Everyone knows that the elderly hate crossing busy roads. But it is surprising how many younger folk are hesitant to put a foot forward when faced with having to negotiate dodging fast moving vehicles.
There is something paralyzing about the thought of a heavy object making contact with your body at high speed.
This can make certain people do the “Look right, look left, look right again” sequence fourteen times before moving. And it can have individuals staring at the approaching car till it’s actually stopped, before deciding that it is safe to traverse.
I am one of them.
One day during my lunch break, I needed to get to the other side of a busy high street. To my delight, I could see up ahead that there were many people who had the same idea. Great! As I approached a long horizontal line of eager crossers, I comforted myself with the fact that today, I’m going to cross the road with ease. I can hold my head up high and walk at a sensible pace instead of the usual ‘step-run-look-both-ways’ gait I adopt as a lonesome pedestrian.
Cars, lorries and motorcycles sped past but they didn’t phase me in the least. Oh no, not today. If even someone was to be unfortunate enough to not get out of the way in time, it wouldn’t be me, because the nine people on my right were nearer the oncoming traffic and would therefore suffer the impact first. Selfish thought I know, but who hasn’t ever thought that at some point in their lives?
The road suddenly cleared and it was time to make my valiant stride across the tarmac. As I leant forward, I noticed that nobody else seemed as confident as me. They all just stood there staring at the shops opposite. I placed my foot back onto the pavement. Still no cars and still no movement!
I looked to my left to see that four people had joined me on the other side, but I also noticed that they seemed to share this mass fear of getting run over. As cars began zooming past again, I sighed at the thought that I and my nervous compatriots had missed our chance.
Another heavy flow of speeding metal prevented us from getting to our destination and I was beginning to feel agitated.
However, to my horror, this was not to be for long. Agitation soon turned into humiliation as people from both my right and left sides, suddenly swivelled their feet clockwise to all face the same direction. Nobody was interested in the shops across the road anymore. Not now that their bus had arrived. Yes, you’ve got it. I had been standing in a bus queue.
I obviously was not paying close attention to my surroundings and ended up in a place where I did not want to be. It made me realise the importance of making sure I’m with the right crowd. In our lives, we need people who are travelling in the same direction as us, who can therefore help us to get there.
The bible warns us to: “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1Peter 5:8) This is easier for him to do when we place ourselves with the wrong group of people.