I’m back from vacation! I’ve just spent a week in Las Vegas, and although it was really delightful to get out and do something different, I am awfully glad to be back. I love the lights and the shows and especially the food, but as I’ve pointed out in a previous post, I am at least marginally demophobic, and the vast multitude of people was beginning to oppress me. Primarily, I refer to the stupid people, of which there was a vast multitude.
There are, of course, the people who have apparently gambled away their fortunes (or their children’s fortunes). You can spot them sitting in the food courts with a cup of coffee, staring dumbly at the wall or angrily at their spouses. These people make me sad. These people remind me why I don’t gamble.
Then there are the people who are from Wyoming or Kansas but have dressed up in their Vegas best. This often means clothing that is far too tight or revealing for the person wearing it, heels that are impractically high, and – in the worst case scenarios – sequins. These people make me laugh. These people are the reason to sit at outdoor cafes even on hot days.
But then there are the truly dumb ones: the ones who think that crossing Las Vegas Boulevard while the hand is red is a primo idea. This category includes nearly everyone, and these people make me mad.
Okay sure, 80% of the time there really weren’t any cars coming. But in every case, the cars did, in fact, have the right of way, and the 20% of the time when there were cars coming, the pedestrians who were in the way got all snarky. One man, after nearly getting run over by a very large van, spouted several profanities that made it clear said pedestrian was pretty sure he was invincible. Poor man. Drunk? Gambling-induced dementia? No, probably just plain old tourist-centricism. “I have spent $200 in your city! You owe me everything!”
(From where this photo was taken, that Eiffel Tower is over a mile away.
Seriously! – 1.1 miles, according to travelocity.)
Las Vegas Boulevard isn’t exactly a pedestrian zone. It can’t be. Have you ever tried to walk from one end to the other?? You look down the way, think to yourself “gee, I think I’ll just hop over to the Paris to see what’s there” and four hours later, when you arrive, you realize that their Eiffel Tower might be smaller than the original, but it’s a helluva lot bigger than you thought, and a helluva lot farther away. The point is, the cars were there first, and they are bigger and badder than we are.
I am firmly in favor of traffic laws. As a driver, I like to stop for people in crosswalks. (People not in crosswalks? Completely different story. Five points each.) As a pedestrian, I like it when drivers stop for me while I’m in a crosswalk. This makes for a happy traffic world. And don’t get me wrong… sometimes I’m that pedestrian who’s not in the crosswalk, but I have rules for that too. Here they are:
1. If there’s a crosswalk nearby, use it. A block is not too far to go out of your way to be safe and legal.
2. If you’re using a crosswalk that is not by a traffic light and a car must slow down for you, acknowledge this kindness (even if he is legally required to do it) with a smile and a wave. Show your appreciation by making some attempt at haste.
3. If you must cross when there’s no crosswalk, you may only do so when the coast is completely clear.
4. If you do a bad job determining how clear the coast is and a car arrives and must slow down for you, signal your embarrassment at breaking traffic laws and inconveniencing the driver by waving and scooting your butt just as fast as it will go to the other side. For the love of all things good and decent, do not continue sauntering across the street as if you own it. There are cities in this world where that could get you killed. (See above comment about point value.)
And the world will be a better place.