I find myself watching people at crosswalks for some good old amusement. There are a number of different approaches people take at the intersections with traffic signals that have those buttons pedestrians push in hopes of getting the walk signal. Out of those approaches, I have a couple of favorites to watch.

The first type is a quick easy laugh. They stand right next to the button and push the sucker as fast as they can, over and over until they finally get their wish. If somebody is with them, trying to have a conversation, they will have a tough time getting through to the button pusher because of the focus it takes for them to push the button repeatedly and stare down that do-not-cross signal until it finally gives in to the pressure.

The next type is one that goes through phases, and to get the full enjoyment, you must luck out a bit and show up right after the do not walk signal has shown up. This button pusher calmly walks by the button and pushes it in stride. Fully expecting the signal to change as soon as they push the button, they keep moving right on to the edge of the curb, when they suddenly notice that the light didn’t change in their favor. They will pause for around 5-10 seconds right there on the edge of the curb, figuring that the glitch will shortly be corrected. Then it hits them, they must not have pushed the button in all the way. So they will calmly turn around, walk back to the button, and push it again, then return right to the edge of the curb and tell themselves that light will change very soon.

Around now, the button pusher is starting to finally notice that cars are moving by pretty close to where they stand. Typically, it’s a car making a right turn just inches in front of their toes that gets them to realize they’ve almost been standing in the street. Now the anxious pedestrian will back off a couple of steps and start to check out some alternatives. They start to think of crossing to their right or left, weighing the chances that the other walk signal will hold long enough to make the crossing in time. At this point, it can change quite a bit. Anywhere from the person giving up all dignity, returning to the button and reverting to our first example of the button masher, to something I saw a few days ago and completely giving up on crossing the street, and just walking further down the sidewalk perpendicular to the one on which they arrived. (I was awaiting my food at the drive through and the person walked all the way around the fine establishment, Fazoli’s, behind me, and into the door on the other side. I saw him near the door as I passed by on my way out.)

I think my favorite option though, is where the button pusher, while contemplating their other options and amid the other potential street crossers who have by now gathered around them, misses the golden moment where the walk signal appears. They will notice the others nearby have begun to make their way onto the road and suddenly realize that there is still a glimmer of hope left in this world. Their press of the button was finally answered and now they can safely cross with confidence to the other side of the street.

The end.

Comments (3)

Hahaha. Good times. I tend to not notice people mashing buttons at crosswalks, I just sit there and rock out to my music.

Hahaha. Great crosswalk observations. I don’t notice people mashing buttons at crosswalks, I just sit there and rock out to my awesome tunes.

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