Sometimes…just every now and then…between my empty Metrocards and hair bands…I wish my pockets were full of very ripe tomatoes.
It’s not that I have some sort of odd fetish, or that I suffer from sudden urges to devour tomatoes. This would be a method of self defense.
The thing about overly ripe, wrinkly tomatoes is that they are incredibly juicy, and have the ability to explode quite nicely on a windshield, or hood of a car, which, incidentally, would be my target.
You see, I recently had a little tete-a-tete with a car who did not stop at an intersection. Although the driver initially slowed a bit while I was in the crosswalk, he then did this move where he actually started to accelerate–and I was still playing the chicken crossing the road. Had it been a truly rolling stop, I may have been knocked down, along with my bag of groceries, which this driver knocked with the grill of his sedan.
Once, when I was nine years old, a cement truck ran a red light and t-boned our family Volvo station wagon. (RIP Snow White.) Since then, I’ve never been so close to being involved in another hit—on foot.
Hoboken has very congested little streets—but that’s no excuse. No matter who you are—driver or pedestrian, you have to look out for the other. Due to this one driver who almost hit me, I wince anytime a car is trying to turn when pedestrians have the right of way, and I never trust any stop sign. Should any car edge up a bit while stopped at a light, my heart beat quickens, and I have a minor panic attack.
Hence, my idea for the tomatoes. Luckily, this driver looked up when he heard me make a sound. But perhaps I would have made a bolder statement had I started to pelt his windshield with overly ripe tomatoes. Or anything in my pockets.
Also, I apparently need a louder scream. Frozen from fear, I thought I had made a noise like a scream, but it could have easily been a duck quack. We never know how we’ll react in a high-adrenaline moment. I made a noise to sound alert—but I’m not quite sure if this is what stopped the driver, or if it was the flailing of my left arm.
I hate to say that this was just one bad driver, and that I feel safe crossing most streets, but I truly don’t in Hoboken. So, if a tomato thrown at a car is the only red sign that will take some of these drivers to stop and take notice that the pedestrians do have the right of way, perhaps that will be my pocket of kryptonite.