Perhaps you had to be there.

7 Jan

The other night my friend Betsy and I met up for dinner at a mussels bar in Cleveland Park. There’s another location, closer to our homes, but we’d deliberately chosen this one so we could get some exercise walking the 5 miles roundtrip.

As we walked home, just south of the National Zoo, we had to wait for a light to change at a crosswalk. We were standing there, chatting, when – all of a sudden – a loud robot voice said, “You may now cross the street. You may now cross the street.” Or something to that effect.

It was unexpected and creepy – and loud enough that it made us both jump. “What the hell is that?” I asked, as we both looked around, slowly realizing that we weren’t actually being assaulted by a bossy robot.

“I almost dropped my purse,” Betsy commented.

And that got us to speculating how funny it would’ve been if we’d both thrown our purses on the ground and run away screaming, as if we’d been mugged. I pictured her explaining it to her husband.

“What happened, where’s your purse?” I imagined him asking.

“I don’t want to alarm you,” she’d respond, “but I was mugged tonight. By a crossing signal.”

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2 Responses to “Perhaps you had to be there.”

  1. thesinglecell January 7, 2013 at 10:47 am #

    They talk to you? Is that for blind people or something? How would the blind people not find it unsettling? PS the crossing signals in Paris cracked me up because the “don’t walk” man was standing with his hands on his hips, all red and implicitly glowering. As if to say, “Don’t you DARE walk right now!”

    • pithypants January 7, 2013 at 8:39 pm #

      Ah! I’d forgotten about the French crosswalks – or the “zebra strikes” as someone, somewhere calls them. Thanks for the memory! I’m just surprised he wasn’t smoking a cigarette. Now THAT would be authentic.

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