I may have mentioned before that to get to my office I have to walk past a big construction area. The guys are always really friendly and I usually smile or say ‘good morning.’
Normally what happens when I get to this site is that I walk straight through. Some mornings, the guys with the big orange flag close the little gate and stop us. I’ve never been stopped for more than 3 minutes. And it’s never been because some huge steel or cement object wasn’t floating above my head or a truck wasn’t backing into the site. Never.
Lately though, they’ve been directing us to cross the street. There were a few occassions when, after this new direction, people would sneak to just the outside of the construction (aka a lane of traffic) and walk their normal route to avoid crossing the street…and crossing back again 15 feet later.
This past week, however, they’ve really been cracking down. NO ONE can cheat the route. You’d better suck it up and cross the street. After all, it really only tacks on an extra few seconds to your route.
So this morning, I got off the train and was following this dude who just seemed like he was one of those “rules don’t apply” prissy guys. Like the kind of guy who was always obnoxious in high school. Who would say things he thought were funny or cool but were actually stupid and annoying. This guy in my high school was Matt McGarry, but that’s a subject for another post.
This guy was wearing a fitted corduroy blazer, election sticker for his candidate of choice, and he had a salmon Blackberry cover. Which of course he had to pull out of his pocket immediately after exciting the subway. He was the type of guy you could just tell would throw a total hissy fit if anyone stepped on his shoes because god forbid he get a scuff mark…living in New York…where it’s crowded and ridiculous all the time.
Nonetheless, I was okay following this guy. Hey, the more people I follow, the less work I have to do figuring out where to walk. I have that same feeling when I drive–I hate to be the first to drive through those weird construction merges b/c I never know where I’m actually supposed to be driving.
So we get to the first flag man and he waves us into the street to cross when the light changes. Corduroy Man just kept walking. Walked right towards another flag guy. He tried to bypass him but Flag Man was having none of it. He had to physically–I don’t want to say chest bump, but that’s how it looked–chest bump this guy to get him to stop walking.
Obviously I immediatly turned my iPod off to hear the fight I knew was coming. CM started cursing at FM. A lot of “how dare you touch me!” and “get your hands off me.” FM was like “hey buddy, you can’t go this way, that’s all I’m trying to tell you. I’m doing my job. You can’t walk there. If you wanna get hit with stuff, that’s your problem.” Next thing I know, CM goes off about how FM called him an “effing faggot.” That’s when FM lost it. And fair enough. He should have b/c we all heard him and he said nothing like that. He may have dropped an “eff you buddy, you can’t walk here” but that was it.
At this point, traffic has stopped, another construction guy ran in to FM’s defense but then stopped when he saw CM’s sticker and was all “hey yeah man, that’s our guy! that’s who we need in office.” Seeing that FM was just getting pissed b/c CM won’t get out of his face, a third guy, who seemed to hold some sort of construction chief type position (I clearly have no concept of manual labor or it’s hierarchy) ran in and started pulling FM back, yelling, “it’s not worth it man, he’s not worth it” to FM and “just get out of here man, just get on the sidewalk” to CM.
Everyone around me was laughing about this guy, who was making SUCH a scene just to get out of walking an extra 15 feet (mind you 15 feet where he didn’t run the risk of something cement landing on his skull). But of course, we didn’t laugh too hard b/c none of us wanted to be the next person he crossed.
When I got to the other side of the street, I made sure to pass this guy. One morning construction brawl is usually my limit. I got back to the side of the street I needed to be on and I looked back. There he was–still on his phone, still acting as though the rules of the road didn’t apply to him. He crossed the street in front of a bus and then gave the driver a dirty look when he honked. A look that said “how dare you honk at me, I’m clearly more important than you! Can’t you see my salmon colored Blackberry cover?”
And for that few seconds while he strolled in front of the bus, I was kind of hoping it would make contact.