1. Harumpf!

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October 1, 2012 by bdetienne

Burtogram’s maiden voyage steams from the port by sharing the story of an event from this past week. Due to time and budget considerations we were unable to create an “Dateline” reenactment so I will do my best to paint the picture for you with words.

My wife and I were en route to Target to pick up a few items. It was about 6:30 in the evening so there was still enough light to see without the illumination of our car’s headlights. We pulled up to an intersection to turn onto another street but had to wait for the traffic to disperse before making the turn and continuing on our way. This particular intersection involves us turning onto one of the four main thoroughfares of our fair town and in order to see whether cars are coming or not, you have to drive into the pedestrian walkway of the side street.

To the right, there is a middle school that holds several after-school events as well as church meetings once or twice a week. Whenever an event is taking place cars park in front of the school and obscure one’s view of southbound traffic. To the left, a row of beautiful old trees line the main street and provide cover to the street and parallel sidewalk but again, they block the line-of-sight view of the northbound traffic. The only safe way to proceed is to pull forward into the walkway. But remember that I said this was a main road of the town we were turning onto? I was not only referring to the cars. Several bicyclists, runners, and walkers populate the sidewalk going up the street (towards downtown) and back so drivers must be cautious when driving around the walkways.

The car ahead of us had just turned and my wife accelerated into the walkway so we could view the street. As I check the right side, I notice that a kid, probably about 8 or 9 years old, riding his bike straight towards us. He clearly sees us as I am sitting directly in front of him (and he is looking directly back at me), so I turn and look the other way to view the traffic from the other way. As I turn back to center, movement out of my peripheal vision causes me to turn right. There is the kid, stopped right next to the car. He the proceeds to go around the front of the car but as he does, he turns to us and gives us the grumpiest face ever. I term it the “Harumpf!” face. (A face that all of us have had cross our face at some point in our lives, I admit.) Add to it that he was slightly chubby and his cheeks were red. It reminded me of Stillwell from A League of Their Own when he throws a tantrum in front of the dugout prior to a game. Anyway, the kid rides around the front and to the driver’s side of the car, only breaking eye contact when he has returned to where the walkway crosses the side street and resuming his stroll.

It must have been 5 seconds long but felt like 5 minutes. My wife and I look at each other and then start busting up laughing. She remarks, “Man I wish I had had my camera. I would have loved to have taken a picture of that!” We were just stunned. Yes, runners, walkers, and bicyclists may be annoyed that a car has crossed their path, but I had never seen one turn and interact with the driver of that car like that. It was unbelievable. I guess the moral of the story is, if you are out driving, be careful about intruding in the the pedestrian walkway. You never know when you might get the “Harumpf!” face.

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