I am not a huge fan of the Paul Simon song, “Slip Sliding Away”, but we hear it all the time in context with slippery roads here in East Central Wisconsin. It certainly came to mind today on my commute.
When I drive to work I usually take a route that winds through one of the arteries of the university. School is back in session and my passing tends to coincide with the students hurrying to class. The students tend to not to use crosswalks and if they do, many are not interested in waiting their turn at crossing at the lights. They make me particularly annoyed, but I remember how stupid I was for something equally stupid a minute ago and sigh. I have often thought of how dangerously close to the curb edge they stand or how cold they are walking to school.
One of the things that runs through my mind is the same thing I fear for bicyclists on the bike lane next to my car lane….what if they should slip? What if they take a digger right in front of me? There is no car body to absorb some of an impact they might experience. I am rarely glad my brain does these anxiety exercises all day with most everything, but today was an exception.
Just as I was almost out of the gauntlet of the university, just about past the last high rise in that direction and before the bar corners representing the perimeter of the colleges, there he was.
The roads had that combination of salt, new snow and just the right low temperature to make that mess…I would call it, greasy sludge. This guy was walking a little too close to the edge of the sidewalk and started to lose his balance as the ADA sidewalk portion had him sliding into the road. In my path. In front of my car.
I could see his panic as he had no control over his feet or his direction. I am really glad that I saw him flailing and my anxiety over this happening every single day made me ready to stop. As his eyes appeared to get bigger and bigger he at last got a relieved look on his face when he saw that I was stopping….with plenty of room for him to recover and…..not die.
I waved. He waved. He walked off. The light turned green.