Why didn’t you stop the car to let the pedestrians walk across the street? One of my friend that just returned from an abroad trip asked me angrily, as I drove past a bunch of pedestrians waiting to cross the street.
Often times this is one of the most profound observations from
some of my friends here in India that traveled abroad for a short duration have, that if you stop you car to give
pedestrian his turn to cross the street, you are more civilized.
They return from their abroad trip and go, “You know, there are a lot of things that are terrible here in India!
One of them that’s so uncivilized here is that the pedestrians have tough time crossing
roads, and those that drive in their damn cars
don’t stop to let those pedestrians cross the street, like you just did. You never see this happen in Europe, you know.”
I tried contemplating on the pros and cons of this topic and tried hard to agree with my friend.
In my opinion, I don’t have to give a shit about my friend’s observation. Because,
A. It is not profound, as he thinks it is.
B. He is a bloody murderer in thinking it’s less civilized if I don’t give pedestrians their turn.
Nobody should stop their car to let those pedestrians walk across. I mean it. Here is why.
If I stop the car for you, the pedestrian, to cross the street, it is same as both you and I smoking a cigarette, and dying early, even though neither of us are smokers.
Ok. Let me explain that.
I stopped the car. How did I do that? First, I took my foot off the throttle, and applied the brakes.
I was cruising at 40MPH before I saw you, the pedestrian, and now, my vehicle is halted.
I switched to first gear to allow you to walk across the street. And you, went straight to the bus stop across the
street and started surfing the damn facebook.
That’s unnecessary traffic, I mean, the web-traffic, and the datacenter that
hosts the facebook servers, and that of your internet service provider just emitted a few milligrams of carbon, into an already
warm planet. Both just because of you.
Me, on the other hand, have to start driving from 0MPH, and all the other noble citizens in their cars right behind me, have to do the
same. Do you know the cars consume more fuel when driving in the lower gears?! Now, because of you, the damn pedestrian,
my car has emitted more carbon than it would have, if I did not give a shit about you and kept cruising at 40MPH.
Now, together, the carbon that’s emitted by both of us is same as both of us smoking a cigarette, and we will be dead a little early than
if I did not cared for you, and kept driving, and who knows we both would have lived a little longer.
This is why we Indians are more civilized than those in the other countries where they stop for a pedestrian to cross the street should they see one!
You know what to do the next time you see a pedestrian now. Don’t you? And hey, have no guilt, after all you let him live a little longer.