11.01.2005

Coffee Guy.
some months back I was walking across the street early on a Saturday morning
straight across from my house right into Rock Creek Park
the dogs leashed and held by my side in my left hand
a large cup of coffee with not so much as a sip taken in my right hand

the road was clear when I started
uphill traffic had red lights and no left turn signs keeping the legal drivers from heading my way
the road was clear past the bridge and around the curve coming from down hill
as I crossed the double yellow line I could hear the rev of an engine heading fast my way
a Turbo Volvo wagon was coming up road at an aggressive pace
as I moved closer to the side of the road the car slowed to maybe 35MPH
while in a 25 MPH zone
marked for yeilding to pedestrian traffic
in a knee jerk reaction
or perhaps just me being a jerk reaction
as the decelerating car passed fast and close I tossed my cup of hot coffee onto his windshield
the car driver skidded to a halt leaving the scent of rubber behind him
then slammed it into reverse and came back at me

immediately I was apoligetic
not because I feared this man or his actions
but because I knew that my reaction was wrong
I had over reacted to his behavior
it was not so much his behavior
rather the behavior of so many cars before him
it just so happens that he was the hundredth car

later that day I dropped off a six pack of Pete's summer brew with an note
there was never mention of the coffee or the six pack after that
well.... until last night

last night I was out trick or treating with my two boys
Grant was in my arms
Lisa was running back to the house to get a sweater for herself
Dean was off with his friends under the supervision of one of his friend's parents
as we meandered down the Mount Pleasant Halloween block party on Lamont Street I said hello to various old friends
at one point I said hello to an old friend who was speaking to a woman I recognized
after our exchange I made a formal introduction of who I was and where I used to live and my knowing who she is and where she lived etc....
she said she thought we had met before
I felt we had never formally met
then she asked if I was "the coffee guy?"
I shyed away from the topic
but the third party was curious of this title

so she started in on a short rendition of the story
which pretty much said that her husband did not "stop" soon enough

without getting angry I told the story how it happened
not my slant of the story
but how it happened

after a short detailless description of that mornings events I discussed the idea of action and reaction
me learning from this experince and so on and so on
trying to end admitting that I am a flawed person
and lastly
that I feel bad that I am known as "the coffee guy"
as I do not use that incident to pigeon hole the identity of her husband

our back and forth was pleasant enough
my blood pressure did raise
but I tired to contain my emotions
it was clear that the driver of this speeding Volvo had no reflection
at no point did he take into account for his own behavior
leaving me a villian
cannonizing him as a saint
shocking.... but not really

we parted on a positive note
I walked away being called "the six pack guy" rather than "the coffee guy"
but
it still bothered me
perhaps she will think of things that were said in our conversation
the idea of speeding on my street being no different than speeding on his street
the idea that he should pass pedestrians just as he would like cars to pass him or his family

yes
I am falling back on notions of common sense and common courtesy
the law is another issue
sure
he could obey the speed limit
or
he could give the pedestrians the right of way
he could even respect the double yellow line and stop within his lane
but that is not what I am asking for
I am asking for people to deal with things on a human level rather than a legal level
if we all delt with life on this human level than laws would become obsolete

now don't get the impression that I am so do gooder


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