11 Jul 2015

And Then, A Red Man….

Does this drive you as nuts as wot it does me and her – or her and I? The little red man wot stops you from crossing the road is what I'm talkin' about and today it boiled over. Okay, it didn't boil over but it almost, almost got to simmering point.

We came out of a store, just a store, no shiny shopping involved, and wanted to cross the road. Right in front was one of they crossings 'controlled' by lights for cars an' such, and the ubiquitous little red and green men for pedestrians.

As we approached the 'designated' crossing area, a glans up and down the road showed absolutely no moving wheeled means of transport at all. Nothing. However, six or seven folk where dutifully standing motionless in the heat awaiting the disappearance of Mr Red And the appearance of Mr Green. We eased to the front and with a final confirmatory glance left and right started across the empty road.

This was the moment a fellow left on the sidewalk stated, just loud enough to be heard in the next town, "There's always one." This was wrong as there was two of us, but that aside, I stopped and stepped back onto the pedestrian area to confront my remonstrator.
"And what, Sir, are you waiting for?" I enquired just loud enough to be heard two towns away; but politely.
"The green man of course." was the puzzled reply.
"It's then safe to cross, right? Will you glance left and right?"
"Er… no. No need. Traffic stops and it's safe."
"Absolutely no chance of being ploughed into by a driver busy with a phone?"
No chance of being wiped out by a trash truck who's driver has had the misfortune to a heart attack?"
"Or a bus that's lost it's breaks?"
"How about an old fellow on one of they mobility scooters with scythes on the wheels. They drive like they don't know up from down."
"Oh. Errrrr…" 
"Pretty remote chance of any of those happening, right? Just as, when you made your remark, if you'd bothered to look left and right, you'd have noticed that the chance of any of the aforementioned thingies happening was
precisely zero. May I ask you a question?"
"Errrrrr… Okay"
"What country is this?"
"Er… England?"
"Correct. It is, indeed, England. The country that built an empire? And now here we are, cowed by a little red man-shaped light on a stick. Have a nice day."

With this fellow duly given something to think about, all the other folk with their faces cast down contemplating their shuffling feet and trying to remember the name of the song they were quietly whistling, I turned and made to step into the road. If her outdoors hadn't given my arm a little tug, I would've stepped my last step into the path of a passing taxi.

Quote;  ??

Pedestrian one: "I’ve been waiting here for five minutes to cross the road."
Pedestrian two: "There’s a zebra crossing further down the road."
Pedestrian one: "Well I hope he’s having more luck than I’m having."


A K Haart said...

Many years ago my father was driving back home at three o'clock in the morning and he stopped at a red light. Streets totally deserted of course. I remember him saying "this is stupid, sitting here because of coloured lights. But if I drive off I bet a copper appears from nowhere."

Caratacus said...

If there is one thing guaranteed to inflame a tamed, bovine, dutiful and obedient Englishman to a quivering and querulous outburst of unthinking protest it is when someone has the audacity to hold up a mirror to their stupidity ...

I applaud your restraint; in a vaguely similar episode last year I was grateful to have the Memsahib to hand. She maintained that any enjoyment I may have derived from watching the young chap concerned gathering his teeth into his hat could well have been outweighed by the inevitably tense conversation with unsympathetic members of the local constabulary which would have followed.

Mac said...

A K Haart,
Aint that the truth. Sadly, those that would control us with their pettiness have more or less got us all into one super-sized flock.

Mac said...

Love the first line and the rest jogged my feeble memory to a line I used many years ago which, although having little to do with your coment other that ‘gathering teeth’, may offer you a little light entertainment this evening. Assuming I rember.....