admin December 3, 2009 at 6:52 pm

      That SUCKS. Did they at least do the right thing and stop?

      1. apestyle December 3, 2009 at 6:55 pm

        He stopped, I scrambled back to the sidewalk. He asked if I was okay, and I sorta mumbled yes while still in a daze, then he took off.

        My lunch was all over the street, and there was a rip in my slacks. Worst. Lunchbreak. Ever.

        1. admin December 3, 2009 at 6:57 pm

          Lame. 🙁

    2. redrumpirate December 5, 2009 at 4:47 am

      I too somehow managed to Ninja Jump over a hood of a car that was driven by a Q-tipped shorty (the EMT’s who came by looked at me as if i shoulda been road kill). She asked if I was one of those assholes who just run out onto the crosswalk. I said I was not the most polite way I could

      This was here in Bremerton btw.

  3. evillinn December 3, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    harp away, sistah. I covered a guy’s SUV in a full latte once for the whole “I saw you, but knew I could out maneuver you” thing. I had little dreams about the destruction of the paint job on his behemoth-mobile. I know it didn’t happen that way, but I felt better imagining that it did.

    And I swear to god I’m going to totally lose my shit everytime a jackass on their phone tries to take my life. I’ve been trying to think of a non-illegal way to get my revenge on those useless pieces of crap as they drive by. I’d like to cause destruction to their vehciles as they drive by within mere inches of me, but dont’ really want to deal with the police after I’ve done that.

    1. scearley December 3, 2009 at 6:29 pm

      Brake fluid will ruin paint. You might want to carry a cup of that for these situations.

      1. evillinn December 3, 2009 at 6:32 pm

        a little travel shampoo bottle would fit pretty nicely in my pocket, too.

        1. rimrunner December 3, 2009 at 6:39 pm

          I like the way y’all think. I’ve nearly been hit any number of times at the 4-way stop near my work by people blowing the stop sign or just not looking where they were going. I also drive through that intersection on a regular basis: the stop signs are clearly visible and the visibility in general is good. No friggin’ excuse.

          1. admin December 3, 2009 at 6:56 pm

            But actually STOPPING would add a whole three seconds to their commute–unacceptable! OUT OF MY WAY, PEASANTS! I AM A MOTORIST!

          2. morlith December 3, 2009 at 8:59 pm

            A friend of mine carried a bunch of small ball bearings in his pocket when he rode on his motorcycle. When people would tailgate or cause him other problems, he’d take three or four out of his pocket and toss them over his shoulder.

            Most of the time, they just made a really loud noise and scared the crap out of the driver (which caused the tailgaters to back off, for example), but it wouldn’t surprise me if he did cause some minor damage to some cars.

    2. admin December 3, 2009 at 6:55 pm

      Same. I’ve thought about carrying a crowbar for window-smashing ’emergencies’ but because they only TRIED to kill me and didn’t succeed, I suppose I would be in the wrong.

      1. shadowstitch December 4, 2009 at 4:19 am

        Have you seen those tiny window hammers, that are specially designed to cause glass to shatter from the slightest impact?

  4. maps_or_guitars December 3, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    I’m in full agreement with you – in New England.

    In NYC, I do most of my time as a pedestrian, and when I do, if I’m not obeying the traffic signal, I bloody well look both ways twice. And if there’s a bike or skater coming, and they’ve got the light? He gets to go first.

    As a skater, if I have the light, and I’m moving, I CANNOT stop for you in time if you choose to try to dash through. You’re gonna have 210 pounds of inline skater right up in your grill, fast.

    1. admin December 3, 2009 at 6:59 pm

      My next favorite thing is when guys driving big mack trucks creep forward on me while I’m crossing the street. Assholes.

      1. maps_or_guitars December 3, 2009 at 7:09 pm

        Oh they’re so AWEsome.

        There was the time I was zipping along on the skates, and someone blows through a stop sign, and misses me by this ><.

        I chucked my full water bottle at the car, connected, and gave chase.

        Didn’t catch him/her, but judging by their haste I freaked him/her out nicely enough. FEAR THE SKATER. FEAR HIM.

        1. admin December 3, 2009 at 7:13 pm

          I think the answer is that I need to start carrying things to throw at a moment’s notice.

          1. maps_or_guitars December 3, 2009 at 7:23 pm

            A nice plastic waterbottle makes a satisfying THUD when it hits, but won’t break anything, sadly.

            Bricks are less portable.

          2. piemancer December 3, 2009 at 7:26 pm

            Pool balls. Compact, and they’ll do some damage.

          3. piemancer December 3, 2009 at 7:27 pm

            Plus, you can do that Labyrinth Goblin King’s Balls thing while you’re standing around!

