Pedestrian crossing etiquette in Toronto or the world over?
I’m faced with two choices:
Jay walk and risk very possibly getting run over but a potentially quicker journey (if) I’m lucky to survive the crossing.
Or wait for the walking man sign and feel the wrath of embarassment from passers by because I'm the last remaining person to cross the road - only when the light shines bright, despite tumble weed rolling down said road with little to no sign of any impending cars...
Is it just me or do you feel a very unknowing yet uncomfortable judgement ensue from other pedestrians who walk by? Are they judging me and quietly tutting thinking 'look at that goody two shoes waiting for permission from a traffic light’?! I feel they are! I feel their glare burn through the back of my head as I hear their footsteps approach from behind- or worse their forthcoming stare as they pound towards me from the other side of the road.
I feel childlike but wouldn’t it just be my luck to step out and either get hit by a cyclist, car or worse get fined for jaywalking (times are tough $$)! At home I would confidently strut between cars without one doubtful thought, but here - I’m more at risk, I’ve more to lose (in a monetary sense!!) and the fact that pedestrians do not appear to have the right of way even when you’re told to walk makes it all the more daunting! But I’m getting used to it..kind of.
So as I stand on the path surrounded by fluttering snow and a chilling wind the devil inside is telling me to chance it and you’ll have one minute less in the freezing cold. They all zoom by and as per usual I feel once again alone as continuous people step off the footpath without a flicker of dread. They know I’m new here. They must.
A petite elderly woman clad head to toe in winter gear appears to my right and I’m left thinking 'oh please, not you too’. But she stops. Two business men and a young boy on a bike cross the empty road as we both stare towards the traffic light yearning patiently for our signal to go. She tuts as the three men reach the other side and turns to me with big eyes and a bigger friendly smile and chuckles "what’s the rush. We’ll all end up in the same place! Here’s to another safe crossing girl!" And with that she shuffles on, confident nothing can dampen her trip to the other side of the road because she’s waited for the light and now it’s her turn no matter what the outcome.
Sometimes it takes a single moment to put everything back in perspective. Who cares if they’re judging me or how long it takes — at the end of the day we’re all on the same path.