Based on a true story. Some of you might have heard the story in a different emotional sauce, but I thought it would be nice for you, too, to hear this story again, this time, that way.

Once on a nice spring evening around midnight I took a walk back home from a party. And when I say nice, I mean it was really beautiful. You could see the bright stars in the velvet sky in spite of all the street lamps. The sleepy old wooden houses were cozily huddling together for warmth on the sides of the streets and cars were snoozing on their lots in front of the houses, waiting for their owners to wake.

And it was quiet, really quiet. There was no movement in sight, only an occasional small animal rustling through last autumn’s dried leaves or wind gently moving the branches of some towering tree. Somewhere in the distance, you could hear a late train hurrying with its load. And the tic-tac-toc of my high-heeled shoes.

Me, I was intoxicated with the beauty of the night, enjoying the loneliness in the city, the familiar streets in wholly different light. I was walking down a one-way street with two lanes, bordered with walking and bicycling roads. I walk on this street often – at daytime it is bustling with busy cars. But right now, in this quiet of the night, there were none, until, as I am a very law-abiding young lady, I was about to put one of my shoes onto the zebra crossing just before an intersection.

Instantly, as if to admire the way I cross the street, there appeared two cars, one behind the other. And even when they came, I could see that they were driven by very different personalities. The first one took things peacefully, taking his pleasure in the slow and steady movement, coming there for just the right time, the motor quietly purring, rolling to a graceful stop with the best view right before the zebra – showing off his steady and dependable mind. The guy on the wheel smiled kindly and gestured for me to begin my act. I gratefully smiled back and started it – crossing the road.

This was the first time I actually took notice of the other car. It was a bit late for my show – so it came with its motor roaring high, wheels turning as best they could, full of bravado, rush and anxiety. But in his eagerness the driver unluckily entered the scene on the wrong lane – on the lane where the first guy had already taken the place in the front row. The eager guy hastily pushed the brakes and got his car to a screeching stop right behind the first.

But of course, the calm guy was blocking the view from his privileged front-row place. I was already getting past the first car and – having had the delight of seeing me pass – the first one was already starting to leave. So it must have dawned on the latecomer, that he still has a chance, he can still get a place with the best view despite half the act being through. That best view being on the left lane, he just would have to drive there – I would have to pass before that lane as well. Then and only then would it be possible to watch me continue my crossing just like he wanted to – from the front row. At least without convincing me to repeat this one-time improvised performance.

So this he did. Quickly, eager to get into place before I pass, he turned to the other lane. There he got to a stop, wheels screeching in appreciation. And, having seen me in the center of that lane already, he begged me to stop and show him a bit more of it with a loud and clear signal from his hooter.

Oh, I was flattered of this attention. He was watching me with burning eyes, yelling something – probably compliments -, but I couldn’t hear him because the volume of his rhythmic music was so loud that his passionate pleas were lost in it. And this music, it was really active and energetic, which seemed so right for this eager and active guy. I was especially pleased with him for this contribution to that unusual silence of the night.

Nevertheless, I couldn’t just not notice all his attempts to get my attention. I had to give him something to remember from this encounter. I had to show him that I don’t mind his wee moment of lateness, his frantic moves to get the view. I had to show him my appreciation for all that he gave me just by being himself – the emotional screech of the brakes, the wild roar of the motor, the desperate actions to get the best view, the energetic music, the blazing eyes, the passionate words… I did smile even to the first guy, who wasn’t trying so hard to impress me, didn’t I?

So I struck an artful pose right there in the middle of the road – it must have been pretty good, because his eyes grew only bigger, the fire burning ever hotter. And in this pose I decided to show him one of the most beautiful, the most articulate, the most skillful and important parts of my body – the middle finger of my right hand.

Oh, how did his engine roar then! And the hooter was calling for me to do more! I could see his lips moving with even more passion, crying for more (but I still couldn’t hear it in this wild music). I could see that he was mine then, a mine ready to explode from joy, would I just show him more.

But I had strayed long enough and had to go on. I gave him a sad smile and the look over my shoulder and stepped up onto the sidewalk – ending this private public diva show.

Contented, he moved on as well. As he was driving away, I could hear his motor roar and the music beat long into the night – I think I will never forget it. I am not saying that this nice and peaceful guy isn’t worth remembering – he most certainly is and I thank him just as much for his kind smile and gesture, his graceful stop just in the front line, but that passionate fan of mine will always have a special place in my heart.

Chicken that crossed the road

One Response

  1. In this land, right of way is determined by momentum (mass times speed…) and pedestrians are in the bottom of that chain.
    However, signaling a pedestrian for crossing the zebra – that’s outstanding even for this country.

    I think you’d be a very interesting writer, you are intelligent and seem to have a talent for using sarcasm right. Looking forward for more in the future 🙂

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