This morning, as I was traveling back home from taking JA to work, I noticed a young man standing at the edge of the road. My first thought was that he would see me coming and stay where he was. He didn't.
He was dressed in black, pants pooled about his feet, jacket slung low on one shoulder and his red hat cocked to one side. Head down he began walking slowly across the roadway. I am certain he knew I was coming and yet he carried on as if he had no regard for his own safety or the speed at which I was traveling. I quickly stepped on the brake pedal and came to a complete stop- three feet away from him.
There were a few things I noticed about him that disturbed me. First, he could clearly see that there was no one coming behind me. Why did he not wait? Second, he never looked at me. Not once. Even as I was stopped in front of him, he looked straight ahead. Third, he never flinched. His life was in danger and he kept slowly walking across the road and swung himself up onto the median wall.
I could only think that he was challenging me, to see if I would stop or swerve out of his way. This was a young man in possession of the height of arrogance- You will stop. You will yield to me. Intimidation must be his contant companion.
I was so shocked and angry I could not even lay my hand upon the car horn. Had I done so, I wonder what his reaction would have been. Was he seeking that? Did he want me to get out and shout at him so that he could retaliate in some way? I will never know. I just sat there silently.
I do know this much- this is a young man with no regard for himself or others. Who feels that he is in charge of his surroundings and is used to getting his way. There are quite a few words I could use to describe him; brazen, bold, arrogant, confrontational, uncaring, disrespectful, self-centered.
Perhaps that is a snap judgement on my part though. He may be none of those. He may have thought he had enough time. Maybe he did not look at me because he was embarrassed that he chose to cross in front of me and he didn't flinch because he just wanted to get out of the way. The answer to that question will remain unknown.
But for now I am grateful that I saw him, that I did not sneeze or answer a phone call or adjust the radio and that I was able to stop, giving him three feet between life and death.
Three feet. It is not very much.