Be Nice? Dare Me.

Wednesday, December 12: I’m not an overly greedy woman. My Christmas wishes are simple. For example, I wish not to be flattened by a bus or garbage truck or newspaper delivery van or distracted driver before eight o’clock in the morning. However, there are those in this world whose daily mission is my destruction. I encounter one nemesis on the mornings when I end my run at the Five Corners intersection, where I need to cross three of the most heavily traveled roads in this town. The traffic lights are timed to ensure vehicles are approaching from at least two directions when I’m in the crosswalk. I’m swift and nimble, and dart and dodge traffic much better than the school children, elderly people, parents with strollers, and other pedestrians.

My nemesis watches from her seat on the bench in front of the bank. The navy uniform, neon-green safety vest, and hands-free earpiece do not fool me. She is an agent of evil. When her lips move, she’s not really carrying a phone conversation while on duty. She is reciting an incantation of doom. She is the lazy crossing guard.

She sat there this morning as I and some grade schoolers waited to cross. And waited. And waited. There were waiting clumps of hesitant pedestrians on every one of the five corners.

“CROSS!” she barked at us, though the traffic was not stopped.

On other mornings, I would have barked some choice, non-PG-13 words in response. However, I am a much nicer person than I was 11 days ago, and decided: 1. foul language is not appropriate in the presence of children before 8:00 a.m; and 2. it was up to me to guide those children across safely. It was the nice thing to do — and I really had to get to a bathroom.

“Stop the traffic!” I barked back.

She looked shocked, and remained seated. I stepped off the curb, held out my hand to the cars, and gave them the mean Scrooge-Nancy look.

“HEY! We’re walking here!” I yelled.

Tires screeched. I beckoned the children, and shepherded them across. A few pedestrians clapped, and one kid thanked me. A few drivers said I was a crazy bitch.

Crazy? Perhaps. A bitch? Perhaps as well. But much less so than I was on December 1.

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