Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It's All About Perspective

There's a poster out there somewhere that says, "How long 2 minutes is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on."
The other day I was walking down the street.  Park Street to be exact, which in this section (between 14th and 16th) is one way with parking on both sides.  Traffic tends to back up there a little because there's a light at 16th and another light just a half block back, plus all it takes is one person trying to turn into all the traffic on 16th to jam everyone up a bit.  So, it's two blocks that can take a few light cycles to get through, frustrating, but not the end of the world.  (Although yes, this might be why we have the worst traffic.)
So, I missed the precipitating event here, but looked over to see that two guys had gotten out of their car and were helping a guy lying in the street to get up.  (It took both of them to lift him.) Then one grabbed his bicycle.  (I was on the sidewalk, these guys were on the other side of the car from me, so I could see, but only from an angle.) I was watching to see if maybe someone should dial 911. The cyclist seemed, once upright to be moving okay if slowly and possibly a little embarrassed.  The guys from the car started to ask what had happened.  I was not the only pedestrian who stopped to look.  And a few folks from cars lined up behind also popped open their doors and leaned out.  It was at this point that someone yelled, "Do you have to do this in the street?"  The guys from the car waved their acknowledgment and after checking in with the cyclist moved back to their car.  The guys who had popped their head out of their cars all shut their doors and one of them took this opportunity to lay on his horn.  (I know I am my father's daughter because I considered banging on his window and asking why he was being a jerk. I know I am my mother's daughter because I did not.) 
Several cars back people seemed quieter.  Now, I admit that given my obscured angle, and the fact that all of this occurred in the small space between cars, not everyone could see much of anything other than the driver had gotten out of the car.  I am guessing that the two guys did not hit the cyclist but given his proximity on the street to their car felt that a - it would be nice to make sure he was okay and b - if they drove further they might hit him (or someone behind them might not even see a cyclist lying in the street.
Given recent events here and abroad where folks have lain in the street for hours, it was great that these guys helped. And while certainly I understand that it takes just a little bit of driving these days before I see twelve really idiotic things, and depending on your vantage point of the situation, this may have seemed like the thirteenth, so your patience may have been worn down. But, I still think that it might be time to consider that people might have a really good reason (sometimes) for what they are doing.  And laying on your horn has never made anyone smarter.