          4. pretzelcoatl December 3, 2009 at 7:35 pm

            I love how you think.

          5. admin December 3, 2009 at 7:40 pm

            That will definitely warn people that I mean Serious Business.

          6. variax December 3, 2009 at 8:20 pm

            All you need for that is a sufficiently tight pair of pants.

            And balls.

          7. scearley December 3, 2009 at 7:30 pm

            golf balls are better.

          8. admin December 3, 2009 at 7:39 pm

            Hello, I love you.

  5. entropic_system December 3, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    This is how I feel, too. I walk the mile and a half to work from where my bus drops me off. Usually, I’m early enough that I don’t have to worry about bikes, but when I’m walking back in the afternoon?


    Whenever the local bikers go off on the cars in the area, I laugh, because they do the EXACT DAMN THING to pedestrians. So….I feel your pain.


    1. admin December 3, 2009 at 6:59 pm

      I’m thinking about walking around with tactical waterballoons strapped to my waist at all times.

        1. admin December 3, 2009 at 7:21 pm

          After I throw five, I’m leveling up to tactical brake-fluid balloons.

          1. entropic_system December 3, 2009 at 7:23 pm

            Better: fill them with cat pee.

          2. admin December 3, 2009 at 7:32 pm

            I don’t have access to cat pee, and I don’t want my neighbors gossiping about how I’ve trained Frodo The Long-Suffering to pee directly into a balloon.

  6. pretzelcoatl December 3, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    I hear ya. One time I was crossing the intersection and someone ACTUALLY SPED UP.

    Also there is a special place in hell for bicyclists who dart back and forth from the sidewalk to the road.

    1. admin December 3, 2009 at 7:08 pm

      I would have no problems with bicyclists if they had predictable patterns of behavior. Cars stay on the road and are supposed to follow traffic signals. Pedestrians are mostly restricted to sidewalks with the exception of intersections and are also supposed to follow traffic signals. Bicyclists are on the roads and sidewalks, AND ignore traffic signals when it’s convenient, which is 99% of the time.

      Wait. I guess they are consistent. Consistently assholes.

      1. scearley December 3, 2009 at 7:22 pm

        you should read the comments in the site whenever something comes up about shutting down access to the road (private road) through River View cemetery. People were complaining about

        people speeding right through a funeral procession; flying by (and flipping of and cursing at) an old woman on her way to lay flowers on a grave; and the worst thing — a common shortcut taken through a hedge near the top of the property, which happens to go right over the top of baby gravesites.

        Link to the article.

        The comments in this particular article are much less vindictive than normal, even though the articles at BikePortland take a very heavy editorial slant towards the bicyclist being “owed” access and freedom from speedbumps and such.

        1. admin December 3, 2009 at 7:29 pm

          WTFWTFWTF? They are lucky to have safe access through the cemetery at all, there is no need for them to be disrespectful asswipes, especially considering they are commuting through a place where people are mourning. Ugh. Ugh.

          1. scearley December 3, 2009 at 7:32 pm

            yeah. The warnings started in 2006. After 3 years they finally put in speedbumps, people wiped out cuz they were riding like assholes, complained, and the speedbumps were removed. I hate the invisible smug cone that surrounds Portland.

          2. admin December 3, 2009 at 7:35 pm

            If it were my property, I would’ve shut it off to bicyclists by now. AND set up a series of traps to catch the ones who don’t abide by the law.

            “I have been riding down the cemetery at about 6:15 am for several years now. I hit the speed bump just above the maintenance building the morning after it was installed. I never saw it and almost crashed at about 20+ mph. It was unmarked and unpainted. I told the cemetery folks THEY were lucky I did not crash and burn. As a surgeon I need both hands and arms to make a living. If I had fractured anything I would have sued-BIG TIME.”

            FUCK YOU, BUDDY. Way to spit on someone for doing you a favor for several years.

  7. helloautumn December 3, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    seriously, as a pedestrian (on occasion, since i don’t get my license), i walk everywhere. and i can’t tell you how many times that drivers do NOT yield when i have the right of way. it’s ridiculous that drivers expect peds to cross when they’re done, but they have to be courteous to us. even the bicyclists need to be considerate as well. so i feel you completely when it comes to pedestrian issues.

    seriously, i’m glad that i live in an area now where i can walk to the store and walk everywhere without a lot of traffic (even though i’m right by a freeway, but they make it much easier for people to walk to shops than the old neighborhood i lived in.)

    1. admin December 3, 2009 at 7:18 pm

      I sort of want to hold a sign up that informs drivers that YES, their trip will take an extra ten seconds because of me, but it will take them MUCH longer if they hit me.

