Paul Meloan – Vested Interest

by Paul Meloan

I approached the intersection and I saw you to my left.  I was on the path running east on Rt 28, you coming south on Main St to the “T” intersection.

In front of me: a green light, a clear crosswalk, the white symbol traffic engineers designed instead of the word “walk” to let me know it was my turn to cross the street.

You were 30 yards out, lane closest to me: a silver SUV, driving with your eyes behind those dark, round, slightly oversize sunglasses women seem to favor, moving ahead.  Were you driving 15, 20 or 25 miles per hour?  I don’t know.  What I did know is that you were not slowing down.

While I saw you, all you saw was the intersection, now with a red light facing you, and your need to turn right at that intersection.  You approached, eased off the gas ever so slightly, cocked your head slightly left, perhaps to assure yourself that you were not placing your 4000 pound SUV into the path of some larger predator, and rolled swiftly through the intersection.  You rolled through my crosswalk, my green light, my language-neutral “walk” signal, past where I would have been, at the instant I would have been there, if I had not seen you first, and stopped.

With the adrenaline rush that came, I yelled something clever like, “HEY!!!” at the top of my lungs.  It was worse than pathetic.  The windows up, you accelerating, the SUV moving west down Rt 28, towards Rachel Carson Elementary, where the sticker on the back gate of the 4000 pound SUV indicated you probably had children enrolled.  You heard nothing of me, much in the same manner a few seconds earlier you saw nothing of me.

To you, at that moment, at 8:45 in the morning, I was nothing compared to your need to go wherever you were going, as fast as you could get there.

Maybe I was lucky we met when we did.  I had just left my home, only a half mile into my eleven mile run this morning.  I was energetic, looking forward to the run and the day today.  I have crossed hundreds of streets, and I know well that not everyone pays attention to runners, or the traffic lights.  If I had been in the last half mile of my run, maybe I would have been tired, not quite as vigilant.  Maybe I would have looked up, seen the green light, the “walk” signal, the crosswalk, and taken perhaps a cursory glance to my left.  Maybe I would have seen the grill of your 4000 pound SUV only an instant before it pulverized me there in the crosswalk, and maybe it would have been the last thing I ever saw.

I may go ride my bike tomorrow, as the weather is supposed to be quite nice again.  When I do, I will approach every intersection and every interaction with every automobile out there as if the driver wanted to kill me.  I know that of course they don’t actually want to kill me, they just drive as if they do.  From where I stand, there is no difference.

Paul Meloan is the co-founder and co-managing member of Aegis Wealth Management, LLC, in Bethesda, Maryland USA. Before Aegis Paul was a practicing attorney as well as working in the tax practice of Ernst & Young, LLP.

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