While driving up 122nd this morning, I pulled over for a fire truck shrieking past, as did the other cars ahead of me. After it passed, I pulled back into the lane, and noticed someone crossing in the middle of the block, up ahead. I assumed that it was someone taking advantage of all the cars pulling over, to cross, but not thinking of the speeding emergency vehicle.
I was mentally shaking my head at this self-absorbed, small-minded stupidity as I slowly increased my speed. I was expecting the person to walk quickly across the five lanes, and was surprised to need to brake a few moments later as I came right up to the man, still pottering across. Then, just after he had passed the front of my car, and my foot had moved back to the gas, he bent and picked something up off the street, (I couldn't be sure, but it looked like a wadded up paper towel) and turned around to go back!
I quickly slammed on the brake again, and he noticed me for the first time, and stopped, standing directly in front of me. He looked through the windshield at me and I looked back at him. He was tidily dressed, with very short hair, and had none of the obvious sequelae of mental illness or signs of living rough. His clothes were older but very tidy and clean. As we looked at one another, he raised one hand and gravely, solemnly, wagged a finger at me, while slowly shaking his head. Bad, bad girl.