      1. helloautumn December 3, 2009 at 7:25 pm

        absolutely. i had a lady almost hit me because she was turning the corner (while on a cell phone) and she almost took me out. i was really livid. people just have no sense of decency and patience lately. it’s ridiculous. i’m glad that i’m not there anymore. i’m also glad that now, the vast majority of my trips now involve my man when we use his car to get stuff. aweosme. no more walking to places (unless it’s super nice outside and there’s not a lot of traffic.)

      2. weaselmom December 3, 2009 at 7:30 pm

        Holy shit, I’m glad you survived these various man/machine altercations. You may be on to something here. How about making up some Post-It Note-sized stickers (ideally with really sticky adhesive) that say something just like this? “Thanks for almost hitting this pedestrian, cretin. So you had to wait an extra five seconds. You’d have to wait much longer if you hit me.” You could have your pad at the ready and slap it on his car as he goes by. Hmm. I think we’re going to need a bigger Post-It.

        In my punk rock days, I used a training grenade as a keychain. Some beatermobile almost hit me, and I wound up like Randy Johnson* and let fly with my purse. Made a very satisfying dent to go along with his collection.

        *Old person alert!

        1. admin December 3, 2009 at 7:43 pm

          That is a STELLAR idea.

    2. pretzelcoatl December 3, 2009 at 7:29 pm

      Yeah, that’s why I generally wait anyway just because I know drivers will not wait for me.

      Although I can understand when jackasses from downtown walk all the time when they aren’t supposed to. Or on football game days when they walk IN THE STREETS.

      1. helloautumn December 3, 2009 at 7:36 pm

        i volunteer in an art gallery in downtown east lansing. and i’ll tell you that so many people will cross the streets when it’s not their right of way or don’t pay attention to the crosswalks. it’s insane. and the cops are mean about it too. i was crossing when the light was flashing (it just started flashing as i crossed) and a cop saw me and yelled at me for crossing. ridiculous. it wasn’t solid. but luckily, she let me off with a warning. still was mad that i was stopped when it was flashing and a lot of other people cross when it says DON’T CROSS.

        1. admin December 3, 2009 at 7:41 pm

          I also hate the walk lights that start flashing ‘don’t walk’ a mere two seconds after I enter the intersection. If you’re going to give me a signal, give me enough time to get across legally, hmm?

          1. helloautumn December 3, 2009 at 7:46 pm

            ABSOLUTELY! i hate it when that happens. thankfully, there are new lights up where it gives you how many seconds until it stops flashing so you have enough time to cross. it’s pretty sweet.

          2. mschilepepper December 3, 2009 at 8:48 pm

            Actually, the Don’t Walk signal starts flashing to give you a warning that you’re not supposed to start across. I do like the ones that give you a countdown of the remaining time on the Walk signal.

            Would you like to borrow my white cane for the remainder of your forced pedestrianhood? I don’t use it much these days, except for when I travel. It’s ace for getting drivers’ attention when you’re waiting to cross a street, and if somebody tries to run you down, you can whack their car with it, pretty much with impunity. “Oops, sorry about that, I’m visually impaired!” 😀

          3. admin December 3, 2009 at 8:54 pm

            I know that, but it seems like drivers wanting to turn against the light get awfully antsy the second the signal starts flashing. HURRY UP YOU GODDAMN PEDESTRIAN YOU ARE TAKING THE WHOLE LIGHT!

            Can I get in trouble for falsely impersonating a blind person and starting altercations? It will give me away if I intentionally make eye contact and flip them off after whacking them with the cane, and I can’t quash that impulse.

          4. mschilepepper December 4, 2009 at 1:33 am

            I doubt you’d get in trouble. And one only has to have a *partial* vision loss to be considered visually impaired, like me. Trust me, I make plenty of eye contact with drivers and flip ’em off juuuuuuust fine.

  8. g33kgrrl December 4, 2009 at 12:27 am

    A couple weeks ago I almost got hit by a 70-year-old man. I was crossing with a walk signal, and he made a left turn. He was on a busy street, and I get that he wanted to make a left turn when he could. BUT I HAD A WALK SIGNAL. And I flipped him off, he flipped me off and started yelling at me. Happily I had my headphones in so I couldn’t hear him.


    Also I live near a really weird intersection – it is one of those where there is one big street and two little streets that don’t quite line up, so the two sets of red lights are very far apart. People drive through them on red ALL THE TIME, including when I am walking in the cross-walk. They opened a Dunkin Donuts in this tiny little plaza that has its entrance in the middle of the lights, and people left-turn into it on red all the bloody time. And right-turn, too, which means they still have to travel like 30 yards – there is a right-turn onto a street that is before the donuts. And that drives me bananas. I keep considering writing my alderman and asking them to station cops there during rush hour or put one of those ticket-cameras or something. Because I am sick of almost dying there. When I give people the neighborhood tour, I say, “this is where I almost get hit by cars at least once a week.”

