St. Paul was full of kids, more politely referred to as school children, one mid afternoon last week. There were enough of them pouring out of one location that cops were lined up enforcing barricades and detours while the hoards were parading between terminal tall people on their way to orange buses parked within a couple blocks.
So, the detour was going my way anyway, and the kids were NOT MY PROBLEM. Fine. Interesting for about 23 seconds, but hardly worth blogging about.
Well, except for this one stray.
He may not even have been a part of the larger mob, removed as he was by a few blocks distance. It may have simply been juxtaposition that connected them. Same general timing, location, and age, and the brain makes the connection. I now can't think of the one without the other.
He should have been in school. I put him at about 14, that delightful age where children have just discovered that their parents are not perfect and simultaneously decide that fact justifies any crappy behavior they want to pull in the name of rebellion. He was thin, dressed in black, light-skinned, and sported a full crop of shiny black dreadlocks that hung evenly to just short of his shoulders and swung along with his head whenever he shook it in his display of attitude.
There was construction in the middle of the street, leaving everybody one lane to move into. My light had just turned green, and he was crossing against the light. Two adults stopped at that point, in the center by the barricades. He kept going, ignoring the light change - or at least that's a charitable way of looking at it. It may have been true as it started. He looked up at me as I moved into the intersection and stopped before the other side as I saw he wasn't going to clear before I got there. Seeing me stop must have emboldened him, as he stopped in the middle of the lane, pivoted and planted his feet wide in a full stop. I waved at him, sort of a brushing across motion, thinking to signal him that I was going to wait and would he please oblige by finishing crossing.
Still at his dead stop blocking the lane, he shook his head back and forth in a "no".
We both knew I wasn't going to proceed and hit him. But I figure he wasn't quite so sure about both the dock truck and semi behind me, one on each side, waiting for traffic to clear before the light changed so the both could swing into my lane, and both laying on their horns. That got him moving again, however slowly.
As pissed off at him as I was, I had no power in the situation. He could have kept me there in the intersection past the light change and stuck blocking even more pissed-off cross traffic.
It's good to have back-up.