People are assholes. I waited at a crosswalk earlier this week, as most pedestrians do, despite the fact that I learned in driver”s ed we always have the right of way.

Paul Wong

I know that”s how it goes in Ann Arbor pedestrian”s wait for a second and then they go. A kid walked up next to me, clad in a white hat that read “Cocks” and some super-too dope acid- wash jeans from Urban Outfitters. (I”m calling him Cliff, for the sake of the story. and for your ability to identify with him.) He checked both ways and started to cross the road. I would”ve crossed with him, but he was already a good pace, pace and a half in front of me before I would”ve moved, so I waited, not wanting to interrupt the flow of traffic.

I guess this is really just about me. Claire indirectly nearly killed me yesterday, which makes her an asshole. I could”ve died. If I”d gotten hit by the blue Ford Taurus, my roommate Eric would”ve been stuck paying an obscene amount of money every month to Oppenheimer Properties for our apartment. To be quite honest, I could care less about Cliff.

Cliff reaches the middle of the intersection, and the sound of brakes shrieking shatters the streetwide silence. Cliff jumps back and a blue Ford Taurus screeches to a halt. Cliff had indeed checked both ways, and the offending driver DID have a Stop sign.

Author”s Note: For the rest of the column, I will be referring to the woman driver as Claire.

Just a few things before I continue. A: Cliff, you should be dead. Claire and her Ford of Death would”ve launched your body 30 feet into the air and you would”ve died a horrible and painful death. B: Woman, you shouldn”t be allowed to drive clearly the card that my friend Cooper carries in his wallet which says “Behind woman driver lose one turn” is a warranted game piece. Further, perhaps that card Cooper has should be revised to “In front of woman driver, lose one life.”

Claire had a moment, a moment that all people have at one point or another, the moment of the “accidental asshole.” I am sure she wasn”t intending on completely making an ass of herself or her abilities as a driver”s license carrying American by slamming on the breaks in a Pedestrian X-ing area (as much of Ann Arbor is) around mid-day. In fact, she was probably just distracted by her favorite Matchbox Twenty song, started singing along, and slam, there”s the screeching of breaks.

The perpetrator in the aforementioned scene may have indeed been in a rush, or may not have been paying attention. Either way, had I crossed with Cliff as I originally intended, I would”ve crossed on his left, and gotten wasted by Claire and her menial skills behind the wheel. The slamming of her brakes squealed throughout the intersections, certainly disturbing those enjoying a slice at New York Pizza Depot. She had the audacity to blaze a middle finger at the pedestrian. Yeah, I know, what a fucking bitch. She had a stop sign and would”ve torn through it, not to mention the tearing that would”ve happened to poor Cliff”s frail frame had not her conscience, or her brakes, kicked in.

I had an accidental asshole moment, earlier this week in fact. I left one of my English classes and headed towards the Daily. I stopped at the marked crosswalk on State Street across from Famiglia pizza on the St. Mary”s side. Do you have your bearings? It was dark. I”m one of those students who gets suckered into night classes because of my inability to get out of bed on a daily basis before three was that too much information?

There was one other person at the crosswalk waiting, and as I stopped at the light I heard a “hi,” from the person at the crosswalk. I muttered something equal to a “hi” in a dialect none-too removed from the sounds of an Orc talking. Of course, I muttered a reply without ever looking up, I just stood there and urped out a “hi.” I looked up and saw that it was one of the girls from the English class I had just left.

Our eyes met briefly, and her face soured as she bound across the street while the “Don”t Walk” sign was clearly up. Having learned my lesson earlier in the day and fearing that Claire may have been driving around, I waited. She bound across the street and hopped into a Ford Taurus a white one mind you.

I”ve been bothered by my negative reaction to this girl, whose name I don”t even know and certainly won”t even do the disservice of assigning a fake name to, under the guise that perhaps in some unlikely situation she is actually reading this and putting one and one together.

The accidental asshole can strike at nearly any moment. I”m generally not in the mood for discussion, so the idea that I even muttered a “hi” back is surprising. But I did and I was the worse off for it. So English class girl, I suppose this column is for you a gift of sorts, perhaps an apology.

I say perhaps, because frankly, I don”t believe in apologies. I think if you are going to do something that is going to result in the necessitation of an apology and you do it anyways, than clearly, nothing you do can make the initial fuck-up erase itself. If you really cared, or if I did, I wouldn”t have fucked up in the first place.

I guess that makes me an asshole.

Luke Smith can be reached at lukems@umich.edu.

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