BY DOTTIE WILSON | Mad Max wannabees on motorcycles and amateurs riding Citi Bikes are dangerous. The M.T.A. Select Bus Service, which doesn’t stop at St. Mark’s Place and bypasses most of the East Village, is annoying / criminal. And, as if that wasn’t enough, simply walking on an empty sidewalk these days has become a nasty accident just waiting to happen.
Several times this past year, someone’s suddenly come up from behind me, indicating that I need to move and get out of the way — when there was no emergency whatsoever. This rude, rear-end pedestrian behavior is the car equivalent of tailgating, flashing headlights, loud honking.
The first time I had to “pull over into another lane,” I was walking down a completely unoccupied, spacious sidewalk on First Ave. It was a quiet weekday afternoon when a woman from behind loudly goes, “Excuse me,” like she might have been in a wheelchair or otherwise encumbered. I quickly move to the right. Fully functional and unburdened owner of said urgent command immediately passes by, without a word of thanks, and stops dead in her tracks approximately 15 feet of ahead of me to put a letter into a mailbox, bringing me to a full halt (as people were now starting to pass by on the other side of the pavement). This was the big rush?
But because I didn’t say anything (dumbfounded at how truly infuriating the incident actually was), it’s possible I may have overreacted a tad when yet another similar transgression occurred. …
It’s an early Tuesday evening, post-happy hour, yet still peaceful. A friend and I begin to walk east on E. Sixth St. between Second and First Aves. to enjoy a nice dinner on Indian Row, complete with live sitar music, at TAJ, at 310 E. Sixth (bliss). We weren’t doing anything irritating, just talking like normal people. There was no yelling, shrieking, squealing or chanting (or what I frequently hear out my window after 4 a.m.). Then all of a sudden it was, as Ronald Reagan would say, “Here we go again.”
“Excuse me!” The perpetrator makes it sound like an extreme disaster is about to occur. My nice, conscientious friend pushes me to the side, into some garbage cans. Tall, semi-skeletal dude zips by, without a peep, continues on merry way. WHIPLASH!
“NO! That’s NOT the way it works! YOU need to move!”
I’m trying to channel my very best Alec Baldwin (yet another tortured Villager).
“YOU ARE A RUDE ASSHOLE!”
My friend’s jaw drops.
“I HATE YOU!!!”
I tell my totally bug-eyed friend how something like this happened just the other day. Somewhat relieved, she is like, “Geez, I didn’t think I was that fat,” as if we had been taking up too much space. I assure her that we are not the crazy people here — then proceed to yell a few more choice insults down the block.
Later, while listening to transcendental music and inhaling curry, I think, O.K., maybe this guy was in a mad rush to get home after a long, wretched day. Or just starving! And I know how enraging it can be to be inconvenienced or endangered by ignorant and preoccupied humans obsessed with social media and technology in public, blocking the sidewalk, oblivious and stupid. But I don’t carry handheld phones, gadgets or doodads, i.e., I usually pay attention to my surroundings — especially while traversing tricky bike lanes on foot, as opposed to zipping along on my mini “red devil” on wheels. With the exception of a lit cigarette, I am hands-free, and able to hear and see clearly — which has its pros and cons.
I am so not the enemy here. Yet “these people” have become an obnoxious new category of moving violation. Why, oh why, must I now have to get all Christian Bale — “What Don’t You Get?!” — and Sarah (Terminator) Connor?
Fair warning: Next time I hear a verbal air horn coming from behind and it’s completely uncalled for, I’m putting on the brakes big time.
The other day I received advice that if this unwarranted mutation of a premature / immature street fight occurs again, I should simply stop, not move and freeze in place. These words of wisdom came from my mother while she was driving. We were stuck in traffic and the poor woman had to listen to my maddening ramblings about proper navigation while on foot. Yet she just had to add, “And you really oughta watch your step.” Hopscotch!