The Little Irritations of Life #9: The Pedestrian Crossing Button Shirker

Pedestrian.  It is a good word to describe my entire office career.  However, it is a better description of my preferred object of transportation.  Neither a cyclist nor a motorist be, when an alternative is to be a pedestrian.

So, spending a lot of my time as a pedestrian on the busy streets of London, I am also required to spend a lot of time crossing the busy streets of London and, to perform this feat safely, I rely on the numerous traffic lights and pedestrian crossings available to me.  And, to further speed up my crossing efficacy, I rely on the support and cooperation of my fellow-pedestrians.

What more joyful sight than to witness a red man turning to a green man just as you approach a crossing, all because one of your fellow-pedestrians has had the community-minded forethought to push the crossing button in advance of you?  Conversely, what more irritating experience than to witness a fellow-pedestrian idly standing by the crossing button, blithely waiting to cross, having not pushed the button.

400 wait sign

The pedestrian crossing button shirker.  What is going through your mind?  What great issues are you pondering such that you forget to perform such a simple act as pushing the crossing button?

Except, I suspect that there is more going on here than someone simply forgetting to push the button.  I would propose that some of my fellow-pedestrians––although their tardy behaviour scarcely permits them to qualify for the honourable description––are deliberately not pressing the button.  The reason for this?  I believe it to be manifold.

Some are too posh to push.  Some are too cool to push.  Some are too lazy to push.  Some are too stupid to push.  Some are too OCD, germaphobe, hygiene-conscious to push.

I despise you all.  Just push the bloody button.

400 simon presses button

Sometimes I push the button even when I’m not planning to cross at all.

© Simon Turner-Tree


Simon Turner-Tree pays careful attention to the Green Cross Code.


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