The crosswalk

I close the door behind me and look up. Dark clouds are threatening, but if I’m quick, I’ll stay ahead of the storm. I adjust my earplugs and start the music. Beginning a slow jog I put my watch in running mode. An easy recovery run of 6k, to shake loose the legs after the hill training I did yesterday. My street is mostly quiet, except during rush hour. That explains the many crosswalks and the big words on the road: School zone.  I notice drivers that refuse to stop for a crosswalk more often then I like. Even the bicyclists are prone to it. How difficult is it to stop for people that want to cross on a crosswalk? It doesn’t matter how late you are for work. Or how you can’t wait to kiss your girlfriend. You stop at a crosswalk!

I get so angry when I see drivers of cars or bicycles refusing to stop for a crosswalk. 

Yes, it makes me grumpy. It’s one of those details that wouldn’t have bothered me before menopause hit. But now, it can truly ruin my day. Petty, I know. I only hurt myself with it, I know.  But that doesn’t help: I get so angry when I see it happen. And that is almost daily. There goes my blood pressure.

Further down the street I see a person approaching the crosswalk. I notice the tentative movement behind a walker. Not a big person. When I jog closer I see it’s an older man, slender and bit on the small side. He struggles with his walker, trying to hurdle the curb. It’s obvious his balance is off. I run across. “Do you need help crossing?” “Oh thank you! That would be so kind, “he says. I put my right arm under his arm so he can lean on me. I put up my left hand to signal the upcoming cars they have to stop.

I put up my hand to signal the cars they have to stop, we slowly shuffle across to the middle of the road. 

He’s putting quite a strain on my arm for such a tiny man and we shuffle together to the middle of the road. The line of cars is getting longer, but I don’t notice any impatience, no honking. The man doesn’t give me chance to look to the side. It takes all my concentration to make sure he doesn’t fall. There are moments I’m doubting his legs can carry him at all. In the middle of the road, the center curb gives us a moment to breathe. His right leg leans against the walker, in an effort to keep his balance. “Shall we go on?” I venture. I again give a signal to the upcoming cars. I’m a bit surprised they actually stop. I register an upcoming moped and a bicyclist. “Don’t drop me!” I hear the man panic. Apparently he has little faith in his own legs. With reason, as I soon find out. It seems the little break added another 20kg to the man. It takes all my effort to keep him upright.

“Don’t drop me!” I hear the man panic.

We’re halfway the crosswalk, hardly the moment to give up. And certainly not the best moment to let him drop. Now I start to panic and glance aside to the ever growing line of cars. It’s getting harder and harder to hold him. How do nurses do that whole day? My admiration for the profession grows every minute I help this man. And then it happens. I hear a car door opening. The moment I look up, I see the moped driver getting off. So is the bicyclist. I don’t have time to digest these actions, before I know it three men are at my side, taking over the support of the old man. That overpowering moment of so many people lending a hand to someone in need floors me. I actually get teary eyed. Really, hormones? Now? Cars are patiently waiting in front of the cross walk, some without driver. An unmanned moped is blocking the cycling path. A bike is put safely on the side of the curb. I notice a little stool near the restaurant on the corner. With the man being tended to, I run to the stool so we can give him some reprieve before he goes on.

Cars are lining up in front of the cross walk, some without drivers, doors still open. 

I’m embarrassed, because a situation that should be normal, makes me so emotional. Yes I realize, if I had been one week further in my cycle, my tears wouldn’t have been so close to the surface. But still. The fact that so many people are prepared to put everything aside for 15 minutes, to help a man in need, makes me happy. I’m such a sap! I make sure the man is okay. The bicyclist offers to escort the man to his home 20 meter down the road. This is my cue and I zipper up my windbreaker to finish my run. At the roundabout at the end of my street a car slows down. Through the open window a man yells” You did great, madam! Well done!” I notice the dark clouds getting angrier and angrier and I know I have to rush to get inside on time. I can’t help but smile. From grumpy to happy. Those hormones keep throwing me curve balls.

2 thoughts on “The crosswalk

  1. Mooi verhaal, heb je mooi gedaan en in je goede daad heb je heel veel mensen meegenomen.
    Ging het maar altijd zo heh, want de meeste tijd heeft iedereen alleen maar oog voor zijn eigen belang en zouden je het liefst op zo´n moment van het zebrapad af willen toeteren of snoeihard vlak achter je langs weer wegrijden. Of is dat maar een klein percentage mensen die dat zou doen en is de rest wel bereid zich even aan te passen en iets voor een ander over te hebben?
    En ja wat die hormonen betreft, ik kan over de meest stomme dingen volschieten van emotie, haha.

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