The three women I met the other day when trying to cross an intersection.
On Monday I was riding my bike to work, and I had to wait at the intersection of Minor and Madison. If you don't know this intersection, let me just say that Minor is minor and Madison is major. Madison is one of those very busy Seattle streets, especially early in the morning. It's an access route for both north and south I-5, so lots of folks travel it. All the time.
Minor is wee. It is aptly named. Pedestrians frequently cross it without even checking for traffic. I should know; I have a collection of them wrapped around my handlebars, dying slowly.
This is a long-winded way of saying that the green light for people on Minor Minor to cross Major Madison is awfully short. Short in the same way Herve Villechaise is short. Short like my rope. Which I was at the end of on Monday.
I was on Minor, stopped at the very long red light. Just as the light begins to change (walk sign's been flashing the big red don't-even-think-about-crossing-now hand for awhile), three generously proportioned women decide to go ahead and cross. They are slow. Slow in the same way Sarah Palin is slow--short bus slow. The light turns yellow before they get three steps across. And then, just as the light turns green for me, they stop--STOP--right in front of me so that one of the heifers can light a cigarette.
I say to them, with as much politeness as I can muster at this point, "Ladies, I'd like to get across, please." This sounds polite but was delivered with tone, lemme tell ya.
One of them moos an actual and unexpected apology (-15 points for lack of sincerity, but it was something, anyway), and they move on across, tails swishing flies from their backs as they go.
I don't care if people are slow as long as they don't slow me down just for the entertainment value of it. I don't much mind if they smoke, as long as they don't stop directly in front of me to light their cigarettes. And I have to wonder if they would have done this had I been driving a car instead of riding a bike. I'm generally not a mean person, really, but at that moment I was scouring the surroundings for a border collie to herd them out of my way.