I was almost hit by a car this morning.
I don’t want to over-dramatize this. I’m totally fine. For the most part, I was not actually struck by the car. And it was entirely not my fault. (Mom.)
Here’s what went down.
I was walking to my office from Penn Station, like I do virtually every single day. I have to cross a series of streets and avenues to do so. In the name of total disclosure, I’m admitting right here and now that I do not always wait for the walk signal. If no cars are coming, I cross the street.
This is not just a me thing. This is an everyone-in-New-York-who-doesn’t-have-time-to-wait-to-cross-an-empty-street. (Insert: “New Yorkers are so impatient” joke here.)
Despite my penchant for (not actually illegal)(I don’t think?) jaywalking, I’d like to point out that in this case, I was crossing 9th Avenue because the crosswalk sign was telling me it was my turn to walk. The little white man was fully lit. It wasn’t even a blinking red warning hand.
So I crossed.
I was aware of a black sedan that wanted to turn left onto 9th Ave. He was slowly inching out, and I figured he was just waiting for the person crossing in front of me and me to get to the sidewalk. Then he would turn because his light was green.
Just because I know my mom is going to read this and think something to the effect of “If I had only just never let her leave my womb, this would never have happened!!!!”, I feel the need to point out that there was no way I could have seen this coming or prevented it. Short of just never crossing the street ever. I did what any normal person would have done. I crossed when the crosswalk told me I should cross.
Anyway. I was about two steps from clearing the front of his hood when I realized he had no intention of stopping and was in fact speeding up to turn.
I’d love to tell you that in that moment, time slowed down. Or that everything crystallized and became very clear for me.
In reality, it all happened super fast. But in a fit of The Next Karate Kid-edness, I slammed my left hand down onto the hood of his car and vaulted the rest of my body clear of the car.
The moment my feet hit the ground (and the driver apparently registered that the loud thunk he had heard was his car making contact with a human being), he and eye made equally wide-eyed eye contact. Both our mouths hung open for a second in total shock. (Well, his mouth was suspicious shaped into words something like “oh ship”, but I’ll leave the speculation to you.)
It was at that moment that I had no idea what to do next. Technically, nothing had happened. He had done something stupid (not watching where he was turning…I have no idea what he was looking at) and kind of illegal (turning into a crosswalk where pedestrians were walking), but technically nothing bad had come of it. I was so shocked and flustered, I honestly just kept walking while making furtive glances over my shoulder to see if anyone had noticed. (I honestly think no one did. Or they just didn’t say anything.)
To the driver’s credit, though he had started to just drive away, I watched him pause for a few seconds, obviously wondering if he should get out and do something. I guess he took the fact that I was not hanging around as his cue to vacate the scene. I don’t know what else I would expect him to do. (“Hey! Hey, you! Buy me a coffee for almost crippling me!”)
The point is, I’m totally fine, if not slightly rattled. But honestly, I have to chuckle at the fact that I’m pretty sure if any of us are going to walk away with a phobia about this, it’s the driver. He’ll become one of those guys who always thinks he’s hit someone because he almost did!
The kind of ironic thing is that just this morning, I was having trouble coming up with a blog topic and was thinking, “Man, it has been a really long time since I had a classic New York moment!” I should have just given it 45 minutes.
So anyway. That’s the story of how I almost-and-sort-of-did get hit by a car.