    1. g33kgrrl December 4, 2009 at 12:34 am

      PS I will admit to jay-walking at times. But I 1) only do it on streets I know well, which includes lights and traffic patterns. If it is even a different time of day than I normally am there, I won’t, and 2) use my eyes before I do, and only go if I know I can make it. Oh and 3) am totally willing to RUN or jump or whatever if I fucked up and mis-estimated.

      1. admin December 4, 2009 at 4:46 am

        Oh, I’m not advocating that people who jaywalk deserve to be hit; when I was taking the bus to work, I had to cross in the middle of the street or I’d add six blocks getting to the nearest lighted intersection. I just wanted to make it clear that none of my near-misses in the last few days were as a result of negligence on my part. 🙂

        I also try to hustle across the street, even when I’m in the right. It would drive me nuts, especially in the U-district, which is SO heavy with foot-traffic, when people would intentionally walk as slowly as possible across the street. There would be some times when I’d have the light and STILL wouldn’t be able to turn right or left.

    2. admin December 4, 2009 at 4:49 am

      I can’t tell you how many times I’ve angrily gesticulated at someone who was CLEARLY in the wrong and they’ve turned around and started flipping me off and screaming at me. Most notable was the guy who tried to get me into an accident on the highway after tailgating me in a middle lane for several miles when there were plenty of passing opportunities on the left. I tapped my brakes, he swerved to the lane on my left, and pulled up next to me. I flipped him off, his girlfriend or wife or whatever actually opens her window and starts screaming at me and flipping me off while leaning out of the window and the mr starts swerving his car at me like he’s going to hit me. It’s the first time I ever called 911 while driving because I was afraid.

  9. shadowstitch December 4, 2009 at 4:24 am

    That’s one thing I will say for the Bay area. These drivers, while positively homicidal towards other drivers, are scared shitless of pedestrians.

    Mostly, I suspect, because of the innumerable signs warning them that failure to yield to pedestrians is an offense, coupled with the growing prevalence of traffic cameras that will hand you a ticket for so much as thinking about turning right on red.

    Drivers — entire four lanes of traffic — will come to a screeching halt if you’re even passing by on the sidewalk near a designated crossing area.

  10. irrationalrobot December 3, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    I’ve desperately got to get to working on homework, but join me at Burke Museum Trivia tonight and I’ll tell you about the lady that hit me with her car (in 1999) and then got out of the car and started yelling at me. It Was Awesome, and so was I.

    1. admin December 3, 2009 at 10:08 pm

      I’d like to, but I wouldn’t be able to get home. “Trip Planner Message #20007–Trip not possible”


  11. redrumpirate December 5, 2009 at 4:44 am

    yes. agreed in all accounts of teh list.

    Also- add to the list assholes who stop at the light, blocking the damned crosswalk while on their cell phone. Urge to kill. rising.

    1. redrumpirate December 5, 2009 at 4:49 am

      that is, people in cars. 😀

    2. admin December 8, 2009 at 5:05 am

      Agh, that drives me nuts, too! And the people that pull out so far that I have to cross behind them or be thrust out into the traffic stream.

  12. wakare December 6, 2009 at 6:56 am

    In SoCal it’s not even legal for bikes to ride on the sidewalk, so I’m always surprised when I have to move out of the way of a biker.

    I get really worried when it’s icy (like it was Fri night) because my balance is crap (medical issues) and I’m terrified of slipping on a patch of ice while crossing the street. So I tend to give cars a wide berth. I’ve almost been run over several times at parking garage exits and right turn lanes, but one thing I’ll give Seattle drivers credit for–I’ve had several apologize and back up if they pulled too far forward into a crosswalk. That would never happen in LA.

    I have no qualms about hitting cars that narrowly avoid me; my large size and shaved head encourages most drivers to keep going, and even if someone did stop, I’ll just claim that was their car hitting ME.

    1. admin December 8, 2009 at 5:04 am

      Yeah, you should be careful, the streets and sidewalks here turn into solid sheets of ice for about half the winter. Might not be a bad idea for you to try to arrange rides to/from work.

      How was the party, btw?

  13. greychild December 11, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    I’ll jump in (even if it is a week late).

    I was told by a police officer that if a cyclist is riding a bicycle, s/he is considered to be operating a vehicle and thusly prohibited from using the sidewalk (which is for pedestrians only).

    This also goes for crosswalks: cyclists can dismount and walk with the bicycle on sidewalks and crosswalks, or they can use the roads as any other vehicle… not both.

Comments are closed.