Setting a bad example at the crosswalk

October 15, 2013

in Living abroad

About a month or so ago, I walked up to a mother and son waiting to cross the street at an intersection. It wasn’t a main street and since no cars were coming in either direction, I paused momentarily and then went ahead and crossed the street. As I walked I heard the boy, who was about 5, say: Mama, she didn’t wait for the light!

In reply, I heard the mother say: That’s because she’s a bad girl.

So much for my setting a good example, I thought as I snickered on the other side of the street. Then, as I diligently placed all my recyclables into the appropriate bins for newspapers, colored and uncolored glass, metal and paper cartons, I began feeling all self righteous, thinking, yikes lady, there’s no need to call me bad. Look at me here doing my civic duty by recycling. Didn’t you see me with my two huge bags of recyclables that I was carrying when I made the judgment that it was safe to cross the road because I’M AN ADULT?

Then I laughed at myself for being pissed off at her for making me feel like a kid.

The fact is, most Swedes do patiently wait on the curb for the walk light to turn green. So culturally speaking, I guess you could say I was behaving badly. But really, I’m not such a bad girl.




1 Lisa October 15, 2013 at 22:38

I think the crosswalk light is an interesting cultural study. Having moved to DC a couple months ago, I noticed that no matter what, people DON’T WAIT. Even when the light is red AND cars are coming they walk across the street. It’s funny almost to watch people follow blindly those in front of them. It’s like no one cares or that there is such a sense of entitlement that lights are unnecessary.

I noticed last month in California — both in LA and SFO — that people waited patiently on the sidewalk until the light turned green…even when there were no cars. I have to admit I felt a little impatient, but I waited with everyone. I was good!

2 moira elpers October 15, 2013 at 22:51

sometimes it is fun to be bad! safely.

3 Sandra October 19, 2013 at 10:19

Oh, that is interesting Lisa. I never would have guessed that the LA walkers would wait. It really would be a great study to do in different studies around the world!
By the way, I am glad you were good at least!

4 Sandra October 19, 2013 at 10:20

Ha, thanks for the laugh Moira. Do you get the chance to be “danger girl” these days?

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