Wednesday 21 February 2007

S-M-R-T, aka On Jaywalking in Ottawa

Let's just say that it happens, and often.

Ottawa's not like one of those friendly backwaters (eg. St. John's), where they actually stop their cars and wave you across the street with a smile (I sort of find that disturbing; after all, the car has the right of way, not the pedestrian, in this case), but it's also not like downtown Toronto, where you WAIT and CROSS AT THE LIGHT, because to do otherwise would be suicide. Generally, drivers in Ottawa, though they do get ticked when pedestrians slow them down, and sometimes honk, flip a bird, or utter a choice epithet, will not go out of their way to mow the offending jaywalker down.

But I digress.

So, I'm crossing the street, just by the War Monument. It's a one-way there, so it's usually fairly safe to trot across, barring crazy rushhour traffic. Nothing's coming, so I'm walking briskly (as I do). Suddenly (quand soudaine! tout à coup!) (the French have much better phrases for "suddenly" than we Anglos, I find), this Smart car comes around the corner, straight for me. So I pick it up into a trot.

After reaching the other side safely, I stop and think, "what the heck am I doing?"

I figure that being "run over" by a Smart car is the equivalent of getting hit in the achilles with a shopping cart, except in this case, more damage would be sustained to the Smart car than my ankles.

Actual, un-retouched photo of me and the Smart car, to scale.

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