I have often pressed the button at the traffic lights with the ridiculous notion that I was wielding some kind of mystical power over the traffic and believing it would stop on my command.
In reality, traffic flow is controlled by sensors which explains why the lights only turn red when there is no traffic in view and you end up crossing the road thinking “Hey, this is when I would have crossed anyway.”
I am notoriously terrible at road crossing. If I approach a road and the “beeps” have already started, I will always cautiously decide to stay on the pavement.
I will then meekly smile and shrug at the leading driver who looks at me pitifully as if to say: “You’re still on the pavement, my hand-brake is still on, the lights are still red and you really should have crossed. I bet you feel silly now. What are the national statistics for being run over at the beeps?”
Uncertain of what the exact rules are for pedestrians, I always give way to traffic because vehicles can hurt me more than I can hurt them and I’m never entirely convinced that holding my hand straight out and to the side as a “please don’t hit me” gesture is gonna lessen the impact. If anything, it will probably make me more aerodynamic.
Crossing roads with other people’s children is worse. You can see the road is clear, their parents can see the road is clear but they – correctly – tell their children to wait for the green man and if you do dare to cross before he appears they will loudly tell their children how naughty you are and you will go directly to hell – via a road invented by Chris Rea.
And, if you do successfully negotiate the non-existent traffic, you’ll probably get run over from behind by some little girl wearing roller trainers. Because, apparently, that’s how kids roll these days.