Today while running in the local park, which is called La República de los Niños (Children’s Republic), I almost ran over a car. The name of the park is significant and, yes, the wording of me running over the car, instead of the car running over me, is specific.
La República de los Niños is a theme park designed for children. It has a little fairy tale town built in miniature and is geared towards teaching children citizenship and manners. There are some carnival type rides, but mostly it is known for the government type buildings where schools bring bus loads of children to teach them things like how the judicial system works. Because of the 1.4 mile track around the main part of the park, it is also popular with runners, walkers and cyclists.
This morning I was running on the 2.2 mile running trail that goes around the inside perimeter of the park. I had to cross the only paved road on that route when car pulled up to the intersection to make a left hand turn. Instead of pulling up perpendicular to the intersection and looking for crossing traffic, he pulled through the intersection on the left side of the road (the wrong side) and cut the corner driving straight into oncoming traffic. There is nothing surprising about either of these acts since that is the normal way people make a left hand turn here and he was in a very low traffic environment since he was at the park where pedestrians (many of whom are children) reign and cars are minimal.
In the picture, I am the yellow line running left to right and the car is the red line. Just based on the size of the road I had to cross, you can imagine that I had already crossed more than half way through the road before the car came up to the intersection. I thought for sure the car would yield to me since I was almost across the road. However, I gave up hoping he would stop and I pulled up at the absolute last second so that I could give his car a good whack with my knee as he ran over my toes.
Then an evil thought crossed my mind. I entertained the idea of running across his hood. Timing was perfect so that I could have stepped on his bumper and then right onto the hood. Two steps and I would jump off the other side. But then I thought that if he happened to speed up or slow down I would lose my balance and probably would do more damage to me than him. So I stopped and stood there just as he stopped.
I raised my arms out to my sides and stared at him as if to say, “Hey Idiot! Can’t you see I am already mostly across the road? Don’t you know this is a park where the pedestrian has the right of way? Why can’t you go through the intersection like you know how to drive instead of cutting through 2 lanes of oncoming traffic just so you can hit me?” However, I said nothing. I simply stepped back and ran around the passenger side of the car and on down the trail. As I ran by I heard the lady in the passenger seat yelling. I assume she was screaming at me from the tone of her voice, but she could have been yelling at the driver.
I ended up running twice as far as I intended to run this morning just to work off the steam before I got home.
When I did make my way home from the park, just 4 blocks away on residential streets, I was thinking how few problems I have had while running here in Argentina. In Mexico, this type of incidence with cars was a weekly occurrence, but here I have been blessed to have few problems with inept drivers. I know this will probably come as a shock to my Argentine missionary friends, but Argentina is not the worst traffic in the world. I have been around a bit and, while Argentina is not perfect, it is certainly not the worst I have experienced.
Here’s to hoping it will be another 7 months of running before I get my blood boiling again over a stupid driver.