Zombie Pedestrians

Once upon a time in a land called America, schoolchildren were taught how to cross the street by their parents or their older siblings. Red light means the cars stop, and green light means the cars go. Wait for the red light and make sure the cars have stopped, look both ways, carefully cross the street. For decades, first graders across the nation successfully crossed the street without tens of thousands of dollars' worth of flashing lights and annoying beeping and counting and pictures of a cute little walking man at every stinking intersection.

Those early pedestrians understood that the cars were bigger than they were, and that they needed to pay attention to the traffic and what was going on around them; a grasp on reality that many of today's pedestrians have not yet achieved. As more and more laws are enacted on the pedestrian's behalf giving him the 'right of way', fewer and fewer pedestrians are taught what the right of way is or how it works. The phrase itself is frequently reduced to a weapon, something righteous for disgruntled have-nots to hold on to and disparagingly yell at those they perceive to be the haves.

Being granted the right of way means the legal right of one entity to proceed with precedence over others in a particular situation or place.

Here are some things that having the right of way does not mean:
  • It does not mean that cars can't crush you and bikes can't run you down and that you are invulnerable.
  • It does not mean that you have no-fault insurance; that you can't be held liable for an accident.
  • It does not mean that it is OK to dawdle your way across a six lane highway while twelve cars are waiting in the left turn lane, eight of which will have to wait for another light cycle because you are poking.
    Pedestrians expect drivers to be courteous toward them but seemingly never consider returning the favor. Hustle across the street when you can! It is OK for pedestrians to be considerate too.
  • It does not mean that you can stop paying attention to the world around you. Walking down the street staring at your phone, crossing intersections and parking lot entrances without ever looking up is both dangerous and stupid.
A wise man once noted that the only thing you know for certain when you see another driver's directional blinking, is that his directional is blinking. Similarly, the only thing you know for certain while blindly walking down the street empowered with the right of way, is that you are entitled to the right of way. You do not know if every driver and biker sees you and is willing and able in that moment to accommodate you. It is reasonable for pedestrians to expect drivers to be paying attention and it is just as reasonable for drivers to expect pedestrians to be paying attention.

Pedestrians are a part of traffic, not above it.

Not everything that looks like progress automatically is. Do the crosswalk lights and timers make us a safer society, or just lazy? Or worse? Early in the morning in Any City, USA you can find people waiting for the little walking man to give them permission to cross the street, though ten minutes have passed since the last car did. Is it a fear of getting caught crossing against the light that maintains them on the corner like zombies, or more frighteningly, did crossing against the light never even occur to them?

Perhaps the issue is neither safety nor laziness, but conditioning. Law enforcement and government routinely use tricks like pulling drivers over for not using their directional to change lanes although there was no other driver behind them to see it, to turn citizens into less thoughtful beings.

Always use your directional.
Always wait for the walking man.
Don't think.

Pedestrians have the right of way.
Don't look.

Always do what the officer says.
Don't question.


Question everything!
Look around and around!
Most of all, think, think, think!

Cross when it's safe.
Blink when it is necessary.
Enjoy the right of way and be considerate.


We're all part of the same big traffic jam. The sooner we stop honking at each other, the sooner the traffic will clear.


The Grass is Not Always Greener

As things in and around the White House deteriorate before our eyes, millions of Americans continue to steadfastly support the President. Meanwhile, millions of Americans revel in the idea of his ouster, assuming that any situation would be better than the one we're in. Assumptions tend to result in uncomfortable situations, and it may never be truer than in this case, as Pence might be worse than Trump!

Pence is more conservative, more right-radical and more myopic than even the current White House resident. He is against abortion, completely unsupportive of the LGBTQ community, against women's rights and downright afraid of same sex marriage. Worst of all, and more important than anything else, he hears voices. People that hear voices and act upon what they're 'told', regardless of whether they believe the voice belongs to a hippie from Galilee or a neighbor named Sam, have mental health issues. Period. End of story. Cut and dry. ¡Loco es loco!

Wouldn't we be better off with atheist leaders - just generally? Wouldn't we be better off with leaders that examine and question and evaluate and come up with rational conclusions, than leaders that just believe what their parents told them to believe? Wouldn't we be better off with leaders that don't have a stake in a God - whose only concern is running the county or state or school district or nation in real time, in the real world, based on things we can all see and touch? Wouldn't we be better off - really - with leaders that understand that the enemy also thinks God is on their side?

Many of our Founding Fathers were atheist, or at least unconvinced, with the separation of church and state a primary tenet upon which our nation was built. Do today's Americans that believe in a God have so little conviction in their faith that prospective leaders must believe similarly - or at least profess to - in order to vote for or follow them? Honestly and truly: would you rather have White House level decisions being made by logic and reasoning, or a voice in the night?

As difficult as it is these days to find things upon which we can all agree, maintaining the status quo and hoping that the current administration doesn't mess things up too badly or start a war, may be a good place to start. With a bit of luck in 2020 the Democrats will have regained enough sense to prop up a candidate with attributes beyond gender or race and give us a viable candidate under the age of 70 (for goodness sake), and the nightmare will be over.

So let us join together and hope for the best for the current administration, for our great nation and for each of us. And may God bless the USA.



A graduate of Portland State University, Steve (Reeno) Kloser is the author of Beginning Band - A Guide to Success and Let's Make Music - Classroom Recorder Course. He is also an accomplished teacher, conductor and composer, having penned numerous pieces including La Vida and Fly With Me.

Teacher, web developer, Packers fan and proud American, Reeno's usually slanted outlook often presents an unlikely perspective on issues old and new.
Reeno currently lives in Portland, OR.


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