Blog Posted by kitt at 18:42 on 24 March 2005
After I left college, I dated John Schmidt. John was my second boyfriend in college, having dumped me for a senior, Nicole (who has since married Gaylon Lovelace). John and I lived with his older brother Dave, who has only 3 of his 9 lives left, is one of the luckiest men alive and keeps his guardian angel quite busy. We all lived in a one bedroom apartment in Monrovia, and later moved into a 3 bedroom house in Arcadia. Although the end of the relationship was hard, the beginning and middle were pretty darn good. I have a lot of John Schmidt stories. Some of them good. John had a friend who was in many motorcycle accidents. His main mode of transportation was his motorcycle, so he rode a lot. Since more time on a motorcycle means greater exposure in traffic, he was at a greater risk for accidents. When John first started spending time with this friend, he thought he was just one of the unlucky people who balanced the great cosmic scales with his amazingly lucky brother. The guy was in three motorcycle accidents, each time having been hit by the other driver, and survived each one. Sure, he sued the insurance companies, won each time as the other driver was clearly at fault, and had his medical bills paid for. He was hit three times: that was three times he could have died. Just an unlucky guy, right? John and I each purchased motorcycles soon after we started dating. We took the Motorcycle Safety Foundation CC Rider Safety class, learned safe riding, rode defensively. John enjoyed the experience more than I, and would ride more than I. He would often go riding with this friend. One evening, John came home in a fit. He threw down his helmet (not really), and talked in a huff about his friend and his riding style. Turns out, sure, the friend always rode the speed limit, but he didn't ride in a safe location. He would ride in other drivers' blind spots. Or he would approach a car from behind at high speeds, not giving a driver a chance to see him. He would assume the other drivers saw him, instead of assuming they didn't. So, sure, the accidents were technically the fault of the other driver, but the friend could have driven in such a way to prevent his being in a dangerous position: he could have prevented the accidents if he drove differently. Last night, Kris and I were walking the dogs along our normal route. As we approached an intersection, Kris stopped at the corner with the dogs. The girls aren't allowed to cross the street without being told it's okay, so Kris always stops at intersections with the dogs. I often continue walking, as the three of them will always catch back up. I started crossing the street, noticing a car approaching the intersection from the right. The intersection is a four way stop sign, so I think little of the car. It was approaching the intersection fast (25, maybe 30 mph), but it started slowing as it approached. Slowing, but not stopping. The car went right through the intersection. Straight through. Towards me. I was still crossing the street when I heard Kris cry, "Watch out!" I planted my left foot and spun around, pushing off as hard as I could. The car missed my back foot by less than 8". I turned back around and screamed some completely unintelligible curse words, raising my hand up in an angry gesture at the red Acura with a license plate with a 4ND in it. The car screeched to a stop a short distance down the street. The driver didn't get out of the car. He did see the angry woman gesturing menacingly at him. No one was hurt, he drove away. Kris hurried up to me, to see if I were okay. The adrenaline rush was fading, causing the sick, tired feeling in my whole body. I was fine, just a bit shaken up. The incident started me thinking though. Is there something I'm doing, or not doing, when I walk that is causing drivers to just not see me? Do I need to walk more defensively? Could the problem be that I force my pedestrians-have-the-right-of-way right-of-way too much, or in situations where, sure, I have the right of way, but if I'm dead, it's small consolation.