Today's post was supposed to be about teen suicide, since the alarming news is that there is suddenly a lot more of it happening, especially among girls.
No one knows whether this is just an anomalous blip or an actual trend. (Fortunately, it's still very rare; rates are about 1/100,000). The experts didn't seem to offer any convincing theories, either, about why the rates went up, other than the usual "life is hard for teens now" sort of thing.
Crabby was going to chime in and say, somewhat predictably, that life has never been easy and each generation going back through time has had some Pretty Intense Stuff to deal with. But then Crabby realized she really doesn't have much of a clue and should probably just shut up about it, especially since (a) suicide is a very complicated problem and (b) she doesn't have any teens herself to know what they're actually dealing with.
However, we can still talk about teen suicide in the Comments, as some of you may have some more actual info, theories, or observations about this that could help Crabby understand better what might be up with that.
The main reason the suicide post got interrupted, however, was that Crabby found herself so flustered and mad she couldn't concentrate and had to get a little rant out of the way.
Yesterday morning, for the second time in two weeks, she was nearly killed while crossing the street, in the designated crosswalk, with the right of way, by a car eager to make a left-hand turn on top of her.
Note: neither of these were fake crosswalks, the kind put in optimistically mid-block or at uncontrolled intersections, where theoretically the pedestrian might have the right away but no pedestrian is foolish enough to rely upon it. These were both real crosswalks at actual controlled intersections.
In both cases, Crabby was already well into the crosswalk before either car started to make their turn. So she was smack in front of these drivers when they not only turned, but then decided to head right for her and speed up in order to force her to run the rest of the way across. In neither case was there an oncoming car that the left-hand turner was trying to avoid colliding with. And had Crabby not sprinted either of these times, she would have been hit. No lie. Both these cars were so sure of Crabby's willingness to run to avoid being hit that they were going too fast to be able to stop.
This is a situation in which people are prone to exaggerate, but Crabby truly feared for her life each time. Had she tripped and stumbled or decided to stubbornly keep walking a normal speed, she would be writing this post from a hospital bed.
Or perhaps not writing it at all.
Crabby is not sure this has ever happened to her before--at least not in such a terrifying way, and certainly not twice in two weeks! She was actually warned by a Smart Reader about D.C. drivers, but except for these two bizarre instances, she has not noticed the driving being any worse here than other major metropolitan areas. Many drivers here are actually quite considerate!
And having lived in Manhattan for two years, Crabby knows something about aggressive driving. She knows that "the right of way" and "who really gets to go now" are two different concepts. She also knows that when a pedestrian wants to cross the street and a driver wants to make a turn, there are competing interests and a certain amount of strategizing goes on--a pedestrian who has just taken a few steps of the curb, for instance, knows she may need to stop her progress if a car decides to turn right in front of her.
But damn it, if you are a driver wanting to make a left turn and the pedestrian is now right smack in front of you, GAME OVER. You lost that one. Sorry, now you have to wait, as painful as that is for you. You do not Proceed Anyway and try to Hit the Pedestrian! If you are in such a F*cking Hurry, keep in mind that a mangled body on the hood of your car is going to take up quite a bit of your morning, and perhaps even the rest of your life, to sort out!
Is this some sort of horrible new trend? Or just an unlucky coincidence? Do people suddenly think they are starring in their own Hollywood Action films or video games when they get behind the wheel and that there will be no real life consequences when they do crazy reckless things? (Hmm... the teen suicide statistics... a theory begins to take form...)
Anyway, at least there is a semi-satisfying epilogue:
In yesterday morning's incident, Crabby actually discovered the vehicle pulled over a few blocks away. It was some sort of government-looking thing (probably local), all white with some red stars or something on it, and the woman driving it was wearing a blue uniform. Crabby actually got the license number, and discovered there was a "How's My Driving?" bumper sticker on the back of the car! But unfortunately, the number didn't have a handy acronym like 1-800-WTF-LADY??!! or anything, and the driver saw Crabby staring at the back of her car, recognized her, and pulled away before Crabby could attempt to memorize the phone number.
Crabby may never find out what agency or company this woman worked for (any D.C. folks have any suspects? This was in Georgetown, if it makes any difference). But she does have the license number and the date and time in case she ever does figure it out. And even better? Crabby had the satisfaction of watching this woman, who nearly hit her, realize that the person she tried to mow down was now attempting to Rat Her Out. Perhaps she even worried about it a bit, and took a bit less menacing approach towards the next annoying pedestrian who had the nerve to be in a crosswalk in front of her.
So drive safe, folks, and look both ways before crossing the street, and even if you do, be prepared to sprint through intersections away from insanely reckless drivers!