It was, as these things go, a dark and stormy night, while on my way to the Crow bar a young fellow in dark clothes started crossing against the light, in front of my car, at the corner of Powell and Cesar e Chavez. For readers who don’t live in Portland, this would be the intersection of a highway and one of the busiest N-S pathways in Southeast Portland. I nearly hit the man, swearing as I passed by. Dude scared the shit out of me.
And I was furious at him. Nearly stopped the car to yell at him for being such a tool.
Stepping back from this moment at the Crow, drinking an IPA from Boneyard, I understand why I was so angry. He scared me and didn’t have a very good reason to do it. And while it isn’t difficult for me to imagine the consequences of hitting him, it is nearly impossible to figure out the impact it would have on my life.
Not too hard to figure the impact on his: at 35-40mph full on, I probably would have killed him.
He probably just walked on through the night and has no idea that he had a near brush with a car. Perhaps he doesn’t care; he certainly isn’t writing about it.
When I think about it, there’s more to my anger than being scared; it’s having responsibility foisted on me that I do not want. He would have died because his ego was telling him that he could cross the street regardless of the danger and I would be left holding the bag, fallout raining across my life and no Vault-Tec to hide in.
All because of ego. Or worse, damage to him that enabled him to cease to give a damn about his impact on the world.
I inhale the IPA deeply, orange zest wafting up, even several sips down. There is a weird cabbage smell in the bar but I can keep my head down and hide here, mouthfuls of beer and keystrokes giving me something to do aside from morbid pondering. Times like this I wish I had a book to read instead of an essay to write. Then again, it’s too dark to read in here (although a hoodied dude is giving it his all) so I suppose I should be happy I have something to do.
Though when the crowd at the nearby pool table starts to sing 500 Miles along with the jukebox, I know what else I have to do: get the hell outta here.