If you don’t jaywalk in London, you’re not going anywhere. It may only be a minute wait at each crosswalk, but a lot of streets here aren’t just a straight walk across. You cross over to an island and because the pedestrian lights don’t always sync up very well, you end up waiting another minute before you actually find yourself on the other side of the street, so all the waiting time adds up and it’s time that I usually don’t feel I have! I think law enforcement personnel understand this because they’ve never taken issue with me when I start right next to them and end up on the other side of the road when they haven’t even taken a step.
However, I encounter a moral struggle when I’m coming up to the edge of the street and there’s a parent holding hands with their kid and I hear the parent say “No no no no, don’t cross the street when that light’s not green” or “Just wait. It’s not safe to cross yet” because I know what I want to (and often) do is just carry on walking like the street is part of the sidewalk. The trade-offs are simple: I try and set a good example or I play real life Frogger to save a minute or two. I want to do the former, but obviously not enough as I usually opt for the latter. Sometimes, I feel like I physically can’t stand there and wait, that every muscle fiber in my legs are rebelling against me and automating me to cross the street. I want to say that the fact I question myself doing this should count for something, but it really doesn’t. The parent doesn’t know that and neither does the kid (especially!) – all they see is an impatient and foolish guy breaking the law.
Then there are the times when I’m walking the streets with my wife, and I’ll pull her along to jaywalk with me, but so many times we end up in close calls because she either doesn’t react as quickly as I do to either cross the street or pull back if there’s a fast oncoming car. And for me to jerk her along back and forth is dangerous and stupid.
All of this seems to point to not jaywalking when I’m with her or even when I’m alone. Yet, there’s that itch inside me that thinks it’s dumb not to jaywalk because it can be done in a smart manner! In any case, I can’t help but feel there’s a common theme among my thoughts and posts to try and reconcile how self-centered I am acting as it relates to different situations in my life. I suppose that’s when they say people mature, when one can shift their actions and attitudes to take into consideration of their broader environment and impact on others. I’ll give it a go, even if it means giving up Frogger and a few minutes of my life.