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January 19th, 2018

One way I'm passive-aggressive

Portland's earned its reputation as a paggro (as I've heard it) city, it's true. I once saw a bumper sticker that said "Please keep Portland passive-aggressive (if you don't mind)."

I try to avoid being so myself, but if I stay honest I'll need to admit this one particular thing I do.

It's how I react to inattentive drivers when they don't see me.

I walk a lot, and I walk defensively, because some driver, eventually, is going to not notice me, or not react to me, or not allow me right-of-way. So, say, like tonight on SE Woodstock near 42nd, this happens:

• I'm about to cross to the north side of Woodstock at a crosswalk, with an island.
• No eastbound traffic, so I start walking.
• A westbound car's driver has enough time to see me and stop in a reasonable distance.
• That driver doesn't. So I stop next to the island.
• As the driver passes me, I wave my left hand wildly and yell "Hi!"

Maybe I was loud enough for the driver to hear me in the car, with rolled-up windows; maybe not. But my waving my arm in its yellow coat sleeve should be an attention-getter, right?

I'm obnoxious to do this. I know. (I've sort of scared at least one person by doing it. Remember, I can be loud.) Maybe one of these days a driver I do this to will stop, get out of the car, and yell at or punch me. More generally and crucially, are those drivers learning anything about Paying Better Fricking Attention to everyone else on the road when I do this? I don't and can't know.

But I also know I'd rather be obnoxious than hurt, or killed, because a driver wasn't paying attention. And I don't want other people hurt or killed by cars, either.


(Icon chosen because it's my yelling-est one.)